In the film, Downey plays Peter Highman, an expectant first-time father whose wife’s due date is a mere five days away. As Peter hurries to catch a flight home from Atlanta to be at her side for the birth, his best intentions go completely awry when a chance encounter with aspiring actor Ethan Tremblay (Galifianakis) forces Peter to hitch a ride with Ethan—on what turns out to be a cross-country road trip that will ultimately destroy several cars, numerous friendships and Peter’s last nerve.
By comparison to the high-strung Peter, Ethan, gives new meaning to the term laid-back. Galifianakis, who stars as the human lightning rod for trouble, observes, “Nothing affects him, no insult seems to penetrate. Ethan lives in his own head. He has no talent, and he’s on his way to Hollywood to capitalize on that. These two guys meet through a series of unfortunate circumstances that are entirely Ethan’s fault, to which he is completely oblivious. And every bad thing that happens from that point on is Ethan’s fault. Everything.”
Phillips marks his second collaboration with Galifianakis on “Due Date,” following “The Hangover.” He says, “Zach and I click because he knows I really get his humor, which can be pretty outrageous.”
In “Due Date,” however, Galifianakis creates a character that calls for a great deal of subtlety. Notes producer Scott Budnick, “Every little nuance of personality and each detail—the way he walks, the way he talks, the way he thinks—Zach has figured out how Ethan Tremblay would do these things and it’s reflected in every single moment he’s on screen.”
At the same time, there is a core of unpredictability to the performance. “Zach brings a sense of spontaneity and danger and I think comedy is best with an undercurrent of danger so that you never know exactly what’s going to happen or what someone will say or do. In that sense, he’s the perfect comedic actor,” says Phillips.
“That’s not to say that you can’t be offended by something Todd or I do in a film,” he continues with mock concern. “I’m often offended by the things I do in movies.” Opening soon across the Philippines, “Due Date” is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.
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