Recently, actors Paulo Costanzo and Michael Maronna spoke with daze about their experiences as the “new guys” of cinematic comedies, and about their most recent picture 40 Days and 40 Nights which opens nation-wide March 1. Both Costanzo and Maronna are fairly new to the big screen but both have been diligent in their comedic endeavors. Costanzo got his big break in 2000’s Road Trip while Maronna was recently seen in this year’s Slackers.
daze: [To Paulo] What was it like working with Tom Green in Road Trip?
Paulo Costanzo: Tom Green is a pretty crazy guy. He was pretty quiet around that time. That was around the whole cancer thing. He’s a very nice guy. He’s much more quiet and normal than you’d think — until someone says, “Hey, you’re Tom Green” and then he’s like “Yeah, I’m Tom Green. Watch this” and he like runs up and climbs a street sign and then humps it. He did a few crazy things, but it would take much too long to go over that here.
Michael Maronna: I would agree with all of that.
D: You know him?
MM: We did a movie together where I was there for two days and, although we only had one scene together, I would have to agree with Paulo.
PC: I think he’s very funny personally.
D: With regards to your current project, 40 Days and 40 Nights, the whole plot surrounds the idea of abstaining from sex for Lent. Are you afraid of any religious outcry or any criticisms for some of the sexual and religious commentary the film may make?
PC: I’m not afraid of it, no. Are you Michael?
MM: I read about it. It doesn’t really frighten me because it was in the New York Post …
PC: With every movie, there are some people who just lust for controversy, who wait for something to come around that’s controversial. But this movie is obviously not intended to offend anybody, so if they take offense to it, I guess I’m sorry but I’m not afraid of it.
D: How does your character fit into the whole plot, Paulo?
PC: Josh Hartnett gives up sex and touching and kissing and masturbating for 40 days and 40 nights and I’m his roommate — basically the antagonist of this entire plot, trying to make him give in. And I’m a complete bastard and I tell everybody behind his back and get a bet going …
MM: He’s the Iago to his [Josh Hartnett’s] Othello.
D: And, how do you fit in Michael?
MM: Uhhh, Gosh … I play the guy who delivers bagels.
PC: Yeah, that’s basically it … but he does it really well.
D: So, what made you guys want to become actors in the first place?
PC: I was in music class when I was in grade 10. I played the trumpet and I was really not liking it at all. Then I met this guy who basically said, “Hey man, I’m going to drama class right now. We’re going to play Blink Murder and then roll around pretending to be monkeys”, so I went with him. But if you want to get a little deeper, I was always a little shy, troubled kid who always dreamed of being the person that everyone looked at, and now I have to put on a hat and walk out of a bar because too many people are looking at me.
D: So, you don’t roll around pretending to be a monkey all of the time?
PC: Not all of the time … Wait, you can quote me on this: YES I do. Every second of the day I’m always, at least in my mind, pretending to be a monkey.
MM: I think I’ve been doing it as long as I can remember …
D: Being a monkey?
MM: Well … since I was five years old, I’ve been doing acting. I was troubled, but I didn’t have time to be shy so I was pretty much always that guy who liked detention …
D: If you guys had to give up something for the 40 days and 40 nights [of Lent] what would it be?
MM: What do you mean, “If we had to…”? I have to.
PC: What have you given up, Michael?
MM: Um, in a rare twist, the same thing that the character did in this movie.
MM: All of it.
PC: Wow, what day are you on?
PC: Perfect … I’m on day 0.3 myself … To be honest, personally, I’d like to try to give up sex. It’d be an interesting thing to do, you know if I was obsessed with some girl or something.
D: What actor would you guys love to work with?
MM: I think we’d both love to work with Josh Hartnett, but we already realized that dream …
D: And you fulfilled it, good for you.
MM: I have peaked at this young age, I don’t know about you, Paulo.
PC: Yeah, I could die … Poor Josh, everybody makes these [kind of] jokes about Josh Hartnett because of all the Black Hawk Down stuff.
MM: I’d like to build a machine that would take me to heaven to work with Phil Hartman.
PC: Anthony Hopkins … he’s already a legend.
D: Have either of you lined up any future projects yet?
MM: Playing myself in The Michael Maronna Story.
PC: I’ve been looking at playing Michael Maronna’s best friend in The Michael Maronna Story.
D: That going to be a TV movie?
PC: Ouch and yes.
MM: You’ve got us there.
PC: We’re pretty tight-lipped, actually. I don’t know if anybody knows this, but we’re both professional skateboarders …
MM: And I-talians
PC: Well, half Italian. He and I are both just trying to get to the top of our game.
MM: So, we really have to concentrate on that and not so much on the acting.
PC: I mean, we like the acting, you know, for the [pauses], for the …
D: You mentioned earlier that you sometimes have to duck out of bars and such. Especially after playing the introspective pot-smoking Rubin in Road Trip and getting a lot of attention for it, how are you handling the fame?
PC: Well, I’m really not a lot like Rubin at all. I’m not a big pot smoker. I’m not incredibly intelligent, so it’s hard to take people when they come trying to give you weed, give you big bags of weed, and want to hang out with you because you’re smart and smoke weed when you’re [really] neither of the two and just want to be by yourself.
MM: … It’s also really annoying when people come up to you and try to give you bags of genius because they think you’re really intelligent.
D: Are you guys happy with the way the movie turned out?
PC: When I first got this script, I thought it was the teen movie genre that’s been fairly dominant recently … but it’s got a very distinct style to it and it’s not really a teen movie at all. So, I’m happy with it.
Though Costanzo and Maronna seem pleased with their project, the true test comes on March 1 when Mirimax debuts 40 Days and 40 Nights nationally. For their sakes, let’s hope audiences find as much humor in the film as we did in these two.
Archived article by Nate Brown