Bill Hader on his 'To Do List,' hooking up with Rachel Bilson
Bill Hader's departure from "Saturday Night Live" in May means Hader fans may find themselves in the throes of withdrawal come fall, when "SNL" starts up without him. And without his kooky alter egos-like breathless nightlife correspondent Stefon, the eerily accurate "Dateline" correspondent Keith Morrison and horror icon Vincent Price.
Till then, you can get your fix with "The To Do List," a new film written and directed by Hader's wife, Maggie Carey. In theaters Friday, "To Do" takes us back to 1993 -- think VHS tapes, scrunchies, "Down Wit' OPP" -- with Aubrey Plaza as Brandy, a Boise high school valedictorian determined to shed her uptight image (and sexual inexperience) in one riotous summer. Rachel Bilson plays her "whateverrrr" slutty sister, and Hader is Brandy's slacker-dude boss at the town pool.
Hader, 35, whose "SNL" work earned him an Emmy nomination in 2012 for supporting actor in a comedy series, already has hit the big screen in films such as "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" and "Tropic Thunder," and will soon co-star in "The Skeleton Twins" (with Kristen Wiig) and "The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby."
It was nice of your wife to write a scene where you hook up with Rachel Bilson.
Yes, well, you may've noticed, there was no kissing. We never kissed.
Under strict instructions from the director?
No. To be totally honest, it made more sense for the scene.
Fair enough. So what's it like having two comedians in the house?
We joke around a little, but it's just like anybody else. There's no competitiveness. When we're home, we're ... y'know ...
Yeah. You get home ... and relax.
It must be helpful to have someone at home who really understands the art of comedy.
That's totally true. And understanding the stress of performing. Like when I was on "SNL," she'd say, "Hey, do you wanna go meet friends tonight?" "No, I've got a big show tomorrow." Someone else might get ... frustrated, but Maggie gets it. And she was always good at recommending stuff I should do. Like we'd be watching "Dateline" and I'd do a Keith Morrison impression, and she'd say, "You should do that on the show."
What was it like shooting all those pool scenes in "To Do?"
We shot in July. It was incredibly hot. The movie was so low budget and the shooting schedule was insanely tight. In a big-budget movie, if you jump into the pool and you gotta do another take, they have dry clothes for you -- countless numbers of the same costume. On this, I got out of the pool, and a team of wardrobe women were there with hair dryers -- they had the one costume, so they had to dry me off while everyone waits around ... baking in the sun. I felt bad. I'd get pushed into the pool and Maggie would go, "Aww, you didn't fall exactly right." And I'm like, "AHHH," and we have exactly 10 minutes to shoot the scene. So it was ... stressful.
What do you think it'll be like for you when "SNL" starts up again in the fall?
I've talked to other people who left ... and they say, you know, your last show is crazy -- but when it's September or October, you're kinda like, "OK, for the past eight years, I've known where I'm supposed to be, and now I'm not there." But I'm excited for this cast. I'm gonna watch. I got to see stuff at the Wednesday table reads that audiences haven't seen yet. They're phenomenal. Guys like Tim Robinson and Aidy Bryant and Kate McKinnon. [Producer] Lorne Michaels purposefully holds you back.... They don't want to drain you of everything when you start on the show. At least he did that with me.
Success came slowly?
It was a gradual thing and you're learning as you do it. The most important thing is to have fun. It took me a long time before I really started having fun on the show. Too nervous. You start thinking, "How many sketches was I in?" You get all hung up on that stuff. Lorne pulled me aside once at an after-party and said, "Hey, you can work here as long as you like." Which was his way of saying "Calm down, you've got the job." Then I started having fun.
Ever think about getting behind the camera?
That's actually what I wanted to do before I fell into performing. I still would love to be a filmmaker. I write a lot. That's why I was so proud of Maggie, with this film. It got made by her sheer force of will. I was impressed and inspired by it. I was like, wow, yeah, if you really want to make something, you can make it happen.