What happens when a devastatingly attractive married couple played by Jon Hamm and Gal Gadot moves next door to a typical suburban husband and wife played by Zach Galifianakis and Isla Fisher? They turn out to be superspies, of course! Directed by Superbad‘s Greg Mottola, 20th Century Fox’s Keeping Up with the Joneses finds Hamm and Gadot playing Tim and Natalie Jones, covert operatives who spice up the lives of Galifianakis and Fisher’s sweet but unexceptional Jeff and Karen Gaffney. Of course, the Gaffneys may turn out to only seem unexceptional, which is just one of the things we learned when we visited the set of the October 21st release in Atlanta last summer…
The Gaffneys Are More Than Meets the Eye
Though The Hangover and his web series Between Two Ferns (to name just two projects) serve as ample proof that Zach Galifianakis knows no limits when it comes to mining laughs, in person the funnyman is reserved, thoughtful, and soft-spoken. In fact, he is not unlike his character in Keeping Up with the Joneses. Like the actor, however, Jeff Gafney contains layers, revealed throughout the course of the film…
“I think the situation that they’re in,” says Galifianakis of the Gaffneys’ adventure with their glamorous new friends, “brings out some offbeat qualities they have. I mean, on the surface, they’re normal suburbanites, just getting through the day. Then this kind of storm blows into their neighborhood and they have to deal with that. But when that happens you see them kind of acting out of character. As we all would if spies moved in next door to us.”
Isla Fisher’s Character Is Smarter Than She Seems
Fisher tells us that her suburban homemaker carries out a covert operation of her own against her neighbors. “She can say some stupid things when it’s good for comedy,” says the the Wedding Crashers star of Karen Gaffney, “but she’s super smart. She’s the first one to work out that they’re potentially not who they say they are, the Joneses, and it’s her exploration into their lives that uncovers the whole plot.”
The Film Lets Fisher Be Hilarious
Unlike too many films in which wives serve as straight men for their husbands’ shenanigans, Keeping Up with the Joneses, like any proper 21st century comedy, gives both sexes a chance to be funny. Especially in the form of Fisher’s character, who possesses a wacky side all her own…
“I’m not just eye-rolling [while] the guy gets to say a joke,” says the Wedding Crashers star. “I’m not just the girlfriend or the wife, even though I am the wife. I get to do physical comedy. I get to do slapstick. I do deadpan. I do a bunch of different shit in this movie that’s really cool.”
Jon Hamm Also Gets to Be a Ham
With 30 Rock, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and a handful of the most hilarious Saturday Night Live sketches ever to his credit, Jon Hamm clearly knows funny—a skill he proudly admits he gets to bring to Keeping Up with the Joneses.
“There’s been a lot of ample opportunities,” Hamm tells us, “to be funny. That was one of the things that drew me to it, that my character is not just a sort of straight-laced action figure guy. He has a sense of humor. We find out he’s sort of a reluctant spy. The whole point is that he doesn’t like it. He’s good at his job, but he doesn’t like it because it’s not fulfilling to him. That was kind of the place where we jumped off with this character. Hopefully both of these guys can learn something from one another. That was the spice that stirred the soup for me, and so we hope that comes across.”
Gal Gadot Is Dead Serious About This Whole Spy Thing
Unlike her husband, Gadot tells us that her character “loves being a spy.”
“That’s the problem they have in their relationship,” says the screen’s reigning Wonder Woman. “She is so much into this world, and he’s not. He doesn’t like the lies. He doesn’t like pretending. And she’s all about the adrenaline, the mission. She loves it. So she’s a real spy… They go on missions and do crazy stuff, but they actually have a relationship and they have problems in their relationship.”
Hamm Was Jonesing to Work With Galifianakis
Jon Hamm adds that he’s been a fan of Galifianakis since he first saw him perform on stage after moving to LA back in 1995. He also credits his friend with giving him one of his first big comedy breaks.
“Zach and I are similar ages and are of a similar pool from which we pull cultural references and a sense of humor and whatnot. It’s one of the reasons why I jumped at the chance to work with him, because I thought we could be very funny together. When I did Between Two Ferns, it was very early on in Mad Men, and I don’t think people really A) knew who I was, B) cared, or C) thought the guy from Mad Men would be funny. And I had a blast. We shot 90 minutes of stuff and culled it down to three and a half. It was fun.”
Zach Galifianakis Is Not AT ALL Jealous of Jon Hamm
Galifianakis doesn’t mind the fact that his buddy Hamm is funny. At all. Really. Well… okay, maybe a little.
“I’ve known Jon [since] before Jon was truly Jon Hamm,” says Galifianakis, “and he’s a comedy guy. A lot of leading type guys aren’t like that, they don’t have humor. They think they do, but they don’t. It’s almost unfair that he can do both. It’s really frustrating. Because no one is ever going to go, ‘You know, Zach does handsome really well…'”
Are you looking forward to Keeping Up with the Joneses? Let us know below!
Images: 20th Century Fox