Movies + TV

Sex Tape Director Jake Kasdan on Cinematic Nudity, Cloud Computing, and Kitchen Fornication

Spoiler: Yes he got to see Cameron Diaz in the buff.

Jake Kasdan, the director of a new film about online amateur videos gone wrong—Sex Tape, starring Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel—has spent a lifetime in show biz. And he's only 39. As a boy he acted (he had a supporting role in The Big Chill at age 9, which his father directed), and went on to direct both TV shows (Freaks and Geeks) and movies (Bad Teacher and New Girl among others).

Before the movie debuts this Friday, July 18, we talked with Kasdan about Rob Lowe, porn, and the cloud—a concept that continues to confuse even ardent Internet fans.

DETAILS: Before we get into the whole sex tape thing, what really inspired the film?

JAKE KASDAN: We thought there was a really funny dimension to this mad rush of new technology that is designed to make everything more efficient, smoother, and make your life easier, and it can do that, but even the simplest stuff requires a little more technical aptitude than a lot of us have. And so you can create this sensation that our gadgets are gradually . . . winning.

DETAILS: That's very Terminator.

JAKE KASDAN: Exactly. It all felt really credible and the kind of thing that really happens. We had a lot of funny moments in production where we were looking at all these different apps and everyone had stories about the first time they took a picture on their phone and how it would appear elsewhere—like on their iPad or computer—and you could get rid of it from one place but it could perhaps linger somewhere else.

DETAILS: I'm sure the majority of the nation will be able to relate to that moment when Jason and Cameron are talking about the cloud. What is it? Who runs it? Do you know what the cloud is?

JAKE KASDAN: Over the course of making this movie I have had it explained to me several times and I still would have a hard time explaining to someone else how it actually works.

DETAILS: Without the proper context, this movie's description sounds like a porno: Married couple, slightly disenchanted, decide to spice things up and go crazy.

JAKE KASDAN: [Laughing hysterically] Exactly. We were joking about what would be the porn title for this film and it would be, well . . . Sex Tape.

DETAILS: I looked up a lot of the titles of the films and shows you've worked on, looking for their porn parodies, and there's already a Bad Teacher XXX. I looked up New Girl and there's nothing.

JAKE KASDAN: Although that seems like an obvious candidate!

DETAILS: Rob Lowe appears in the new film. Did you ever view his sex tape for "research?" (In 1988 Lowe was in a sex tape scandal where he was videotaped without his knowledge).

JAKE KASDAN: I never did, and I've got to be honest, and it sounds insane, I completely forgot about that until he was there on set and he made a joke about it.

DETAILS: Everyone has one now! Back then, it was shocking, and now it's like, 'oh, it figures.'

JAKE KASDAN: That's the thing! Back then he was just a kid. It's completely changed what that thing is in the culture and that idea is totally different.

DETAILS: Diaz and Segel. Together again. With you. But now, totally naked. Was it uncomfortable despite the fact you guys all know each other so well?

JAKE KASDAN: I have to say, there were moments in the ridiculousness of it where all of us were laughing. But apart from the silliness it was not uncomfortable and it truly is a testament to what they're like . . . they're just not that worried about it because they're friends in real life too. They just don't make it a big thing, and you can tell in the movie when you watch it. There was no "issue" that had to be dealt with.

DETAILS: This couple is making appointments for sex. That's sad but telling. And there's that moment when they're on the kitchen floor . . .

JAKE KASDAN: That goes right to heart of the movie I wanted to make which is: You can get to this place in your life, and then, it seems like the hottest thing in the world to have sex on the kitchen floor and then you get there and realize you're in the kitchen. [Laughs]

DETAILS: Now you're working on a new television series, based loosely on the life of Asian-American chef and food personality Eddie Huang, called "Fresh Off the Boat." How are you going to tackle that without falling into the typical ethnic stereotypes?

JAKE KASDAN: It's something we talk about every day, as you can imagine. We're very focused on telling these stories in the way that they're really true to the people who are making it, and the audience. There are a number of people on the show who've had analogous experiences [of being the "other" in the United States] . . . The way you make this story relevant to everybody, is by being really specific and true about the people that it's about. Everyone has felt like an outsider at some time or another, and at its heart, that's what the show's about.

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