‘It was a mess for poor Sam’
Like a deer in headlights – that’s how Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon take to international espionage in hilarious new action comedy The Spy Who Dumped Me.
When Audrey (Mila) discovers her ex-boyfriend (Justin Theroux) was a CIA agent, she and bestie Morgan (Kate) become entangled in a conspiracy.
With assassins out to get them, they’re on the run and forced to become spies themselves – only they’re not quite as suave or savvy as 007.
Here, TV WEEK talks to Mila, 34, and co-star Sam Heughan, 38, whose character, a charming British agent, spills the beans on Audrey’s duplicitous ex.
TV WEEK: When it comes to spies, 007 is obviously the master. How do you both stack up against James Bond?
Sam: Obviously, the film has a nod to past Bond movies. I’m glad I got to put on the tux, because I’ve always wanted to play James Bond and be in that world. The stakes are high and there’s real danger in the film. But then the girls come in and blow it all apart with laughs!
Mila: Kate and I play circumstantial spies, so it’s more like how it would be if I or my best friend were thrown into this situation in real life, and this is how it would go down. We don’t have a special magical watch that pops up and turns into a parachute – and that’s what makes it more fun. It’s without the magical realism of Jason Bourne [from the Bourne trilogy] or 007.
Sam, unlike Mila, you’re not exactly famous for your comedy chops – no offence! Were you nervous to go up against such funny women?
S: Outlander is a drama, so to be standing opposite Kate from Saturday Night Live and Mila, who I’ve watched in so many great films, was terrifying. From the first take, Mila and Kate improvised and talked nonsense, so I had a big learning curve to understand that way of working in the comedy world.
M: If Kate is speaking, then she’s improvising, so we’d go off the script a lot. It was a mess for poor Sam, who came from a strict way of working with a script – but he kept up really well.
You all sound so supportive. Spill the beans: did you really get along this well on set too?
M: I was a fan of Kate going into this. The bonus was she ended up becoming a really good friend. Sometimes, you meet people you admire and they aren’t always what you want them to be. It was lovely to discover Kate exceeds all expectations.
S: At the core of this movie are two strong women who have become great friends, and they really brought that to the screen as well. In the story, my character is trying to look after them, but they’re more likely to save him. It was great to be part of this strong female cast.
Mila, you have two little ones with your hubby Ashton Kutcher. What’s one thing you miss about life pre-kids?
M: Now I have children [daughter Wyatt, three, and son Dimitri, one], spontaneity has gone out the window. Ashton and I joke that we used to be able to travel with only a T-shirt in a backpack. Now, we have a Pack ‘n Play [baby device] and a suitcase full of diapers! But I’ve been lucky with my past two projects, Bad Moms and this film. I worked with people who understood that I didn’t want to leave my kids for too long.
Mila, be honest: were you an Outlander fan before you met Sam? And did his sex-symbol status have anything to do with you taking on this movie?
M: I’m new to the whole Outlander world. I had no idea there was this massive fan base lusting after Sam without his shirt on! [Laughs] Kate started watching it while we were shooting the film and she ended up becoming the biggest Sam fan on the planet. We were both sad there was a lot less sexy time in our film!
The Spy Who Dumped Me is in cinemas August 9th.