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'Small Apartments' actor laughs (at) thy neighbor

  • 'My First Time' explores the first time your favorite celebrities did something significant
  • Matt Lucas is the lead actor in the film 'Small Apartments'
  • He opens up about the best and worst parts of living alone
Matt Lucas
Matt Lucas
Matt Lucas Dolph Lundgren

Matt Lucas and Dolph Lundgren in "Small Apartments"

Editor’s note: Every Friday, HLN brings you the "My First Time" series. It explores the first time your favorite celebrities did something significant or memorable (so get your mind out of the gutter!).

In this installment, actor Matt Lucas — who is starring in the upcoming comedy, “Small Apartments,” which releases on DVD on February 19 — opens up about the best and worst parts of living on your own.

HLN: When was the first time you lived on your own (aka without your parents)?
Matt Lucas: The first time I lived on my own was at university. It was great: I ate lots of sweets and donuts, and watched TV all day, and there was no one there to tell me to tidy my room. I'm not actually sure anything has changed since then.

HLN: Your character gets into a wee-little bit of trouble with his landlord. Did you bicker with your first landlord? If so, what about?
ML: I've been a pretty good tenant, I would say. The characters I write and play can be outlandish but I'm a timid, reclusive sort of fellow. We did get one complaint from the neighbors recently for singing show tunes too loudly, but I like to think of that as my gift to the street.

HLN: You also have some, um, interesting neighbors in the film. What’s your advice for dealing with annoying neighbor?
ML: Get the lawyers straight on to it. None of this “we've all got to co-exist” nonsense. In fact, I would advise issuing legal proceedings even before you move in. The pre-emptive strike is very effective in my experience.

HLN: This film is a first for you of sorts: It’s your first leading role. How did you prepare for it? Who did you get advice/mentorship from?
ML: I trained with a dialect coach for a couple of weeks before the shoot and also stayed in dialect (though not in character) through the shooting day. When wrap was called, I'd drop it and people would think I was putting on an English accent, which is a compliment, of course. I also had to learn how to blow the alphorn, which took about 20 minutes. I really suffer for my art.

HLN: You work with an amazing, star-studded cast in “Small Apartments.” What were some of your favorite moments on set?
ML: I have one scene, really, with Billy Crystal and we worked on it for a couple of hours in his trailer. I've known Billy for a few years and grown up as a huge fan of his work. I love “Mr. Saturday Night” and also think his live show “700 Sundays” is one of the most beautiful pieces of theater ever, so that was a dream come true. I'm also genuinely a “Jackass” fan. I find the films really exhilarating. They make me howl with laughter and scream in disgust and there aren’t many other films as visceral as “Jackass in 3D!” I was being very effusive about them and I think at first Johnny Knoxville thought I was kidding, but I'm not. The strangest memory of all, however, was simply hearing two words I never ever thought I would hear in the flesh — “Action, Dolph.”

HLN: What’s next for you?
ML: I'm going to go and buy a Mr. Goodbar, I think.

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