I recently attended the press conference for the 20th Century Studios’ and Hulu original comedy VACATION FRIENDS, and it was almost as wild a ride as the movie itself (review out on the 27th). Based on the cast and trailer alone, you knew it was going to be a hilarious film and the press junket, well, let's just say that sometimes they get a little out of hand. Since we're a family-friendly site, we can't include some (most?) of what was covered, however, that was to be expected since we interviewed John Cena, Yvonne Orji, Andrew Bachelor, Robert Wisdom, Director Clay Tarver, and Lil Rel Howery (who stopped by to surprise us partway through our junket).
The first question out of the gate? “Best drugs you've ever done on vacation, go.” If these were the tame responses, you can only imagine the rest of the answers (and how the remainder of our time went). The interview only borders on NSFW, unlike the movie, which definitely earns its R rating.
“Over-the-counter amphetamines, like a strong cup of coffee.”
“Oh, I think he's frozen.” // “I love that freeze-frame though.” // “It's like the drugs he's on.”
Fun Facts About Vacation Friends with the Cast
Just like their Vacation Friends characters, some of them have some of those traits in real life.
Wisdom's character Harold is pretty rigid. “Well, in reality, I'm just like that guy; I'm a stuffed shirt. I'm very full of myself. And I don't like too many people. I love my son and daughter though.”
Bachelor says he's super competitive just like his character Gabe. “I am competitive, and I think just grown' up doing sports that's what made me competitive. Gabe loves his family. He loves his sister, Emily. He's there to protect her.”
Why Vacation Friends is so relatable in many ways
Director Tarver reminded us that we all go on vacation (well, usually, non-pandemic, anyway). “You meet somebody and you sort of get close with them for a week, maybe a little too close. And then when you return to the sober light of day, you're like, ‘Wait were we friends or were we not friends?' How close of friends were we? And you sort of have this freedom to go a little bit out of your comfort zone because you think you're never gonna see them again. Well, this is a movie where the premise is sort of ‘What if you do see them again?'”
Director Clay Tarver had “Vacation Friends”
Tarver admitted he used to be a musician (sort of still is one) and he's had “vacation friends.”
“Touring life was that every town you would certainly meet someone, you know, friends that were doing it. Like, it would be a big bonding experience almost every night. And yeah, I've met people on vacation, actually in Mexico, where I thought we were gonna be friends forever. And then you know, once we got to the airport it was like, maybe not.”
If you're alive, it's worked out.
Cena firmly believes that if you're alive, and you've just gone with the flow, then it's worked out.
“Philosophically, I think everybody does, whether it's whether the way we want or not. As long as you're alive, it's working out. I firmly believe that. It's just a matter of if it's what we want or not. But if you're alive, it has worked out.”
Best performances come when you're in the moment, not in your head.
Orji described their last night, filming the bar-hopping scene in Puerto Rico, there was the wrestling scene. They were on cobblestone, it was late, people around them were like, “What's going on?” There was yelling, then there's a scene where they're carrying Meredith out of the bar. “It was just mayhem, but in the best way possible.”
“It was so much fun. We also didn't know that the world was shutting down on the other side of the ocean. So we were in our little bubble.”
“Best performances are—I believe—when you're not in your head about performing, and you are just being and being present and enjoying the ride. Rel and I were both comics, and so it's just like being able to be spontaneous in the middle of moments and find the funny in whatever spontaneity comes out from that, we just go with it.”
What leads to disastrous vacations?
“Tequila leads to everything.” Wisdom dropping the wisdom in a press junket. “Let's just say that an actor's life is sort of like a vacation. You're working on location and you're constantly meeting people, and you think they're good for you, and then you find out drug traffickers, or you know, whatever. And the FBI calls your room, and it's just like, ‘What the hell happened?' But a lot of times you just kind of get in over your head with new friends…” Orji is pretty sure that's a TV script, not Wisdom's vacation.
Vacation Friends is loaded with physical comedy.
Who doesn't love good physical comedy? It's a blueprint for fun and resonates with audiences globally.
Craziest thing they've ever done on vacation?
When I ask a question and I get comments about my website name it's always hard to stay focused. I took me a second to unmute and John Cena cracked a joke about too much whisky and sunshine…the best witty comeback would have been something about 5 o'clock somewhere, but an opportunity missed.
Maybe too much whiskey…and sunshine. –John Cena
No, it's too early for too much whiskey. –me
Said me never. –John Cena
Oh, I mean it is 1:00 p.m. here. Good morning. So what's the craziest thing you've ever done on vacation? –me
I don't know, threesomes. –Wisdom
I mean you know, stuff happens. You know? And it depends on what you call crazy. –Wisdom
We're learning so much about you Robert today. I don't know if that the world is ready. Like, you know that this is being recorded, right? –Orji
I know. I'm leaving a trail. –Wisdom
Leaning into your truth, I dig it. I dig it. –Cena
Well, well that's what this movie did, it liberated me. –Wisdom
Oh no, you were free, okay…You were free. –Orji
Andrew, what about you? Have you had, like, a wild vacation moment? –Grae Drake, moderator
Uh, that I want to share on here? Not as bold as Robert there. You know what I mean? Um… –Bachelor
Way to stereotype bro. –Wisdom
I really love traveling. I met some crazy characters while traveling. I went to Aspen for New Year's. I spent New Year's by myself and I met a… just an experience, I met a lot of crazy people. I just went with the flow. And they were doing some…'Everything they touched turns to drugs' moments. So…–Bachelor
Well, you were in the snow, so…Snow begets snow. –Orji
Watch the VACATION FRIENDS Trailer
About VACATION FRIENDS
In this raw and raunchy comedy, straight-laced Marcus and Emily (Lil Rel Howery, Yvonne Orji) are befriended by wild, thrill-seeking partiers Ron and Kyla (John Cena, Meredith Hagner) at a resort in Mexico. Living in the moment, the usually level-headed couple lets loose to enjoy a week of uninhibited fun and debauchery with their new “vacation friends.” Months after their walk on the wild side, Marcus and Emily are horrified when Ron and Kyla show up uninvited at their wedding, creating chaos and proving that what happens on vacation, doesn’t necessarily stay on vacation.
From 20th Century Studios, VACATION FRIENDS stars John Cena (F9, The Suicide Squad), Lil Rel Howery (Get Out, Judas and the Black Messiah), Yvonne Orji (Insecure, Night School), Meredith Hagner (Search Party, Palm Springs), Robert Wisdom (The Alienist, Ballers), Andrew Bachelor (The Babysitter, Holidate) and Lynn Whitfield (Greenleaf, Madea’s Family Reunion). Directed by Clay Tarver (“Silicon Valley”), it was written by Tom Mullen & Tim Mullen and Clay Tarver and Jonathan Goldstein & John Francis Daley. Produced by Todd Garner, p.g.a. (Tag, Playing with Fire), and Timothy M. Bourne, p.g.a. (Love, Simon, The Hate U Give), the executive producers are Steve Pink and Sean Robins.
VACATION FRIENDS is 20th Century Studios’ first film to have a global release on the Hulu and Disney+ streaming platforms. It will stream globally as a Hulu Original in the U.S. and a Star Original on Disney+ in select international markets. The film will also be available in Latin America as part of the new Star+ direct-to-consumer service launching on August 31 in the region.