Yesterday, The Playlist spoke exclusively with Aziz Ansari, whose comedy “30 Minutes or Less” opposite Jesse Eisenberg and Danny McBride, hits screens August 12th. In the film, Ansari plays the best friend of Eisenberg, who is in a bit of a predicament: he has a bomb strapped to his chest and unless he robs a bank for some would-be thugs, they'll detonate it. It's the first major leading role for 28-year-old Ansari who has previously been seen in smaller parts in "The Rocker," "I Love You Man," "Observe and Report" and of course, as Randy in "Funny People." His career is certainly on an upward trajectory and in addition to a role in the hit TV show “Parks and Recreation,” he's got some more feature film roles in the cooker.
During our interview, Ansari updated us on the progress of the films he has developing. The first will be one of three he has in the works for Judd Apatow. “I’m developing a couple of movies to shoot for the next hiatus that I have from ‘Parks,’ " Ansari told The Playlist. “ 'Spacemen’ is about two disgraced astronauts that have to go back to the moon to clear their names. I play a guy who empties the trash in one scene and then I’m gone. [Laughs] No, I play an astronaut.”
Ansari’s other project in development, first announced last year, has a great title, though we doubt studios will stick with it for the release. “I’m developing a film with McBride called 'Olympic Sized Asshole.' And that’s me and McBride as these two guys. We’re best friends and we live in South Carolina. There’s this Olympic athlete who’s like this huge superstar, the cover of Time Magazine. We’re huge fans of him. And he comes to town and we’re excited and we meet him and then he has sex with both of our girlfriends at the same time. And it just kind of drops us into a rage and destroys our world and we kind of have to piece everything together.”
Sounds like two ambitious and high-concept comedies on the way from Ansari. We'll have more from our interview with the actor on his role in “30 Minutes or Less” in the next few days. Meanwhile, during the Columbia panel yesterday, the "30 Minutes or Less" entrance was overshadowed by a recorded message that Danny McBride made instead of appearing in person. “If you’re watching this, the apes have won,” McBride said, playfully chastising his fellow cast members Aziz Ansari, Nick Swardson and Michael Peña. “Individually, they’re a bunch of selfish super-assholes who even as I say this are beyond pissed that I’ve gotten all of your attention.”
Director Ruben Fleischer introduced a clip from the film, a scene in which Eisenberg and Ansari fumble through a robbery. While the footage was very funny, what was most interesting was how wildly inconsistent the studio’s efforts were to bleep out the profanity in the clip. Afterward, Ruben talked about the pressure of taking this project on after the success of "Zombieland." “It was a tough decision, and luckily I was faced with a lot of great opportunities,” he explained. “But when I read this script, it was so funny and so original and allowed so many great casting opportunities, I was excited to try something more small and personal before going big. I just thought it reminded me of 'Fargo' in a weird way, which is one of my favorite movies.”
"30 Minutes or Less" opens on August 12th. -- Additional reporting by Todd Gilchrist. Photo: EW