Larry David hasn’t yet decided whether he’ll make another season of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” for HBO, but he’s back on the network Aug. 10 with his new movie “Clear History.” The comedy triple-threat stars as a marketing exec who makes such a blunder that he changes his name, gets a makeover, and moves to Martha’s Vineyard. Ten years later, he hatches a plan to exact revenge on his former boss (Jon Hamm).
“I was thinking about [another season of] ‘Curb’ or thinking about doing a movie, and I thought perhaps it’s time I tried something else,” he tells reporters in Los Angeles Thursday afternoon at the 2013 Television Critics Association summer press tour. “So I decided to do the movie.”
Another season of “Curb” isn’t out of the question, it’ll just take a little more time to know for sure. “Ask me in six months,” he says. Why so long? “I don’t know, I’m just an indecisive fellow. You should see me at a restaurant.”
But the movie, which was entirely improvised from a 35-page treatment, will feel very “Curb”-like — a striking difference from his last feature film experience writing and directing “Sour Grapes” in 1998.
“We had a much better director this time than we did for ‘Sour Grapes,’” he jokes. “This time was more like a ‘Curb’ experience in that we were improvising it and I didn’t have to worry about directing and I could just act in it, so on set it was more fun.”
Pre-makeover, David’s character resembles Jeff Bridges’ The Dude from “The Big Lebowski” before turning into the bald, bespectacled David we’re all familiar with — but it could have gone the other way. “Actually, as conceived it was supposed to be the opposite, where I was going to be bald and myself at the beginning and then grow the beard and the hair,” he says. “Thank god we didn’t do it that way, because the makeup was intolerable. To sit in that chair for an hour every morning, to put that on, it felt like I had 10,000 insects on my head. I couldn’t stand it. But I felt I cut quite a figure.”
Some actors in the film are pros at improvising. Danny McBride, in particular, got the part after a two-minute conversation with David at their summer homes on Martha’s Vineyard. “Danny was amazing in the movie,” he says. “He improvises some of the funniest lines in the movie. I would do scenes with him and I just couldn’t believe how fast he was, how sharp he was. … A lot of his scenes weren’t designed for him to be funny, but because he’s so fast and so good and such a great improviser, every scene he was in he was terrific.”
Others weren’t as experienced in the improvisational setting, although David says most actors love doing it. “Honest to god, I could say great things about [everyone in the film]. No buyer’s remorse,” he says. “I didn’t quite know that Eva Mendes could improvise as great as she was able to. She was a really pleasant surprise and she loved playing that character.”