Listen in as producer Johnny Knoxville and Jessica Simpson talk about The Dukes of Hazzard from the set!
Part 2 by B. Alan Orange
(Skip down below for AUDIO INTERVIEWS from Johnny Knoxville and Jessica Simpson)
The rest of the attending sites have already made big deal out of our pre-set visit dinner at Fleming's Steak House. And I must say, it was pretty awesome. I showed up a little late because I took the last taxi over from the Hotel. I wanted to finish my beer, and made good use of the ride over. As I walked into the dark restaurant, I saw a sight that took me aback. Burt Reynolds. Staring at me. I smiled and tipped my hat, and he immediately went out of his way to say, "Hello!" To me. He didn't know I was with the studio, or that I had anything to do with the Warner Brothers party. That was awesome, and it made my night.
Later on, he made a beeline for our table, and I immediately went to shake his hand and declared, "The Eagles are going to win the Super Bowl." Knowing full well that Burt was a New England Patriot's fan. He asked, "Do you want to bet a hundred dollars on that?" I hesitated for a second, then thought, "What the Hell? It's a Super Bowl bet with Burt Reynolds." We shook on the deal, and now I owe him a crisp green bill. I keep it in my wallet for the next time I see him (which should be pretty soon). He made sure to let me know that he would, indeed, be collecting his money. I think his exact words were, "I need it for alimony." He then sat down and talked with us a bit about a bunch of stuff. The man's pretty candid. He hopes to direct a Sharkey's Machine remake, and would like to see George Clooney in the lead. And he discussed the awkwardness of returning to a remake he starred in twenty years ago with the Adam Sandler version of The Longest Yard. I must say, it was pretty cool eating steak and sipping fruity alcoholic beverages while a Hollywood legend openly talked about his current run at success. I love Burt.
Producer Bill Gerber also came by our table for a visit, and I quizzed him pretty hard about the new Dukes of Hazzard film. I had a lot of questions I wanted answered, and Gerber didn't mind taking the time to discuss these matters at length. The next day, he shared the answers to these same questions in an AUDIO INTERVIEW that is available for download in part 1 of this set report. As is an AUDIO INTERVIEW with SEANN WILLIAM SCOTT.
Continuing on from where I left off last time: We'd just left Bo Duke himself, Seann William Scott, back at the Boy Scout Camp to visit another location. This was probably my favourite spot in all of Louisiana. Cooter's Garage. The place looks just like you'd think it would. Weird thing is; it's an actual working garage. I walked up to the front door, above which was a huge painted "Cooter" sign, and was shocked to find a real human lady behind a desk. She wanted to know if I was bringing my car in. I had to tell her, "No." That I was with Warner Brothers, and that they were showing us around. She was okay with that. The place hadn't been dressed at all. The crew was shooting it as it was found, with car parts lying around, and huge discarded tractor wheels abut the place. Way in the back, over a fence, was a huge lot full of old broken down cars. It was breathtaking. And no, absolutely not, they could have never recreated something so authentic. We were again told not to take pictures, which I thought was weird because the building was a public place. But we heeded Warner's wishes. There was one really cool brown road sign for a Hazzard County Graveyard that I did snap a shot of, but I haven't gotten my film developed yet. Sorry, blame those in charge for giving me no forewarning that I could post this stuff…
While I was in my hotel room the night before, after chowing down with the one and only Burt Reynolds, I did call Cooter himself on my cell phone. I wanted to see if he was going to be hanging around the set the next day. Sadly, David Koechner, the truly brilliant comedian that is portraying everyone's favourite grease monkey, was back in Los Angeles rehearsing with his band The Naked Trucker for an upcoming DVD they're putting out. I did score this mini-interview with Dave about his role in the upcoming reworked Dukes of Hazzard. This is an exclusive to Movieweb (the other sites in attendance didn't get to chat with Cooter)…
Orange: So, you're playing Cooter?
Koechner: I am Cooter. I like to say, in Hollywood, you can't make a redneck movie without me. That doesn't happen. You better not do it.
Orange: The first thing I heard about the movie was that Burt Reynolds is playing Boss Hogg. And Burt Reynolds is about as thin as a toothpick. Did they fatten Burt Reynolds up? (I've since learned that, no, they haven't)
Koechner: I've only done one week; and I do the balance of my role in January, so I have not seen Burt yet. So, I don't know.
Orange: Have you worked with Jessica Simpson?
Koechner: She kissed me, yes. Daisy kisses Cooter on his greasy, dirty cheek. It was fine for me, I'm sure it was painful for her. Because you get movie dirt and grease on your face. That poor girl had to give me a bust on the cheek. I asked her, "Is this your first movie kiss?" And she was like, "Yes, it is." So one of us is a footnote.
Orange: Cheers to that, the first movie kiss with Jessica Simpson! Now, one of the first things I thought about watching the old shows on DVD is that they pause frame on the action. Are they going to do that in this new version?
Koechner: I don't know. That would be a question for Jay Chandrasekhar. The esteemed director of the project.
Orange: Who also directed Broken Lizard's Super Troopers and Club Dread.
Koechner: And Puddle Cruisers.
Orange: I haven't seen Puddle Cruisers.
Koechner: Ah, its okay. I saw it a couple of years ago. It was never released. I've known these guys for a couple of years. I met Jay when he was eighteen, going away to college, because he was buddies with a friend of mine named James Grace. And this is going back to 1987. He was going away to college, and just getting into improve, because his buddy James was doing improvisation with me. And I must have been 19 or 24 at the time. That was the first time I ever met Jay. I would see him on rare occasions. The last time I saw him was at James wedding, and then I would see him around the Sony lot, or something like that. So he and I both had knowledge of each other before working on Dukes.
Orange: So the deal is, Broken Lizard wrote this movie?
Koechner: They rewrote it. Jay's directing, and one of the guys, Heffernan got a part in it.
Orange: Well, that gives me a lot of confidence that it might actually be good. These guys seem to know the show, and like what they're doing.
After visiting Cooter's garage, we went to the Duke Estate, which turned out to be this giant farmhouse. It looked like something out of Gone with the Wind. It, too, was shot as-is, with very little set-dressing added. The currier van drove us through the entire property, and the place looked to be a vast improvement on the series original house and farm. Sadly, we didn't get to see the Moonshine pumps, but we were assured they were there, hidden from the visible eye. As they should be.
After a quick stop off at a gas station for piss breaks and some deep fried pig tails, our internet contingent was driven to the Dukes of Hazzard production offices, which were housed within an old car dealership. Connected to the main part of the building was a mile-long garage. Inside, multiple different General Lees were being worked on. About twenty more sat in the back, all lined up in a row. It was another photo-opportunity that we weren't aloud to touch.
After walking around the automotive workshop for about twenty odd minutes, we were ushered inside the rundown car dealership and up a flight of stairs to a tiny room, where the last of our interviews would be taking place. The first to arrive was Johnny Knoxville, who was about fifteen minutes late because he needed to drive through the drive-through Liquor window and pick up a copy of Big Black Butt magazine, which he ripped pages out of and signed for everybody. Mine is a picture of an obese, black ass sitting on some poor man's face. And the guy is giving the "thumb's up" sign. Johnny signed it, "XOXOXO!" It's pretty funny, and hangs proudly on my wall, next to my couch. I have included Johnny's entire interview for your listening pleasure. Click the link below:
Q: Have you been drinking any of the moonshine up here?
KNOXVILLE: No, I'm having some shipped in from Tennessee this week, though.
Q: From Cock County?
KNOXVILLE: No, I don't know what county it's coming out of, actually, maybe Cock. "COOOCCCKKK!" That's always good to yell out in the middle of a restaurant.
Q; Did Seann really get you interested in the project?
KNOXVILLE: I didn't know Seann before this. I think he's hilarious. I'm a huge fan of Seann's but I didn't know him before this. No, actually, it was just through a phone call and it was 'what do you think about Dukes?' Could be good. So I met with everybody and talked and I was trying to see what they had in mind. I'd never seen Starship...
KNOXVILLE: Supertroopers, right. Before I met with Jay and then I watched it. Such a great film. I don't know how I didn't see it when it came out the first time. So, yeah, I sat down with Billy Gerber and Jay and, you know, it's like, "What are you guys thinking?" We all seemed to be on the same page. Those guys have really done all they said they were gonna do. They're really all; you know, great to work with. It's been a ball of a shoot. You're driving in the car most of the time, and you've got barfights.
Q: Have you had any injuries in the barfights yet?
KNOXVILLE: Are you talking about in the movie or in real life?
KNOXVILLE: Oh yeah. Yeah. I've been stabbed.
Q: But not in the movie...
KNOXVILLE: No, I got actually stabbed at my friend's bachelor party.
Q: Who stabbed you?
KNOXVILLE: I don't know. These three guys.
Q: Because they knew you from Jackass?
KNOXVILLE: No, no, no, this was right before Jackass. These three guys yelled out something at me from a car and I yelled back, and then they got out and it's like 'aw, crap here we go'. But in the movie, no I haven't been injured. The barfight was so much fun. I trained for it four weeks with this guy Chad Stahelski. He did a lot of the work on THE MATRIX. He's amazing, I mean, to get me to look like I could punch.
Q: Was your first fight sequence?
KNOXVILLE: Yeah, well, I did one little thing in WALKING TALL. They got there on the day and they were like 'do this'. But this I really trained for. It was so much fun.
Q: Have you driven the car?
KNOXVILLE: I mostly talk on the CB. Bo does the driving but, with that said, I do steal Boss Hogg's Cadillac. So I got to train with Bobby Ore, who's the world's greatest stunt driver. Seann was training like four hours a day with Bobby Ore and Seann's damn good now. Reverse 180's, drifting, he's really good and he gets to do a lot of the driving in the movie.
Q: Where were you? Were you like a big fan of the show when it first was on?
KNOXVILLE: Yeah, I didn't know it still had such a huge following, though. It's crazy.
Q: What did you think about working with Jessica Simpson?
KNOXVILLE: Jessica. She looks amazing. She's so pretty. And she looks so great on film. She's so natural and comfortable. I didn't realize until we shot the first day with her. We did a scene and she goes 'That was my first take ever'. I didn't realize it was her first film because she's so natural and good. And gorgeous.
Q: Everyone has said that you've been really good on set in terms of no practical jokes. Is it a misconception that you're as wild off camera as you are on Jackass?
KNOXVILLE: I just don't do it on set. People kinda expect stuff and it's no fun if people expect it.
Q: How much did you refer back to the original series for inspiration?
KNOXVILLE: We just tried to capture the spirit of the original series. It's not like we're trying to do an imitation of Tom Wopat and John Schneider. We just got the spirit and do a lot of great stunts and show Jessica in her Daisy Dukes and get into some fights. It's a big action picture.
Q: Have you had a chance to work with Burt Reynolds?
KNOXVILLE: Yeah, he's amazing. He's the sweetest guy. And he just has all these great Hollywood stories. He loves telling them and I love listening. He's lived a crazy life and he'll just tell stories all day, and I'll just sit there and listen. It's really great being around Willie and Burt. I really don't know what to say to them. Very, very fortunate to work with those guys.
After Johnny, it was Jessica Simpson's turn to sit with us. I've included her Audio Interview for your listening pleasure, followed by some excerpts from the same interview…
Q: Will you be performing any songs with Willie Nelson?
Simpson: That started out as a rumor. It was something I wanted to do. I didn't know if he wanted to do it but he asked me on-set the other day to sing with him. So, we're trying to find the best song to do, and we'll be recording that.
Q: Did you work together on the theme song?
Simpson: No. He did that by himself. He doesn't want me on the theme song.
Q: Did you find jumping into acting in films different from the TV show?
Simpson: You know, I thought it was going to be a lot harder but I think just the atmosphere, the cast, Johnny and Sean, and the director, Jay, and everybody have really made me feel very comfortable. They're crazy anyway, so it's okay if I mess up. And it's cool for your first movie to go in completely open to just fall on your face. That's the personality that they have and what makes them so good at what they do.
Q: Why did you want this part?
Simpson: It was important for me to not go so far away from my persona and what people already knew me as, and eventually I do go there in acting but for my first role I just didn't want it to be too farfetched, and I just thought it was an amazing character and I wasn't alive when Dukes of Hazzard was around, but I did see all the reruns and I'm from the South and the accent sort of came natural and it's something that as an all-American girl I wanted to keep.
Q: As an actress, what did you do to prepare for the role?
Simpson: I shoot on Thursday, and I don't even know what my lines are, so I'm better at just going in and sitting in my hair and makeup trailer; just memorizing my lines right there. That way I don't rehearse them too much and it doesn't sound like I'm acting and it's more on how I say it instead of thinking of when and where to say my lines. It gets too confusing and that's when I think it starts to look contrived.
Q: Do you have any desire to drive the General Lee?
Simpson: Well, Daisy never really was in the car. She pretty much stayed in her jeep and I think Bo doesn't let many people drive it. I did go to driving school. I guess I just did it for fun because I really don't do any car tricks or stunts or anything in the movie, but they wanted me to feel comfortable driving so I went and learned how to do a reverse 180 and all sorts of stuff and they said I caught on really quick.
Q: Are you and Enos going to hook up in this movie?
Simpson: I definitely tease Enos a little bit. It's sort of how I get my cousins out of a lot of situations.
Q: Isn't that kind of cruel?
Simpson: Is it cruel? No, because she really does love him and has a place in her heart for him.
Q: You look like you got in shape for this role. Can you talk about what you did to prepare for your role as Daisy Duke?
Simpson: When I found out that I had the part, I thought it would be best to have something to work towards or else I'll stick to my fried foods and taco bell. To have something, a goal, is awesome; so I ate my last piece of chocolate cake when I found out and ever since then I've tried to cut sugar out of my diet except fruit. For the most part, I eat healthy and work out for two hours everyday.
Q: Will you have your own line of Daisy Dukes?
Simpson: Yes. I just signed a big merchandising deal and my mom and I are doing it together, so we're going to have a line of jeans called Bridges. I'm hoping to do a line of Daisy Bridges.
Soon after talking with Daisy Duke, I was shoved back on a plane headed for home. I can't wait until this summer. The Dukes of Hazzard looks like a sure fire winner. I hope the gang doesn't prove me wrong.
Dont't forget to also check out: The Dukes of Hazzard