So it’s fitting that in “Horrible Bosses 2,” the central trio, played by Bateman, Sudeikis and Day, has also experienced some pretty huge changes. After surviving their harebrained scheme to take out their respective horrible bosses, Nick (Bateman), Kurt (Sudeikis) and Dale (Day) have opted instead to become their own bosses. Banding together, the trio launched a business and hit it big with a product called the Shower Buddy. However, when a slick investor (Christoph Waltz) cons them out of their own business, Nick, Kurt and Dale decide to kidnap the investor’s adult son (Chris Pine) and hold him for ransom. Predictably, things get out of control pretty quickly.
“It was really fun for the three of us to get back together again,” said Day in a conference call with college journalists, “because we enjoy each other’s company and we had such a great time making the first one.”
Day admits, though, that “Horrible Bosses 2” may not be quite as much fun for their characters: “It’s a terrible thing for the three of these people to get back together again because they keep getting themselves into some serious shit,” he said with a laugh. The actor isn’t kidding. Even with all the craziness that was on display in the first film, this sequel ups the ante. It won’t, the actors all agreed, simply offer fans more of the same.
“You know, it would be pressure-packed if we were doing the same material. I don’t think that we can do that first film — I don’t think that we’d be able to repeat that performance in that film again,” Bateman said. “But this is all new material, and we haven’t seen it before. Basically, we get a nice, free shot at it.”
Bateman was also enthusiastic about the amount of screen-time that he, Sudeikis and Day share this time around. We have “every scene together,” he said. “Which is a crazy notion that I couldn’t have enjoyed more. But the first movie we spent the first thirty minutes in each of our own little movie with our own horrible boss and in this one it’s just right off the bat all three sitting next to each other on a couch.”
The actor also teased a bigger budget and the perks that come with this sequel. “We also got to do a little bit of green screen work [which is] more usually relegated to the big effects movies, so it was neat to be a part of that process,” Bateman said.
Day also described Pine’s character, who is with the main trio for much of the film, as a “fourth musketeer” of sorts.
“He brought a lot to it,” Day said.
“He brought a lot of hotness,” Sudeikis added.
“Someone had to do it,” Bateman followed.
The story isn’t the only thing different this time around. “That’s My Boy” director Sean Anders stepped in for previous director Seth Gordon, and “Horrible Bosses” scribes John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein were joined by Anders and his co-writer John Morris.
Sudeikis called the experience of working with Anders and Morris “great,” adding that they “are two of the best script writers in Hollywood right now. At least I think so. They did a great job with the re-writing of ‘We’re the Millers’ so it was like having two other writers on set with us,” he said.
Visually, Anders did his own thing on the sequel. “There’s a whole chunk in the middle where it almost looks like a gosh darn Steven Soderbergh film that he had in his head,” Sudeikis said. “And then even the stuff of us starting the business, all the visual elements to it that feel like a Fincher movie, it’s like something right out of ‘Fight Club.’”
Adding an acclaimed actor like Waltz and bringing back Kevin Spacey improved the atmosphere on set, Bateman said. “It was pretty cool. When you can, this is a big kind of silly commercial studio comedy, and when you can class it up with some Oscar winners, it’s a really nice balanced cocktail,” he said.
“Everyone loves a properly mixed cocktail... Don’t want anything too straight. It was really cool to work with all those people. Everyone really seemed to understand what we were making and that made for a good time,” Bateman said.
Co-stars like Keegan-Michael Key and Jonathan Banks also added to the stars’ anticipation for the sequel.
“It’s really flattering to make the first one and have it exist and then when you’re making the second one to have people say, ‘Oh yeah, I want to be a part of that,’” Sudeikis said. Sudeikis added that, “I’ve known Keegan forever, there’s a lot of Second City people in this movie and you love the fact that they want to come on board.”
Though this sequel and its predecessor have both found the stars grappling with truly despicable overseers, the actors couldn’t think of any horrible bosses they’ve personally experienced. “I started acting so young that I never really had a traditional boss but I’ve certainly worked for some prickly directors, movie stars, producers [and] studio heads. I have no horror stories that I can think of,” Bateman said. “But my knees are bent - I’m waiting for a real son-of-a-bitch to come my way. I’m prepped.”
The actor added that, to one little girl in particular, he himself may be a horrible boss. “I tossed my two-year-old into the car pretty quickly this morning. I think she’d probably tell you that I’m a real asshole, but we were late for school goddamnit,” he joked.
Will audiences respond to “Horrible Bosses 2” with as much enthusiasm as they did the first film? The jury’s still out, but Bateman certainly thinks so. “I’m pretty good about being objective, and I really enjoyed the first one as a viewer,” the actor said. “I watched this one with that same perspective and I genuinely liked it even more than the first. So I’m actually feeling kind of bullish. If people see it the way I see it, they’re going to be very happy with this one. I’m feeling good.”
Added Day: “I expect people to be skeptical, and I hope that they’re pleasantly surprised.”