Full Frontal Sock: David Hoberman on 21 and Over, The Muppets and More

The producer debated whether to mention The Hangover in advertising materials, and gives updates on Warm Bodies 2, Jungle Cruise, and the new Muppet caper.

Fred Topelby Fred Topel

As a producer, David Hoberman has a busy year. Two of his movies already opened, Warm Bodies and 21 and Over, The Muppets…Again! sequel in production for early next year, and a full slate of development with his partner Todd Lieberman. Hoberman was once President of Walt Disney Pictures, so live-action Touchstone and Disney movies in the ‘90s, so when we got a chance to speak with him last week, we wanted to cover the gamut of his past, current and future projects. If you saw 21 and Over this weekend, you surely want more information on the film’s image of Miles Teller and Skylar Astin wearing nothing but socks, and not on their feet.

21 and Over Cast

CraveOnline: You must be a producer because you’re right on time.

David Hoberman: It’s a fault of mine. I’m always on time.

I’ll get to it then. 21 and Over was very consciously marketed as from “The guys that brought you The Hangover.” When you went after them, did you want to make another party movie in the vein of their big hit?

That, frankly, never occurred to me. We’ve known, my partner Todd Lieberman and I, we’ve known [writer/directors Jon] Lucas and [Scott] Moore for a long time and had tried to do various projects that never really panned out for one reason or another. We had made The Fighter with Relativity and these guys had not directed before. Since we knew them and we had a good experience with Relativity, they asked if we would be interested in doing it. Frankly, our interest in doing it was both Relativity and working with Lucas and Moore and we had never done an R-rated anything, so that was kind of interesting to us. The fact that they did The Hangover really had no bearing on what we were hoping to get out of it. We just liked the script. It’s a story that talked about friendship and going back and the nostalgia of reliving those days in college and we thought that was an interesting movie to make for us. Aside from the fact it was really funny and they’re great guys, so that was really our motivation. In fact, there was much debate in the marketing early on as to whether or not we should use The Hangover or not use The Hangover and ultimately decided that it was a plus and an additive thing in marketing the movie.

What was the case against mentioning The Hangover?

Just wanting to feel original in our own right.

Did you have any ratings issues that had to go back and forth with the MPAA for an R?

No. No, because we’re frankly pretty tame for an R.

I didn’t know if there were limits like how many seconds you could show the socks for.

Yeah, apparently, obviously that would’ve been one and showing bare ass and the socks and the full frontal sock. Full frontal sock on c***. [Laughs] I guess there was never any discussion about we had to tone back, we had to cut time out of that or anything. I guess it was accepted.

What was the test audience process? Jon and Scott said they’d tested a cut with a poop joke that went too far.

Well, I think the poop joke was the only piece that was actually cut out as kind of a comedy bit. We all made that determination. We just felt it was going too far and got to the point where it wasn’t funny, but just gross. Sometimes in comedy you have to make that determination. Is it funny or is it just gross? And that one was just kind of gross.

You just had success with Warm Bodies. Has there been any talk of a sequel to that?

There has not. I’m not quite sure what that would be.

Are you interested in pursuing that?

I don’t know, I mean Warm Bodies is kind of a standalone movie but I guess if Jonathan [Levine] or somebody, the author or somebody came up with a great story. I would imagine the reason to do it is the chemistry between our leads which was pretty great chemistry. Certainly people fell in love with that love story, so I guess if there was story to tell, either continuing on, that would be the reason I would think to do it, but we’ve not talked about it.

That’s sort of refreshing to think of it as a one off.

That’s not to say it won’t happen. [Laughs]

We’re very interested in The Muppets… Again! Was it intentional to do a showbiz movie like The Muppet Movie to bring them back and then a spiritual sequel to The Great Muppet Caper?

We always were hoping that we would do another Muppet movie and the great thing about Muppet movies throughout its history is you don’t have to necessarily follow one movie to the next. Although we sort of do take off where the last movie ended, even though we have a completely different kind of story. I would say The Muppet Caper, the elements of the caper in this is an element of this, but I think there are so many surprises and different, fun stories going on in this one that I would say that is an element of it.

But the idea that it’s a mystery in London…

Yes. The movie culminates in London but we go to Spain, we go to Germany, we go to a lot of different places. We just happen to end up in London. That’s where the caper culminates.

Will Miss Piggy and Kermit’s real life wedding impact the movie?

No. [Laughs] No, but we do tease that in the film.

Are you involved with that sort of outside the movie event also?

No, the studio’s very good about informing us of what’s going on and what the Muppets in general are doing. They have an unbelievable cross-promotional machine over here and a lot of it is in service of the next film. So we’re excited about it.

Will The Moopets be in The Muppets… Again!?

I think Miss Poogy might be.

Good, I like The Moopets.

I know, we do too. We love The Moopets.

What is Walter without Gary?

A Muppet. The whole idea of the first one was really, the predominant story was him fulfilling his dream and getting accepted by the Muppets and now he is a Muppet. So they said their farewell and who knows? Down the road, maybe they’ll have a reunion of some kind.

Is Jason Segal definitely not in Muppets…Again even as a cameo?

No, he’s not this go round.

How are the songs in Muppets… Again different from the Oscar winning songs from The Muppets?

Bret [McKenzie] wrote all these songs for this new movie and they are so different and cover such a wide range of genres, I think we’ve got a couple of spectacular musical numbers in this one and I think it runs the gamut of ballad and comedy songs. Probably one homage to contemporary rock. I think we have five songs in this and they’re all original, so I’m hopeful. Music is so ingrained in the Muppet culture and history, and it’s part of the fun of doing it frankly.

Are any of the classic Muppet songs reprised?

I think we have one.

You wouldn’t tell us which one it is, would you?

I can’t tell you which one it is.