How The Jet Ski Scene In Swiss Army Man Convinced Paul Dano To Accept His Role

Paul Dano definitely has a filmography that can't be easily boxed in. The actor's past work includes everything from a chilling version of The Riddler in "The Batman" to a double role in "There Will Be Blood," a movie arguably most famous for the unforgettable line, "I drink your milkshake." One of Dano's most unique films, however, is 2016's "Swiss Army Man," where he portrays Hank, a young man stranded on an island who befriends a dead body, portrayed by Daniel Radcliffe. The A24 picture is a surprisingly emotional journey filled with more laughs than one would expect about two buddies, one living and one a corpse.

"The initial idea was obviously just a joke, but once we thought what it would be like to carry around a dead body—you'd just be thinking that you're gonna die one day. The whole time, that would be in the back of your head," co-director Dan Kwan said in 2016 to The Verge

According to Dano, there was one bonkers scene in the already bonkers "Swiss Army Man" that convinced him to join in on the film. 

Paul Dano wanted to do Swiss Army Man thanks to the jet ski scene

The scene that convinced Paul Dano to accept the Hank role in "Swiss Army Man" came in the opening two pages of the script where his character is using the propulsion of a farting corpse as a jet ski. The outlandish scene immediately sold the actor. 

"Well, this is it. This is exactly who I am," he said of his reaction to the script in an October 2022 interview with GQ. The actor was filming 2015's "Youth," starring Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel, when he read the "Swiss Army Man" script by directors Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert. Dano explained there is usually one moment in a script that sells him on a part and for "Swiss Army Man," it was the jet ski scene. The eventual scene was filmed with a weight board and a dummy, the actor revealed. 

"Swiss Army Man" contains numerous scenes of Dano's character carrying and using his corpse friend (Radcliffe) as a swiss army knife of sorts, which the actor said made the shoot tiring, but fun. 

"I had to carry him quite a bit. That was pretty brutal. I think it was a pretty tiring shoot. I think I was pretty sore every day even though we were having fun," Dano said.