After being in the right place at the right time (aka the Alligator office), I was able to casually chat with Vince Vaughn (and six other student journalists) via Google Hangouts to talk about his upcoming film, “Unfinished Business,” (March 6) a comedy also starring Dave Franco and Tom Wilkinson about a small-business owner and colleagues who take a business trip to Europe to close an important deal but not without some problems along the way. He also spoke about his involvement in films extending beyond acting, and he even dropped some knowledge for those who are unsure about what they want to do with their lives.
You have a lot of comedy films under your belt. What makes “Unfinished Business” different from those films and what attracted you to the role of a small-business owner?
Recently I found myself in some more kind of PG-13 movies. What I like about this was that they were going to deal with this with adult tone, language and situation. For me, the concept of guys going on a business trip, the relatability of the family and the interplay of the guys seemed exciting.
I know you’ve written and produced films, and even starred in those films. What’s it like playing those different roles?
It’s really case by case. Like the movie “Made,” I was always contributing. It was really nice to care about something. “The Break-Up” was my idea and I wrote it with two other writers — that was a story I wanted to tell that I thought, “We’ve never seen that.” I thought it was interesting to tell it in a comedic way at first where the characters don’t end up together but grow from that experience. So I think if you’re excited about what you’re working on, the amount of work doesn’t matter.
“Unfinished Business” is an original script like many of your other films. How do you feel about the increasing dominance of remakes and sequels in Hollywood versus these original films?
Well I’ve been a part of both. I like being a part of an original idea; there’s something that’s exciting about it. I do understand when someone is moved by something or excited by something and they almost want to homage it or they have an interpretation of it. It feels like nowadays, in the marketplace, there is a sense that you have to have a big IP or kind of a franchise in order to cut through in the movie theaters.
As you get older, do you think you will eventually veer away from the underdog comedy role?
I’m excited to be mixing stuff up. For me, I think the best thing is to do different stuff. I like to do different things and split my focus.
You said you’ve known what you wanted to do from a young age. What advice would you give someone in college who doesn’t have any idea what they want to do?
That it’s OK. Don’t let other people’s wants or results dictate your process because the main thing that matters is that you land on something you feel good about. You don’t have to commit to something today and then follow that choice 15 years later. You’re always going to be changing, your goals are going to change, your interests are going to change, and be easy on yourself with that. If you make a commitment to do something, try your hardest. Success is knowing you did the best you could at something. Get engaged, read about stuff, be involved in what’s going on around you, form your own opinions and be willing to hear other people’s opinions. You have to honor whatever your calling is.
[A version of this story ran on page 7 on 2/26/2015 under the headline “Vince Vaughn talks about acting, ‘Unfinished Business’”]