'Mascots' Premiere: Jane Lynch, Susan Yeagley Discuss Working With Director Christopher Guest
"I've been working with [him] now for 15-16 years, so it’s like a homecoming. It was a real joy to get the call after 10 years," Lynch told THR of reuniting with Guest on his comeback film.
Fred Willard, Jane Lynch, Zach Woods, Sarah Baker and Susan Yeagley were just some of the stars that walked the football field-themed carpet on Wednesday night at the Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood to celebrate the premiere of Christopher Guest’s latest film, Mascots.
The comedy, shot in a documentary style, follows a group of individuals that don full-body suits and represent brands or cheer on sports teams, as they themselves compete for the most sought-after award in their industry, the Gold Fluffy Award, at the 8th World Mascot Association Championships.
After a 10-year absence, Guest returns to the big screen with his regular troupe of actors. Lynch, who starred in Christopher Guest’s Best in Show (2000) was thrilled to once again work with the small band of actors. “I’ve been working with them now for 15-16 years, so it’s like a homecoming. It was a real joy to get the call after 10 years,” she told The Hollywood Reporter.
The all-star cast was joined by newcomers like Yeagley, who described her first day working with them as "terrifying.” She added, “I was very, very nervous, but it’s like golf once you get the first shot, and you get the first shot out, then you’re home free.”
Yeagley’s experience working with Guest was "a dream come true.” She noted, “If I was a cartoon, it was me driving to work with hearts flying out of my eyes every day. It was amazing.”
Baker shared Yeagley’s sentiments about working with Guest: “It was a dream. I think every actor, especially comedic actors who improvise, it’s like the ultimate, so ultimate that you don’t really think about it actually happening. Getting to do that was beyond what I could have hoped for."
Woods, who plays Baker’s husband in the film, also found working with Guest to be rewarding. “It was really exciting because he made many of the movies that made me want to do comedies in the first place. It’s slightly surreal,” he told THR.
Although the helmer tends to cast actors that he already knows, Guest has discovered actors through directing commercials. That was the case for Baker, who worked on a commercial directed by Guest prior to being cast in Mascots. “I met him then and ended up doing a commercial with him, and a few months later it was just lucky that he was starting to work on this movie. He called and said he was writing this part for me," said the actress.
Instead of holding traditional auditions, Guest opts for a more personal approach. “I just talk to actors. We don’t read anything. There’s no script. I just try and have a conversation,” he told THR.
As was the case for Yeagley, who chatted with the filmmaker instead of reading a script. “He just sits with people for about 20 to 30 minutes and just discusses life, country music, food and different things. He just goes with his instincts and luckily his instincts pointed to me, and I’m really lucky and very grateful for that,” she told THR.
All of Guest’s movies are improvised from a detailed outline. Willard, who has frequently worked with the esteemed director, finds him to be very encouraging when it comes to improvising. “He’s not a tough director. He’s not, like, ‘Come on! Let’s do this and get it right!’ We do it once or twice," said Willard. "He films, like, 120 hours and cuts it down to 85 minutes. He cuts a lot of stuff and compresses it, so you feel pretty free to improvise. If you have a funny thing in your head, just say it instead of thinking, ‘I shouldn’t say that.'"
Mascots will be available to stream on Netflix on Oct. 13.