David Carradine talks about director Adam Rifkin's latest comedy.

Best known for his cult hits Detroit Rock City and The Dark Backward, director Adam Rifkin is ready to unleash his latest comedy on an unsuspecting public. National Lampoon's Stoned Age [Unrated] takes a look at the trials and tribulations of getting it on in the time of Cavemen and dinosaurs. Along for the ride is legendary actor David Carradine, best known for his hit television drama Kung Fu and the Quentin Tarantino film Kill Bill. It's not often that we see Carradine tackling a comedic role, but he seems to be having a lot of fun here playing the duel role of Mookoo, the leader of the tribe, and Uncle Unky, a whacked-out story teller. We recently caught up with Carradine to talk with him about the experience. Here is our conversation:

It's not often that we see you in a comedy. What was it about Stoned Age that had you wanting to work in such a broad genre?

David Carradine: Well, I've always been attracted to comedies. But you can only do what you're offered. I have done quite a few comedies in the past. In truth, the Kung Fu character was very comedic. Maybe most people didn't notice it. He was funny. And I am funny in Kill Bill.

You're hilarious in the last half of that movie.

David Carradine: Uh-huh.

Here, you get a chance to play two very different character with Mookoo and Uncle Unky...

David Carradine: I play two characters?

Yeah, you play the leader of the caveman tribe and you play the crazy storytelling uncle.

David Carradine: Yeah, that's right. The interesting thing about that is, I am changing wardrobe and make-up in the middle of the shot. We did this circular shot, where it goes around all of the people. It starts on me, and I am there as the chief. Then when it comes back around, I am there as the storyteller. I thought that was pretty interesting. The really cool part about that particular scene is that I got them to put my daughter in it. The pregnant lady. She is sort of taking care of the storyteller. That is my daughter, who was actually pregnant at the time. I told the director that we needed a pregnant cavewoman. I mean, they would all be pregnant. They didn't have any pills back then.

Director Adam Rifkin is quite well known for his cult films. How did you get hooked up with him? Were you a big fan of his work heading into this project?

David Carradine: No, I don't think I was aware of Adam at all. Any time someone offers me a part, my wife goes on the web and checks out their page on the IMDB. She comes back with a whole breakdown of who this guy is. And he seemed pretty cool to me.

How was it working with Adam?

David Carradine: How was it working with him? (Laughs)

{bold|Well, to be honest, I'm interested in the vibe on set. Because I am watching some of the extra features on this disc, and there is another actor in the film named Bill Tyree. He doesn't seem to be having too much fun. I was just interested in what the behind the scenes dynamic was like.

David Carradine: Adam was a gas to work with. He is always funny, and polite. He doesn't ever yell at anybody. Which is rare. There are a lot of directors that do yell at you. So, I loved working with Adam.

Did you work with Tyree much? What was going on with him? Was he just a cranky old man, or what?

David Carradine: He is completely crazy, I guess. He's a homeless person, or something. Well, I don't think he is really homeless. But he went along with it for the most part. Sometimes he was a little grumpy.

I know that he was in Trailer Town, which one of your co-stars Giuseppe Andrews directed. But I know nothing about his background. He's just some 86-year-old homeless guy that started acting?

David Carradine: No. I think I made that up. I don't think he was ever homeless. I can't tell you too much about him. He was there, and sometimes he was a bit cranky. Sometimes he was cool. I liked working with him as much as I like working with anybody. I don't think I ever did any actual on-screen work with him. But I was certainly there when he was hanging around the set.

One of the cool things about the film is that it brings Talia Shire back to the screen. How exciting was it to get to work with her in this capacity. It looks like two serious actors getting to have a fun time.

David Carradine: It was pretty cool. I know her a little bit. I run into her at the family gatherings with Francis. Yeah, I wish we could have had more of her. We had this idea that we were going to do more scenes with her. But she had something she had to leave for. She just wasn't available. This was a very low budget picture. We really couldn't screw around much.

The film has quite a unique look. Where did you guys shoot Stoned Age? Some of the backdrops are gorgeous. And on one of the documentaries, it is said that you guys have driven 8000 miles out of Los Angeles.

David Carradine: Well, no. It wasn't 8000 miles. It was shot in Austin, Texas. We found these amazing locations outside of Austin, and I would stand there and look at the vistas. It didn't look like country, it actually looked like it was prehistoric. It just has that feel about it. And those caves that we found were real. There were probably cavemen living in them at some point.

Do you live in Texas?

David Carradine: No, I have never lived in Texas. I am a native Californian. I lived in New York for a short time, and I have attended school just about everywhere. Massachusetts, Vermont. Basically I am a native Californian, born and bred.

Excellent. Looking at your bio, I notice that you have non-stop projects on the horizon. Is it just work all the time for you?

David Carradine: Well, yeah. Is there something else I am supposed to do?

You could take it easy. You could take a vacation.

David Carradine: Vacation? No. For an actor, vacation really means that you don't have a job. I go to every possible exotic location you could imagine just to work. If I have some time off, I'd just as soon rather come home.

Speaking of exotic locations, I noticed you are in the middle of shooting a film called Portland. Is that a film about Portland, Oregon? Or is that something different?

David Carradine: What are we talking about? Portland? I'm not even sure if we are doing that. We haven't even shot that movie yet. Uh-uh. That film has been set-up for quite a while, but we haven't shot anything yet. We don't even know when we will be shooting it. I don't know if we will even shoot that in Portland. I just don't know.

You recently had two other DVDs come out. The first one I want to ask you about is Death Race. You are in the opening moments of that remake. But I was never quite sure if that was you in the suit, or if its just a voiceover.

David Carradine: Do you think I'm going to tell you that? (Laughs)

You're not going to tell me?

David Carradine: (Laughs) They needed me to be in the picture, they figured. They shot that sequence. Then they got a lot of blogs that said, "Why isn't David Carradine in this picture?" So, they called me up. I am kind of fond of his work. I am really fond of his wife, come to think of it. You know who that is, don't you?

I'm not sure who he is married too, no.

David Carradine: Oh, no. Well, he is married to...

Milla?

David Carradine: No. The Fifth Element. I will just say that he is married to The Fifth Element. Do you know that movie?

Yeah, you're talking about Milla.

David Carradine: Yeah. I am very fond of her and her work. He directed her in one of those zombie pictures that she did. I don't know if Paul did all of them, but I know that he did just one of them. I think he produced them all. He called me up and asked if I would do a voiceover. I said, "Sure." I would love to revisit Death Race anyway.

What did you think of the movie when you finally saw it? I don't think I have ever heard you mention it.

David Carradine: And I would prefer not to.

Fair enough. Now, you are also in Hell ride, which just came out on DVD as well. What was that experience like? The time spent on the set of that movie sounded a bit crazy.

David Carradine: Larry, the guy that wrote it and starred in it, went to Quentin and said, "Hey, can you help me get this movie made?" And Quentin said, "Sure, I will help you." They talked to Harvey Weinstein, or maybe it was his baby brother. I guess. They talked them into going for it. And very early on, Larry said that if I wanted to be in it I could have pretty much any part that I wanted. So I said, "Yeah, sure." I t was a long time before anything came around. I pointed to a character and said, "I really like that part." And he said, "Well, you know, Michael Madsen is playing that part." Then I said, "Well, how about this part." Again, "No, someone else is doing that." He'd done it all. I said, "Look. I don't really have a lot of time to do these things. You are not paying any money whatsoever. Whatever you can find, I will come in and do something for you." So, he had this one character that all of the other characters talk about the whole time. He shows up and gets his head cut off. I said, "Uh, okay." The biggest joy about that film was getting to work with Dennis Hopper. I didn't do much with him, but he was around all day. And I love that guy. Man, is he smart. He was just right on the page. When I first read the script, I asked, "Where are you going to release this?" It was an X rated film, the way Larry wrote it. I don't know if they cleaned it up or not. Apparently it's out there, and people are digging it.

I don't think they cleaned it up too much. It's a pretty raw experience.

David Carradine: Well, maybe you have to know what it was like in the first incarnation of the script.

About that script. I talked to Larry when that film came out, and he said that he wrote the script with huge passages of blank pages. There weren't any words in the script, because he felt that gave the reader a sense of complete annihilation.

David Carradine: I didn't see that version of the script. There were no blank pages in the script that I read.

About Kill Bill, Quentin Tarantino came out last week and said that he is finally releasing the film as one complete movie with no breaks. Have you spoken with him about that, and are you guys planning anything special for the DVD?

David Carradine: Not that I know of. I have not spoken with Quentin Tarantino since I made the film. I don't know a thing about that DVD.

Do you have any last thoughts about Stoned Age? Are there any scenes you are excited for fans to see?

David Carradine: Yeah, I guess so. My best scene was actually cut out of the picture. Adam just didn't figure that it worked some how. It is on the DVD. I would definitely suggest that people check it out. It is really great.

This scene you speak of is in the deleted scenes section of the DVD?

David Carradine: Yeah. I haven't seen the DVD of course, so I don't know what that scene will even be like now. It's the wedding party of Hayes and Ali. It's pretty amazing. I like the way I give the wedding speech, and I am dead drunk. It's really funny.

I think that scene is actually in the Unrated version of the DVD. I remember seeing that.

David Carradine: Well, there is nothing about it that is unrated. But maybe so.

There are two different versions of the movie. They have a rated and an unrated version of the DVD.

David Carradine: And you're just guessing that its there?

No, I remember watching it the other night. But the version I was watching was the unrated version of the film. There wasn't anything particularly "unrated" about it. Most of the time, they just go back and add in footage, and then don't get it rated by the MPAA. They haven't approved the new version.

David Carradine: Maybe it's in both versions.

I wouldn't know. I haven't seen the rated version of the film.

David Carradine: Really, you haven't seen that one?

They only sent me the unrated version to watch. So, I have no idea what the differences are. It is probably pretty minimal. Its like with horror movies. They add in a split second of extra gore, then they don't show it to the ratings board, so they get away with calling it unrated. It's all a marketing ploy. People are more apt to buy it if it says unrated, I guess.

David Carradine: Uh-huh.

National Lampoon's Stoned Age [Unrated] and Rated are both available at fine retailers nationwide and from us directly.

B. Alan Orange