Google Inc. (GOOG) turned over its campus to Vince Vaughn and a team of Hollywood filmmakers, letting them use the Silicon Valley icon for “The Internship,” a comedy about jobless, tech-challenged 40-year-olds.
The film, in which Vaughn and Owen Wilson seek coveted internships at the search-engine company, is scheduled for release next year by News Corp. (NWSA)’s Twentieth Century Fox studio. Vaughn, who wrote the original screenplay and pitched the idea to Google, said the Mountain View, California, headquarters reminded him of “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.”
“It was ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ or the ‘Chocolate Factory,’” Vaughn, 42, said in an interview with Bloomberg TV. “Such a different place to work at than what is considered a traditional work environment, with the nap pods and the access to food, and of course the intramural sports on campus and massages and all that kind of stuff.”
Silicon Valley technology, such as Google’s YouTube, is driving change in the film industry, letting individuals produce and exhibit clips online, Vaughn said. Google’s driverless car plays a role in the movie and the company’s high-tech glasses may appear too, director Shawn Levy said.
“The technology that’s out there is making it less expensive and more available, which I think is terrific, because it gives more people an opportunity to express themselves,” Vaughn said.
Levy, who made “Night at the Museum” and the 2006 version of “The Pink Panther,” shot most of the film at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. The crew spent a few days this month shooting at Google’s headquarters.
The company, whose corporate motto is “don’t be evil,” has lava lamps, play rooms and gourmet cafeterias at its headquarters. Employee perks include free meals, ski trips, shuttles to work and on-site massages.
Google had 54,604 employees as of June 30, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, including workers taken on with the August purchase of Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. The company finished 2011 with 32,467 employees, up 10-fold from 2004.
“Trying to get the culture of Google right has been a big part of the work we’ve done,” Levy said.
While Google isn’t a financial partner in the film, Levy said co-founder Sergey Brin took an interest and hosted a dinner to talk about how the company has changed, Levy said. They’re discussing unique ways to market the film, he said.
“As he said over dinner, you either continue to evolve or you become extinct,” Levy said. “Thus the dinosaur skeleton in the quad.”
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