Note to Hollywood: If you send Aziz Ansari a script, chances are he won't like it.
"I generally don't like any scripts I read. I mean, think about it like this — to find a movie, it's gotta be good, then there's gotta be a part that is workable for who I am and what my comedy is," the 28-year-old said the other day, fidgeting with his coffee cup in the back of a Los Feliz cafe. "I need to feel like, 'Oh, I could play that character.' Not, 'Oh, that's an Indian guy with a beard!'"
That's why when he stumbled across "30 Minutes or Less," the buddy bank robbery comedy out on Aug. 12, Ansari jumped to audition for director Ruben Fleischer. He actually could see himself playing Chet, the clean-cut schoolteacher whose best friend (Jesse Eisenberg) ropes him into being an accomplice to a major crime. And he also knew that Fleischer would be open to letting him improvise, as the actor has on the set of films with his mentor Judd Apatow, and on the sitcom "Parks and Recreation."
"I'm a writer and I enjoy that process of trying to make the scene better on set," Ansari said. "I'd try to do stuff that was actually useful, as opposed to just riffs that won't make it into the movie. If I had a joke I wanted to try, or I didn't feel great about a certain joke, Ruben was always like, 'Try anything you want, and if it works, we'll use it.'"