Vince Vaughn hit the scene with 1996’s Swingers, playing a variation of the fast-talking party man with which he made his career. He branched out into other roles, including appearances in The Lost World, The Cell, Clay Pigeons, and a swing at Norman Bates in the 1998 Psycho remake, but he always returned to his comedic roots: scoring hits with the likes of Old School, Dodgeball and Wedding Crashers. In his new film Delivery Man, he plays a man who inadvertently fathers over 500 children. He talked about the part – and the parts of his life that helped make it possible – at a recent press conference for the film.
Question: How would you have reacted if an old girlfriend from 20 years ago comes out to say, "I have a 20-year-old son?"
Vince Vaughn: I haven't been presented with that, but what's great about the character of David is his capacity to love. I feel like it's impossible for him to resist trying to reach out and have a connection. He's sort of presented with this circumstance, and he kind of approaches it wanting to be all things, and then is sort of presented with the actual reality of that. My job was made so easy with both Cobie Smulders and Chris Pratt because a lot of my character comes from taking information about how they see this guy. There is a nice relationship between the characters in the film, but there are also real points of view about the character. So I felt like it was easy coming to work with both of these guys: giving me these impressions to play off of.
Q: So much of your career has been known for fast-talking characters who get away with things, and you start that way in this movie. But that changes, and you've been doing more roles like that of late. More roles playing guys who face the music a little more often. Do you think that you would do another wild and crazy kind of thing again, or do you think that's in the past?
VV: No, I'll definitely do something more crazy, but I think part of it is your age, and the different roles that present themselves to you. What you play at 23 can't be the same thing you play at 43. So for me it's more about tone. I think I started off doing more dramatic roles and character stuff, and had a lot of fun. This movie has a nice mix of things, which was great. A little of the old and a little of the new. But I would definitely do another outlaw comedy again depending on what that story was.
Q: We see how just the very thought of being a parent changes him on the inside. Did you feel that sort of dramatic shift internally? Is that part of your real-life experience?
VV: I think it's true. You definitely get a whole world opened up to yourself with kids, and I think as a parent you try to enjoy them, and be happy and have fun. You also try to figure out what's the best way to be a parent to them and set them up to be happy in life. I'm very fortunate with my wife to have someone who can work with me on our relationship, even when we're focused on the kids. It's important to spend some time with each other. I think as a father, the best thing you can do for the kid is to love the mom. Even as a parent I believe that loving the mother is the most important thing. And even with parents who aren't together I think it's important to respect each other and to be kind to each other. Because I think it does so much in terms of who they pick to be around, and how they feel about themselves.
Q: How much of that experience goes into your performance?
VV: As an actor you bring some of your own experiences to the table. That can make things easier. You build off of it, but your imagination is always the best thing you have as far as creating what that character is going through. You draw on things that you can connect to, and then you kind of mold the change that you're making into something that's right for the character. What I love about the film is that it's about learning to accept who you are. You have the pressures to be a bunch of different things, and we don't all have all skills at all things. But part of everyone's journey is getting to be okay with yourself, forgive yourself, love yourself, and bringing that to the table for your relationships whether it's with someone that you're in love with, a romantic relationship or a family, parents, kids. As you get older hopefully you get a little better at getting past the moments that aren't your best, or getting out of situations that aren't your favorite and trying to increase the things that you enjoy.
One of the things that's so loving and warm in the film was that you have a bunch of people looking for a connection, who are looking to be a part of something. And there's something really wonderful in the way that the film takes that journey. I've received some really nice notes from people who have been adopted or had other similar experiences, who felt that the movie really spoke to them. It's nice to feel loved and it's nice to have someone to love. That's a great side of it as well. And I hope we get that across in the movie, all kidding and humor aside. I hope we're true to the wisdom in that.