Paul Rudd in 'Our Idiot Brother': Director Jesse Peretz Talks Casting

 Big Beach Films

Paul Rudd is nearly unrecognizable in the upcoming Weinstein Company comedy, Our Idiot Brother, but director Jesse Peretz tells The Hollywood Reporter that the role of Ned was tailor made for the actor.

“When we started working on the script, we really were writing, we really started off by saying, ‘let's write something for Paul and hopefully he'll be psyched to do it,’” Peretz said during an interview with THR earlier this summer. “I know from being friends with him that he was beginning to feel like, ‘I'm kind of doing the same thing over and over again.’ So, I definitely was thinking ‘let's do something different.’ But I also feel like this character has a lot of Paul in him.

“Paul is isn't inherently the suit worm, straight laced guy with the boring job and the wife that doesn't understand him. Even though that's a character that he plays some version of a lot of times,” he continued. “I did feel confident that this character was living in a way that Paul would really relate to and be psyched to play. I knew he'd also be psyched to have a big bushy beard.”

The film, initially titled My Idiot Brother during its Sundance debut, finds Rudd as a well-intentioned hippie who suffers an unfortunate run-in with the law and winds up couch surfing between his three sisters and an alcoholic mother.

Peretz also looked back on the real-life inspiration behind Ned, whom Rudd never officially met.

“I did meet the brother of one of my really good friends who was a medical marijuana farmer and he had got into trouble by somehow stretching the rules of how you dispense marijuana. I think was looking at some jail time, but he was able to clear matters up by joining this Franciscan Monastery in Oakland,” he explained. “There's no real ridiculous story about his brother that is equivalent to some of the things Ned does, but fundamentally he was like, the sweetest guy I've ever met. Really kind of funny in his lack of cynicism and irony... I just fell in love with this dude.”

While Peretz and Rudd have long tried to work together once again after 2001’s The Chateau, the film also reunites Rudd with his I Love You, Man co-star, Rashida Jones. Coincidentally, Jones and Peretz have also maintained a friendship for many years and previously worked together on the Foo Fighters “Long Road to Ruin” music video.

Donning oversized glasses for the role, Jones stars opposite Zoe Deschanel as a lesbian couple.

“Thinking about Rashida was totally in contrast of what I really had in mind [for the character], which was like a real butch chick with short hair, tattoos, a chain wallet, whatever,” Peretz recalled. “But when I started thinking about it, I was like ‘you know what though, Rashida does have, she really has tough energy.’”

“I wanted you to feel that there was some slightly more male energy and that Zoe could still play like a really kind of girly bisexual. I feel like Rashida really found that. She found that farthest edge she could of playing the kind of butch chick,” he continued. “We had such fun building her wardrobe and her look. It was her idea to wear those awesome glasses.”

Our Idiot Brother opens nationwide on Aug. 26 and also stars Emily Mortimer, Elizabeth Banks and Kathryn Hahn.

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