To say a Bob Byington (7 Chinese Brothers) film is weird is not totally off the mark, but it’s disingenuous to the art form. His latest film Infinity Baby didn’t have much information available online before its world premiere, instead relying on his fan base to assume that he will not disappoint them.
The red-carpet hype at the premiere had a wild west type feel where anything goes and if you don’t like it you’re shit out of luck. It made things easy, adding to the mystery of what Infinity Baby would ultimately give the audience. I was able to wrangle stars Nick Offerman and Stephen Root, along with Byington into quick interviews before we sat down to watch the film.
At times, things were hectic, with the stars and director interrupting each other and playfully teasing during the interviews, but that just made things more interesting. It also speaks to the joy these people experienced in working together; it’s not often you see these kinds of loving and endearing interactions can take place, which certainly translated onto the screen. We’ll have that review shortly, but for now, we’ll let the cast and crew speak for themselves.
Nick Offerman and Stephen Root
Offerman began his turn down the carpet by sauntering up to me at the very end of the line, and introducing himself.
Nick Offerman: Hello. I am Nick Offerman.
Danielle: Pleasure to meet you.
Before we had a chance to get through all the quick and stuffy pleasantries that come with talking to famous people, Byington stole Offerman’s Infinity Baby hat.
Bob Byington: This is mine now.
Offerman: I brought that hat all the way here with me. There’s no fucking way I’m letting you keep it.
The two of them squabbled playfully, ending with Byington begrudgingly giving the hat back and Offerman turning back to our interview.
Offerman: That son of a bitch. Anyway, you were saying?
Actually I hadn’t said anything yet.
Offerman: I’m sorry people are so rude. Ok, so what do you have for me?
Well, no one seems to know what this movie is about. Can you tell me anything about it?
Offerman: I haven’t seen it yet either, but Bob has a really strange and humorous prospective. This is my 5th film with him. I’ve known them for about 20… 18 years. 19, who’s counting? And…just really…his movies are really funky and weird. They always entertain me. This movie, I think is his best. It’s in black and white, has an amazing cast.
Like Megan Mullally?
Offerman: (Laughs) Yes, definitely. She lights up the screen like nobody’s business.
Yeah, it’s great to see you two working together onscreen. Is that something that you enjoy? You see her every day, and then you work together every day. Does that ever get hard?
Offerman: We feel very lucky cause most of the couples we know that are both in show biz say, “Are you guys crazy?” I mean, we work together, onscreen. Which, makes us feel really lucky that we get along well enough to [do that]. And you know, I can only speak from my perspective. I just feel super lucky because she’s my hero, and getting to work with my hero is a great gift.
That’s so sweet.
Offerman: And I also get to look at her body. Which is also a great gift. (Laughs)
At this point Stephen Root had crept up behind Offerman, grabbing him by the hips and giggling like a school girl. Their chemistry was adorable, and the two greeted one another like it had been years since their last encounter.
Stephen Root: Let’s get these pants off you.
Offerman: (laughs) I’m busy!
Root: You know, he’s got the best, gorgeous woman who’s unbelievably talented, and she likes him so what are you gonna do? I’ll never be able to top her on that.
Offerman: She’s got exactly the right hole of ignorance in her faculties that allowed me to slip in there. Hole of Ignorance would be a great band name, we should get on that. Anyway, her one blind spot seems to be directed exactly at me.
Root: Other than that she’s got impeccable taste. Do you like how I hijacked this interview?
Uh yeah, I love this. So, Stephen, have you seen the movie?
Root: No, Bob won’t show it to us. I think it’s good for us though. Actors are very insecure people, if we knew what was happening in a movie we would never show up.
Offerman: Right, I think it’s a technique they employ.
Well it worked, you’re here!
Root: We’re here! But in all seriousness, I think it’s going to look great in black and white, and the movie is going to be great.
We said our goodbyes as a rep finally flagged them both over to talk to a video camera toting reporter. Meanwhile, Byington had been standing on the outskirts, waiting to get this one last interview done before he finally went inside.
Byington: (nodding to the ladies of the film grouping together for a photo) you should get this picture, of all the leading ladies.
Oh it will definitely be in everyone’s press kits tomorrow.
Byington: Good, it should. Women are great.
They are. This is a true fact.
Byington: Why is that?
Because they’re just lovely, women are lovely. We’re great.
Byington: And women like to look at women.
True. Men like to look at women. Aliens probably like to look at women.
Byington: Men feel weird looking at good-looking men. We feel like we shouldn’t do that.
Why is that though?
Byington: It’s in their programming. Men are dumb. You’ve learned – you know that by now. One thing about the movie is that the women are a lot smarter than the men
I love this movie already. Are you excited? No one has seen it yet but you right?
Byington: Yeah, we won’t show it to anybody. We shared the other one [7 Chinese Brothers], and I don’t think it was a good idea.
I’m curious, you know, a lot of your movies you seem very close to. You direct, you write, you act; did this kind of have that same feeling for you, even though you were just directing?
Byington: It was very liberating to not be defending my own material, and I just was less self-conscious. I didn’t feel defensive or weird or shame about the material, I just loved it and I wanted to make it into a movie.
So, black and white? Did you decide that from the beginning? Or was it something that came together later?
Byington: Early on we decided that it would fit the tone of the … kind of a light science fiction element to go along with the tone of the movie. It fits, you’ll see.
At this point Byington was ushered away for more red carpet pictures, and then promptly whisked away into the theater. The female stars strode quickly down the line, but were soon brought back into the photo void. Byington once again commandeered Offerman’s hat, but ultimately gave it back. The film itself was surreal and fascinating, and the black and white element definitely paid off. We’ll put out our review of said film soon.