Bert Kreischer on ‘The Machine’ and Why He Couldn’t Do Interviews Shirtless

May 24, 2023

In a tale of human connection that defies language and cultural barriers, comedian and actor Bert Kreischer makes his theatrical movie debut in The Machine, in theaters May 26. Based on the fantastical stand-up story Kreischer told of his college days attending Florida State University, and directed by Peter Atencio (Keanu), the action comedy takes place 23 years later, when Kreischer (who plays himself) and his father, played by Mark Hamill, must face the consequences of his actions. Collider’s Steve Weintraub spoke with Kreischer about his first-ever leading role in a feature film, and what it was like to lead the charge in a Hollywood movie alongside a Hollywood legend.

The Machine hops between present day and the year 1999, when Bert Kreischer went on a college trip to Russia and befriended a group of Russian mobsters. Two decades later, Bert is a family man, and long gone are the days of “The Machine.” Now, rather than robbing trains with the Russian mafia while drunk on vodka, he’s constantly at odds with his father (Hamill), who doesn’t find his antics entertaining. As fate would have it, both he and his dad are kidnapped by a woman who claims “The Machine” was involved in a robbery that tangles them up with a sociopathic family, landing them back in Russia. The Machine also stars Jimmy Tatro as young Bert, Iva Babic, Martyn Ford, and Stephanie Kurtzuba.

Before taking this wild train ride, check out Kreischer’s interview with Weintraub in the video and transcript below, and find out what he learned in his Star Wars “deep-dive” with Hamill, how he tapped into his own Daniel Day-Lewis on set, and what about film production he found “the most tedious.” Kreischer also shares what he’s most excited for his fans to see and the hidden Easter eggs planted in the movie for audiences to catch.

COLLIDER: I was 50/50 on whether or not you were going to be doing your interviews shirtless.

BERT KREISCHER: [Laughs] I wish I could! I hate wearing shirts, and I’m gaining weight so none of my shirts fit me right now.

Image via Netflix

Did the studio or a publicist say, “Yeah, you’re wearing a shirt today?”

KREISCHER: Oh yeah. Oh, they have shirts for everything I’m supposed to do, and I’m so fat I can’t fit in them, so I end up taking them off in the middle of the interview anyway because my buttons are just bulging.

So what you’re trying to say is publicists have some control, but not all the control.

KREISCHER: Publicist and my wife; my wife picked out the shirts too.

So you’ve done a lot in terms of comedy specials, podcasts, you put a lot out there. If someone has actually never heard you before or seen you before, what’s the first thing you want them watching?

KREISCHER: That’s the greatest question! I want them to watch– Shit, if someone’s never seen me before, I think I want them to watch “The Machine” story, I think I want them to watch “The Machine” story. I was gonna say 2 Bears 1 Cave because I feel like I share so much about who I am on that podcast, but then you gotta meet Tom [Seguar], too, and he’s a snoozefest, so it’s gonna be “The Machine” story.

You got to have Mark Hamill play your dad in this movie, and I wanted to know, how long did it take you on set before you started peppering him with Star Wars questions because you’re of the age that you grew up with Star Wars.

KREISCHER: Oh yeah, I saw it in the movie theater, I saw Return of the Jedi in the movie theater, and on the ride home, I tried to get my Chewbacca doll to lift [mimes using the Force]. I was obsessed with Star Wars, I was obsessed with Star Wars.

In rehearsals I was asking him questions. Like, right when I first met him, I was hammering him for every– and I was asking him, like, “Does does Harrison Ford smoke pot?” I was asking him grown-up questions too. I was obsessed with Carrie Fisher’s energy, like in life, so I loved her, and so I just got to deep-dive everything! And I wanted to know, like, who were people who were supposed to play the roles, and he had all that. I didn’t know that Harrison Ford was just helping read sides with other people, I think Tom Selleck was supposed to play Han Solo, and then– it was awesome. He was awesome, and he took the time to tell you everything, like, he gets that the weight of your dreams and hopes rest on him being cool to you. There’s a lot of celebrities who dropped the ball on that, and Mark Hamill does not.

Image via Sony Pictures

This is your first time, I believe, being number one on the call sheet, and you’re the lead of a Hollywood movie. What actually surprised you about filming a movie like this and maintaining the energy every day? Because, from what I understand, it’s like a marathon when you’re filming.

KREISCHER: Oh, so I never really understood actors needing to be in character and stuff. Like, I didn’t get it, I just never acted. And in most of this movie, I’m just playing myself, so I’m in character every day when I show up to work. Then there was one scene where, in the rehearsal, we’re doing it in the rehearsal, and I accessed some emotion and I started to tear up, and the actress, Iva Babic, was like, “That was really good, you should do that in the thing,” and I go, “I don’t know if I can.” She told, me she goes, “Go be by yourself and don’t lose this energy, and bring it back in and we’ll do it, and we’ll get you,” and the director was cool. I had never been there. It was the coolest thing about acting, is like, I’m all of a sudden in this tent, thinking about my daughter, and our relationship was a little rocky, and I accessed that, and I was like, “This is fucking cool,” and then I was like, “Oh dude, I wanna see what Daniel Day-Lewis does.” All of a sudden, you’re like, “This is amazing!” So, yeah, that was like the challenge, I think.

When Legendary acquired the rights to your story to make The Machine, film studios acquire rights all the time, but that doesn’t actually mean it’s going to move forward. When did you realize, “Oh shit, this is actually gonna happen?”

KREISCHER: [Laughs] Dude, Peter Atencio came to my house with a bottle of Blanton’s – and we had been greenlit, I still didn’t know what that meant, I’m being dead serious, I did not know what that meant – and he opened a bottle of Blanton’s, and he’s like, “So we’re making this movie.” But people are saying that the entire time, “Yeah, we’re making a movie. We’re making a movie.” And I go, “Yeah, yeah, yeah,” and he goes, “No, I go to Serbia tomorrow,” and I went, “What are you going to Serbia for?” He goes, “Starting to scout locations.” I go, “Hold on, like, are you being paid?” And he was like, “Dude, my deal’s closed,” he goes, “Get ready, we’re making a movie in a month,” and I was like, “Shut the f– ” I really had no clue until we opened that bottle of Blanton’s.

Image via Sony Pictures

It happens all the time! Making a movie, getting a green light, is really hard.

KREISCHER: Yeah, it’s impossible. I mean, I can’t believe– I feel like I got really lucky. Did you ever see those videos on Instagram where the lady walks out in traffic and a bus misses her by a minute? That’s what I feel like, I feel like a bunch of buses just missed me and I’m just standing here going, “How did I get here? This is crazy.” Yeah, I’m really, really, really, really lucky. I got lucky, and I got lucky to be surrounded by like – and I know people say this and they don’t mean it, but just crazy talented people that all knew what the fuck they were doing.

Oh, 100%. What are you most looking forward to your fans actually seeing in the movie?

KREISCHER: There’s a lot of things; there’s like deep-dives. I’m excited that they’re gonna see things that weren’t in the trailer. That’s what I’m excited about. I have one friend who saw a screener, a guy at a radio show, and his comment was, “You didn’t put all the funny parts in the trailer. This movie is fucking awesome!” And I was like, “Yes! That’s it.” I have little Easter eggs in the movie, like I spray painted Thomas fat, like there’s little things like that. Like, the guy whose head we rip off is the UFC champion, good friends with Rogan. I’m excited for people to find the little things that are like Easter eggs.

Was there a day that you thought something was going to be super simple to film and it ended up being a huge pain in the ass?

KREISCHER: No, no, no, I gotta be honest with you, I really just loved every second of it. I really felt like every day was the first date, and so everything we did was just a blast. The one thing that was tedious for me, I have tactile issues, like in America we’re a little more sensitive to people’s mental health, and I didn’t like when they put blood on me and I had to have blood on me for half the movie. It was sticky, it was uncomfortable, and it had to be all over my hands, and that was the most tedious. They’d just be like,”Put it on,” and I’d be like, “Well, can we wait until I eat?” Then once it was on, I was like this [gestures with discomfort] the whole day because I was sticky. And so, that was the only part of the movie that I was like, “Ehh.” I would never be able to be like one of those– Like Eddie Murphy would do the Klumps, and do all that makeup. I could never do that, I would be losing my mind.

Image via Legendary Pictures

Yeah, I think a lot of people don’t realize, you hit the nail on the head. Especially if you’re filming like a zombie movie and you have to be in that makeup.

KREISCHER: No fucking way. No way.

On that note, I gotta go, I’m just gonna say congrats on the movie. I really do hope it’s a huge hit for you.

KREISCHER: Brother, thank you so much. From your mouth to God’s ears.

The Machine hits theaters May 26.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by filmibee.
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