Matt Stone and Trey Parker have been beacons of comedic success ever since South Park hit the screens in 1997. The public celebrated the releases of Matt and Trey's films from Orgazmo to BASEketball to South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut. Their latest film, Team America: World Police, featuring an all-star cast of marionettes, is indeed anticipated by many a die-hard Matt and Trey fan. Surprisingly,Trey Parker describes the Team America filmmaking process as anything but enjoyable:
"It was awful. We knew it looked tough but we had no idea. We knew after the first week of shooting that we were in big trouble. It was horrible. I don't recommend it to anybody. Don't ever make a puppet movie. It was the worst time of our lives."
Matt, too, discourages all aspiring puppet filmmakers:
"When you're sitting on your, like, 75th day of trying to make puppets look at each other, nothing's funny any more. It really became hard to come up with anything new. We were having a really shitty time. Trey and I are both such dicks that we won't fake laugh at anything. We'll only really laugh at something when we think it is funny. Trey and I will also only laugh at our own jokes anyways. If someone else tries to make a joke, we'll just tell them to shut up."
The drama only intensified on the Team America post-production scene when Matt and Trey had trouble getting the movie past the censors. Who could imagine that the MPA would object to the film's "gratuitous displays of puppet sex?"
"We confirm it," Trey says. "It's absolutely the most ridiculous, stupid thing in the universe. Our puppets are not anatomically correct. They don't even have pubic hairs, and they're dolls. We put them in sexual positions and obviously it's just a joke, but the MPA is like, 'No, no, no, no, no!'"
For a film that displays more graphic violence than an episode of Celebrity Deathmatch, the puppet sex receives a disproportionate amount of attention from the censors.
"We're taking other puppets and like blowing their heads off with blood and all this stuff but just as usual the MPA didn't have a word to say about that," Matt expands, on the absurdity of the situation. "It was all about the sexual positions that confused them, which is basically anything but missionary. I think that little girls and boys around the country right now are taking their dolls and doing the same stuff. We just put it on film. People like that scene because it's nice and it's something everyone's done: taken their dolls and made them fuck."
Matt and Trey are not the only ones who underwent traumatic experiences while making this film. The actor whose modeling inspired much of the portrayal of Kim Jong Il had a rough time of it as well.
"I don't know the guy's name," Trey recounts. "We got a Korean guy who looked like Kim Jong Il and we painted him bronze and then we stuck him in the middle of the room. That guy was bummed out. It was supposed to take a day and it took like five days, so for five days he had to stand in the middle of a platform painted bronze."
Matt also seems perplexed by this man's nationality:
"I don't know if he was Korean but he was Asian," Matt remarks, with the conviction of a Raymond Chandler detective, "and he'd only been over here in America for a little while. I think he had his nice little American dreams, and we took those and ... we painted him bronze and stuck him on a pedestal for five days."
The "Korean guy" may have provided physical inspiration during production, but the real Kim Jong Il "is way more fascinating than the one in our movie," Trey asserts. "He loves movies. He writes musicals, and he's completely insane and kills people.
"At the time we were writing the script, Kim Jong Il was at least public enemy number three. We actually handed in the first draft of the script before the Iraq war. We'd already done the Saddam Hussein thing, and we didn't know what was going to happen with Osama, so we thought: 'Who else is out there?' We started reading into Kim Jong Il and his life, and it was pretty obvious immediately that he was the right guy. "
The Matt Stone and Trey Parker partnership has indeed been successful in generating hysterical comedy. "Nowadays, we're both a little more bitter," Trey jokes. "And a little more sour. We used to be like a milkshake, and now we're like a rotten, sour milkshake."
Nevertheless, Team America promises to be a fine film that represents many relevant political issues. With November 2nd not too far off, Team America's October release could very well impact the outcome of the upcoming presidential election.
"It's not that we care more about what's going on in the world," Matt Stone reassures his politically-apathetic viewers. "We're just starting to be older people that like watch news and stuff, which is not cool"