There aren’t many workplaces in which seasoned journalists will coo at an office fridge. But Google isn’t a run-of-the-mill office – and when you’re even impressing film stars more than a decade into global fame and untold riches, you’re doing something right. Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson, here at the firm’s California base, are visibly taken with the place, even as they promote new comedy The Internship, in which they play two technophobes doing work experience at Google.
Which came first – the idea of setting a film at Google, or the idea about men in their forties interning?
Vince Vaughn: The idea was that people are going out and looking for work, and there aren’t a lot of opportunities. But the tech industry is different. This movie’s about trying to find a place where you have value and have something to offer.
Owen Wilson: It’s a gilded cage. Volleyball courts and free food and happiness. It can’t be real. Who wouldn’t want to make a film here?
Google seems to have a very specific corporate culture – is it one you would emulate if you set up a company?
VV: It’s not really in my personality. This place strikes me as being like Club Med, an all-inclusive resort or something. I don’t know when they get any work done.
OW: You could do worse than take a page out of these guys’ book. It seems like they’re flourishing.
Are you concerned people may see the film as a glorified ad for Google?
VV: I think The Wedding Crashers was the real commercial.
OW: Ah, what we got paid from the wedding industry.
VV: My God, we made weddings look cool again. We saved them. All these wedding planners pitched in and we never had to work again.
Still, it’s unusual for a film to be so specific in its setting at a real company…
VV: I did a movie set at the University Of Notre Dame – a football movie – and we shot there. It’s not uncommon that you would want a real backdrop for where your story is told. The guys [at Google] had a sense of humour about themselves. They liked the idea about a pair of salesmen who aren’t tech-savvy. It’s not a documentary about Google, as much as I hate to disappoint.
OW: It’s not meant to be a hard-hitting exposé.
The film’s all about getting a second chance – do you have any unfulfilled dreams you’re dying to pursue?
OW: Regrets, I’ve had a few. But then again, too few to mention. That’s Frank Sinatra.
VV: I think it’s Paul Anka.
Did you intern when you were trying to break into the industry?
VV: I never did anything for free. Other than dancing in clubs. I give that away for nothing.
OW: You’ve got a great attitude.
Did you try Google Glass?
OW: Yeah, it’s pretty cool.
VV: Picture the most beautiful sunset you’ve ever seen. And then picture something a million times better. No, I’m teasing. It’s that thing where you can have information as well as a camera. It’s a bit like Terminator-vision.
OW: Picture your cellphone and put it in front of your eyes.
VV: We hear a lot about privacy with these things. I think when cellphone cameras came out, it was the same conversation. Take it from someone who hates having their picture taken by paparazzi, I don’t think it should be illegal.
You two have always had great chemistry on screen – do you hang out off-set, too?
VV: Not if I can avoid it.
OW: Sometimes I would try to break through the security and see Vince. Every time I made it, he had his head buried in a computer.
VV: And the computer wouldn’t even be on. Take a hint, man. I can’t hear one more story about how you made everybody laugh.
OW: You should be impressed that my stories have a consistent theme.
VV: All his stories end: “…And that’s why I won.”
Do we detect a hint of competition?
VV: We have things we can be competitive about but we have similar senses of humour. Owen generally thinks I’m right about stuff, so he likes to sit and listen. He’ll ask me a question, maybe about grooming or style, and look at me all bright-eyed as I teach him about things.
OW: With most people, you ask how they’re doing and it’s just, “Good, you?” With Vince, it’s always got to be a story. There was a beautiful one about a dragonfly and a turtle who seems to be plodding along, but dammit, the turtle beats the dragonfly in the end.
Finally, Vince, what can you tell us about Anchorman 2?
VV: Oh, I don’t want to ruffle that feather. It does take place in the Seventies. If I told you anything more, I’d hate to see what would happen to me. Ferrell would take horrible, bloody revenge. It’s always funny to play with him.
The Internship is at cinemas now