Paul Rudd and the dog named Willie Nelson (celebstoner.com)


Paul Rudd and the dog named Willie Nelson

www.celebstoner.com
by:  Steve Bloom

Willie Nelson has a key role in Our Idiot Brother, Jesse Peretz’s stoner comedy, which opened Friday – as a golden retriver. After Ned (Paul Rudd) gets out of jail for a pot bust, he finds his girlfriend has left him for another hippie and taken his dog too. See the trailer below

In an exclusive interview, Peretz tells CelebStoner how and why it was decided to name Ned’s dog Willie Nelson: “The first level of that decision was, wouldn’t it just be funny if Ned named his dog after a musician or some figure he admires, and calls the dog by a first and last. Then we played around with various figures (Jimmy Hendrix, Neil Young, etc.) but ultimately landed on Willie Nelson as the ideal idealist for an idealist like Ned to be particularly obsessed with. And the more the script and film took shape, the more we realized that all the associations that people have with Willie Nelson as being just a positive free spirit, devoid of judgement, a lover of people and a guy loved by literally everyone – the more we realized he was a perfect fit for Ned and the film as a whole.”

Did you need Willie’s approval to use his name in the movie?

“I’m not sure whether we legally needed it or not, but we reached out to him early to get his blessing, and then sent him a cut as soon as we had something decent enough to show him. He has been a supporter of the movie, which in itself is a to me a major stamp of approval from a guy who’s opinion matters to me.”

Did you chose a golden retriever because it bears a striking resemblance to the Redheaded Stranger? “Of course,” says Peretz. “Golden retrievers are so damn loving!”

Several Nelson songs appear on the soundtrack, including “I’ve Got a Wonderful Future Behind Me,” “Ol’ Blue” and a sweet cover of “Midnight Rider.” Was Peretz (right), who co-founded the Lemonheads with Evan Dando, tempted to use any of his former band’s songs as well?

“No, it seems too weird to put a Lemonheads song in a movie of mine. Maybe someday. We were letting the music of this movie really be influenced by the mellow vibes of Ned and Willie Nelson.”

The movie’s stellar cast also features Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel, Emily Mortimer, Steve Coogan, Rashida Jones, Adam Scott, Shirley Knight, Kathryn Hahn and T.J. Miller. Look for CelebStoner’s review on Friday.

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