Not everybody is ready to be a parent, but David Wozniak is about to step up to the challenge… 533 times. Delivery Man hit theaters this week. The film stars Vince Vaughn (Wedding Crashers, Into the Wild) who plays an underachieving delivery driver who discovers that due to an error at a fertility clinic bank he’s unwittingly fathered the equivalent of roughly half of a graduating senior class, and they want to meet him. Vaughn and his co-stars Cobie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother, Avengers) and Chris Pratt (Parks and Recreation, Thor: The Dark World) discussed their work on the movie along with their own experiences in parenthood at a recent press conference.
This film deals a lot with expectations and about the potential of each child, and presents the unique mix of glory, hope, and scariness that comes with that. How has becoming a parent shaped or changed your own expectations and how did you learn to adjust to that?
COBIE SMULDERS: I feel that what you grow up with or how you grew up is what you think is right. I think for a long time I was trying to recreate that, but it’s just not going to exist in my life for my child because like we have a very different lifestyle. So, I sort of combated that for awhile, and it was about kind of learning just to be able to go with it, and doing the best for your child in each moment instead of trying to make it something else. I grew up in Canada. It’s pretty awesome up there, guys! It’s just very different.
VINCE VAUGHN: What I love about the film is that a lot of it is about learning to accept who you are! You have the pressures to be a bunch of different things, and we don’t have all the skills always. But it’s about getting to be okay with yourself, forgive yourself, love yourself, and bringing that to the table for relationships whether it’s with someone that you’re in love with, a romantic relationship, or a family with parents and kids.
The movie touches on interesting issues regarding growing up not knowing your biological parent. A lot of people deal with that in their lives. Your character is confronted about this at one point and asked to define what makes someone “real” family. How did this idea shape the way your character dealt with his various shades of family?
VINCE VAUGHN: To me one of the things that’s so loving and warm in the film was that you have a bunch of people looking for a connection who are looking to be a part of something. And there’s something really wonderful in the way that the film and the very kind of non-fluffy way takes that journey. I’ve received some really nice notes from people already, even some people in the industry who have been adopted or had other experiences, and it really spoke and moved me in the way that the movie spoke to them. When I watched the film I find the kids in the movie to be really positive and loving and full of all this life and joy inside of them. There’s something that feels really wonderful about that connection that they find and experience. It’s nice to feel loved, and also I think that what’s forgotten a lot is that it’s nice to have someone to love.
In the film you find out that your girlfriend is pregnant. You’re a father in real-life too. What was your own reaction when you found out that your wife was pregnant the first time?
VINCE VAUGHN: I was thrilled! I had made a conscious effort. I got married a little later in life. Hence, we were excited to try right away and thankfully, my wife was able to get pregnant right away. Then the second one we were trying for on this movie actually. There was a day, it was around Christmas, that my wife came to me with a Christmas ornament with the families and there was an extra like person in a Santa hat and a Christmas ornament, and that’s how I found out, which was great! I was really excited both times. Thrilled to have impregnated my wife, at this point It’s more about me being proud of the fact of my own ability. I was very happy!
There’s a scene where Chris and Vince are outside and his children keep coming into the sandbox. How many takes did the little girl keep smacking you in the face for?
CHRIS PRATT: It was more than one! I feel like we did that a few times. I remember we kept backing it up to like before she slapped me, and it was really cold out. I was like, “I think we got it. I think we got it.” It was hard! That little girl is a star though. Those kids are all amazing, but that little girl in particular is such a special kid! I mean, she was just so confident. I remember one time saying to her, “How do you feel? Do you want to run lines?” And she said, “I’m good”.
Some great moments in this movie are about reflecting on your own family, reflecting on your own parents. How did you personally tap into your own families when filming?
CHRIS PRATT: My dad is a big man, and I remember as a kid always wondering why the hell he ties his robe above his belly. Like, what is the deal with tying it up here on top of his belly when most people would tie it like at their waistline? And I realized after being big in this movie and wearing a robe that was probably designed for like Cobie or something that that’s just where the tie is. And when you have a big belly you have to tie it above there. So, I saw myself in my dressing room wearing that robe with the tie tied where it falls naturally on top of my belly. I thought to myself, “Oh, my God, I just became my dad!”.
Two of you are on hit comedies right now, you’re both part of the Marvel Universe, and you’ve worked on similar projects in the past. Have you guys bonded over that?
COBIE SMULDERS: No.
CHRIS PRATT: I tried to. I tried to, but she’s ice cold.
COBIE SMULDERS: Yeah, no.
CHRIS PRATT: It’s funny. It is true, I feel like we’re seeing a lot of each other!
COBIE SMULDERS: The new Lego movie is coming out, and Chris is in it and he’s so funny and amazing! I just saw the new trailer, which looks so funny. I have a few words in it too, I mean I came in for like a second, but he was in the room. We just keep seeing each other at fun things!
CHRIS PRATT: Yeah, it’s crazy.
COBIE SMULDERS: He’s a good dude. I do like him a lot! I was just acting before.
CHRIS PRATT: I feel the same. We see each other so much, and I have a crush on her husband, Taran, a pretty hard crush on him. He’s amazing!
COBIE SMULDERS: And I on your wife actually.
CHRIS PRATT: And we’re going to, you know what?
COBIE SMULDERS: Dinner dates!
CHRIS PRATT: Okay, yeah.
Emma’s character isn’t afraid to challenge David when she’s right. And when she finds out she’s pregnant, she’s willing to be independent and take responsibility for this child on her own if need be. What draws you to play characters of women who are strong, bad-ass, and also funny?
COBIE SMULDERS: I don’t know why I get cast as those kinds of women a lot, but they’re the most fun to play! And it’s also nice to portray strong women in media and to have young girls able to grow up watching them. Emma’s a very conflicted character because she’s in love with this man, and she just wishes that it wasn’t so challenging at times. It’s fun playing against that. I think that especially at the beginning when you’re single and you’re just in a relationship with each other, it’s one thing but then if you bring a kid into the mix it brings up a whole other list of responsibilities.
How was being pregnant in the film like for you?
COBIE SMULDERS: I was pregnant in this film, and I’ve been pregnant in my life. So that was a big one going through that again.The fake belly was a lot easier to have, but yeah just dealing with the similar emotions that come with that was a very relateable thing for me.
They say that even the very thought of being a parent changes people on the inside. Did you feel that sort of dramatic like shift internally once you became parents?
COBIE SMULDERS: You become responsible for a human being, and I think a lot of people talk about things like never having felt love like this before. You hear all these things before you have a child, and they’re all kind of true. I think it’s just dealing with the overwhelming responsibility of being the protector of this child that affected me the most.
CHRIS PRATT: You can’t help but change when you have a kid. For me it was a sense I didn’t feel like anything was missing in my life, and it wasn’t. It all came at just the right time, and now if I am absent from my son I do feel like something is missing. But before that I was very fulfilled and I was having a lot of fun, and I was sowing wild oats and doing the kind of things that you should do when you don’t have kids. Now, I’m just doing less of that, but I earned it, you know. I feel like just spending quiet evenings with my wife and son and sitting in bed in the morning and watching him marvel over the curtains opening or whatever little thing, that all it feels really good. I’ve got a whole new window through which to see the world, and everything is exciting for me again. Things that I took granted are exciting for me again, the way something feels or smells or tastes or how drawers open. I’m like, “Look at that, kid! That is actually really cool.” It’s like just a wall with a knob and then you pull it, and there’s a bunch of shit in there! What is that about? I wouldn’t take a minute to appreciate a draw before my son.
VINCE VAUGHN: I think it’s true. I think you definitely get a whole world opened up to yourself with kids, and I think as a parent you try to enjoy them, and be happy and have fun. You try to figure out what’s the best way to be a parent to them and set them up to be happy in life and pursue those things. So, I think a lot of it for me goes to my relationship. I’m very fortunate with my wife, and we were just talking when we were sitting down, and you realize how much the relationship when kids are young can suffer. And it’s important to make sure that you are able to spend some time with each other. I think as a father, the best thing you can do for the kid is to love the mom. Even as a parent I believe that loving the mother is the most important thing. And even parents who maybe aren’t together I think that’s important for them as well to respect each other and to be kind to each other. Because I think it effects so much in who they would pick to be around, or how they feel about themselves. So I think sometimes how we communicate is important just an example.
Chris, you recently got back into the States. How has the acclimation been? Now that you’re back, is there anything you’re kind of chomping at the bit to play?
CHRIS PRATT: The transition back has been really nice, and kind of on what Vince was saying about making sure that you spend enough time nurturing your relationship I spent three days in New York with my wife, just the two of us, which was really, really great! I wouldn’t be surprised if nine months from now Jack has a brother or sister maybe. So that really helped with the transition. Actors, we’re unfortunately in the group of people who have to spend time away from their families. There are men and women serving overseas who certainly have it a lot harder than we do, and there are jobs that take people away from their families, that’s a reality with some jobs that you have. One thing that’s really difficult I find is the transition because not only do you have to learn how to transition to living on your own again, there’s a transition that happens learning how to live with somebody again.
Roles that I’m chomping at the bit to play. I don’t know. Yeah, all of them. I just want juicy ones that all taste good and I’ll chomp away! There are good roles, and I want to work with great filmmakers. I want to work with great actors. I’ve learned a lot from working Vince on this movie. A friend of mine once told me that it’s really important to always pick somebody just to watch because you’re going to learn something. And I learned so much from watching Vince not only just in terms of acting and being professional and being sharp on set, but also how to treat your fans when they approach you and stuff. Vince can’t go anywhere without being confronted by people who just really love him. That sounds like it would be really great, but I think after a while that can be overwhelming, and I never once saw him treat somebody poorly. We were in Madison Square Garden with thousands of people, and they all knew who he was, and he gave every single one of those people a little moment, a little piece of himself. I think that’s something I’d aspire to do. I just want to work with people who are going to keep teaching me kind of like this one.