Paul Rudd Finds Working With Himself Exhausting in Living With Yourself

The Marvel hero faces off against ... Paul Rudd in new Netflix comedy.

by | October 18, 2019 | Comments

Living With Yourself star Paul Rudd was tested by having to act opposite himself in the new Netflix comedy. One of the main challenges Rudd faced in playing both versions of Miles, a man who must confront his clone when they meet, was coming up with the actual method of getting in front of the camera and doing it.

“I would record both parts as audio and I would play the character that was driving the scene,” the Marvel Avenger told reporters at the series premiere in Hollywood. “That one, I would film first and I would listen to myself in that scene. […] I’d look at the tape we had made, and study what I had done, and then I would just be the other guy and try to act opposite that and those movements. It was a bit frantic, to say the least.”

The show, from former Daily Show writer Timothy Greenberg and now Certified Fresh on the Tomatometer, tells the story of Miles, a middle-aged man struggling with the everyday stresses of life. The mundane-ness of it all, mixed with personal and professional pressures, leads Miles to an odd spa — a referral by his co-worker Dan (Desmin Borges) — which provides a mysterious service that touts the rejuvenation of one’s mind and body.

(Photo by Netflix)

In a world where cutting-edge, quirky self-improvement trends seem to cloud the marketplace, this pricey trip — Miles spends $50,000 in cash to fix his life — sounds plausible enough. That is, of course, until he wakes up in a freshly dug grave, wrapped in plastic, in the middle of the forest, only to discover another version of himself at home getting cozy with his wife, Kate (Aisling Bea).

While, at first glance, Living With Yourself may be a bit reminiscent of other mishap-riddled clone-themed comedies like the Michael Keaton–starrer Multiplicity, the Netflix series strives for more than just the expected laughs. The eight-episode season delves into thought-provoking concepts like free will, one’s own pursuit of happiness, and the rather existential question: Am I a good person?

“What if there were another you?” Greenberg, who also acts as the show’s executive producer and showrunner, told Rotten Tomatoes. “And what if that other you was the better version of yourself?”

That simple question is the crux of the story, and one that was prompted by Greenberg’s recurring childhood nightmare.

“I’m sitting at the dining room table and the door would open and there was another me standing there,” he explains. “My family would be around, and they’d be laughing and think it was funny, but I would be terrified.”

(Photo by Netflix)

And once Greenberg got older and created his own family, the fear evolved into something that may touch home for many viewers.

“I started being more concerned about what kind of person I was, in general, but also with [my wife and kids],” he continues. “Why am I sometimes a better or worse version of myself? That became, sort of, a daily concern of mine.”

After Jon Stewart announced his exit from The Daily Show, Greenberg faced a career conundrum that had him panicked about his next step.

“I realized I could take this sort of daily concern of how I self-analyze on a day-to-day basis and marry that to these more fantastical elements of, ‘What if there were another you?’ And ‘What if that other you was the better version of yourself,'” he said.

Rudd was always at the top of the list of talent Greenberg wanted to play the lead roles, and while Greenberg never dreamed the Marvel Avenger would be interested in the job, Rudd explained that the combination of the writing and the challenge of playing two parts drew him to the series.

“Normally it seems, with shows, there are one or two episodes written and then the rest is like a one or two-page description of where they’re going to take it,” Rudd said. “This was unique in that all of them were written. And they were all written by one person. So the point of view was very clear. I thought they were funny, inventive, and I loved what it was kind of talking about: this weird, existential dilemma.”

Living With Yourself SEASON Season 1 EPISODE 5 PHOTO CREDIT Eric Liebowitz/Netflix PICTURED Paul Rudd, Aisling Bea
(Photo by Eric Liebowitz/Netflix)

Living With Yourself is presented with a dash of science fiction, but the series doesn’t rely on grandiose special effects to help build its world; in fact, the genre elements that heighten the story are told through the writing and nuanced performances Rudd delivers as these two different versions of himself.

“There’s no putting Paul’s face over another person’s body or anything like that,” co-star Aisling Bea said. “It’s all Paul doing two parts and remembering where he was. It’s like a copied and pasted thing — but there’s a surprising not amount of special effects. And there’s a lot of Paul’s acting doing it.”

Some days, the actor would have to switch back and forth between both characters multiple times, a balancing act that was about as exhausting as it sounds, the actor confirmed. Much of Rudd’s recent experience is in the movie-making world with longer production schedules. On the series, they had roughly three months to shoot what equates to essentially a four-hour movie.

Oscar-nominated husband-and-wife directing duo Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (Little Miss Sunshine) helm the entire first season. The perspective that this is really one long movie helped lure them away from the arthouse movie-making they’re known for.

“What was sent to us was like eight episodes,” Faris said. “So, it kind of felt like reading a movie script. And the idea that we could direct all of them made it feel more like a transition from doing a film into episodic, so we didn’t really think of it as episodic television.

“That was really fun,” she continued. “But the way the show plays with structure and time made it really different from anything we’ve ever done. The episodes sort of change perspective and, you know, go back in time and repeat things.”

(Photo by Eric Liebowitz/Netflix)

Faris and Dayton agreed that they were glad for the opportunity to work with Rudd, the star of Ant-Man and the Wasp.

“I don’t know how this would have been possible without Paul,” Faris adds. “Watching him was a constant marvel — sorry, had to say it.”

Living With Yourself is now streaming on Netflix. 

Like this? Subscribe to our newsletter and get more features, news, and guides in your inbox every week.

Adjusted Score: 86.584%
Critics Consensus: Strange, surreal, and surprising, Living With Yourself takes a minute to come together, but once it does it proves to be a clever rumination on identity driven by Paul Rudd's impressive dueling performances.
Synopsis: A man who's burned out on life and love undergoes a mysterious treatment, only to find that he's been replaced... [More]
Directed By: Jonathan Dayton

Tag Cloud

YouTube cults Sundance Now Rom-Com Box Office science fiction true crime Nominations 2015 Video Games Action Election game of thrones sag awards CBS MTV Dark Horse Comics Tomatazos CBS All Access zombies Tarantino DirecTV crime drama kids Mary poppins unscripted Universal YouTube Premium south america AMC jamie lee curtis A&E Paramount Network Interview Spring TV crime thriller Pirates spider-man witnail TV renewals Fantasy Adult Swim elevated horror DC Universe Awards American Society of Cinematographers HBO Max El Rey television Marvel Studios Women's History Month 2016 talk show Superheroe breaking bad festivals Trivia 2019 cancelled television San Diego Comic-Con technology dc stand-up comedy werewolf Winners travel A24 christmas movies toy story TCA The CW TCA Winter 2020 Drama zombie Lionsgate rotten movies we love cancelled TV shows 71st Emmy Awards 2017 Musical finale latino police drama Comedy Central HBO NYCC TCA 2017 GIFs Spectrum Originals National Geographic adaptation Mary Poppins Returns Chilling Adventures of Sabrina spy thriller cops FXX 007 Song of Ice and Fire comics book 2020 game show Esquire Quiz DGA richard e. Grant ABC New York Comic Con Reality war romance Mystery Nat Geo Apple Star Trek Marvel ghosts BBC America Black Mirror Amazon ESPN miniseries canceled YA Emmys The Witch Discovery Channel video Extras PBS transformers anime Turner Family Best and Worst canceled TV shows TV Land Countdown See It Skip It President Tumblr OWN Paramount Animation RT History harry potter Warner Bros. Tubi Holidays Hallmark Christmas movies comic TruTV disaster natural history nature Stephen King cinemax Apple TV+ dceu casting Shondaland movies Trailer Summer theme song Holiday based on movie supernatural diversity cancelled GLAAD Premiere Dates slashers Fall TV blockbuster ITV Sundance TV Teen E! adventure Brie Larson children's TV Classic Film Pixar FX mockumentary VICE SDCC Valentine's Day X-Men Writers Guild of America hist Hulu spinoff cats MCU Grammys green book Columbia Pictures 45 Bravo Endgame Walt Disney Pictures foreign The Walking Dead comiccon Marathons Sneak Peek Watching Series Britbox psycho Biopics Peacock Reality Competition crossover TNT sitcom singing competition Crackle Comedy IFC CW Seed First Look spanish language IFC Films screen actors guild robots Netflix Christmas movies SundanceTV mutant 21st Century Fox OneApp facebook 2018 Super Bowl what to watch Rocketman Arrowverse TLC golden globes RT21 Heroines free movies USA Network crime Academy Awards Ellie Kemper Captain marvel Film boxoffice blaxploitation historical drama Winter TV thriller Comics on TV space Infographic Acorn TV Martial Arts biography joker SXSW WarnerMedia TBS LGBTQ Kids & Family anthology TCM independent Amazon Prime aliens The Arrangement Shudder Pride Month Epix cooking Polls and Games DC Comics Amazon Prime Video dragons indie Vudu Lifetime Christmas movies period drama GoT Music TIFF Certified Fresh Logo halloween Television Academy sequel versus Pop Anna Paquin Elton John social media Lucasfilm series Trophy Talk Opinion zero dark thirty Red Carpet cancelled TV series quibi Apple TV Plus Pet Sematary spain Mary Tyler Moore justice league First Reviews Schedule Disney Channel Mudbound doctor who animated VH1 Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt revenge tv talk 24 frames 20th Century Fox Disney Plus Cosplay hispanic CMT Avengers vampires Star Wars strong female leads Starz directors MSNBC PaleyFest Disney Year in Review The Purge Sci-Fi Hallmark Podcast Netflix dramedy Marvel Television Showtime ABC Family ratings discovery APB Binge Guide Baby Yoda Syfy BET NBC DC streaming service award winner Oscars medical drama sports Toys Set visit Turner Classic Movies Film Festival Mindy Kaling YouTube Red cars Comic Book Rock Western streaming name the review Emmy Nominations reboot Cartoon Network BBC Crunchyroll CNN Freeform political drama psychological thriller Lifetime Christmas romantic comedy FOX docudrama Thanksgiving WGN E3 LGBT Nickelodeon Superheroes Masterpiece politics Ghostbusters Country screenings TV teaser Photos Chernobyl Awards Tour Disney+ Disney Plus Calendar USA serial killer Disney streaming service renewed TV shows Creative Arts Emmys Ovation Cannes binge History Character Guide Sony Pictures Rocky Musicals batman cartoon composers Horror Food Network Sundance Spike Fox News