Fred Armisen on The Bubble and Why He Prefers Smaller Roles to Big Ones

Fred Armisen has some thoughts on how meta it was to make a movie about making a movie during the pandemic.


The Bubble (Netflix), photo by David Livingston/Getty Images

    Everyone found their own ways to keep busy during the toughest days of COVID. Judd Apatow got together some friends and made a movie about it. The Bubble, coming to Netflix Friday, features an ensemble cast, including Karen Gillan, Fred Armisen, Maria Bakalova, David Duchovny, Keegan-Michael Key, Leslie Mann, Kate McKinnon, Pedro Pascal, Peter Serafinowicz, and Guz Khan, playing the cast and crew filming the newest installment in the Cliff Beasts action film franchise during lockdown in England.

    Between the odd personalities literally trapped together in quarantine and the rigors of making a CGI-heavy action movie, the potential for comedy was enough to get folks like Armisen excited. The SNL alum and always-working comedian and musician plays Darren Eigan, the film’s relatively inexperienced director, who got the job of directing Cliff Beasts 6 after his first indie feature won at Sundance.

    Consequence spoke with Armisen via Zoom two weeks ago, with him beaming in from London, where Documentary Now! Season 4 is currently in production. In this one-on-one interview, which you can watch above or read below, transcribed and edited for clarity, Armisen explains why he didn’t want to ask for the part he really wanted and what it was like tackling the most meta aspects of playing a director on a film set.


    He did not say whether or not there’s any truth to the rumors that The Bubble was directly inspired by the production of Jurassic World Dominion. But as you’ll see, he has a very good reason.

    To start off, how did you initially get involved with this?

    Judd just asked me. I know it sounds really name-droppy just to say Judd just asked me, but he did. I see him in LA and we’re sort of in the same circles of comedians and he told me this idea, and as soon as he pitched it, even though I would do anything for him, I would be in whatever he wrote, but he pitched it and oh, I thought it was so brilliant.

    So I was like, oh, that sounds great. And then he didn’t tell me what role — he’s like, I don’t know what you could be in it. Maybe you could do something fun. He went through all the roles and he said, the director, you know, like there’s a role for a director. I didn’t say anything, but in my head I was like, oh man, I hope he picks me for that.


    And then he did, and then all the news just got better and better — you know, we’re shooting in England. I love England so much. Everything he said, I was like, absolutely. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.

    That’s wonderful. I’m glad that I’m glad that he somehow sensed your psychic energy about what role you really wanted.

    I’m so glad too, because I didn’t wanna push it. Because when you push stuff, it’s kind of like, who wants that? You know, like, “Hey, let me be that guy.” I remember really holding my tongue and just being like, Hey, great, whatever works, whatever you need me for. I’ll be there.


    As you mentioned, the character’s backstory does bear some resemblance to Colin Trevorrow. Were you thinking much about that as an inspiration point?

    Mm, no. I tried to like keep it a little blank because then if I’m like, I don’t know if I’m being too much of like one person who really exists, then I’m kind of doing…. I don’t know. It’s almost like I start doing like an impression, and I wanted it to be a mix of different people, and then just like my version of what I think a director would be.