Bill Clinton, Hollywood Heavyweights Star in Funny or Die Video

12:00 AM PST 10/18/2011 by Paul Bond
Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Bill Clinton

The former president joins all-star cast that includes Ben Stiller, Ted Danson, Kevin Spacey, Matt Damon and Sean Penn to goof on his charitable foundation.

Funny or Die never seems to have trouble getting A-list stars to appear in their low-budget web projects. But it may have outdone itself with its latest video, which is packed with some of the biggest names in Hollywood, alongside a former U.S. president, no less.

The video premiered Saturday on two giant screens at the Hollywood Bowl during a concert benefiting the William Jefferson Clinton Foundation, and Funny or Die posted it online midnight Tuesday.

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The premise has Ben Stiller, Jack Black, Matt Damon, Sean Penn, Kristen Wiig, Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen making up the Clinton Foundation’s Celebrity Division. Kevin Spacey may or may not be part of that team.

Christin Trogan, who produced the video, said each star dedicated about two hours to the project and that it was shot over five days last month. While it appears most of the actors are in the same room at the same time, that was only the case with Stiller, Danson and Steenburgen.

“It was long days for the crew, for sure, creating that continuity and that world where they’re together, right down to the littlest things, like where a bagel was placed,” Trogan said.

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Clinton was shot at his Foundation office in New York, where he is shown reprimanding Spacey for commandeering his desk, though Spacey’s end of the conversation was shot in California. Black was also in California while the rest of the cast was in New York.

The five-minute video is called Clinton Foundation: Celebrity Brainstorm.

The sketch was written by Funny or Die staff writer Alex Fernie, though the actors ad-libbed here and there and others contributed ideas and dialogue. If there were any stars who declined the opportunity to appear in the video, Funny or Die isn’t saying.

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“It was one of those things where, when we were going through the bits, we had certain people in mind, and we got really lucky that they were able to be part of it,” Trogan said.  “It was almost like some other force was blessing this video and enabling it to come together.”

Josh Greenbaum directed the short, which he co-wrote with Alex Fernie. The video was executive produced by Control Room and the Clinton Foundation. Matt Pohlson and Ryan Cummins also produced.

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