Fast-talker Vaughn happy to be among his friends in films

He was so `money' as Trent in `Swingers'

Movies

July 14, 2005|By Roger Moore | Roger Moore,ORLANDO SENTINEL

Vince Vaughn is spent. He's just finishing up a grueling movie shoot in his hometown of Chicago. "Five-day weeks," he griped of The Break Up. And most every day, he has to get all mushy with Jennifer Aniston.

"I know, I know, `Cry me a river,' right?"

It's a tough job, but Vaughn is willing to do it. Even if certain tabloids have concocted a whole Vince-Jen romance out of shots of them canoodling on the set. "Lies," she said. "Guess they've gotta sell papers," he said.

Vaughn, 35, is the fast-talking charmer who burst on the movie scene with his lady-killer turn in the indie hit Swingers back in '96. He's talking fast and killing the ladies again in his latest. Wedding Crashers, co-starring Owen Wilson, opens tomorrow.

His character, Jeremy, is a guy who crashes weddings to up women. Isn't he an older version of Trent, from Swingers, the dude who called everybody "baby" and everything good "money" - as in "Baby, you're so money"?

"These guys are totally different," Vaughn said. "OK, OK. They both like to chase girls. But Trent is a young, smooth operator who is very cool. Jeremy is the scared one. He's like a big kid, a child, the best friend, the emotional guy. Trent's clever and a fast talker and easy and cool. Jeremy's more of a big Labrador retriever."

He says he has grown out of Trent. He has played movie villains in his 30 or so screen credits (look for him in Rudy). But he's most at home in the comedies of his friends, Jon Favreau, Will Ferrell, Ben Stiller and Owen and Luke Wilson. Some have taken to calling this gang "the Frat Pack," which Vaughn finds amusing. It's not as if they went to college, or worked together on the same movie, or Saturday Night Live or anything.

"The only common denominator in all this is Ben Stiller, who has found work for all of us. Ben finds people who are funny and gives them these opportunities for doing this stuff. ... Ben is the man. He fights for you."

Vaughn speaks up for his friends, which may be why he has been so good at keeping them. The guy who got him his break? His "partner in crime," Favreau, with whom he has made a couple of early movies and still chums around with.

Vaughn's place within character comedies, with the occasional exception ("I was the straight man in Dodgeball."), is those breathless silly soliloquies that make for big laughs. He's like the clever best friend who can riff on anything, the guy who coins the catchphrase that the entire college dorm picks up.

"I've never intellectualized that," he said, thinking fast and talking faster. "I don't know if speed has a whole lot to do with it. I like coming up with this stuff, or going through something really long and complicated really fast because that's kind of who I am, where me and the character I'm playing intersect."

Be Cool, the Get Shorty sequel, didn't do that well at the box office. And if this is going to be "The Summer of Vince," Wedding Crashers will have to do There's Something About Mary business. No worries, though. Vaughn has already been in one big summer hit - Mr. & Mrs. Smith. That's him, having too much fun as Eddie, a CIA contact for Brad Pitt's government assassin, but a CIA man with a twist: Eddie still lives with his mom.

"You come in, you work for a few days, you come up with some stuff to do," Vaughn says. "I sort of wrote my scenes, because [director] Doug Liman's a friend from Swingers."

Another "friend?" Isn't Liman, who directed Swingers, an honorary member of the Frat Pack?

"Hey, I love working with friends, but not just old friends," he says. "You do something with somebody you've never worked with before; if things go well, they become your new friends."

The Orlando Sentinel is a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

For film events, see Page 32.

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