Toronto Notebook: Sarah Silverman Wants to Erase the Last 12 Seconds

Michael C. Hall and Sarah Silverman make family feuding fiercely funny in Peep World

By James Rocchi Sep 16, 2010 11:59 PMTags
Sarah SilvermanJason Merritt/Getty Images

With a strong cast—including Michael C. Hall, Sarah Silverman and Rainn Wilson—director Barry Blaustein's Peep World is one of the more eclectic comedies at the Toronto Film Festival this week.

So I asked stand-up Silverman is if she felt a little out of her element among so many, ahem, actors:

"No, I was comfortable. I think going from comedy to drama—What do I know?—but it seems like it's just the same if you're playing the lines and playing the moment honestly. The best comedy can be when a dramatic actor does comedy and just plays it real like they do in their drama. But when they do comedy and they feel like they've got to put something crazy on it, it's pretty hard to watch. I just think, I'm not Ace Ventura, I'm not like, 'Ayyy!'"

Silverman paused in the silence after her goony, goofy exclamation.

"Erase the last 12 seconds. But I'm just saying, you say the words and you're not looking up at the ceiling, I think it can be OK."

Hall, meanwhile, was experiencing, in a single morning, the best and worst parts of a film festival: "Taking the redeye was pretty rough—I got to the hotel at like 6:30 [a.m.] today and went straight to sleep. That's the worst part to me."

And the best part?

"Honestly, we had such a good time doing this. And it was like a year and a half ago. I mean, I've seen people here and there, but it's nice to have a little reunion."

Silverman also cited her fellow cast as one of the pleasures of Peep World: "I didn't know anybody beforehand. I just fell in love across the board."

Director Blaustein's a comedy veteran (including years on the writing staff of Saturday Night Live), and Peep World chronicles the feuds and failings of the Meyerwitz family as they gather for their father's birthday in the wake of youngest brother Nathan (Ben Schwartz) garnering acclaim for a recently-published novel, a book that hits entirely too close to home for his family.

It's also a fast, shot-on-digital run-and-gun indie.

After Silverman critiqued my interview style ("You're asking a lot of 'yes' or 'no's'. You should ask questions like, 'What did you think of the blah.' You're setting us up with questions where you're saying the hypothesis and we just agree or disagree. Not to give you notes. I know that you're...I'm sorry."), she and Hall explained how they were excited, and nervous, about the film's first screening in front of the public later that night.

I asked Hall if he was going to stick around for the film, or step out and just have a few glasses of Scotch.

"I think I'll probably bring the Scotch with me. I won't step out."

Silverman was planning to be with Hall in the theater, if not in spirits: "I don't drink, but I am going to watch the movie. I haven't seen it."

Hall did a double-take: "That is crazy, you haven't seen it yet. You're going to see it in a room full of a thousand-plus people."

Silverman stuck by her decision: "I hadn't seen it, and then when we got into the festival I was like, 'Yeah, I'll wait.' I'm excited. It will be fun to see it with an audience; I prefer doing that than sitting in a screening room with my manager next to me or something. I want to get the whole experience. I love movies."

And the Peep World premiere, for Silverman, promised to satisfy both her boredom and her vanity: "It's like going to the movies...and I'm in some scenes!"