Robert Downey Jr. loves the mayhem Zach Galifianakis perpetrates on screen. Galifianakis loves the way Downey responds to his mayhem.
Downey, who refreshed his comedy skills with an Academy Award-nominated role in 2008's "Tropic Thunder," and Galifianakis, one of the breakout stars of last year's "The Hangover," hit the road as mismatched traveling companions in this fall's "Due Date."
"To me, the funniest part about the movie is Robert's reactions to things," Galifianakis said alongside Downey in an interview at last week's ShoWest convention for theater owners, where distributor Warner Bros. previewed footage of "Due Date." "There's antics that I do, but any time you go to Robert's face, that to me is the real great thing about this."
The latest from "The Hangover" director Todd Phillips, "Due Date" casts Downey as a first-time dad forced to hitch a ride with a wannabe actor (Galifianakis) to make it home in time for the birth of his baby.
Phillips won ShoWest's award as director of the year, while Galifianakis was named the convention's comedy star of the year — a well-deserved honor, according to Downey.
"I've never worked with anyone like ZG, because there's no telling what he might do," Downey said. "Just because you're on set doesn't mean that's where the scene's going to go, which to me is even a step beyond my own managed insanity. But it's not because he's not contained. He's just completely free."
"No one is really the straight man in this movie," added Downey, "but I am kind of like this stick that's pounded into the ground, that I think a lot of people can relate to."
Before their "Due Date," both actors are back on screen this summer, Downey with his superhero sequel "Iron Man 2," Galifianakis in Steve Carell's comedy "Dinner for Schmucks."
For "Due Date," the actors and their director got to have fun with some parent issues, both on camera and off.
"Todd and I, who probably have real father issues, ganged up on Zach," Downey said. "He comes from a relatively healthy family, and by virtue of his relative healthiness, we attacked him."
"That's exactly right," Galifianakis agreed. "The way I really would describe it is two alpha males raised by Michael Vick who decided to get into the film business."