Back in January the good folks over at Warner Bros. Pictures invited me to go check out the set (My first) of The Dukes of Hazzard (the film based on the TV series), and at first I was like "nah not interested", then I said 'who's in that film?' I was told that Jessica Simpson was there...NUFF said I'm IN.
I along with a other internet journalists left NYC to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with a quick stop over in Texas only take one of those small express planes that don't even have a terminal, you have a guy come out and yell out WE'RE LEAVING, and you board this small ass plane. While we were on the air somebody who I wont mention was scared shitless. Of course I'm joking about all this except for the part that the plane was small. Anyway we all landed safe and sound. After checking in to the hotel I got to meet some other online journalist like Omar from Joblo.com.
That evening we ended up having dinner over at Fleming's stake house, in which we all spoke briefly with producer Bill Gerber, and Burt Reynolds. Meeting Burt alone was cool, he briefly spoke about why he chose to do this film, and about his upcoming projects. Yes he wants to remake SHARKYS MACHINE, and he plans to direct it, when asked who would he like to play the lead role of Sharky, he replied "George Clooney." He also mentioned that he knows that they are planning to do a remake of Cannonball Run, but you really can't remake that film cause its very hard to get people like Sammy Davis Jr. Dean Martin etc etc. He's right you know, I mean did you see RATRACE? Overall we all had a great time.
The following morning we all went to the outskirts of Baton Rouge to check out the set, which looked like if you were going to play paintball in the backwoods. First action we got to check out was of course the General Lee! Director Jay Chandrasekhar showed up and talked to us. A few minutes later Seann William Scott showed up looking like his character Bo Duke and was ready to jump in the General Lee to do some action chase scenes. The scene we saw was the General Lee being chased by several cop cars. After a few takes Jay showed us some cool scenes that were shot by the second unit.
Shortly after lunch, we got to meet with Scott while taking a break from filming. And if there's any actor that's earned the right to play Bo Duke, it just might be Seann William Scott. Consider his resume. First of all, the guy is Stifler. He exudes a roguish cockiness, a good-natured, feel-good brashness that's romped through the teen comedy universe. With American Pie,!! It's two sequels,Road Trip,!! and Dude, Where's My Car? Scott is to likable-fratboy what Schwarzenegger was to action films. We all sat down at a Boy Scout Camp in which Scott was nice enough to discuss his work on The Dukes of Hazzard. Here is what he tells us.
Question: How's the experience so far?
Seann William Scott: This whole experience has been probably the best I've ever had, certainly the most fun I've ever had. Pretty laid back
Question: [Producer] Bill [Gerber] said that you really wanted to do this project. What was it about this script that wanted you to come do Dukes of Hazzard? Was that because you were a really big fan of the show?
Seann William Scott: You know, it wasn't even...because I was a really big fan of the show. I mean I was. I just thought it could make a really cool movie. It's not that it's just a buddy comedy but it's all about two guys hating each other and towards the end they're good friends. I liked that these two guys were best friends from the very beginning, and they're crazy. I thought it could make a really cool movie set in the South about this family. And people are really familiar with these characters. And as long as it's not like tongue-in-cheek, I thought if they really went for it...when they'd expressed to me that they wanted it to be in the tone of Smokey and the Bandit and The Blues Brothers and stuff with more kind of a southern rock cool, I though that'd be cool.
Question: When you first saw The General Lee, that must have been pretty cool.
Seann William Scott: Yeah! It was! It just looked great! I had actually at that point been working with a guy back in L.A. just training with a car, not the General Lee, but other cars. So the first thing that I thought about was, 'How is this car going to handle?' (Laughs) But then after I'd been driving with it and practicing with it and I accomplished that, then I just kind of sat back and looked at it and... I think I'm in the process of having someone build one for me. Minus the Confederate flag though. (Laughs) You know what I mean? I wouldn't want to drive around with that in L.A. It's so much fun to drive. I think now that we're about two weeks out, you kind of just look at it and the car is so cool. You get more nostalgic about the whole thing. I just think it's amazing to see this action with a car that everybody's so familiar with. You know, in the backwoods and on dirt roads and stuff. And getting Dan Bradley (stunt coordinator) and everybody from the whole Bourne Supremacy crew I think was real cool for our film. Cause we do a bunch of really big jumps in this movie. And we have chase scenes, which you've seen. We don't have any CGI with any of the car stuff. I think it's a real experience when you see this car going through really fast really wild and you see me driving a lot of the times and also a big chase in downtown ATLANTA it's just incredible.
Question: Really? Have you've seen yourself driving yet on some of the footage?
Seann William Scott: Yeah (Laughs). I made sure of that. I didn't train for nothing. I do a lot of reverse 180s and some drifting and putting the car to some 90-degree turns, slides and stuff.
Question: How good did you get?
Seann William Scott: Pretty good. I mean, not as good as like...we got the best in every like situation. We have the best driver in the world in drifting and best guy in rally racing and stuff like that. So obviously there's a lot of stuff that I didn't do, but there's a lot of really incredible things that I don't think we've ever seen any actor. I remember the guy who played the bad guy in The Bourne Supremacy, I don't remember his name.
Question: Karl Urban.
Seann William Scott: He's an awesome actor. When you see that one shot in that chase where he does a reverse 180, it just feels different. You can tell he's the one who's driving. You'll see a lot of that in this movie with me.
Question: Did you ever have a holy shit moment, where you maybe went a little too far?
Seann William Scott: No. Yeah, well I guess when I was training with it [the General Lee]. I mean, it's like a whole different thing and I didn't have the real experience with it before, and I think that was a good thing because I didn't want to develop any bad habits. So I wasn't thinking I was really good or anything, so I started from ground zero and I took it very seriously because I know how important it is to actually...I think that's what was the approach to this movie, is the driving, and it's like, if you have all this great stuff and you don't see me doing it then it's just not the same, you don't link it together. I trained with this guy Bobby Orr who teaches the Dept of defense like how to drive and maneuver the car. I would finish the day just drenched in sweat. It was like, I'm not used to putting my body in that kind of a situation, like going that fast and then putting the car into a 360. Those were the holy shits moments for me. But now it's just like, I pretty much know how to work the car and stuff like that.
Question: Was it your choice to play Bo, and if so, what makes him different from Luke?
Seann William Scott: At first there was really no difference in the way he was written, so I thought that was a problem. (Laughs) I wanted to drive the car. (Laughs) At first before Johnny (Knoxville) came on and I agreed to do it and I was like, I just wanted to learn how to drive the car. I thought it would be a lot of fun. And I wasn't going to do the movie without Johnny. The studio suggested a couple people, and I'd never met Johnny, but I thought we'd be a perfect team for this movie because we're both a little bit unpredictable. We really haven't had a chance to do anything different, well, actually Johnny's done a bunch of things, but I've sort of done things in the same genre. And I thought, it would just be cool if we do this right. The two of us would be a lot of fun and really crazy.
Question: What did you learn from him? Anything that you didn't expect? Is he actually crazy?
Seann William Scott: No, no, he's a great guy. I didn't know anything about him before. I just knew the same stuff probably any other guy would. He's just a really, really good guy. Really smart and a lot of fun.
Question: Despite an inclination to hurt himself.
Seann William Scott: (Laughs) No. He knows his audience loves to see him do his stunts, and he does it well. So he does all his stunts, there's a couple things that the studio won't let him do. But he fought it.
Question: In the films that you've done, people have expected you to do something that's going to be very comedic.
Seann William Scott: Right.
Question: Are we going to see something like that in this film?
Seann William Scott: Yeah! I think actually different though. A lot of the stuff that I've done is just really broad and the characters are not that bright. Obviously with the American Pie films and Road Trip, my guys were kind of dicks, (Laughs) but this guy, Bo, these guys are good guys. And I think he's much funnier in many ways than some of the things that I've done. Because it's a little bit more layered. He's constantly trying to teach Luke simple...what he thinks are really deep philosophical ideas, but they're really simple. And then he contradicts himself in the next scene and just goes fuckin' mad. (Laughs). He's say, "Life is about this." And in the next scene I'm like, "Fucking kill 'em all!" Something will trigger him. It's funny because he's got like... well... without giving away too much, I think the only thing he really can relate to and really talk to the best is his car. Without going to far into it. (Laughs)
Question: He talks to the car?
Seann William Scott: There could be moments where he relates to him. (Laughs) Who doesn't talk to their car that they really love? Did you ever see on MTV that Pimp My Ride show? It's hilarious! There are guys who are in love with their car.
Question: And then the car gets hurt.
Seann William Scott: Yeah! Then it's like E.T. and Elliot, you know? (Laughs) When someone bangs into the General, Bo's like "Ow!" (Laughs)
Question: How about working with Jessica [Simpson]? How's that going?
Seann William Scott: Good! She's a great girl. We don't have that many scenes together. But she's a really good girl.
Question: Did you know her before working on this film? Did you know her or Nick socially at all?
Seann William Scott: No, I don't really know that many people other than movies, I don't get out much. (Laughs) She's really sweet. She's doing a great job, and she's a totally natural.
Question: Has it been it fun just to see her get her groove underway?
Seann William Scott: Yeah, I guess I kind of underestimated the amount of attention with her doing this movie, because I didn't know her very well. But it's exciting once we started we realized she does have a huge audience and what she brings to this film and just to find out she's genuinely a good girl.
Question: How about Burt [Reynolds] and Willie [Nelson]?
Seann William Scott: I think the director [Jay Chandrasekhar] did and amazing job casting this film obviously with those two guys. Willie's like the nicest guy on the planet. I've only seen him a couple of times but he just exudes kindness, he like he just stands there smiling. I get afraid to just say something to him because he's so nice I don't want to disappoint him. Burt's the same way. But it's really surreal because I've grown up watching his films and he is just a really, really nice guys and has some great stories. Especially playing Boss Hogg, he plays it like... people that love the show are not going to be disappointed at all. They're going to be blown away. I've never been so excited about a film that I've done. I think everything that we've done is spot on and I think it's going to be huge. And with Burt playing Boss Hogg, he's just that villain that you like just because he's cool. You know, he's hip and weird and kind of indirect.
Question: You must be pretty psyched with the way your career's going right now. You've got all things going and you've got people talking about you for different roles and stuff. You must be pretty psyched about that.
Seann William Scott: Yeah, I mean, I've always been. Ever since the first American Pie I've always been happy to just have an opportunity, I just didn't think it was going to be with comedies. Now I really like it. I don't really necessarily think I'm a funny guy, but I like the opportunity to take on something that I don't feel I'm the best at doing. This was a really big opportunity. After The Rundown there was just a lot of shit out there. And this script was mediocre. The idea was great, and Jay came on with his guys made it great and very specific. It all came together well.
Question: How was it working with the Broken Lizard's crew, did you guys interact in some scenes?
Seann William Scott: Oh yeah some of the guys are in the movie and they are just good guys. I really wasn't familiar with Super Troopers or Club Dread before that. Then when they talked about Jay and I watched Super Troopers the first 10 minutes and I was like "Alright" I mean when their at their best they were really great. They just did a great job working together. I think it's the first project where...I'm sure Jay had said, 'They were writing something for somebody else.' I found that interesting because at first...because they are actors and comedy guys I think they're writing as if they were playing the part. I was like I don't get what they were doing here, I mean it's not that funny. Dukes of Hazzard is not a funny idea, so you can't make a balls out comedy. There can be moments of real humor and then I figured out there whole take was. And I liked it.
Question: From the stupidity of the character?
Seann William Scott: No not stupid at all. I just didn't understand...because comedy guys are normally use to writing for themselves. We would get re-writes and I'd be like "What does this mean? I don't get this" and Jay would go (and explain) and I would go "Oh yeah that's a good idea" It worked out well. It's just like anything you just have to figure it out and get use to everybody.
Question: How familiar were you with the TV Show?
Seann William Scott: Arrested Development? (Laughs)
Question: No, Dukes
Seann William Scott: Oh I thought you meant because I know Jay directed a couple of episodes for it (Arrested Development).
Question: Dukes of Hazzard is the only show I watched. I think every Friday at 8:30. Yeah I was a huge fan. But I don't think I'm playing it (Bo) like HYPERLINK "http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0773884/" John Schneider.
Question: Are you doing a southern accent?
Seann William Scott: Yeah but not much.
Question: What's it been like shooting in Louisiana?
Seann William Scott: It's been great. I think the people are the nicest group of people I've ever met, like this crew is just awesome. I haven't really gone out and partied that much like I normally do. I let Johnny do that for me. Nah like in other films like ROAD TRIP we would just go off everyday, like every night. And I could recover so I would wake up the next day feeling fine. I'm 28 and for some reason I pay the price the next day. Maybe cause I took a little break I was in hiatus from the party mode. Usually I like to work to create time for myself to party and I'll do it in places were you guys won't find out. (Laughs)
Question: Did you have a General Lee toy car when you were a little kid? Or a Catherine Bach Poster?
Seann William Scott: No I don't think I had a Catherine Bach poster, but I know a lot of my friends desecrated those, big time. (Laughs) I'm sure Jay told you about it didn't he? Jay's got a good story if you see him. It's actually quite disturbing, I don't think you could put it on your website. (Laughs) But I think I'm sure I had like the shirts and...I think I was just obsessed with the show. I think my mom ended up getting (me) the lunchbox.
Question: Did you met or talk to anybody from the original show before getting involved in the film?
Seann William Scott: Some of the crew actually, the studio wanted to see how Johnny and I looked together and a lot of stunt guys too. I'm sure you guys know but I guess the first couple of years was quite crazy. Like the guys liked to party a lot. Apparently...hopefully this isn't disrespectful, but it was like late 70s, early 80s and, you know, people were still partying, they still are now, but before they would do the stunts, they would just be jacked and ready to do stunts.
Question: This is the first time I've seen you in a film with a beard. Are you gonna keep it?
Seann William Scott: I always have a beard, actually. It was great when they were like 'are you gonna shave?' and I was like 'nah, I don't wanna shave.'
Question: So how do you maintain that for continuity?
Seann William Scott: I'm like sasquatch. I've had a beard since I was in seventh grade. Yeah, no, they just trim it. Yeah, it's quite easy.
Question: So Stifler has become such an iconic role for our generation. Do you ever feel like you wanna, sort of, I mean, do people come up to you reciting the lines? How do you deal with that even now?
Seann William Scott: Well, it's weird, I think. But I think it's a nice compliment, you know, makes me feel like I did my job. It's interesting because, coming here, you know, outside of LA, and especially like college towns, you really understand how big that franchise was and what a great opportunity it was. I never look at it as a negative thing. Because if I thought that that was all I could do, I guess I'd be in trouble. It's an advantage for a movie like DUKES OF HAZZARD cause that audience will go see it. I think this role is, actually...I think Bo's a little bit more off in many ways than AMERICAN PIE guy. But yeah, people come up to me and quote lines all the time and do the dance from AMERICAN WEDDING. They go 'look at this' and they start doing the dance. And I'm like 'God, I hope I wasn't nearly as disturbing what you just showed me'. (Laughs)
Question: Is it true you're doing the cameo for the video for AMERICAN PIE: BANDCAMP?
Seann William Scott: What is that?
Question: They're doing a straight-to-video AMERICAN PIE sequel.
Seann William Scott: I didn't know anything about it.
Question: Your names attached to it via IMDB
Seann William Scott: Oh I think they asked if they could use a photo of me and I said no. It was like, 'we did three of them and I don't wanna be part of a fourth one'.
Question: Is Led Zeppelin (Scott was wearing a Zeppelin t-shirt) your decision or is that a wardrobe decision?
Seann William Scott: Well, you know, Johnny's cool like in country. He can wear the western stuff and pull it off. And I was like 'ah, I can't do that. Can I just wear a Led Zeppelin shirt?' they were like 'cool'. Yeah, I know it was nice.
Question: Do you have many wardrobe changes?
Seann William Scott: Like a couple. Yeah, not much.
Question: How long can you see yourself playing this character?
Seann William Scott: Actually, I hope this is huge. I had just a great time. I love what they did. I mean, you never know, you know, what could happen, but I think this movie has the potential to do really well and just be a blast. It's gonna be really funny and really cool and a different tone you know? If they pull it off, hopefully, we'd be able to do a couple more. I'd like to. I like the character a lot. I've never had this much fun.
Question: Are you looking at some point to do something straight? No comedy?
Seann William Scott: Yeah, I'd like that. There's a couple things that are in development that I'm working on. There's one thing called TRAIN WRECK and it's the same producers that produce ETERNAL SUNSHINE and it's totally different and I love that project. Maybe we'll film that in like eight months or something. You just have to be so careful cause everybody knows you as one thing and they might not be ready to see you do something different so you gotta make sure it's the right thing.
Question: Hey it worked for Jim Carrey
Seann William Scott: Yeah I know. He did great.
Question: Have you or Johnny or anybody done pranks off set?
Seann William Scott: No, he's been good. (Laughs) I'm trying to think. No, in the very beginning, he just threw like a saltshaker at my balls, and that's pretty much been it. He always reminds me as I'm getting to the General Lee, he'll stick something by my ass, and then like I can feel it and I stop and he goes 'you owe me'. So I'll do the same thing and I'm thinking 'what could I do to that guy that hasn't been done before?' (Laughs) I've heard that we pulled our pants down and swung our dicks at Jessica or something and she got all pissed. On the internet. One of you guys said that. (Laughs)
Question: So that didn't happen?
Seann William Scott: No, no. At least not on the General Lee. (Laughs)
Question: You guys still sliding in the windows in this?
Seann William Scott: We haven't shot that yet. That's one thing we have to shoot.
Question: The doors are actually opened on the cars we saw earlier and...
Seann William Scott: They are, it's just easier for us to get in (the car) in between shots that way. I mean the car stuff...Did (Jay) they show you any of it?
Question: Yeah a little bit.
Seann William Scott: Just wait cause its sick. Like it's up to us to make sure we're as cool as all the car stuff. I think that'll be the thing that people will be shocked, they're not gonna expect it to be that cool.
Question: Will you be blowing stuff up?
Seann William Scott: Oh yeah we're blowing shit up.
Question: What do you most wanna steal from the set when you leave?
Seann William Scott: The car, man. (Laughs) I'm stealing that General Lee and I'm driving it back. I guarantee you're gonna find out about some kinda theft. It'd be me.
Question: And get some tickets taking it cross country?
Seann William Scott: I don't care. They can afford it. They got enough of 'em. I'm driving it home. I might paint the American flag on top and then drive it home so it's more, you know.
Other Chapters Available: Section Two - Interview: Jessica Simpson Section Three - Interview: Johnny Knoxville