Eight years after the $209 million-grossing smash hit Wedding Crashers, Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn are teaming up again — this time to crash Silicon Valley. In The Internship, opening June 7, the duo play two unemployed middle-aged friends who take a highly competitive internship at Google to try to reboot their stalled careers. We asked the two longtime friends to spill the secret to their enduring big-screen chemistry.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: After the success of Wedding Crashers, you guys must have been offered other projects to do together. Was there nothing that appealed to you until now?
Owen Wilson: I think it would have been fun to do a Crashers sequel, but it never really came together. I remember we had one meeting with [director] David Dobkin where we threw around some ideas but it just sort of got away from us. Then, yeah, there were vague pitches, like, “It’s you two guys as cops!” [Laughs]
Vince Vaughn: We wanted to find something that was fresh and interesting. We didn’t want to jump in just to jump in. So when the idea for [The Internship] came into my mind, I thought it would be a really fun way for me and Owen to get back together again because it’s a different approach from Crashers, a different tone.
You guys aren’t a traditional comedy team where one’s the straight man and the other is wild and crazy. Why do you think you click as a duo?
Wilson: It just seems like if the movie does well, then you have great chemistry. [Laughs] I couldn’t say exactly why we work together, other than that we’re good at making each other laugh. It’s just lucky.
Vaughn: The thing that’s always been fun for me is that Owen likes to compete like I do. We could play backgammon or ping pong or a game of HORSE and you would think it was game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals. There’s that thing like with brothers where we’re familiar enough with each other that there’s a real joy in pissing the other guy off or one-upping him — in a fun way. We both like to tease and taunt. Some people like to tease but they don’t like to get teased. But Owen, frankly, is good at both. He’s good at riding you but he can also appreciate it if you take a shot at him as well.
How did you guys first meet?
Wilson: I remember meeting Vince actually with Ben Stiller. It was right after Bottle Rocket and Swingers had come out. We had dinner at some place on La Brea Avenue [in Los Angeles].
Vaughn: You and Stiller came down to that boxing gym I belonged to, and we watched some fights, and then we went out to dinner afterwards. I remember Stiller was riding a motorcycle.
Wilson: Yeah, a Harley! I didn’t know what my path would be at that point. I was just looking to get hired. And Vince was not, like, a stand-up comedian. You could imagine him doing serious movies or action movies. So it’s funny that we both ended up doing a lot of comedies.
Were you surprised at how huge a hit Wedding Crashers proved to be?
Vaughn: I knew it went well, but I don’t know that the success sits with you as positively or as fondly as one would think, because so much is out of your control. It feels good, but then you get hit with, “What’s next?” I wouldn’t say there was a moment where I sort of put my feet up and petted a cat or anything.
Wilson: Flops are actually more relaxing than hits. Because that initial opening weekend when something bombs, it’s like, “Okay, it’s over.” And with the hits, it just keeps going! It’s like you’ve climbed up this ladder and you’re looking down, like, “Jesus, look how high I am!” [Laughs]
You guys play Google interns in this movie. So what’s the most random thing in your own recent Google search history?
Vaughn: During football season it can be fantasy football and players and betting lines and all that kind of stuff. But my daughter is two and a half so lately I’ve been researching different types of schools a lot. It’s expensive for kids to color and take a nap nowadays. [Laughs]
Wilson: I can get into Googling World War II stuff, where I go deeper and deeper into, you know, “Who was that general at Stalingrad?” That’s a rabbit hole.
So what sort of buddy comedy can you imagine doing next? If not cops, maybe firefighters?
Vaughn: That sounds promising! Backdraft meets The King of Comedy — let me write this down. [mock-seriously] “Damn it, this door is hot! Stand back! Don’t tell me that dog behind that door isn’t worth it. That’s a lot more than just a dog to Bobby out there. Now get the hell out of my way!” And then joke-joke-joke-joke.
Wilson: Vince’s character is a guy everyone calls Smokey. And maybe I’m the scientist — I’ve studied fires. So it’s a clash of two different ways to fight fires. And at some point both of us have half our hair singed off from a fire. [Laughs] We’ve got it! It writes itself!