At this stage in her career, Cobie Smulders is ready for bigger challenges. While she wraps up the final season of the hit TV show How I Met Your Mother, the Vancouver-born actor—anointed this month in a Vanity Fair featurette—is also set to appear on the silver screen alongside Vince Vaughn in the comedy Delivery Man (opening November 22).
A remake of the French Canadian film Starbuck, Delivery Man boasts a solid cast and a familiar director in Ken Scott, who, interestingly enough, also handled the 2011 original. Although there’s only two years between them, Smulders thinks the differences between the movies are very apparent.
“The fact that our movie was shot in New York: I feel New York City is its own character in our film; visually, it sets a tone,” Smulders says during a call to the Georgia Straight from a Toronto hotel. “And then, obviously, we have different actors who bring a different sensibility to the characters.”
Smulders plays Emma, the newly pregnant girlfriend of David Wozniak (Vaughn). Thanks to a major blunder made by the fertility clinic to which he anonymously donated more than 20 years ago, Wozniak has just discovered that he fathered 533 children. On top of that, 142 of them are filing a lawsuit to reveal his identity. In the film, Emma is the driving force behind David taking responsibility in his life, something that, Smulders says, drew her to the role.
“I thought it was interesting there was this strong, slightly stubborn, driven New York City cop who is dating this guy and figuring out why she was dating this kind of lovable loser,” Smulders recalls with a laugh, “and then watching her attempt to be strong and independent when she gets pregnant and realizing she can’t do this by herself. I feel like there was a certain amount of strength in her relying on somebody else, where she had probably never done that before in her life.”
Although Smulders says that working with Vaughn was “wonderful”, she admits that her favourite parts of the film are the scenes involving David interacting with his kids for the first time. “I really love the way those scenes were written and shot and was just moved by so many of them and loved that they were all different,” she says.
Although promising solid entertainment, Delivery Man is also more than just another comedic vehicle for Vaughn. It also attempts to explore how we define the family unit in today’s rapidly changing world. To Smulders, it’s the deeper subject matter that really gives the film its heart.
“[Delivery Man] is about family,” she explains. “I think [that] in this day and age, there’s so many different varieties of family. This movie really showcases that and makes you think of your own family dynamic, and it shows family isn’t necessarily what you are biologically: it’s a relationship you have with one another and the amount of love you have for each other.”