Set Visit: Malibu's Most Wanted
The Jamie Kennedy Experiment is a funny show. If you don’t believe me, just check it out yourself. Some people call him the new Jim Carrey. I don’t know about that, but the show, a blend of real practical jokes and sketch comedy, is a riot…and now he’s 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 MALIBU’S 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 dad’s (Ryan O’Neal) bid for governor. But when his dad’s 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 he’s true to the streets…and wins the heart of a South Central babe, to boot. It stars Anthony Anderson (one of Carrey’s 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 O’Neal, who’s supposedly too shy (try been burned too many times in the 70s), and Bo Derek, who plays Brad’s mom…but wasn’t 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 believe…for 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. O’Neal busted through the wall with his humvee, trying to rescue his son. A confrontation ensues that left the crew in tears….laughing, that is. There were 3 cameras used for the scene, and they must’ve 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 it’s driven by Gluckman’s “hardcore” Malibu cronies, arriving to rescue him…classic). They prepped it for about an hour, and did the crash after lunch. After several rehearsals, in came the car. Very loud, but one problem…the 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 great…especially 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 “bling bling”, 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 challenge….
So, who is Brad Gluckman?
This is a character I did on my show. It’s also based on a script I wrote with my friend Nick about 2, 3 years ago. But there are new writers in now who’ve made it more of a movie character.
What’s it like being both the main character AND the writer?
It’s pretty pressure-filled, but I feel better now. I’m ¾ of the way done now. We got a lot of the big stuff done. But when you’re writing, you have all these little babies that you want to get in all these different things. Some times it’s hard to take off your writer’s hat and move into character.
You’re still doing the show. Is it hard going from tv, to this, then back to tv?
I didn’t know if I would get the chance to do this character on film again, because it’s 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, that’d be perfect.
Sure seems like Eminem to me.
No, I’m not trying to spoof Eminem. Eminem’s really legit. He’s from Detroit. I’m just a white wannabe rapper, and I’m blonde cuz I’m from Malibu.
But are you taking advantage of the fact that Eminem’s so popular now?
Am I, though? I’ve been doing this for a really long time. I don’t want anyone to think this has anything to do with him. He’s a real rapper, and a legitimate, respected rapper in that world. Brad’s 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 script’s 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?
He’s fun. They’re all fun, but he’s 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 won’t take me seriously. Beverly Hills is good. Brentwood’s 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. I’m 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 ‘hood saying stuff like “Yo, Palisades in the house!” I was like, what??? I’d never seen anything like that before. So, yeah, I really drew from people. There are guys in New York who were like, “Yo, man, I grew up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, yo. Penthouse suite!”
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 that’s good, because you don’t see that very much.
Is there going to be a Malibu’s Most Wanted 2?
Let’s hope. We already have a story laid out, if the audience likes it. We have an outline for it. Hopefully it’ll be a little, mini saga.
That’s 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).