In Kevin Smith‘s Tusk, Justin Long plays a Wallace, podcaster who lives to tell weird and strange stories we sees on the internet. Following up on a story, that takes him to Canada, leads no where. But he happens to find a new lead for an upcoming episode of his podcast, which would require him to listen to strange tales in the backwoods of Manitoba. Little does he know that he would be interviewing a mad man, who has an obsession with turning humans into Walrus. So when he goes missing its up to Wallace’s girlfriend (Genesis Rodriguez) and fellow podcaster, Teddy (Haley Joel Osment) to find him.
We had a chance to talk to Osment about the film and what it was like to work with Kevin Smith. The actor also talked about working with Johnny Depp, not having walrus suit envy, improv, working on the sequel Yoga Hosers, and more. Hit the jump to check it out.
What did you think of Justin in full walrus mode?
Osment: We didn’t see too much of him until the scene where he is revealed to us, without giving too much away. We just saw pieces of the Walrus creature being carried around. Sort of like the audience where you gradually get the whole picture of it. But I certainly got a full dose of Justin and his mustache.
What was getting the right tone of your characters like?
Osment: It’s funny actually. Like the Johnny scene, there was so much humor in it. Watching it as an audience member now, it allows for a pretty big laugh, like in Toronto. But on the day, a part being a scene you get to act with Johnny and you want to do a good job, it’s a scene where we think our friend has been murdered so its very serious, and through most of the movie I don’t think we talked too much about it.
Did Kevin guide you?
Osment: The writing was so good, and the characters were so clear. It was so cool, once he got to know us on set, he would generate more material once he got to know us more. He did that great monologue for Genesis [Rodriguez], and an extended podcast scene for me and Justin. So yeah, he’ll answer any question you ask him, but his big thing was always saying “remember to have fun,” he wasn’t saying “remember to get this part of the character,” he trusts his actors to do that.
Were there any scenes with improv, like the podcasting scene, was there anything of the cuff?
Osment: It was like an improv on the way to the scene, because it starts with us already cracking up, and that was the day where Kevin came in with 20 pages of new rapid fire dialogue – back and forth with me and Justin. We are studying our lines really intensely and going, “Have you seen this funny video?” trying to get giggly and up to that point. Luckily Justin is an easy guy to get along with, so we go to the point where the laughter was real.
What was it like to work with Johnny Depp?
Osment: I think when Kevin [Smith] got in contact with him, he responded immediately in saying, “oh this is something I’d want to swim around in,” and that certainly was the feeling we got on set that you know he is obviously a chameleon and he is really good stepping into other roles, and in this one he got to act with cinema legend Michael Parks.
Osment: Did you guys want to report on set while Parks was there?
Luckily we already did, most of Johnny’s stuff is with us, so we tried to see as much of Michael as we could.
Did you have any walrus suit envy when you saw Justin in it?
Osment: He’ll tell you that it is so uncomfortable. I think Kevin said it was like it was being on one of those hoppity hop thing, a big balloon you’d be on as a kid. But once you’re inside the suit it was really uncomfortable.
Can you tell us about the quasi-sequel Yoga Hosers? Are you playing the same characters?
Osment: It is the same county, the two clerks and Johnny at one point get their own movie. I am a Nazi in my 30s. It’s really neat. Johnny plays the same character.
There are some fun jabs directed at Canada, are you afraid of their reaction?
Osment: No, we made it to their faces. Their loving the jabs, and Toronto is really loving this film. I think it all comes down to Kevin’s love of Canada and the Canadian culture.
This film kind of celebrates people doing stupid things in a fun way, do you have any stories that you can share that reflect that?
Osment: Some of my high school friends, who I am still friends with and everything, you develop your own language with each other. With these two characters, their podcast is their own special relationship, and it gets broadcast to millions of people, and it becomes their currency. But trying to think of a safe story from stupid things I did with my friends. I don’t know. I went to theater school, I went to the Experimental Theater at NYU, but most of my friends before I went to college were guys who would go to baseball games and into the NFL, so it’s nice to have those two weird sort of sets of friends.
So what do you have next?
Osment: I’ll be finishing up season two of Alpha House, which is a show I love doing, it has a wonderful cast. I might, I can’t announce it official, but I might be doing a film in Columbia in October. So that will be kind of fun.
How is the transition from child actor to adult actor been?
Osment: As an actor it’s – I feel really lucky because I’ve been lucky enough to have a lot of experiences on set and still be relatively young. And it’s fun cause you’re body is kind of your instrument, and you’re getting kind of older with time, and remembering roles you did has a kind and now having a romantic interest and things like that, the variety is really exciting. So I guess I feel really lucky.
Tusk opens in theaters tomorrow, September 18th.