Make a movie or stay fit.
As a producer, you usually can’t do both. The job’s too demanding and the hours are too brutal. But there’s really nothing usual about Burn Later Productions, the newest production company to take Hollywood by storm. First, the company’s founders are young. Second, despite being newcomers to a crowded industry, they’ve been able to attract A-listers like Guy Pearce and Olivia Wilde to their growing body of work, which includes Drinking Buddies and Adult Beginners. Third, they value fitness – evidenced both by their willingness to crank out pushups on set and their latest movie Results, about the often ludicrous world of personal training.
We spoke with Burn Later’s co-presidents Paul Bernon and Sam Slater, along with the executive producer of Results, David Bernon. Here, they talk about their latest project which opens in May, their fitness regimen, and the pre red carpet pump (which yes, apparently is a thing).
Men’s Fitness: What drew you to Results in the first place, why did you want to make this movie?
Paul Bernon: We were drawn to it because it’s a relationship piece like all of our films, with a comedic element, which we think is a great way to tell a story. In addition to that, there is a larger issue which is about self-improvement culture and this idea that people can hire a trainer or hire a life coach and basically try to outsource all of their issues. And it’s funny for us because we’re certainly all into fitness, but we know you can’t fully outsource it, and I think that there are interesting issues at play there.
Sam Slater: Folks think they can just go out and hire a trainer and just change who they are, and I’m actually guilty of that myself, hiring a trainer and assuming all of a sudden I’ll have a fantastic body and be in shape.
MF: After watching the movie am I still going to be motivated to hire a personal trainer, or will I want to avoid them at all costs?
SS: I think that you will still hire your trainer, and will also be committed to wanting to be in shape and leading a healthy lifestyle. But I think that it will make clear that if you don’t have the right motivation, and the right reasoning and commitment for it, you’ll fail before you start.
MF: So are you guys guilty of throwing money at ridiculous gym gizmos or trainers?
PB: Well some of us are certainly guilty of buying the ab belt, and I think the shake weight is at home. In all seriousness we’ve all gone through the gimmicks, and have realized the only way to get this done is to follow a pretty strict training regimen.
MF: What are your guys’ training regimens like?
David Bernon: When I’m back home, I wake up really early, so I’m up by 5 or 6 every day. When we’re on the road, I try to do as much as I can with body weight stuff and try to eat as healthy as possible because that’s one of the biggest things when we’re traveling as much as we do, and we’re on the road, it’s more important in terms of getting the right food for your body because there’s a lot of junk around.
MF: With all the traveling and crazy schedules, do you guys ever have to squeeze in a workout on set?
PB: I certainly have done some yoga on set, just to limber up. A lot of actors have felt that was extremely weird. I’m a big fan of the hotel room workout; I’ll do 100 push ups, 100 squats, 100 sit ups, and some burpees. That can be tremendously efficient.
SS: I think nothing gets better attention to your commitment to physical fitness than doing pushup routines in a costume truck.
MF: Guy Pearce, who stars in Results, is in phenomenal shape. Did you talk with him about how he stays healthy?
DB: Yeah, I talked a little bit with Guy about what his personal fitness was and he was on a very committed diet. If we were not shooting and we were going out, he wasn’t drinking and he was eating right and he was doing all of the little things; waking up early for runs and all of this stuff to make sure that his body was in perfect form the entire shoot.
MF: So the movie opens in May. Do you guys have any pre red carpet traditions when your movies premiere?
SS: What I do is –- and I’m giving away a secret here but this is really just too special not to share — I tend to wear tight fitted clothing to show off my massive chest. Once everyone exits the car on the way there, I have the driver circle the block. I put down all of the seats in the back of the vehicle and I proceed to do a pushup routine so when I exit I’m fully pumped. This is Sam’s secret routine to looking as fully pumped as you can at any red carpet event.
MF: We might need to copyright that.
SS: We may have to take it to that level, not going to lie. I don’t think most folks would be okay with admitting that but I am.