Adam Scott is an unlikely romantic lead. He is slight in stature, with a mop of puffy brown hair that always seems to have a runaway cowlick and a sardonic sneer that he uses convey a comedic level of disbelief. These qualities have made him an excellent straight man when dropped into group of goofballs, like the cast of the much-loved but little-watched Party Down or the hams on NBC’s excellent Parks and Recreation. Now, he has taken those same qualities to the big screen. To the surprise of absolutely no one who has followed Scott’s on television, his sarcastic charm translates beautifully to Friends With Kids, the new rom-com from Jennifer Westfeldt.
Friends With Kids tells the story of platonic friends Julie (Westfeldt) and Jason (Scott), who have known each other since college. Now in their mid-thirties, they find themselves the last two single dinosaurs left after the rest of their clique has paired off and started procreating. They are as close as pals can be — they even live in the same apartment building — and discuss both wanting children before it’s too late, so they decide to have a baby together and raise it purely as friends. After little Joe is born, the couple continue to date other people, finding romance with very attractive mates (Megan Fox and Ed Burns, respectively), but of course, their no-strings parenting plan starts to cave. We caught up with Scott to discuss the film, his long road to a comedy career, and his own thoughts on having kids.
(PHOTOS: The Best Oscar Performances of 2012)
What spoke to you about the Friends With Kids script? I know you have young children of your own.
It’s funny — I’ve been friends with [writer-director] Jennifer Westfeldt and Jon Hamm for fifteen years, and when my wife and I started having kids five years ago, we literally dropped out of society for 6 months and went off the grid. So when I read Jen’s script about how people with kids put their social lives on hold, I was like, “Oh s— guys, so sorry that I did that!” I think the film really captures that having kids is a romantic thing, and that’s not often discussed. I know that after we had our first baby, I remember just looking at my wife and I’d never loved anyone more.
Do you think that this kind of friends-with-a-baby situation could ever work in real life?
I think I know someone at the preschool my kids go to that does it, and it goes well for them. But it seems like a sticky situation to me. There really is something intense about the process of having a baby and going through that together, and it’s hard to not be in love with that person at the time. The thing about having kids is, it is insane, and also the greatest thing ever. The cliches that people tell you about having kids, they’re all true.
Are you surprised with the success of Parks and Rec? Party Down has achieved cult hit status, but only after it was cancelled.
Yeah, I mean, The other night, Aziz introduced President Obama at an event, and the president came on and mentioned Parks. For all of us on the show, that was a huge deal. The president of the US mentioned our job. And I thought, if that had happened for Party Down, that would have been like saying the Washington Monument turned into a spaceship. It wouldn’t have made sense. We were doing that show for ourselves; we weren’t ever sure if anyone was watching it.
But people were! And now there are talks of a Party Down movie?
Yes, we’re getting the script in place. Everyone is signed on and excited to do it. We are all just crossing our fingers that it comes together.
You play Megan Fox’ boyfriend in Friends With Kids. Lucky guy.
I loved working with Megan, she’s really cool and funny. But also, when you are standing next to someone like Megan, no matter what, you’re going to feel like you’re covered in diarrhea.
And working with Jon Hamm? That guy is so huge now, but you’ve been friends a long time.
It is weird! Jon and I have stood around having a conversation on the sidewalk so many times over the last 15 years, and now if we stand on the sidewalk, people want to talk to Jon, they freak out. It really is so nice to see that happening. It’s kind of surreal, for all of us, its been a long road. There’s been a lot more times when people didn’t give a s— than when people did. I’m still sort of in the guest star on CSI: Miami mentality. I’m always so flabbergasted that I have a job and I’m really on television and movie sets, and the same goes for my friends.
It definitely took you a while to build your career. Are you happy for the slow burn?
There’s this old adage: If you put a frog in a pot of boiling water, he will jump out. But if you put him in lukewarm water, he doesn’t notice until he dies. Besides the dying part, that’s how it’s been for me. I think if all this happened to me in my twenties, I would be an insufferable a–hole. I’m glad it happened later on, I think I’m more ready now for a career and responsibilities.
The responsibilities that come with being a minted member of L.A.’s comedy elite?
I don’t really like think of it as this exclusive club. It’s these nice people who like to make funny things and deeply stupid things. But I guess I am part of something. Maybe we should make membership badges.