In this goofball comedy “Let’s Be Cops,” actors Damon Wayans Jr. and Jake Johnson play a pair of friends who dresses up as cops and end up solving crimes around town.
Latino-Review had an exclusive interview last month with the actors about this buddy sort-of cops comedy.
“Let’s Be Cops” will be in theaters on August 13.
Read the full transcript below. Following the full transcript are videos of the exclusive interview and a red carpet interview (apologies for the damaged mic audio in the video).
Latino-Review: How were you approached and what exactly attracted you to this script?
Damon Wayans Jr.: The story. I’ve seen a lot of buddy cop movies. I’ve never seen a buddy movie about two dudes pretending to be cops with all the consequences that come along with that. It was written really grounded. It wasn’t like really a cartoony type of movie. I appreciated that. It was normal, but it was funny.
Jake Johnson: What I liked about it was the idea when they pitched it like they wanted to do two movies. [It was] to be a big funny comedy with hard laughs. They wanted to do an action movie. Within it, they wanted to do a real love story.
So his character and Nina Dobrev have a relationship that plays very real. The action is real and the comedy is real. So I thought if we hit all three of those it would be pretty neat.
Latino-Review: So how is this different from the other buddy cop movies then?
Jake Johnson: We’re not cops.
Damon Wayans Jr.: That’s a huge difference. Basically, every scene that we are being cops is illegal to do. So we always had that fear factor.
Jake Johnson: The fake out of this movie is that it’s a buddy cop movie. The reality is that it’s just two dudes who buy their cop car on eBay, smoke too much weed and dress up like cops.
Latino-Review: There is some kind of twist in this movie, right? You guys started off as fake cops, but then something actually happens later.
Jake Johnson: We get involved in a real case. And we get involved with some really bad dudes. We’re never real cops. We kind of get in too deep. We kind of piss off the wrong guy. And then he comes after us. So we have no choice but to get involved, because he’s after us. All the drama is real. They wanted to do the takes as very realistic as possible.
The fantasy of the movie is that if you’re messing around in being a fake cop and someone comes after your life—what would you do?
Latino-Review: Are there a lot of jokes you had to adlib in the entire movie?
Damon Wayans Jr.: We had adlibs in every scene.
Jake Johnson: In terms of the movie, Nick Thomas wrote a script that we really liked and loved the story. He was hanging out with us on set and basically said, “We’re not married line in this thing.” So when the writer gives you that kind of freedom—we wouldn’t really use the script sometimes. We would use the story beats and hit every beat of the story. They wanted us to take ownership of our characters.
Latino-Review: You guys work together on “New Girl.” Since you’re also working together on this project, is it much easier to create that camaraderie?
Damon Wayans Jr.: Heck, no. We just get along really well and it leads on to the screen.
Jake Johnson: We did the pilot together, met and had a lot of fun. When he went back to “Happy Endings,” we knew we wanted to find something [to work together with]. We knew we wanted to do movies together. We did this movie and we talked about him coming back and doing a couple of [episodes] on the “New Girl.”
The “New Girl” is the aftermath of doing this movie.
Latino-Review: You just bounced jokes off of each other both on TV and on the movie set?
Jake Johnson: We don’t really do that many scenes on TV together.
Damon Wayans Jr.: But, when it comes to movies—we bounce it around. The jokes. [Laughter] The jokes, dude! [Laughter]
Jake Johnson: He just said he just did his Chris Bosh face. [Laughter]
Latino-Review: Did you guys try to do your own stunts in this movie?
Damon Wayans Jr.: I did a back flip. Not too many stunts. I like to be safe.
Jake Johnson: We did the beginnings and ends of things. The stunts in the movie are real. His character falls off a balcony. My character gets shot out of a window. The stunts aren’t goofy comedy stunts. We had pro-action guys who did it. We would do the beginnings and ends. So like he would jump off a ladder while the [stuntman] jumps off the roof.
Damon Wayans Jr.: We’re going to get all the credit from people watching the movie. “Oh, damn! He fell off that balcony. Oh, he got shot out of that window!” We’re going to take all the credit.
Latino-Review: So what was the funnest scene you guys did in the film then?
Jake Johnson: Do you have one?
Damon Wayans Jr.: I like the scene…..[laughter]…..where you accidently shoot the gun off. That was really funny.
Jake Johnson: I also liked everything we did with Keegan [Key]. He was so funny in the movie. Everything with Rob Riggle was really good. It’s great to see him do some drama. We had so many great actors. Andy Garcia is in the movie. Acting with him was a real honor. Natasha Leggero came in for a day and killed it. So working with the cast we had was a special group.
Latino-Review: Earlier when I saw you on the red carpet, you guys didn’t have badges. You guys looked like security guards. Now it looks like you guys do have badges. What are they?
Jake Johnson: They’re badges. [Laughter]
Damon Wayans Jr.: They’re fake badges. It says Caesar on it.
Latino-Review: Oh, Caesar’s Palace badges.
Damon Wayans Jr.: Security guard badges.
Latino-Review: Now you’re fake security guards at Caesar’s Palace. Now if you guys were to be cops for the day—what would you guys love to do?
Jake Johnson: I would love to do what my character does in the movie. I like to party and have some fun and take advantage of that power.
Damon Wayans Jr.: I would just clean up the streets. There are just way too many bad guys out there.
Latino-Review: Are there going to be any cut scenes for the DVD that are missing?
Jake Johnson: We just got word from one of our producers that they’re going to have some really extended stuff and a lot of great deleted scenes. We think so. But, we’re not involved in that. As actors, you do your jobs and hopefully they cut it all together.
Latino-Review: You know there’s a lot more out there.
Damon Wayans Jr.: There is a lot of potential.
Jake Johnson: We shot plenty of stuff.
Damon Wayans Jr.: There’s a lot of deleted scenes. There’s a lot of scenes in the movie that I’ve saw.
Jake Johnson: That’s right.
Latino-Review: Did you guys have to research even though you guys were fake cops? Did you guys have to do some research like on how to do a cop walk or shoot a gun?
Damon Wayans Jr.: At first I did, but then as we started shooting—these guys aren’t really cops. We don’t have to know that kinds of stuff. His character maybe.
Jake Johnson: There’s this guy who served in the special forces on the set who would show us how to properly hold a gun. The whole bit is we’re not cops. Everything we learned is that we got to throw away. We’re just dudes who are wearing costumes.
Latino-Review: For yourselves, since this movie comes out a little bit later, will you guys try to dress yourselves for Holloween?
Damon Wayans Jr.: No. [Laughter]
Jake Johnson: No. [Laughter] I do it for work now. [Laughter] Every year Damon dresses up as a princess since he was a little boy so to not do that would be weird for his family and friends.
Damon Wayans Jr.: I just love tiaras.
“Let’s Be Cops” will be in theaters on August 13.