Set Visit: Malibu's Most Wanted
The Jamie Kennedy Experiment is a funny show. If you donít believe me, just check it out yourself. Some people call him the new Jim Carrey. I donít know about that, but the show, a blend of real practical jokes and sketch comedy, is a riotÖand now heís moved the tv show to the big screen. Based on one of the more popular sketches (watch a clip of this very sketch here from his hit show, the $15 million-budgeted MALIBUíS MOST WANTED (the current working title) is the story of Brad Gluckman, a white rapper from Malibu otherwise known as B-Rad whose hip-hop lifestyle hinders his dadís (Ryan OíNeal) bid for governor. But when his dadís political partner tries to scare Brad off by introducing him to the real life of a gangsta, B-Rad proves to all the doubters that heís true to the streetsÖand wins the heart of a South Central babe, to boot. It stars Anthony Anderson (one of Carreyís sons in ME, MYSELF AND IRENE, and is in the upcoming BARBERSHOP), Taye Diggs, and Damien Wayans.
Last week Warner Brothers invited yours truly to visit the set of the film, and take a behind-the-scenes peek at everything from shooting a car crash, to eating a craft services lunch. I talked with most of the cast, sans OíNeal, whoís supposedly too shy (try been burned too many times in the 70s), and Bo Derek, who plays Bradís momÖbut wasnít on set the day I was there.
When I first arrived, they ushered us onto the set. It was supposed to be the home of a lead South Central gangster, played by Wayans (nephew of Keenen Ivory, I believeÖfor the record), so it was covered in cheesy snacks, a empty Olde English 22 ouncers, a Bowflex, and rap posters. We stood behind the bar while they shot the scene in the living room. OíNeal busted through the wall with his humvee, trying to rescue his son. A confrontation ensues that left the crew in tearsÖ.laughing, that is. There were 3 cameras used for the scene, and they mustíve shot it AT LEAST 7 or 8 times.
We also saw another scene later, my first experience with action and stunts. They crashed a Mercedes through the same living room (supposedly itís driven by Gluckmanís ďhardcoreĒ Malibu cronies, arriving to rescue himÖclassic). They prepped it for about an hour, and did the crash after lunch. After several rehearsals, in came the car. Very loud, but one problemÖthe wall only partially collapsed. For a botched stunt, the director, John Whitesell, seemed pretty calm. I had to leave before they could rebuild and reshoot, but I was thanking myself that I never went to set design school.
Anyhoo, the folks on set were greatÖespecially Jamie himself. We were able to pull him from the set for a while, which was fantastic, and ask him some questions. Clad in powder blue mesh b-ball shorts, a matching head and wristbands, and about 10 pounds of phony platinum ďbling blingĒ, he seemed to be having a really tough time getting out of character. But he was able to give me the low-down on the story, his show, and his new challengeÖ.
So, who is Brad Gluckman?
This is a character I did on my show. Itís also based on a script I wrote with my friend Nick about 2, 3 years ago. But there are new writers in now whoíve made it more of a movie character.
Whatís it like being both the main character AND the writer?
Itís pretty pressure-filled, but I feel better now. Iím ĺ of the way done now. We got a lot of the big stuff done. But when youíre writing, you have all these little babies that you want to get in all these different things. Some times itís hard to take off your writerís hat and move into character.
Youíre still doing the show. Is it hard going from tv, to this, then back to tv?
I didnít know if I would get the chance to do this character on film again, because itís kind of been seen before in other movies. But, people have never seen a character like this through an entire movie. So the window of opportunity is small, but I need to take advantage of it. If we can get it out in Spring, thatíd be perfect.
Sure seems like Eminem to me.
No, Iím not trying to spoof Eminem. Eminemís really legit. Heís from Detroit. Iím just a white wannabe rapper, and Iím blonde cuz Iím from Malibu.
But are you taking advantage of the fact that Eminemís so popular now?
Am I, though? Iíve been doing this for a really long time. I donít want anyone to think this has anything to do with him. Heís a real rapper, and a legitimate, respected rapper in that world. Bradís from Malibu, not Detroit. And white rappers have been around for a while with Beastie Boys, 3rd Base, etc.
How much improv takes place on the set?
We usually shoot the scene a couple times the way the scriptís written, and then we improv one or two takes for fun.
Out of all the sketches you do on your show, is this the most fun for you?
Heís fun. Theyíre all fun, but heís definitely fun because people seem to like him the most.
Why Malibu? Why not Beverly Hills or some other cheesy, ritzy community?
I thought Malibu was the most outrageous. It was absurd. You really wonít take me seriously. Beverly Hills is good. Brentwoodís good. But Malibu makes Beverly Hills look like the ghetto.
Did you draw your character from real people or experiences?
Definitely. Part of it is me. Iím a white kid who grew up in the suburbs of Pennsylvania, who likes rap music. Another part of it is, when I moved to LA, white guys would talk like they were from the Ďhood saying stuff like ďYo, Palisades in the house!Ē I was like, what??? Iíd never seen anything like that before. So, yeah, I really drew from people. There are guys in New York who were like, ďYo, man, I grew up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, yo. Penthouse suite!Ē
You hear that studio execs are still concerned about interracial relationships. In this film you kiss Regina Hall, your black co-star. Did the studio have any problems with that?
No. Not at all. They were very cool about it. And thatís good, because you donít see that very much.
Is there going to be a Malibuís Most Wanted 2?
Letís hope. We already have a story laid out, if the audience likes it. We have an outline for it. Hopefully itíll be a little, mini saga.
Thatís all she wrote. The visit overall was great, especially the alone time with Jamie and the stunts (the Halibut and pizza for lunch was tasty as well, but I have my priorities).