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sundance report

Ed Helms Is Surprised People Like the Wire Joke in Cedar Rapids

If you’ve caught the trailers for the upcoming Ed Helms movie, Cedar Rapids, you’ve seen the moment where Isiah Whitlock Jr.’s character says he's a huge fan of The Wire — the meta joke being that Whitlock played Senator Clay Davis on the HBO show. The reference comes up twice, and they got the biggest laughs of the evening at the movie’s Sundance premiere on Sunday night, much to Helms’s surprise. Helms, who executive produced the film, was initially not a fan of the joke. “Those lines existed before Isiah Whitlock was even in the conversation about the movie,” he told us. “I’m kind of a stickler for realism in comedy, and when we got Isiah on board I was like, Of course we’re gonna have to change the Wire jokes, because we can’t be that ... self-referential because it’ll take people out of the movie.” Outvoted by his colleagues, he finally relented. “I was like, okaaay. Over my objections, I’ll let this slide. And now of course it was people’s favorite moments in the movie.” Now we just have to wait for Michael K. Williams to say "sheeeeitt" on Boardwalk Empire and the circle will be complete.

Photo: Fox Searchlight