Set Visit: Dukes of Hazzard

-- this set visit took place in January 2005 --

Set Visit / Seann William Scott / Johnny Knoxville /
Jay Chandrasekhar / Jessica Simpson

As many of you know, I'm sure, THE DUKES OF HAZZARD was originally a TV show that ran from 1979 to 1985 (read JoBlo's review of its first season on DVD here). It followed the adventures of brothers' Bo and Luke Duke (played by John Schneider and Tom Wopat respectively) and their smoking hot cousin Daisy Duke (played by Catherine Bach) as they constantly feuded with the white pimp suit clad Boss Hogg and sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane (played by Sorrell Booke and James Best respectively). In this current update, the trio is transported to present day but rest assured, the bad ass Dodge Charger known as The General Lee, Daisy's shorts (which, if you're like me you've been drooling over since the first pics appeared online), Boss Hogg and his pimped out white Cadillac are all present and accounted for.

In this update, Seann William Scott plays Bo Duke, Johnny Knoxville plays Luke Duke, Willie Nelson plays Uncle Jesse Duke, Burt Reynolds plays Boss Hogg, M.C. Gainey plays Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane, David Koechner plays Cooter, Lynda Carter plays Pauline and (as if I needed to tell you) Jessica Simpson plays the scrumptious Daisy Duke. Jay Chandrasekhar (from the Broken Lizard troupe) directs from a script him and the Broken Lizard guys wrote.

When I arrived in Baton Rouge , Louisiana , I presumed the first night was going to be an uneventful dinner with the rest of the online press in attendance. Imagine my and the rest of the gang's surprise when producer Bill Gerber and the one and only Burt Reynolds were also dining at the same restaurant we were. We actually spoke to Gerber that night and the day after so I've just collated some of the more interesting points he mentioned from both talks in the points below:

  • As far as casting is concerned, Jessica Simpson nailed the role from the audition. There was no doubt that she was the perfect choice for the role. He felt that she pulled off brilliantly the same aura of being a really good girl yet being very sensual the same way Catherine Bach did. Further, Seann William Scott was initially very excited about the project. He was very proactive about the project from the beginning. He and the rest of the actors gave good input about their characters. Finally, the choice for Jay Chandrasekhar for director was because Warner Bros' had been wanting to work with Jay for a long time, they were looking for a director who had a little bit more of an edge, and who would make a movie that wasn't campy or a spoof but rather the anti Starsky and Hutch and at the same time would be an homage to BLUES BROTHERS, SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT and CANNONBALL RUN.

  • Of Daisy’s shorts, he mentioned that they kept getting shorter and shorter to the point where they had to cut the pockets off. Hell yeah!!

  • As far as the stunts, he mentioned that this is the first time the Go Mobile (which I talk about later) is used in a movie.

  • A few other tidbits he mentioned are that the soundtrack would be a southern rock in the vein of the Allman Brothers, Leonard Skynard and ZZ Top, we can expect to see a trailer Spring Break and everybody would be willing to come back for a sequel if people wanted it. Finally, he mentioned a couple of his upcoming projects which include a movie called MAJOR MOVIE STAR with Jessica Simpson and VOID MOON with Angelina Jolie and Robert DeNiro.

Burt Reynolds is about as cool as it gets. Before he left for the night, he stopped by our table and showed us first hand why he's the man. He cracked jokes, told us great stories, talked football and even talked a little bit about how somewhat awkward it was being in a remake of a movie he made 30 years ago with THE LONGEST YARD. As if that wasn't enough, he even dropped a few nuggets about his upcoming projects. He mentioned that a SHARKY'S MACHINE remake is in the works and his choice for the title role would be George Clooney. Despite him being a fan of Sean Penn (in his words, "Goddamn, he can act!") he believed Clooney had the appropriate blend of charisma and acting chops to portray the titular Sharky. Finally, he mentioned that he'd be open to doing a SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT remake.

The following day we mounted a van bright and early and were taken to a location about an hour outside Baton Rouge where the cast and crew were currently filming. The location was a Boy Scout camp (that’s right, Boy Scout) and the scene we'd be seeing was taking place relatively deep in the forest. We were told it was part of a "Road Rally" muscle car race that Bo and The General Lee enter which starts out on the road and deviates into the forest when quite a few cops (about 15) become involved. The scene is one of four or five action set pieces with the one we'd be watching coming at the film's climax. The second unit team had already been there and now director Jay Chandrasekhar and crew were there to match footage.

As we made our way through the location, we caught a glimpse of several muscle cars being used in the Road Rally race. We also snagged a first glimpse of Boss Hogg's white Caddy (with some bad ass looking gun shaped door handles) and a few General Lee's - one was in half, a couple were wrecked and one was pristine and looking soh-weeeeeet! We even snapped a picture in one. Boo yah!!

The first stop we made was at a stunt car rig called the "Go Mobile". Here's an official description of what the Go Mobile actually is:

"A high-speed, low center of gravity, chassis replacement stunt driving camera platform fabricated by Go Stunts, Inc. The Go Mobile’s modular bay can accommodate everything from cars and trucks to airplanes and even horse buggies; the bay’s height, width and length are fully adjustable, providing a match in height to the actual vehicle(s) in motion—a distinct advantage over the older method of executing tracking shots or talent in a car chase scenario, where low speeds and the raised perspective provided by the process trailer created problems when cutting in high speed, actual stunt vehicle footage. The self-propelled Go Mobile is piloted by a stunt driver from a moveable cockpit, allowing a myriad of camera placement around the car/truck, filming the “driver” (actor) from countless angles. The footage shot captures the very realistic forces exerted on the actor inside a vehicle traveling at high speeds while executing quick turns, fast accelerations and sudden stops."

It's essentially one relatively big car with the back half of a car and a rig for a camera, its operator and a stunt driver mounted on a single chassis. The camera projects in such a way that it allows a direct view of the actors inside the car and any action happening behind the car. Since the Go Mobile is one unit, it’s able to achieve speeds up to 70 or 80 mph like a regular car. As a result, the audience can feel the full force of the chase. Further, not only is the Go Mobile safer but it has the added advantage of being able to slam cars directly onto the side of it. The end result is a more visceral and gritty experience. The chase sequences may be familiar to some as long-time second unit director Dan Bradley, who worked on THE BOURNE SUPREMACY and SPIDER-MAN 2 as second unit director and who employs the Go Mobile rig, is the second unit director on DUKE's.

After the Go Mobile, we were taken to the actual location in the forest where the scene was being shot. There were three cars lined up one behind the other with the General Lee in front and a police barricade about 10 feet away. The General Lee being used was another stunt car rig known as an RDV (stands for Remote Drive Vehicle). Similar to the Go Mobile, the RDV is one unit, only this time the rig is attached to the roof of the car. The stunt man drives the car from the enclosed rig on the roof with the actor inside the car. The camera can be inserted in the passenger seat or in the back seat depending on the angle the director wants for the sequence. The RDV can also go up to 70 or 80 mph and can maneuver like a regular car, taking curves at high speeds and zig zagging between cars.

As we observed the RDV being prepared, Jay (Chandrasekhar) showed up and talked to us (his interview soon to come). While we were talking with Jay, Seann William Scott showed up in his Bo Luke garb and jumped into the RDV. Soon after, the stunt man strapped himself into the rig on the roof and someone called for everybody to clear away. As soon as action was yelled, the three cars propelled forward with the RDV and another car taking the first sharp right curve and the last car passing through the police barricade. After they repeated the scene and the crew was getting things ready to leave, Jay actually showed us some second unit footage from the onset of the race on a paved road. We saw about three short clips, each with the General Lee being chased by several cop cars. The sequence was definitely reminiscent of THE BOURNE SUPREMACY only not as turbulent. It was a fast paced, visceral, in-your-face sequence which definitely got me psyched about how cool the end result would be.

After watching the chase sequence, we got a chance to sit down with producer Bill Gerber and Seann William Scott. After that, we were taken to two more locations, each about 40 minutes away. The first location was Cooter's garage. We were informed that none of it was built. They just turned an existing garage into "Cooter's Rebel Repair". The garage office had a musky, dirty look with a retro vibe. The back of the garage had cars at different stages of repair, all of which were part of the existing complex. Behind the entire complex was a car junkyard where we were told part of a scene would take place.

After Cooter's garage, we took a drive to the location of the Duke family farm. If I'm not mistaken, the farm is 500 acres. We were told that it was all part of an actual farm. They didn't have to build anything. The rustic appearance of the farm, it's barn and houses, the interspersed large trees were all existing structures. As a fitting end to the tour of the farm, which was in the same vicinity as the Duke farm, we drove past Lynda Carter's character's house, who in the film plays Pauline. We were then taken back to the production offices where we got a chance to talk with Jessica Simpson, and Johnny Knoxville.

All in all, it was a great experience. Thanks to Warner Bros' for being cool enough to allow us on set, John Pasani, the unit publicist on DUKE's, and Darren Olcsvary, Warner Bros' Interactive Marketing Manager for taking the time to show us around and to Jessica Simpson for being so damn hot. Goddamn!!

THE DUKES OF HAZZARD will be released on JUNE 24th

Stay tuned for our interviews with Seann William Scott, Johnny Knoxville, Jessica Simpson & director Jay Chandrasekhar

Source: JoBlo.com



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