INT: Jay Chandrasekhar
Heres an interesting story director Jay Chandrasekhar told us before we started his BEERFEST interview: In order to get through to the aquarium section of the bio-park, you had to walk through the Oktoberfest area. On a particular day, they were filming a scene in the Oktoberfest area involving a wet t-shirt contest at the same time that a lot of families (with children) were passing through to get to the aquarium. Needless to say, the families got a little more than they were expecting from the park that day but hey, the kids gotta learn the birds and bees sooner or later, right? And if they do, why shouldnt it be through a wet t-shirt contest?
Do you think theres a shortage of beer drinking comedies and how youre starting them up again?
I dont know. I feel like the countrys gotten a little bit crazy in terms of how alcohol is only bad, and considering how much beer this country drinks and the world drinks, I think theres a good side to drinking beer and drinking it heavily.
Its probably been 20 years since
Since Strange Brew, right, I mean I dont know. I do see theres a danger to making these kind of movies, in that when youre drunk or youre stoned, you think that everythings funny, and so I think you have to have more than just were drunk and stoned. Isnt that hilarious? We tried to build in a plot thats not The Godfather but at least, theres some story to it and some structure to it, and you know, if you dont drink a ton of beer every weekend or every night, then youll still enjoy the movie.
I know Rob Reiner is trying to push forward something like anyone who smokes cigarettes in a movie is a bad guy and it kinda is anyone who smokes pot or drinks a lot in a movie is kind of a bad guy
I hear the Rob Reiner thing is just about cigarettes. Did you hear that its more than that?
No, no, I see it can go that way. Its like this, I remember BLADE 2 with the guy that smoked weed and he turned out to be evil
Well, they want that if you smoke pot, there be some repercussions, but there really arent any repercussions when you smoke pot
Except being awesome.
Except being awesome, I dunno.
Nothing bad happens in this movie to people because theyre drinking?
Both the heroes and the villains drink beer in large amounts. Bad things dont happen to people because they drink beer in this movie.
There isnt a differentiation where heroes drink American beer and the baddies drink European beer?
No, everybody drinks all kinds of beer.
Are you using real German brands of beer?
We are, actually. Theres a company I cant remember the name, its embarrassing. Theres a poster of there stuff right there. Theyre like a big German beer company but theyre trying to break here in America Rotterberger! Rotterberger. Yeah.
Has anyone hit the wall on drinking on the set? Is there a day where its like Ive had five gallons of this fake beer and I cant do it anymore.
Uh, Will Forte from Saturday Night Live, who I hate to say is the fastest chugger in the cast. I still have a few days to beat him, and you gotta beat him on film in order to really be the top chugger, but he chugged a massive glass of beer so unbelievably fast, and it was shocking, because I thought, Oh, it should take about 9 seconds. It took him 5 seconds. And then of course, I said, Well, lets see what you can do on Take 2 and he poured it down again, and Im like, I wouldnt mind one more take, and he left, threw up, came back, downed it again! Apparently, his Freshman year in school, he was 40 pounds heavier than he is, so hes a professional.
Is this the longest shoot for a Broken Lizard movie? Paul said that he hit the wall after 27 days, but you probably wont be shooting longer on this than you did on Dukes, right?
Yeah, Dukes was about 55 days. He said he hit the wall on this? Really? Well, you go til its done. Every day has been fun, so you show up and theres funny stuff happening, you know?
How much leeway do you have to do anything?
Yeah, the president of Warner Bros Jeff Robinoff, hes a young guy and hes into this kind of comedy and he trusts us, so he basically said, Try very hard to stick to the budget, fellas, and dont embarrass us out there. But he thinks that if he trusts that well make a good movie and
Did you get a lot of notes on the script from the studio?
Not a great deal, but the notes we got were good. I personally think that a little bit of resistance makes for better movies. I think that if this movie made a ton of money and the executives stop telling us notes, Id bet youd see a bit of fall-off.
How does the budget compare to Club Dread? Is it double?
No, its about another Club Dread was about 8 ¼ 8 ½ and this is about 12 ½. You know, the incentives down here in Mexico has added about a million to our budget, so I mean, you get a bunch of money back just by shooting here.
What kind of drinking games have you come up with to go along with the movie?
No, I dont know. Ive never played that game where you watch a movie and drink. I imagine we were gonna try to create something like that, but we didnt. I think you kinda have to see the movie and figure it out.
You mentioned how much beer American drinks. What aspect of beer culture that exists have you drawn specifically?
Well, we all went to Colgate in upstate New York, and it was a farirly hard drinking school. It was a really hard drinking school So theres I dont know if its rumor or fact but way before we got there, sometime in the mid-80s, Playboy ranked the top drinking schools and they ranked Florida State as #1 and then supposedly, there was an asterisk and Colgate was right next to it saying Colgate would be #1 but its a professional drinking school. I dont know if its true, but when you go to Colgate, they tell you that.
Were you surprised that Jurgen [Prochnow] was a fan of Super Troopers?
Yeah, absolutely. Are you kidding me? Hes such a scary guy in movies. You never really see him smile, but then you meet him in person and hes laughing after every sentence. Hes just a funny its just surprising. And you know, we need that kind of guy to lend credibility to our stuff, I think. To me, its great to have real actors who can sort of ground the film, and hes funny, too. Hes got all sorts of funny lines.
Is his energy like Brian Cox at all?
Yeah, he was the one who sort of said, Im playing the Brian Cox character and he said that theyre up for similar parts sometimes. I think so. Hes done a lot of serious stuff, and for him, I think its fun to get a chance to goof off a little bit.
What about Cloris Leachman? Did she know your stuff beforehand?
She didnt. She didnt know us at all but I mean
Did you send her the script?
Well, we sent it to her, but she was the only one we wrote the part for her, and we assume that when you write a part for somebody, you dont get them. And amazingly, we got her, because I dont know who else would have done the frankly really bawdy wild stuff that shes done in this movie. Some of her dialogue is like (whistles).
What does she play?
She plays the great grandmother to the two brothers.
Did the horses freak out around her?
We didnt let her get near any horses.
We heard that shes very fond of you.
She is fond of my lips. She thinks theyre big and thick and cushiony, and shes right.
What do you think of the state of comedy today?
I feel pretty good about it. I think that I always really look forward to Todd Phillips movies. I think the stuff that Wes Anderson is doing is great. I love what Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson, Ben Stiller and Jack Black are doing. I think theyre all like kind of top you know, comedians that are funny but are still men. I think that some of Sandlers stuff when hes I was actually a big fan of Spanglish and what he did with Paul Thomas Anderson. I think hes great.
Did it help having WEDDING CRASHERS and 40 YEAR-OLD VIRGIN both having a hard R and doing what they did business wise?
Yeah, big time! I think that you know, we stated fairly early on that we were only going to make R rated movies, so
You cant really do Beerfest as PG-13, can you?
The whole thing just falls apart. Weve felt that way all along, but I was worried that maybe I dont know...there was a really clear direction that the studios were going which was PG-13, PG-13, and you werent sure if it was to be good for Washington or if it was for the money. It turns out it was for the money. You know, those two movies have made it so every studios like, Okay, we can actually make good comedies and make money. Look, the key is I think that you have to have some sense of taste, and you have to have some plot, and something to draw people in.
Well, its a different climate then when you made Super Troopers.
What about in terms of your guys deal [with Warner Bros.] to discover new comedians?
They want us to find young up and coming people, I mean, like for example, like Steve Carrell. I was talking to them about it, and they said, Oh, we could have done that movie and we just didnt know. Were hoping that we have our fingers on the pulse and can bring in guys like that. Were psyched to make funny movies, whether were in them or not. Were not competitive with anybody. We just want great movies to happen.
Is this any different from doing something like DUKES as opposed to the other Broken Lizard movies? Big Hollywood movie do you come at this with a different take?
I think the thing about Warner Bros for me, was for the first time I realized, they really do want to make great movies. They want the movies to be respectable is probably the wrong term Its going to push boundaries and be a little bawdy, but they want it to be good. Its not just hey we gotta hit that number which was our experience at another place. You can talk to these people and theyre really involved in trying to make it good, and I learned that on the DUKES. They were like, oh, okay, its going to cost a little more. Okay, you can have it. If it was justified, they would say yeah, you can have it so in this movie, we actually ended up staying on budget, but more importantly, the movie has been good everyday. Ive never said oh, that sucks but we can move on. Ive said, that sucks. We have to fix it.
How about doing a sequel to DUKES?
I think we made it it was fun. I loved it. I had a blast. I hear theyre talking about going forward with a low budget prequel.
So youre not interested in directing it?
Not for me. Look, I had a blast. I loved the Dukes of Hazzard show and I loved the movie we made. I know some people trashed it, but I dont really give a fuck. I loved the movie, and we had a ball, me and Johnny and Sean and Burt and Willie and Jessica. I thought she was great in what she had to do. Another one? We made it and were done.
Was it kind of an honor to be nominated for a Razzie? Like a pop culture sort of thing?
I thought so. We have a Stonie from High Times magazine. I was a little disappointed that we got six Razzie noms and we got shut-out. Youd figure wed get one, you know?
Is there a lot of pressure to be the comedy person at Warners? To be called upon to bring the comedy to them?
Uh, well you just hope that what you tell them is good is good. I mean, were extremely the sieve is pretty tight. Not a lot of stuff is going to get through. Just stuff I believe in the story, I believe in the filmmakers, I believe in the producers, okay now well bring it to em, because I dont want to get left hanging out there with some piece of crap.
I got to interview Shethal for the Albert Brooks movie. Is there an Indian contingent?
Well, I dont know. I know that Sheethal and I are friends. You meet them now and then, yeah, absolutely. I know AJ Nadu from New York. Hes in one of Linklaters movies and hes funny, and I met the guy who was in Harold and Kumar. Yeah, we find each other.
Oh, okay, but theres not like a guild .
No, theres no Indian guild. The DGA actually invites Asian Americans all together. I mean, its a little weird were here because were all brown. Its never been my game.
And is this legend of Beerfest? Is that something you totally made up or is it based on anything?
Its 100% true. (laughter)
BEERFEST goes wide on August 25th
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