For their new film, a campy remake of the campy '70s cop show Starsky & Hutch, Stiller and Wilson play their set roles broadly. They sat down with TIME for a chat about the film, the pressures of being a comedy duo and hitting on women. The suitable-for-a-family-magazine parts appear below:
STILLER: I wanted to ask if we might have a cover shot with this.
WILSON: You did a Miami Vice cover: COOL COPS, HOT SHOW. I loved that show.
STILLER: I was on a Miami Vice episodelate in the series, when they were saying Crockett wouldn't come on the set until Tubbs was on the set.
TIME: Do you guys do that?
WILSON: I like to keep things loose when I perform. Ben has a really different approach.
STILLER: I read the script. Owen likes to use the call sheet as a starting point as to when to show up on the set.
TIME: This is good. You have tension.
Wilson: We're both up-and-down personalities. We've been friends for a long time, and we have a similar sense of humor, but [to Stiller] you're pretty sensitive to stuff. Sensitive to me. On the Zoolander DVD commentary, they start slamming the way I look, saying "What's the deal with his nose?" And I could hear Ben try to defend me.
STILLER: People are obsessed with your nose. I don't get questions about my nose, and I have a huge nose.
WILSON: This whole story was about your sensitivity to me, and now you're talking about my nose?
TIME: When did you figure out that you were a comedy duo?
WILSON: People ask if we have chemistry. You have to wait to see what the public says.
STILLER: I think that's a weird thing anyway, chemistry.
WILSON: Every movie I've been in, they say, "You have great chemistry," whoever I've been with. Sort of the way I've never worked on a movie where the dailies haven't been "incredible." And I always fall for it.
STILLER: Owen describes us as Hope and Crosby without the huge following.
WILSON: Martin and Lewis without the fans. That makes us more authentic, I think. Or more committed to being a duo.
STILLER: I think there are certain similarities to Bob Hope as far as his onscreen persona.
TIME: The nose.
STILLER: Well, the nose. But Owen does that lovably, rascally coward type of guy.
WILSON: Let me refer you to a movie called Behind Enemy Lines. There's a guy who had the chance to run and jump on the helicopter but chose to go back into a hail of bullets.
STILLER: That's when I realized we were a comedy duo, when I saw Behind Enemy Lines. I realized Owen should never be alone.
TIME: Why'd you let Ben drive the car in the movie? He grew up in Manhattan.
WILSON: I was disappointed to show up on-set and see that Ben was doing all the driving.
STILLER: Again, if you read the script, you can see what is actually going to happen in the movie.
WILSON: It was three weeks into the movie before I found out we weren't doing Dukes of Hazzard.
TIME: As kids, when we played Starsky and Hutch, we always fought over who had to be Hutch.
WILSON: I don't know if this is a controversy, but I liked Starsky as a kid.
STILLER: We can't dis David Soul, though. I think they're a duo. When those guys came out to do the movie, they went right back into it.
TIME: Maybe that's because they haven't done other characters since then.
STILLER: Starsky is a director.
TIME: And David Soul made that beautiful song you sing in the movie.
WILSON: Don't Give Up on Us, Baby.