In the continuing tradition of turning classic or beloved TV series into modern day films (or vice versa), later this spring Warner Bros. will release CHIPS, an R-rated taken on the 70s television series of the same name following the adventures of a group of California Highway Patrol officers. The film is written, directed and starred by Parenthood’s Dax Shepard, in addition to featuring a cast that includes Michael Peña, Vincent D’Onofrio and Kristen Bell.
During a set visit, we caught up with the cast and crew to find out just what audiences can expect from the new film when it hits theaters this month:
- Director Dax Shepard says the inspiration for CHIPS came out of a chance discovery one night after finding an image of the original series’ ‘Ponch’ and Jon and believing there to be a “bad ass” version of the show waiting to be made. Something more in the “Bad Boys, Lethal Weapon, Beverly Hills Cop” style.
- The movie is described as “action first and comedy second,” according to Shepard. It isn’t like the 21 Jump Street reboot according to Dax. “It takes itself seriously.”
The movie will be heavy on motorcycle stunts more than it will be car stunts. Shepard also emphasized that every stunt in the movie was performed practically.
- Brands such as Harley Davidson and Ducati were “super supportive” of the film according to Shepard, who was pleased with the way the bikes are portrayed in the film.
- The budget was $25 million. Bigger budget versions were considered with a PG-13 rating, but Shepard believed he could deliver a “home run” at a lower budget with an R rating.
- During the writing process, the film went through 7 drafts before making it to production. Most of the re-writes were done for budgetary reasons.
- The movie is very violent and contains “tons of nudity.” “We are either shooting explosions, nudity or jokes,” said Shepard.
- Shepard describes the movie as a love story between Jon and Ponch.
- According to producer Andrew Panay, the movie was always planned as a modern day adaptation, and that it would not be set in the 70s world of the series.
- Michael Peña learned how to ride a motorcycle for the film, saying he was worried because of having a kid at home. “I got on the first time and thought ‘I could fucking die.’” He added, “Riding a motorcycle will humble you quick.”
- Peña says Shepard would add lines to the script from ones that were improvised between the cast during rehearsals.
- Vincent D’Onofrio says of his character: “Ray is on a mission. He wants to protect his son from his son’s self and wants to make a bunch of money and get out of dodge.” He also revealed, “I’m running around and shooting guns and other crazy shit.”
- Of how he expects audiences to react to the film, D’Onofrio stated, “I think for people that are the right age to have seen [the show] when they were kids, they’re gonna find it really cool to have this Dax Shepard version of it out there. And, I think people that have never seen the show will look at it as a stand-alone action movie about California Highway Patrol, which is pretty cool.
- Kristin Bell plays Jon’s wife, who is a swim instructor and, as Bell joked, “sassy piece of arm candy.”
- Said Kristen Bell of her husband’s directing style between their first film together, Hit & Run, and now, “Other than learning practicalities, his directing perspective has been the same for all the years I’ve known him.”
CHIPS hits theaters March 24th