TR Interview: Bad Milo's Ken Marino Gets His Butt-Demon in Gear

By Luke Y. Thompson in Movies
Friday, August 30, 2013 at 3:48 pm

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LYT: It's obviously an advantage to have the real puppet there, but is it ever a distraction to have all of the puppeteers moving around it and having to focus?

KM: Not so much. I mean, they were very involved. They were acting, you know what I mean? They weren't just there moving the puppet - the puppet was an extension of them, and so they were acting in the scene. So when I was doing a scene with the puppet, I was doing a scene with them, and they were very much involved. I would hear them at times, "MMMmmmm" [indistinct mumbling] - they would make noises and stuff at times, to emote whatever emotion we were going for, so it was great. It was actually great to have those guys there. The only practical issue was that sometimes they would cross over - like their black arm with the stick would cross through the puppet between the frame, the lens and the puppet, so then you can't use that, because if you remove that, you have this weird space. So they would always have to be clear of the frame, or the lens, rather.

LYT: I would think that would be a particular challenge in the scenes where you have to fight him.

KM: Well, in the scene in the outhouse, it was just me manipulating it. We found that if it was up close, it was better - we were doing really primitive effects by basically making the thing look like it's attacking me.

LYT: Like Bela Lugosi in Ed Wood with the octopus, that kind of thing?

KM: [laughs] Exactly! I mean, that's the charm of practical stuff and throwbacks to movies in the '80s and things like that. Part of the charm of it is, he's not really moving his leg, he's kind of hopping - it's not as smooth, but that's kind of the fun part of it.

LYT: It's very much a call back to Basket Case. I loved those movies.

KM: Exactly, me too.

LYT: So your first big break was on You Wrote It, You Watch It with Jon Stewart. Is that right?

KM: I would say that was our, that was The State's first TV gig together, yeah. We all got paid about $70 a week. We had one office for 11 people, with no windows. We got to write, direct, star in and edit - we were wardrobe and craft service - 11 of us did the whole thing, and we would hand in these final products to Jon Stewart's show You Wrote It, You Watch It, and out of that we got The State.

LYT: Would you ever have conceived at the time that so many big things would come out of you guys and Jon, not necessarily from working on that show, but that that show would be the launchpad?

KM: No! Not at all. You know, I think that what we were doing with The State - The State has always had sort of an ego, I think in a good way. We were very confident in our stuff to the point of not giving a shit what people thought, and I think that helped us in the early stages of our career as a comedy group, because we didn't let negative criticism stop the momentum of what we thought was funny. Whether or not it was funny - I ultimately thought what we were doing was funny, and I think the group did too. But because we had such a large ego back then, I think it helped us survive the early stages of our careers.

LYT: I'd be remiss if I didn't ask if you're going to be in the Veronica Mars movie, and if you know how that's going.

KM: I am, I am, I am! I just shot on the Veronica Mars movie about 3, 4 weeks ago, maybe a little bit more. Vinnie Van Lowe is in the movie; they were nice enough to ask me to be a part of it, and I'm excited to see it.

LYT: Can you give us any hints as to your arc in the movie?

KM: I don't know if I'm allowed to, but I will say that he hasn't changed a bit.

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Bad Milo! is now available on VOD and opens theatrically October 4th. Next week, look for our interview with director Jacob Vaughan.


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