Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr. , the stars of “Let’s Be Cops” and television comedy “New Girl” , visited Penn last night for a meet and greet with students and an advanced screening at the Rave, followed by an exclusive Q&A session. The film’s writer, Nicholas Thomas, joined them in promoting “Let’s Be Cops,” which will be released in August. The DP selected some of the best questions from the Q&A session.
Question: Did you do all your own stunts?
Damon Wayans Jr: We almost did all our own stunts — I’d be like running, about to jump off the thing, and they would be like “cut” and bring in some dude and he’d hurt himself.
Jake Johnson: The only baby stunts we both did, we both got hurt doing, so it was really nice to pass it off.
Q: How did the idea [for “Let’s Be Cops”] come along? Have you worked on other projects like this?
Nicholas Thomas: I did a hidden camera show with the director of the movie about 12 years ago. In the show, we dressed a guy up in a cop uniform, and he rolled around gave tickets to people for no reason. From there we knew it was like a super hero costume — you put it on and you could get away with all that great shit.
Q: When did you guys first get attached to the project?
JJ: About 15 months ago, that guy sent the script. ... For me it was important who the other guy would be. When they said Damon was involved, we talked on the phone, and I basically said I’d do it if he did it.
DW: That’s how it happened.
Q: Did you guys have any real firearm experience or training for the movie?
DW: In my teens I would go to the gun range all the time and shoot lots of guns because it was funny. I would try to get the biggest guns possible and see how much kick they have.
Q: What are some of the major differences in filming this movie as opposed to filming “New Girl?”
JJ: First of all, this is rated R. Second of all, there was a dick on Damon’s face. That’s not going to happen on any deleted scenes of “New Girl.” Our characters are very different from our characters on the show. But you know the similarity is in our working together.
Q: Any upcoming projects?
JJ: I’m doing “Jurassic World” later this summer, and then this comes out August, so we’ll be moving around all summer trying to push it.
DW: I did a Disney movie I did a voice for coming out in November. It’s going to be a pretty dope movie. It’s from same people who did “Tangled” and “Frozen.”
Q: Was the entire [Let’s Be Cops] film scripted or was any of it improved?
NT: Yeah, I’d say 60-70 percent was improvised. Not only are these guys writers, but they’re on weekly TV shows that are heavily improved, so they’re like the best at it in the world. So there’s tons of it. Note every scene could be that way because not everyone in the film has those skills, but all Jake and Damon’s stuff was — was the hardest part of editing.
Q: This is a “New Girl” related question — Is Coach going to stay?
DW: I’m definitely going to be there for next season.
Q: If you guys were real cops for a day, what would you do?
DW: I would text a lot while I drove, I would be on the phone, like handheld — no one would pull me over. I would harass white people a lot.
Q: Nick, what part of the script do you think Damon and Jake acted out the best?
NT: All the way through, man. These two had dialed in from the get-go. I truly think it’s the best duo since “Wedding Crashers.”