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Thou shalt not...

Thou shalt not...


The State's Ken Marino discusses his new movie The Ten, the Ten Commandments, and making sweet love to The Daily Show's Rob Corddry.

What's the big deal about the Ten Commandments anyway? In this day and age, only two of them are even illegal (does anyone get arrested for adultery anymore?), and yet they're invoked in almost every debate about the role of religion and morality in contemporary society. The new black comedy The Ten explores these rules in a series of modern-day vignettes so twisted and funny that laughing at any one of them probably means you're going to hell. We decided to ask Ken Marino, one of the original members of the comedy troupe The State--the force behind the film and the cult classic Wet Hot American Summer. Marino--perhaps best known for his character Louie and his famous catchphrase "I want to dip my balls in it"--wrote The Ten with director David Wain and costars as an egocentric surgeon who kills a patient (as a "goof") and is then sent to prison, where he falls for The Daily Show's Rob Corddry. Marino discusses his favorite commandments.

Why is our society so gung ho about the Ten Commandments? I'm not really sure. The movie's not making a statement about the Ten Commandments--it's just a jumping-off point for these stories. I guess I do try to live by them all, whether they're laws or just guidelines. I don't always succeed, of course. We all break them at some point or another.

What's the last commandment you broke? I just killed somebody--I actually need to leave. I'm hearing sirens in the distance.

I'll make it quick. What's your favorite commandment? They're all good. I do try to honor my mother and father.

If you could add a commandment what would it be? Isn't 10 enough? Or maybe I'd add a commandment against talking in elevators.

The dialogue in the film seems very natural--was any of it ad-libbed? A lot of it does feel kind of loose, but it's pretty tightly scripted. David is a very collaborative director, so he and I worked on this together all the way through. But we stuck pretty close to the script we wrote.

How did you guys get so many babes to do the film--Gretchen Mol, Jessica Alba, Winona Ryder? We just asked them. It's like prom--if you actually ask the pretty girl to dance, she might say yes. But most guys are too shy to even ask. Winona was a big fan of Wet Hot American Summer, so she was totally psyched when we approached her. Same with Gretchen and Famke Janssen.

The film depicts false prophets, adultery, and the son of God having sex. Were you worried about being hit by lightning or struck with leprosy? No, not really--knock on wood [laughs]. David and I wrote what we thought what was funny. We weren't setting out to be outrageous or blasphemous. That's just the way our minds work. Even when the film is dark, it's not cruel. It's kind of like an old-fashioned a morality tale.

You and the other actors from The State--Kerri Kenney, Thomas Lennon, Michael Ian Black--always seem to pop up in each other's projects. Is it written into your contract at this point? We're all still very closely connected and respect each other as performers. I always want to work with those guys, so if there's a way to bring them, I'll do it. Every single member of The State was involved with The Ten. David Wain, who directed, is the only one not physically in the film, so we had a scene where there's a picture of him held up against the crotch of a naked man.

Speaking of which, there's a lot of gratuitous male nudity in the "honoring the Sabbath" skit. Isn't that a little There's something homoerotic about it, sure. But it's not gay. Haven't you walked around your house naked? It's nice, right? Who wouldn't want to do that? There's nothing gay about a room full of naked guys grooving out to Roberta Flack.

The vignette about coveting your neighbor's wife has to be the world's longest prison-rape joke in history. Was there any point where you thought, OK, we've milked it enough? We tried to be original and not wink to the audience. I wanted to give it a little Dawson's Creek touch. They cut out my prison rape scenes when I was on Dawson's, so I was happy we could have them play out here.

Was it flattering to be fought over by Rob Corddry and Michael Mulheren? Well it's the classic love story. But was it flattering for the character or me as an actor? It's not a true story, you know. In the real story I had four guys fighting over me--for the movie we narrowed it down to two. Like any love triangle, though, you're torn between what your heart wants and what the big fat guy who punches you in the face wants.

If you were in prison, would you have a bitch or be a bitch? Tough question--I guess it depends on the chemistry.

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