My Best Friend's Girl, Dane Cook

While he is widely known for his legendary, kinetic stand-up routines, Dane Cook has also proven himself a sturdy leading man in features, from the slacker superstore clerk in EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH to the cursed suitor in GOOD LUCK CHUCK. But for his next comedy, Cook was eager to find something that more accurately matched his comedic sensibility. “We wanted something with edge,” says producer Brian Volk-Weiss, who is also Cook’s manager. “Dane’s humor has a lot of edge and this script nailed it perfectly. As soon as I read it, I called Dane. When Dane read it, he immediately called me and said, ‘This is it. This is it.’”

A self-professed bachelor with no interest in love, Tank is, initially at least, not the sort of guy you would wish on anyone. Guys who’ve lost their girlfriends hire Tank to date their exes; and he ensures the experience is so awful that those girls run with newfound appreciation back to their old beaus. “Tank is in many ways as despicable a guy as you will ever meet,” says producer Greg Lessons. “Every awful quality in every guy out there, that’s Tank. But, at his core, he’s a romantic. What he actually does is bring people together. He would deny it. And the movie is essentially about the repressed romantic part of him busting out when it hits him.”

Says producer Josh Shader, “I think audiences are really going to enjoy getting to see Dane Cook be a character that really lets Dane be Dane. He finally gets to play a role where he gets to let it all out, both comedically and emotionally.”

“Look at what Dane does in his comedy routines,” says producer Adam Herz. “He’s fearless on stage and he’s fearless in front of the camera. Every time he dips into that well, the bucket comes up full of something.”

Cook confesses that he was excited by the prospect of playing someone as extreme as Tank. “That was really alluring, and something that I wanted to be able to play with,” says the comedian. “It’s fun being bad! Everybody likes a villain. Everybody likes the bad guy. But we also like when there’s a turn, and that’s what happens with Tank.”

Still, Tank’s contradictions posed a considerable challenge for Cook as an actor. Could he score laughs playing the depraved bachelor yet still earn the audience’s sympathy as Tank embarks on the rocky road to emotional maturity? Cook’s and Deutch’s answer was to play Tank’s struggle as authentically as possible. “This movie’s always been to me about one man’s journey to becoming a man,” explains director Howie Deutch. “It’s not all about telling jokes. It’s about being real and having the audience get invested in the character.”

“To play the character of Tank,” adds producer Doug Johnson, “you have to have that confidence, that swagger, and be vulnerable and real. That’s what Dane captured. There’s a romantic and emotional quality in this movie that I think is going to take some people by surprise.”

Much of the charm of MY BEST FRIEND’S GIRL stems from Alexis’ and Tank’s unlikely pairing, and the rare connection they find despite their differences. Unlike other women, Alexis is wise to Tank’s moves, which leaves him at first bewildered, then impressed, and finally, completely infatuated. “It’s an absolutely hysterical thing to watch the two of them bounce off each other,” says producer Barry Katz. “And also personally, off camera, Kate and Dane got along great. They’re very cool together and it was just a lot of fun to be around both of them.”

“There’s no doubt about it. Kate has incredible chemistry with Dane,” says Deutch. “It’s like nitro and glycerin. It’s really explosive.”

Hudson was impressed with Cook’s energy and commitment to his acting. She explains, “Dane really cares about what he does. He focuses on his performance and really wants it to be good. And that’s an amazing quality to work with and to see in someone.”

“Working with Kate was a breath of fresh air,” avows Cook. “When it comes to an actor who really listens, there’s nobody better than her. Nothing gets past her. Volleying with her was incredible. I was always hoping for another take, you know, thinking, ‘What can I throw at her, how can I challenge her this time?’”

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