Adam Devine, Northwestern alum Jake Szymanski speak about new movie


Zack Laurence/Daily Senior Staffer

Actor Adam DeVine laughs with director Jake Szymanski (Communication ‘04) at The Rock. The duo visited Northwestern on Wednesday to promote its upcoming film “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates.”

Emily Chin and Stavros Agorakis


Actor Adam Devine doesn’t just cry in movies, he “spit cries.”

Devine showcased his spit-crying abilities to more than 40 students at The Rock on Wednesday afternoon.

“Spit crying is my favorite because in movies when anyone ever cries, a few tears like roll down their cheeks and it’s all stoic and beautiful,” Devine told The Daily. “But I look like a f—— monster when I cry. Like I’m just like ‘blehhhhhh.’”

Devine and director Jake Szymanski (Communication ‘04) visited Northwestern on Wednesday to promote their comedy film, “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates,” which is set to be released July 8. The movie is about two brothers, portrayed by Devine and Zac Efron, who have been ordered by their parents to find dates for their sister’s upcoming wedding in Hawaii.

Devine, known for his roles in “Pitch Perfect” and “Workaholics” told The Daily many of the lines the cast improvised made the final cut, as the film’s four lead actors have had previous experience in comedy and improv.

“We used a lot of what we played around with,” Devine said. “We (improvised) so much and (Szymanski) threw so many different lines at us. From watching the movie back, there are certain scenes where I’m like, ‘I don’t remember saying that.’”

On set, Szymanski tried to maintain an open space in which the actors could try adding their own ideas to each scene, he said to more than 30 students during a Q&A moderated by Northwestern Sketch Television. Devine added that rather than working each scene repetitively during filming, the actors used the script as a base for improvisation.

The film is Szymanski’s feature-film directorial debut. Since graduating from the School of Communication, he has worked on “Funny or Die,” a comedy video website and production company, and “Saturday Night Live.”

“(After you graduate) you get to cut your teeth and try a bunch of stuff and have a little more freedom to learn and fail,” he told The Daily. “You see what you’re good at and what your strengths are and what works, and you just keep making bigger and bigger things.”

Szymanski said he began his career in comedy by acting as a performer, head writer and director in NSTV. After graduating, he added, he realized he wanted to continue making people laugh.

Communication senior David Brown, who attended the Q&A session with Devine and Szymanski, said it was interesting to hear about Szymanski’s journey from writing for NSTV to becoming a feature-film director.

“I seek these things out because I’m getting very nervous about graduating, so it’s always nice to hear a mix of the sort of higher creative ideals mixed with how they got their first jobs,” he said.

In finding projects he is passionate about, Szymanski told The Daily he looks for people who value the work rather than the paycheck.

“I have been very lucky to work with people I enjoy working with,” Szymanski said. “I know this sounds kind of simple, but it’s not always that way.”

Rachel Yang contributed reporting.

This story was updated May 25 at 2:00 p.m.

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