Thomas Lennon Interview - 17 Again
Thomas Lennon: "I am moderately geeky. I go to Comic Con every year, and I've written a couple of comic books and I read some comic books. And I am certainly into the Star Wars movies and I did dress up alternately as characters from Lord of the Rings or Star Wars pretty much my entire life. I'm relatively nerdish."
So you knew Elvish or a little bit about it.
Thomas Lennon: "That is the most interesting thing in the movie which is we couldn't legally speak Elvish. [There's a distracting roar from the crowd] Sorry, The Jonas Brothers have landed on Earth and Zac Efron all at the same time. There might be a riot. I don't think the barricades are going to hold. I hope they do too, because there are some tiny little 11 year old girls on the other side that I don't want…"
Now back to the Elvish.
Thomas Lennon: "You can't speak Elvish because that's owned by the Tolkien family. Yes, because he invented it of course for the books so we had to speak Gallic. It's an ancient form of Irish, basically."
Did you really learn that?
Thomas Lennon: "I really did and Melora [Hardin] didn't bother to learn it at all. She wrote hers down on a plate."
Can you still say it?
Thomas Lennon: "I can't at all. I learned it and it was so hard, and I spent a very long time learning it, but then I realized, 'Well, maybe that's why Irish is sort of dying out as a language.' It's not easy to remember. Everything's got like four gs and a ch."
It was very impressive in the movie.
Thomas Lennon: "It's hard on your throat to speak Irish and I'm Irish."
How tough were those action scenes for you?
Thomas Lennon: "They're not that tough. The action sequences are not that tough except that you're trying to keep up with Zac Efron who might be in the best shape of any living human. You saw him with his shirt off. For Christ's sake, look at him – it's insane. So I was wheezing and putting BenGay on between shots. He's fine."
Did you do a lot of ad-lib?
Thomas Lennon: "I don't know. It's mostly 99.999% scripted. There's a couple little moments between me and Zac. We just have a really nice rapport and we get along really well. I think you can tell once and a while there's some stuff between us that's just kind of make me ups."
Is it tough for you when you're a writer not to want to change things?
Thomas Lennon: "Yeah, but it's also sometimes just a dream to be able to walk in and there's a script that's done by somebody else. It's like a little vacation for me. 'Somebody wrote down everything I have to say.' I love that. On Reno! 911 I've got to make it up nonstop."
Speaking of writing things, is Night at the Museum 2 going to live up to Night at the Museum 1?
Thomas Lennon: "Night at the Museum 2 is so much better than Night at the Museum 1. I've seen the movie twice now. It's funnier than the first one. It's got incredible performances. Amy Adams is amazing as Amelia Earhart. She will make you both laugh, and I'm not kidding, cry. Bill Hader is insane. Jonah Hill is amazing. Ben Stiller is outstanding. Azaria's amazing."