Friday, December 28, 2007

Andy Samberg - Reveals how Iran So Far came together

In this 3rd person perspective interview with Andy Samberg, the NY Times shows how the process of Iran So Far came together. I bolded the info that opens up how this short was made.


"The latest hit for “Saturday Night Live” on the Internet began taking shape on Sept. 24, when Andy Samberg and a group of his colleagues on the show were sitting around their offices, scrounging for a celebrity or politician “who could really use a love song right now.” Around the same time, Seth Meyers, the show’s head writer, was imagining a skit in which Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president of Iran, would be depicted on a wild night out on the town.

Before long the ideas fused, and by last Saturday, opening night for the 33rd season of “Saturday Night Live,” the group had produced a three-minute music video titled “I Ran So Far Away.” In it, a crooning, piano-playing Mr. Samberg and a doppelgänger for the Iranian president (his castmate Fred Armisen, bearded and in a gray suit and open-neck dress shirt) dance and appear to fall in love — giving apparent lie to Mr. Ahmadinejad’s contention at Columbia University that there were no homosexuals in Iran.

By yesterday afternoon, just four days after its network premiere, the various versions of the video posted on YouTube had been viewed nearly 300,000 times, according to tallies posted on the site. For Mr. Samberg and his main collaborators — Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone — “I Ran” is something of a sequel. Last year, NBC posted an uncensored version of a boy-band video the group made — the cleaned-up title was “Special Treat in a Box” — in which Justin Timberlake and Mr. Samberg each appeared to be making a gift of their male anatomy. Thus far, that film has been seen more than 29 million times on YouTube, and last month it won an Emmy.

However popular, such films — including “Lazy Sunday,” a rapping homage to “The Chronicles of Narnia” — have not appeared to raise the ratings of the show itself. Last season, “Saturday Night Live” drew an average of about 6.4 million viewers a week, which was down from the year before. But the digital shorts have given the show, and Mr. Samberg in particular, a Web presence and cachet.

Considering that Mr. Samberg and his crew typically create their digital films in little more than 48 hours, the six days they spent on “I Ran” made it feel like a feature film. First, Mr. Samberg said, they developed the song’s R&B beat, which had elements of LL Cool J, the Wu-Tang Clan and an outright sample from Aphex Twin, an electronic performer.

The chorus, “I Ran,” is a knock-off of the 1980s Flock of Seagulls hit of the same name. But otherwise, the words were original. Among the more memorable lines Mr. Samberg sings to the Iranian president are:

You can deny the Holocaust all you want

But you can’t deny that there’s something between us

At another point, Mr. Samberg invokes “The Passion of the Christ” and its star, singing :

They call you weasel

They say your methods are medieval

You can play the Jews

I can be your Jim Caviezel

The film also features two cameos, personally arranged by Mr. Samberg. Adam Levine, the lead singer of the band Maroon 5, sings the “I Ran” chorus. Mr. Samberg, 29, said in an interview yesterday that he had sent a text message to a mutual friend, saying he had a perfect part for Mr. Levine to sing. The problem was that Mr. Levine was in Detroit. Mr. Samberg persuaded the singer to fly to New York early Friday morning. He then went straight to the makeshift recording studio in Mr. Samberg’s office and, on only a few hours sleep, traveled to Brooklyn to film his scenes. He was back on a plane to Detroit by early afternoon.

Another cameo, several seconds of Jake Gyllenhaal stroking his beard, was filmed in Los Angeles on Friday.

While the cast’s main goal was to have fun, Mr. Samberg said, the film has a political undertone. “No one around here,” he said, “is super fired-up about a guy who is denying the Holocaust and saying there are no homosexuals in his country.”"



Anonymous said...

Does anyone know where Andy plays the piano in the park on top of the building is located?

Anonymous said...

NBC roof garden? i think it's the same one from the andy samberg/shia roof garden skit

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