We warn children not to be lured into strange vehicles by the promise of treats. But one of the truest pleasure of being a grown-up is flying in the face of childhood rules, eating ice cream for dinner, playing video games as long as we damn well please, and keep making that face with full conviction it’ll never stay that way, MOM! It was with this mature hubris that I leapt onto the Swiss Army Man “magical bus tour” yesterday.
I had been invited by A24, the distribution company that has been earning scads of praise for their acquisition of daring films like Ex Machina, The Witch, Room, and The Lobster, and their inventive approaches to marketing such unusual movies, which has included a meme generator, reconstructing the room from Room, a delectably bizarre quiz, and an unexpected contender for Song of the Summer. All of this was enough to get me on board with this mysterious afternoon field trip, but the promise of “a magical bus tour with friends, both real & imagined” helped. I didn’t know what it meant. I didn’t care.
First, A24 rolled out the welcome mat with a lunch from Shake Shack, a mad-popular NYC fast-food chain known for its burgers, crinkle-cut fries, and milkshakes. Next, they gave each of us a canvas beach bag with “summer survival essentials” that included a collapsible bong and this beach towel, which is sure to make me the envy of the sun worshiping set.
Then, my fellow journalists/adventurers and I rolled onto a double-decker bus, a touristy first for many long-time New Yorkers present. And as we made it up to that heady second level—so close to traffic lights it made us duck instinctively like Whack-a-moles when we sped through city streets—we spotted Manny, A.K.A. Dead Daniel Radcliffe Dummy.
In the Sundance standout The Swiss Army Man, Daniel Radcliffe stars as the titular corpse, who becomes a handy tool and needed friend to a desperate man stranded on a desert island (Paul Dano). And while Radcliffe was game to do some of his own stunts for the bonkers comedy from the directing duo The Daniels there are some times you really need a dummy.
We were invited to take pictures with the disturbingly life-like Manny as we rode downtown, blasting the Swiss Army Man score from the double-decker bus emblazoned with its poster.
And then we pulled up to a handsome corner near The Highline, where shit got real.
Swiss Army Man’s Daniel Radcliffe boarded, and answered a few questions, like did the experience of staring at his dead doppelganger weird him out? Not really. With a shrug, the Harry Potter star admitted he’s been seeing similar dummies since he was a kid. Moviemaking is weird. But he did admit the ones for this movie were more accurate, and the process of making them a bit more harrowing than ever before. See, it’s not just Radcliffe’s face and hands that were plastercast to make the perfect replica, but also his ass. With a chuckle, the actor admitted it’s one of the less dignified moments of his career getting that “latex stuff slapped on there.” But he confessed it was his dummies who really “went through hell,” even being attacked by raccoons.
Reunited, the two Daniels gamely posed for pictures with a bus full of entertainment reporters buzzed on sugar, burgers, and beers.
I know. It seems like this post is a thinly-veiled excuse to brag about how my Monday was infinitely cooler than yours. But this is more than that, because Manny is on tour! A24 will have the lovable Radcliffe-looking movie prop popping up unexpectedly all over. Though you might want to start by checking out a Shake Shack or two.
But even if you can’t get in on the selfie shenanigans, you have Swiss Army Man to look forward to. As Radcliffe put it, “It’s a movie that’s not for everybody. But the people it is for have been waiting for it, and maybe not knowing they have been waiting for it.”
He’s talking about you, weirdos. Get pumped. Swiss Army Man opens in select cities June 24th, and expands July 1st.
Kristy Puchko lives in
perpetual fear that ice cream will become self-aware New York City.