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INT: Soter/Stolhanske

04.19.2006by:


Set Visit Intro / Jurgen Prochnow / Paul Soter & Erik Stolhanske / Steve Lemme & Kevin Heffernan / Jay Chandrasekhar

This interview was a lot longer than this but I truncated it so nobody stabs themselves in the eyes from scrolling down so much. As expected, Paul and Erik were really cool and didn’t mind talking about pretty much anything. And if anything seems serious or insulting, it probably isn’t and was just them kidding around but it’d probably be annoying to constantly read (laughs) before and after every question or anything they said. Here's what they had to say about their latest, BEERFEST.

Paul Soter Erik Stolhanske

So what are you working on today?

Paul Soter: It’s the parade that sort of introduces Oktoberfest, you know, Erik and I are brothers who come to Oktoberfest, arrive at Oktoberfest and we’re just getting an idea of how everything works and this is a big sort of procession.

Erik Stolhanske: In reality, there’s a parade on the first day of Oktoberfest, the baron, master of ceremonies, taps the ceremonial keg and nobody gets to drink until the ceremonial keg is tapped so this is the big procession that leads up to the ceremonial tapping of the keg. Unfortunately, they show up and find out that my brother and I have already gotten into the ceremonial keg and are drunk and bathing in it.

Is it easier to work with Jurgen [Prochnow] now that you made Brian Cox pee on a car?

Paul: You get used to sort of…you think that these really sort of established serious actors are gonna just show up and be mortified of what you’re asking them to do and then you realize these guys never get a chance to do stuff like this so they’re just delighted to and Jurgen’s been a blast.

So what’s the dynamic between the brothers? You guys get along? Really well?

Erik: Well, it kinda starts out I’m sort of the more straight-laced business-type and we come here to spread my grandpa’s ashes and over the period of time that we spend together, we get closer but at the beginning we’re…

Paul: I make him my project. Loosen him up.

Erik: Loosens me up quite a bit.

Paul: He’s all buttoned down [he points to Erik’s suit wardrobe] at the beginning of the movie, fanny pack, sweater, [formal] pants. I get him looking a lot cooler by the end of the movie.

Oh are these the costumes (speaking to Erik)?

Paul & Erik: (laugh) Yeah, yeah.

You look just like Americans in a foreign country.

Paul & Erik: (laugh) Yeah, exactly.

There’s been a real shortage of these beer drinking comedies, hasn’t there?

Erik: It’s true, yeah. People are afraid of beer these days.

Paul: It sort of went out after STRANGE BREW and the movie BEER back in the early 80s. You know, not only that, but we spend a lot of time promoting the movies, we go to college campuses, and we realized how much they love beer drinking games on college campuses and we thought nobody’s ever done a tribute to something that essentially everybody does.

Erik: Yeah, and I grew up in Minnesota and beer was just part of the culture. And then also every time you watch any sporting event, all you ever see is beer commercials.

Have you come with a drinking game to go along with movie?

Paul: We’re trying to come up with ones that will accompany the DVD that you can play…uh, every time there’s a sex scene, maybe, you can drink or...

Erik: Really?

Paul: Yeah, there’s a lot. I just realized, we were going over it today, I’m the only one in the movie who doesn’t have a sex scene. I don’t know how that happened.

Is that gonna be changed?

Paul: Yeah, there’s still time, I suppose…

Erik: On the DVD, we might try to figure out a way that we can create a drinking game on it…

And who are the ladies in the movie?

Paul: There’s Cloris Leachman. The, uh…

Erik: I’m not saying anything…

Who has a sex scene with her?

Paul: Well, she has a huge thing for Jay. She kept wanting to kiss Jay.

Erik: She loves Jay.

Paul: Until finally…

Erik: Oh, in the movie? I didn’t know that’s what you were talking about.

Paul: Cloris is a lovely lovely woman, she’s no stranger to those types of scenes, if you remember THE LAST PICTURE SHOW, you know, it’s reminiscent of that…

Erik: We gotta leave some surprises out there. You gotta come see the movie to see who Cloris has sex with.

There’s a quote right there. That should be on the poster. It should be a drinking game – every time Cloris has sex with somebody in the movie…

Erik: No, it’s Paul Soter.

So you guys kinda had a secondary role in CLUB DREAD. Do you guys like trade around, get more of a lead role in this one? Does it kinda work out that way?

Erik: It’s pretty organic how it happens. I don’t think we choose. We kinda look like each other.

Paul: We realized if two guys are gonna be brothers, it couldn’t be Jay and somebody. And Kevin [Heffernan] and Steve [Lemme] you could have done as brothers but in THE GREEK ROAD, which is what we’re doing next, they play Plato and Socrates, they’re sort of the onscreen buddies the way that Erik and I are in this movie so we couldn’t sort of repeat that same dynamic. So it kinda just by default ended up being us.

Are you guys gonna jump right into that after this is done? After you finish the editing here just jump right into that as soon as possible?

Paul: We would hope so. I guess it’s gonna really depend on the success of BEERFEST. You know, GREEK ROAD is a more ambitious project cause it is a period piece, it’s a costume piece, it’s got...

Erik: The Olympics…

Paul: Gods, Mount Olympus, Olympic competition, so it’s one of those things where we really needed to…

Erik: Nude wrestling…

Paul: …be able to prove to a studio that it’s worth putting enough money into that so hopefully BEERFEST is the one that sort of...

New Mexico also is like Greek.

Erik: (laughs) Yeah, we could probably shoot it here, yeah.

Obviously, DUKES OF HAZZARD was the movie that made all this happen, a three-picture deal on that. How much are you guys affected by that success besides obviously starring in this movie? How do you guys feel that?

Paul: It was just a very weird thing cause we just got brought in to do a little punch-up work on the script and just really hit it off with the guys at Warner Bros. and they really liked how Jay directs and they were looking for somebody to bring comedies to WB. They didn’t necessarily have people that they work with in that sense and so for us it was amazing because not only did it allow us to get BEERFEST made but they’re sort of trusting us to bring them scripts that we find to help develop comedies. And we’re writing some other comedies with their big stars. Nobody’s ever handed us that kind of trust before. It’s kind of exciting to see what happens.

When you do a movie like this do you think about what’s gonna be the quotable lines, what are gonna be the memorable scenes?

Erik: I don’t think consciously. But there’s stuff that somebody’ll say that sounds funny that we end up repeating…

Paul: Yeah, you never know what those sort of things are gonna be. I think what we try to do here is pack the movie with as many of those, we think, really funny lines and quotes and moments, as possible, knowing now the parts of SUPERTROOPERS and CLUB DREAD that people really responded to, I think we decided to try to create an entire movie with scenes like that.

How much of that happens in the writing stage and how much of that happens here on set when you’re going back and forth?

Paul: It’s mostly the writing stage, only because up until now we’ve always been so under the gun in terms of shooting just to make our days, we’ve never been able to do a whole lot of improvisation so basically what we try to do is once we’ve got a script, rehearse it, rehearse it, rehearse it and as we’re rehearsing it, go ahead and say, you know, do whatever you want, go off the script. And then some stuff comes out that way. This time we’ve got a little more luxury, I think we’ve come up with a few things. But it still mostly takes place mostly in writing it.

What are those elements that people are responding to? You mentioned the elements that people responded to in CLUB DREAD and SUPERTROOPERS. What do you think are those elements?

Paul: It’s hard to say. You can see where…the big comedy…the scenes like the opening in SUPERTROOPERS, the scenes that have I think a sense of anarchy are the ones that people really seem to like.

How long does it take you to write a movie like this from when you first get the idea to through all the meetings?

Paul: We actually had our first session on this in my apartment right around the time that CLUB DREAD came out.

Erik: We were still living in NY.

Paul: So I would say about two years from the first meeting on that to starting the film.

Erik: We were also writing in between. We wrote this other movie, this OPERATION: HIGH MAINTENANCE in between…

So what kinda games happen at Beerfest, if you can say?

Paul: Well, Beerfest is everything from the games you heard, quarters and pong…

They don’t have quarters in Germany, though…

Paul: Yeah, it’s krugerbounze (Note: Not sure about the spelling here). Which is part of the trick to it is that we have to learn how to play with a big heavy coin. To things that we made up like a guy standing on top of a ladder having to pour a picture of beer into the mouth of a guy laying down below without spilling a drop. We wanted to exaggerate it and make up stuff and have it be sort of a funhouse mirror kind of…

Erik: We have a Survivor-esque type obstacle course. We had to get through carrying a beer, not spilling and drinking.

Paul: We were gonna do a greased pig contest where you had to drink a beer while chasing a greased pig around. But that got cut.

Erik: We didn’t have time or money.

What did the movie beer taste like?

Paul: It’s O’Doul’s. But a lot of the times when we’re supposed to be drinking German beer, O’Doul’s isn’t dark enough, so they’ve been mixing in diet coke and stuff like that.

They have food coloring now.

Paul: Yeah, they did switch to coloring.

Erik: Yeah, but for a long time it was diet coke and O’Doole’s.

How much are you drinking and how much are you peeing?

Erik: A lot. And these guys are in lederhosen, like [Will] Forte and Eric Christian Olsen…

Paul: Yeah, all the guys who play the German bad guys are drinking in lederhosen and you see them and it’s like getting out of a ski outfit. When they run to the next room to go to the bathroom, they’re gone for ten minutes.

Just to mention, the formula of snobs vs. slobs, is that something you specifically wanted to go back to? That great formula of ANIMAL HOUSE or CADDYSHACK?

Paul: Yeah, you have to remember that the template for this is also the sports movie and so we wanted a HOOSIERS-like or ROCKY-like dynamic of the losers or the underdogs who then go on…it’s like the miracle on ice [where we need] an invincible force in the form of the German team. So yeah, it just inevitably became the snobs vs. slobs dynamic but you need that for your RUDY underdog any kind of sports movie dynamic to work.

Erik: It showed up that the young Americans were the underdogs and the Germans were the international powerhouse like the Russians were.

Paul: Right. We’ve created these wonderful cartoon, robotic, machine-like evil German villains. And it’s a blast. They’re hysterical.

Erik: Yeah, they’re great.

BEERFEST goes wide on August 25th

Source: JoBlo.com

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