The “Parks and Recreation” actor stars in Jennifer Westfeldt’s star-studded indie due out March 9.
By Rebecca Ford, The Hollywood Reporter
Adam Scott’s initial reaction when he read the script for Friends With Kids, the dark comedy byJennifer Westfeldt:
“Oh, shit, sorry guys.”
Scott, who has been friends with Westfeldt and her longtime partner Mad Men star Jon Hamm for 15 years, realized that the script, about two single friends whose married friends disappear from their lives once they have kids, could easily be a reflection of his own friendship with Westfeldt and Hamm. Scott is a parent of two with wife Naomi Sablan.
“I was one of those people in Jon and Jen’s life who sort of went off the grid once we had our son,” Scott tells The Holllywood Reporter. “He was colicky so he was never asleep so we were zombies for six months and completely dropped out.”
Many people know Scott as Leslie Knope’s (Amy Poehler)boyfriend/campaign manager Ben Wyatt on NBC’s Parks and Recreation, or as the actor-turned-caterer Henry Pollard on Starz’s short-lived Party Down.
The actor will hit the big screen this month in Westfeldt’s directorial debut about two friends (played by Scott and Westfeldt) who decide to have a baby together without being romantically involved. They believe they can remain platonic friends and pursue relationships with other people, therefore avoiding the same fate as their married friends who’ve changed from happy lovers to stressed-out parents.
It turns out that Scott, 38, was involved with the project from the very beginning. Westfeldt asked Scott to participate in a table reading when she was still working on the script in February 2010.
“Her development process is just to do readings and see how it plays and also ask lots of questions of the people who do see the readings to try and make sure everything makes sense to everybody,” he says. “It’s actually a really fascinating process that she goes through.”
Westfeldt, who wrote and starred in the 2001 hit independent film Kissing Jessica Stein, had Scott pegged for the role after that initial reading in 2010. “Adam read Jason and of course he was fantastic and from that moment forward I couldn’t imagine anyone but him playing the role,” she tells THR.
Premiering in the U.S. on March 9, Friends With Kids also stars a standout cast including Hamm,Kristen Wiig, Chris O’Dowd and Maya Rudolph, who play two married couples whose relationships are struggling under the burden of being parents.
“Not having kids herself, she was able to harness that thing that sort of happens, that shifts inside of you. I found it so lovely and moving,” Scott says of Westfeldt, who has been dating Hamm for more than a decade but is not married.
Even though he has done plenty of memorable work (including roles in The Vicious Kind, Step Brothers, Party Down and his current gig on Parks and Recreation), Scott says working with such a star-studded cast was intimidating for him at times.
On their final day of shooting, the main castwas involved in a tense dinner scene in which Scott’s character and Hamm’s character get into a shouting match.
“I just remember sitting at that table and I just couldn’t believe I was sitting there with all those people,” says Scott. “I just remember being a little nervous because I had this big speech to give and I just really didn’t want to suck. You know, Kristen Wiig was sitting next to me so I was just hoping that I would remember my lines.”
Of course, shooting a film about couples with kids meant that there would be children on set. Both toddlers and babies are in the film, and Scott says that while the toddlers were relatively cooperative, the babies “don’t know what’s going on and they don’t want to be there.”
In one particularly memorable scene in the film, which never shies away from the ugly down-and-dirty truths of parenting, Scott has to clean up a diarrhea-covered baby, which was not a fun shoot for anyone. “His mom was right there kind of being very helpful and everything, but I felt like a horrible person for like seven minutes,” says Scott.
With a consistent gig on Parks and Recreation and several film projects coming up, including a role inBen Stiller’s The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, which Scott says he’s most excited about, one would expect that he’s comfortable with his status as a successful actor.
However, Scott admits that he is sometimes still operating from the “guest star on CSI: Miamiperspective,” meaning that he’s just excited to have another job lined up.
“For so many years, I would work four days every six months and just had no idea what was coming next and if I would even be doing this anymore in a couple of years,” says Scott. “The fact that now I have a job and I have another job starting when that job ends is just mind blowing to me.”
Friends With Kids opens in theaters on March 9.