Sometimes it takes an unexpected emotional and physical journey for people to realize that what they really want in their relationships is already right in front of them. That’s certainly the case for actor Tom Everett Scott’s protagonist, who believes that he already has the perfect life, in the upcoming comedy, ‘I Hate Kids.’
The main character has led a seemingly happy existence as a bachelor throughout most of his adult life, and swore off becoming a family man until he met the love of his life. While the duo initially shared a similar disinterest in having children of their own, their ideals and beliefs about raising a family are put into question after he’s approached by a teen boy who claims to be his son. After hearing the adolescent’s background, the new surprising father-son duo embarks on an all-too-important pilgrimage that encourages them both to explore who they both are, and what they want from life.
Screenwriters Frank Deitz and Todd Traina penned ‘I Hate Kids,’ which was directed and executive produced by actor John Asher. Freestyle Digital Media is set to distribute the film this Friday in select theaters and On Demand, including iTunes and Google Play.
‘I Hate Kids’ follows Nick Pearson (Scott), a former lothario and author of the title best-selling memoir, who has everything he wants. He’s about to marry the woman of his dreams, Sydney Bartlett (Rachel Boston), who shares his disinterest in becoming a parent. But just days before their wedding, he’s shocked to find out that he has the one thing he never wanted: a child.
Nick’s happy, child-free existence is put in jeopardy when awkward 13-year-old Mason (Julian Feder) interrupts the engaged couple’s rehearsal dinner, and claims to be the groom-to-be’s son. With the aid of flamboyant radio show psychic The Amazing Fabular (Tituss Burgess), who claims he helped Mason find his father after having a vision about them, the three strangers embark on a wild road trip to find out which of a dozen eccentric women from Nick’s past could possibly be Mason’s mother.
Scott generously took the time recently to participate in an exclusive interview in New York City to talk about starring in ‘I Hate Kids.’ Among other things, the actor discussed that he was drawn to play Nick in the movie because he was intrigued that the character is initially happy with his romantic relationship, but soon begins to question if he still connects with his long-held belief about family. The performer also shared that he embraced connecting with Asher and his co-stars while creating such an equally comedic and heartfelt story.
The conversation began with Scott revealing why he was interested in playing Nick in ‘I Hate Kids.’ The actor described the process of becoming attached to the comedy as “a really interesting situation. I was offered the film and sent the script. The name of the movie, ‘I Hate Kids,’ certainly caught my attention. I thought (the title) was very brash and funny, and made me want to read (the screenplay). So I thought that was a good sign.”
The character of Nick “goes through a change throughout the film. As an actor, I wanted something that would be fun to pull off. He’s a novelist who’s very content to not have any kids of his own. He’s been a bit of playboy, but he’s finally settled down with the right girl, and she also doesn’t want to have kids,” the performer noted. “So he’s happy and content with his relationship, as well as the fact that he’s a successful novelist.”
But Nick “then discovers that he has a kid, as this boy finds him,” the performer shared. “So I thought, this is interesting. I also imagined how this situation would affect me if it happened to me. They then go on this road trip, and over the course of the trip, Nick decides that he actually does like being a father. So I also thought that playing this character would be a challenge. I had to find my way to this part, and deliver on this guy’s change.
“But it isn’t like this kid is amazing and is going to change the world,” Scott also revealed. “He’s this messed up kid who’s a little silly and goofy. But I liked that, and how there’s just a bit of a change in all of these characters.”
Another interesting aspect that the actor found about Nick was that the protagonist “is a character who’s really unlike me in many ways. I don’t really live like this guy, and don’t have his views. So for me, (playing Nick) was a challenge that was fun to explore. Certainly, as the main character, going through changes is great.”
So the performer really thought about playing Nick, especially “how he started off being very put together and fashionable. But over the course of the movie, he comes apart, and breaks down a little bit.”
Scott then delved into what the process of collaborating with Asher as the director was like, especially as the actor created the arc and relatability for his character. “I remember John taking me to lunch and having this great conversation about ‘Planes, Trains and Automobiles’ and ‘Midnight Run,’ and the other road films we enjoyed. We also discussed how we loved Steve Martin playing the character (of Neal Page) in ‘Planes, Trains and Automobiles’ as a sweet guy, but he’s also a little prickly and serious. So we wanted to do something like that for our movie.”
The performer added that the filmmaker “comes from comedy, and he’s also an actor. So we were able to communicate a lot of our ideas without any real issue whatsoever. He put a great cast around me, including Tituss Burgess, Rachel Boston, Marisa Tomei and Julian Feder, who plays the kid. It’s a wonderful cast, and you need that if you’re going to do this type of comedy that involves this type of storytelling. It was fun to play with those guys.”
While Scott cherished the experience of working with his co-stars on ‘I Hate Kids,’ he admitted that they didn’t have much time to rehearse. “But we did take some time to really prepare some of the scenes. One of them was the bathroom sequence, during which Nick meets Tituss’ character for the first time. His character, Fabular, appears out of nowhere in this bathroom. During the argument that Nick’s having with his newly found son, who he doesn’t believe really is his son, Mason and Fabular show Nick DNA results, which throws him off,” he admitted.
The actor explained that the scene also involves “a bathroom attendant, and Nick’s fiancée and mother also come to the door, so he’s constantly being interrupted and is caught off guard. There are a lot of moving parts to that scene, so I wanted to rehearse it, which we did. It was one scene that stuck out in the script that could be problematic. But I think it turned out great in the movie.”
There are also several sequences with Nick’s ex-girlfriends that occur during his road trip with Mason and Fabular that caught the performer’s attention. “There are so many great interactions. But since those actresses were on the set for such short periods while we were shooting this tight schedule, we really didn’t have enough time to rehearse together. So they had to come to the set prepared, which they did.”
One actor that Scott spent a more significant amount of time with during the production of ‘I Hate Kids’ was Feder. “Julian and I got to spend some time together and bond. We had a lot of common interests. He’s a sweet guy,” the actor noted while complimenting his young co-star. “Once Mason starts coming around, Nick starts feeling like he has some responsibility and connection to this person, who’s his son but he hasn’t known about up until this point. As a result, I was able to identify, and connect with, that in my character, in regards to wanting to spend time with my son.”
While Scott had some rehearsal time with his co-stars, in order to build their characters’ relationships, there wasn’t much improvisation on the set between the actors. “Frank Dietz wrote such an amazing script. It was funny on the page, so nothing really needed to be improvised…I think there were some alternative lines that we came up with during the shoot. John, Frank and I sat down and wrote down some alternatives, and some of those made it into the movie,” the performer divulged. “If someone came up with something during the middle of shooting, there wasn’t a problem in us saying, ‘Let’s try this.’ We got some good things that way.”
The experience of making ‘I Hate Kids’ independently was also an experience that Scott appreciated. “Overall, I enjoy the process of indie filmmaking. You can run short on money and time, but you’re allowed to explore more ideas without a lot of people having control over the project. To get a role like this, it has to be in a film like this one.” The actor also shared that “I love that my career has involved on all different sizes and budgets.”
The performer added “I also enjoy these (indie) crews, as they’re really professional. John brought in a lot of the people who he works with on a regular basis. So it was a pretty tight-knit group that worked well together, and we benefited from that. It was a really big advantage that John brought in people who he already knew.”
The comedy is set in various locations across Los Angeles, which Scott also enjoyed about the story. He then explained what the experience of filming in real locations throughout the city. “Los Angeles is my home, so I didn’t have to spend time away from my family. I do love kids, especially my kids, contrary to the title.” The actor added that “We got to shoot in some cool locations, including the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) and in Malibu, which was beautiful.”
While the performer’s a father and husband himself in real life, there any elements of Nick’s newfound relationship with Mason that he related to and understand. “I did like to entertain the idea of what if I hadn’t met my wife, Jenny, in college, or what if I hadn’t wanted to settle down with her? If I had stuck to being a single actor, and not wanted a family, I don’t know where I would be. I can’t imagine that I’d be in a better spot. I can’t image my life without my wife and kids, but I did try to relate to Nick,” he admitted.
But Scott felt that he could identify his character’s relationship with the woman he loves, as well as his career. “I was able to relate to, and pour myself into, that relationship. He’s a writer and I’m an actor, so I was also able to understand his creative side. But overall, it was really about swimming in different waters than what I’m used to,” he admitted.
The actor also embraces the fact that Freestyle Digital Media is set to distribute ‘I Hate Kids’ both theatrically and On Demand on Friday. He thinks that having the dual release is important for an indie movie like this one, as “it’s only going to be in select theaters in 10 cities, so not everyone who wants to see the film will be able to make it out to the theater. So people who want to see it and aren’t able to go to the theater are going to be able to watch it On Demand, which is great.”