The Collider Interview: Three-Fifths of Broken Lizard

     November 1, 2005

Posted by Mr. Beaks

;

;

This is such a long interview, I’m going to forego my typically florid setup and plunge you right into a dialogue that careens all over the goddamn place before giving way to some surprising insight on the topic of writing subversive comedy in the studio system.; My interview subjects are Paul Soter, Steve Lemme and Erik Stolhanske – three members of the Broken Lizard comedy quintet responsible for the cult comedy classics Super Troopers and Club Dread, and the recent big screen transfer of The Dukes of Hazzard.; Given their hectic writing regimen over at the Warner Brothers lot, where they have offices underneath Joel Schumacher, I’m told I was lucky just to convene a quorum.; Happily, Paul, Steve and Erik did not disappoint, blessing me with one of the few interviews that’s almost as much fun transcribing as it was to conduct.

;

Below, the boys give up a good deal of info on the forthcoming Beerfest, discuss the group’s writing dynamic, speak candidly about the failure of Club Dread, and help me work through some childhood trauma.; As the interview began, I was trying not to lock up my jaw while chomping on a massive gumball while the boys ordered lunch.; Once that was out of the way, this happened…


;

;

;

You guys have been talking about Beerfest for a while.; Is this going to be done through Warner Brothers?

;

Steve:; It’s Warners.; When we came over here they said they wanted to make a movie with us.; Our deal here is threefold:; one is to make Broken Lizard movies, one is to write bigger budgeted movies for other actors to act in, then one is to find material from up-and-coming writers and directors, bring them to the studios and produce them.; I guess they don’t really have a channel for that here.;

;

The Broken Lizard movie that we’ve been trying to make for a long time is called The Greek Road, but it’s just got such an outrageous budget.; That was the one they really wanted to do first, because Sony owned Beerfest.; We tried to get the budget to work, and we’d always be a couple of million bucks off.; And we didn’t want to make it below what it should be made for, because it’s really something that depends on it looking like Ancient Greece.

;

Paul:; You’re going to the Olympics, you’ve got gods, you’ve got gigantic creatures and monsters.

;

Steve:; And stunts.; And musical numbers.

;

Oh.; I was going to say that you could make it like those cheap Lou Ferrigno Hercules movies.

;

Paul:; Sure.; It’s amazing.; They always say, “Just do it like Life of Brian” or whatever.; Or Holy Grail.; But if you did it like that, it’d be like, “Oh, they’re just doing Life of Brian”.; So, you actually have to have some kind of respectable production value, even though it’s a comedy, to do any kind of historical period piece.; Finally, we settled on Beerfest.; Sony had it because we originally developed it with Happy Madison [Adam Sandler’s production company] over at Sony.; The other thing I should say is that this deal’s not done.; I got busted for putting on our website that we were going ahead with Beerfest; apparently that ruffled some feathers.; So, it’s unofficially official.; We are trying to work it out, but it looks like we’ll shoot Beerfest in January.

;

Steve:; It is funny how the movie business works.; Paul posted that on the website, and we caught a lot of heat for it.; Some of the departments were saying, “You can’t go ahead and announce that stuff!; What are you doing?”; The truth is, we were simply excited.

;

Paul:; We just put it on the blog on BrokenLizard.com as something for our fans, because they’re always asking us what’s going on.; Then it got picked up on Ain’t It Cool News.

;

Moriarty ran it.

;

Paul:; Which is great.; We love him; he’s always been a great booster.; But then from there, The Hollywood Reporter picked it up, so from someone’s point of view at Warner Brothers publicity, we were hitting the town and going to all the media outlets to announce this thing when all we’d done was put a little [post on the blog].; I looked at the blog that I wrote, and I didn’t even say anything about Warner Brothers.; All I said was, “Hey, it looks like we’re going to make Beerfest in January!”; But when it was in The Hollywood Reporter, it was, “Warner Brothers Greenlights Beerfest”.

;

Everything’s got to be an official press release, and go through the official channels.

;

Steve:; In their defense, they just want to be able to maximize the power of the information that they’re releasing to… get sponsors or—

;

Paul:; Well, that’s their job.; “What is the most efficient and powerful way to release information like this?”

;

Let’s talk about underground beer drinking in Germany.; It’s sort of strange to think about the Germans going underground to drink beer, something they do out in the open fairly well.

;

Steve:; We wanted to do a thing where it’s like, Oktoberfest, yeah, but this is something that’s even unbeknownst to the Germans.; That’s how secret it is.; It’s Fight Club.; But with beer drinking games.

;

Erik:; It’s ancient.; It’s centuries old.; It was a way in Europe for kings to settle political disputes.; But it was never known to the public; it was a backdoor way of settling differences, and, over time, became a very in-the-know, very super-secret society.

;

And they just binge drink?

;

Paul:; No, no, no!; We would never—

;

Steve:; Binge drinking is bad for you.

;

Paul:; Skills games.

;

Steve:; There’s everything.; There’s “Quarters”.; There are chugging competitions, like speed chugging and volume chugging.; But then there’s “Beirut”, which is the hot new game.; “Shuffle Beer”.

;

Paul:; But they’re played with, like, wooden paddles.; And instead of quarters, you’ve got gigantic Krugerrands.;

;

Erik:; “Grab the Greased Pig.”

;

Paul:; Yeah, maybe a little greased pig.

;

That’s tough sober.

;

Erik:; It’s not easy.

;

Steve:; That’s quite hard.

;

Paul:; Very hard.

;

I actually did a greased pig competition.

;

Steve:; You did?

;

Yeah.; I grew up in Ohio, so—

;

Steve:; How was that greased pig competition?

;

Oh, I couldn’t get the greased pig.;

;

Steve:; Ohio’s “The Greased Pig State”, right?

;

That thing was not getting caught.

;

Erik:; Isn’t the noise alone very disturbing as well?

;

Yeah, it is.; Especially when people are cheering for you, and you’re a little kid trying to mount the back of a pig and take it down into the mud.

;

Paul:; And it’s not mano-a-mano, right?; They put twenty kids in there with a greased pig.

;

No, every kid gets a shot to get his pig.

;

Paul:; Oh, so it was solo.; I think the only time I’ve seen it, and this was probably in a movie, was just a bunch of kids running around.

;

Erik:; It was Rocky V, right?; Rocky V: Catch That Pig.;

;

Paul:; Okay, so you get your shot.; There’s like a time limit?; You get ten minutes with a pig?

;

I can’t remember.; It felt like an eternity at that age.

;

Steve:; And aren’t you just worn out by the end of it?

;

Yeah.; And you’re very muddy.; A lot of mud and grease and—

;

Erik:; A bit traumatizing.

;

Paul:; It sounds more demeaning that way.; You just want to go home, put your head phones on and listen to Boston.; Pink Floyd.

;

It would’ve been Journey or ELO at the time.

;

Paul:; Journey’s Escape?

;

Would’ve been right before Escape came out.; Captured, I guess.

;

(After a moment trying to get the correct chronological order of Journey’s LPs down, Steve turns the questions back to me.)

;

Steve:; This is a good angle on this piece.; It should be that we’re interviewing you.; Like you’ve come in to interview us, and, actually, we want to find out about your greased pig.

;

Paul:; We will refuse to answer questions.; We will only ask questions.; This is going to be our new policy.

;

Steve:; We’re like Jesus Christ.

;

You’re saving me therapy now.

;

Steve:; And how did it make you feel, your greased pig?

;

Paul:; And would you go see a Journey concert now with a different lead singer who looks just like Steve Perry, but is not Steve Perry.

;

But sounds just like him.

;

Erik:; But isn’t that what they have?

;

Steve:; That’s what they have now, yes.

;

Paul:; So it’s not a theoretical question; it’s a practical question.

;

Would I go?; No.; Not out of allegiance to Steve Perry, but just because old men playing rock-and-roll is a really pathetic spectacle.

;

Steve:; What about the Stones?

;

You know, I saw the Stones.; (Laughing at the absurdity of the tangent)

;

Steve:; (Reaches back to his desk, grabs a magazine with the Stones on the cover, and cradles it lovingly) ;Keep goin’.

;

Yeah, I saw the Stones back in… I dunno.

;

Erik:; ’64?

;

Right.; No, when they were doing the Steel Wheels tour.; And that was good.

;

Paul:; I want to get back to Journey.; If they made up, if Neil Schon and Steve Perry kissed and made up and went back out, you’re saying you still wouldn’t see it because old men—

;

Yeah.; I think they’ve had their day.

;

Paul:; If they got their shit together…

;

With Steve Perry?; But does Steve Perry sound like Steve Perry anymore?; That’s what I’m worried about.

;

Erik:; Or does he sound like the other guy.

;

Or the other guy sounds like Steve Perry, while Steve Perry doesn’t sound like himself anymore.; That’s emasculating.

;

Steve:; I saw Hall and Oates at the Hollywood Bowl the other day.

;

Paul:; You did?; I would’ve loved to have gone to that.

;

Was GE Smith playing with them?

;

Steve:; No.; GE Smith was not there.

;

Erik:; But they have the same bass player, right?

;

Steve:; Yes.; T-Bone.

;

Erik:; T-Bone Burnett?;

;

Steve:; No, it’s not T-Bone Burnett.; T-Bone Burnett is more of like a Bob Dylan contemporary.; He did the music for O Brother, Where Art Thou?

;

Erik:; But they had the other T-Bone.

;

Steve:; Yes.

;

Erik:; You ever notice that people don’t order t-bone steaks much anymore?; They used to be very popular.

;

Steve:; I like t-bones.; That’s filet mignon on one side and…

;

Erik:; New York strip, I think.

;

People don’t order prime rib much anymore, either.

;

Steve:; Isn’t prime rib like ham almost?; Isn’t that the hammy part of the calf?;

;

As far as I remember, yes.

;

Steve:; Usually it’s like red or pink.;

;

Yes.

;

Steve:; But quite tasty.

;

I guess.; I don’t think I’ve ever had prime rib.

;

Steve:; But you didn’t come here to talk about steak, did you?

;

No.

;

Erik:; We’ve got a great place for prime rib.; The Valley Inn over on Ventura and Sepulveda.

;

See, I don’t know Burbank.

;

Erik:; That’s Sherman Oaks.

;

Obviously, I don’t know that too well, either.; So, steering us back to Beerfest… it’s been a while since we’ve had a pure beer drinking comedy.; I was thinking Strange Brew.; Is this going to be something in that vein?

;

Steve:; (After shutting off his cell phone and its haunting “Don’t Fear the Reaper” ring tone) I haven’t seen Strange Brew in a while.; I don’t even remember what it was about.; Weren’t they trying to make beer?

;

Paul:; It was the plot of Hamlet with a brewery.; You know, they don’t make that kind of comedy anymore.; I don’t know if it’s out of concern for responsibility or whatever, but in the seventies… (pause) I feel like there was another beer movie.

;

Erik:; There was Take This Job and Shove It.; That was a brewery movie.

;

Paul:; But I think there was a movie called Beer.

;

There was a movie called Beer.; I think Loretta Swit was in that.

;

Paul:; I think she was.; IMDB!;

;

(Steve swivels and rolls into action.);

;

Paul:; But why can’t you make those kinds of movies anymore?; We’ll see if there’s any… well, there will be backlash, but we’ll see what we can get away with.

;

Drunk driving gags are very verboten.

;

Erik:; Not in The 40 Year Old Virgin.

;

Yeah.; They got away with one there, and I was shocked.; But that used to be an acceptable bit of comedic business.

;

Paul:; But now I feel like we’re willing to break those taboos as long as the joke is funny enough.; No one made a fuss about The 40 Year Old Virgin because it was funny.; (Steve signals that his IMDB search has hit paydirt.); What do you got?

;

Steve:; Beer.; 1985.; Loretta Swit, Rip Torn, David Allen Grier.

;

;

Paul:; Give us a logline.

;

Steve:; “An advertising firm, desperate to keep an account from a financially ailing brewery, concocts a macho ad campaign centering on three losers who inadvertently prevent a robbery at a bar.”

;

Erik:; Sounds like it’s not so much about beer as it is centered around beer.

;

Steve:; Alright.; Six Pack.

;

Well, that was Kenny Rogers.

;

Paul:; With the six kids.

;

Steve:; Take This Job and Shove It.

;

Erik:; With Robert Hayes.

;

Paul:; From Airplane.

;

Steve:; (Reading logline) “The ‘Alison Group’ has bought four beer breweries in difficulties. The young but rising top manager Franck Macklin is sent to reorganize one of them – the one which happens to be the main company in his home town. At first his old buddies are reluctant to have him as new boss, but since he can’t save all of them from the severe changes, the climate soon changes. Then he learns that he increased the profit so much, that his bosses have decided to resell his brewery profitably to an incompetent Texas oil millionaire.”

;

Paul:; So, it’s really more of a comedic Norma Rae.

;

Erik:; Wasn’t there some sort of country aspect to it?

;

Steve:; Listen to this cast:; Robert Hayes, Art Carney, Barbara Hershey, David Keith, Tim Thomerson, Martin Mull, Eddie Albert, Penelope MilfordDavid Allen Coe?

;

Erik:; David Allen Coe!

;

He did the title song.; And he did that racist LP, too.

;

Erik:; Howard Stern played some of those, didn’t he?

;

Yeah.; Coe cut an album of all racist songs.

;

Steve:; “Take This Asian Guy and Shove It”?

;

I think they were mostly going against blacks.; He did it under a pseudonym and thought nobody would notice, which was brilliant.

;

Paul:; “David Allen Hate.”

;

(Laughing); Right.

;

Paul:; (Steering us back to Beerfest); And I think also some of the inspiration was from when we went on the road to support Super Troopers or Club Dread.; Or when we were in Baton Rouge working on Dukes of Hazzard, and you end up meeting a lot of big fans who are in college.; For us, after Club Dread, we wanted to get back to doing something that was a real pitch down the middle for our demographic.; You start talking to these people, and realize what their priorities are, and it was like, “What would really turn on the average Broken Lizard fan?”;

;

It’s strange that this hasn’t been exploited – a real, pure beer drinking film.

;

Steve:; But I think we’re psyched to make this now before Greek Road because it is coming to the forefront.; I don’t know if you saw this, but there are real beer competitions now—

;

Erik:; -They’ve created leagues—

;

Steve: -about chugging and quarters, so it was just a matter of time before that idea got out there.

;

Paul:; The front page of The New York Times two weeks ago was about beer games on college campuses, and are beer companies indirectly promoting that?; It’s an interesting issue, and I’m sure the issue will come up again in terms of what we’re doing.

;

And the idea is that these Americans go over there, and disgrace themselves and their country?

;

Steve:; Two brothers go [to Germany for Oktoberfest], and they stumble upon this competition.; There are no Americans there, and these guys step up to the challenge and get absolutely humiliated by the Germans.; They get tossed out of the country, go back to the States, and assemble the best beer drinking team they can find.; It’s like The Magnificent Five.; So, the whole second act is them training, and how it affects their lives.; We’re not spoofing, but we’re kind of taking the piss out of sports movies like Rocky and stuff like that.; And then the third act is them going back to German to try to exact their revenge.;

;

Do they have to search the country for the greatest drinkers with regards to their particular skills?

;

Paul:; We thought about it, but that made the scope so big that we made it that they went back and got the best drinkers that they knew from their past.;

;

Steve:; Kevin [Heffernan], who played Farva in Super Troopers, is the guy they immediately think of to be their power chugger.

;

Paul:; Maybe we should keep some secrets.

;

Steve:; That’s all we’ll tell.

;

But I do have to ask… I saw a copy of Bloodsport sitting in your conference room.

;

Paul:; That’s very much the model for the competition.; Just the aesthetic of it – the idea that you go down a flight of stairs and keep going down until you reach this auditorium… we’re looking at that.

;

Steve:; With a sandpit, money changing hands, expensive call girls, cigarette smoke in the air…

;

It’s a drinking Kumite.

;

Steve:; Yeah.

;

Erik:; What’s that guy’s name again?

;

Steve:; Chong Li.; [Played by the great Bolo Yeung]

;

;

You guys should get him for a cameo.

;

Erik:; We should get Chong Li there for the Chinese National team.

;

He was in Enter the Dragon.

;

Steve:; That was his first movie.; And he was so young.; But he’s so badass.; I’ve never seen pectoral muscles that size on any human being.

;

I’ve read in a lot of interviews with Jay that he likes the John Landis style of comedy.

;

Erik:; We were influenced by that as kids.; It’s in our psyche; we can’t get it out.

;

Steve:; And there are so many more.; In terms of the John Landis movies, they were never so broad.

;

Paul:; The world felt very real.

;

Steve:; In Animal House, I don’t think they ever really did anything that was unrealistic.; Well, they had the angel/devil thing, but that’s okay.

;

Paul:; A girl getting flung off a float, flying through a window and landing on a bed.; You believed it, right?

;

Steve:; (Laughing); That can happen.

;

I’ve seen that happen.; The girl didn’t live, but—

;

(A lot of crosstalk and laughter about how it takes some time to perfect that maneuver.)

;

You’ve got to break a few eggs.; But aside from Landis, what other influences would you credit?

;

Steve:; Monty Python.; Definitely.; It’s five guys.; When you’re a kid watching those things, you’re not thinking what you’ll be doing in twenty years and saying, “Well, I’m going to start a comedy troupe.”; But it’s definitely warping your brain.

;

Erik:; Contributing to your moral fiber.

;

Paul:; I was thinking about this the other day.; When I lived in Arizona, either right before or after dinner, every local area had their own six and six-thirty block of reruns.; For me, it was M*A*S*H at six and The Bob Newhart Show at six-thirty.; That was the age when I started thinking about jokes, and that M*A*S*H/Bob Newhart power hour was very influential.

;

As kids, you get that sitcom joke writing structure beaten into you.; It dictates how you think comedically.

;

Erik:; We had The Dick Van Dyke Show.

;

That’s the classic.

;

Erik:; Come home from school, throw on the T.V., and there’d be Dick Van Dyke.

;

Paul:; And best scenes are always them in their office acting out bits.; People ask me, “Is that what you guys do?”, and it is.; It’s a bunch of clowns sitting around performing for each other.

;

Steve:; I also like The Mary Tyler Moore Show.; It’s like they’re not even trying to be funny, and they’re so funny.; I remember watching Ted Knight, even when he was on Too Close for Comfort, and thinking… it was just effortless comedy, too.; I was also a big Dabney Coleman fan.

;

(After briefly touching on Coleman’s career highlights from Buffalo Bill to, yes, Dragnet, we recover to discuss the group writing dynamic.);

;

Writing as a group, because a joke has to go through so many people before it gets to the page, you have a lot of protection, correct?

;

Steve:; Yeah.; I think the key to it is that we started out as friends.; I mean, we fight about things.; And if your idea is so personal, you take it personally if someone doesn’t like it.; But now we’ve been doing it for so long, you start to realize that you can’t take it personally because you’re going to do it to someone else, they’re going to do it to you a few more times, and it’s just going to keep happening.; The bottom line is if the thing you’re suggesting isn’t making anybody laugh then it probably isn’t that funny anyway.; It’s challenging, but helpful because we have so many different senses of humor.; We’ve got straighter humor, goofier humor… everyone’s got their own particular specialty.

;

And the sensibility will kind of take care of itself?

;

Paul:; It’s really more about creating allegiances.

;

Erik:; It’s like Survivor, really.

;

Paul:; If you can get one guy on your team.; If it’s one against four, you’re fucked.; You can still try and filibuster—

;

Erik:; You have to perform it.; And if you get the laugh, it’s good.

;

Steve:; I remember when we were writing Dukes of Hazzard, I had something and I was bombarded.; If there were tomatoes, they were coming at me.; But after the blood drained from my face, I made another push, and after a while it caught on.; Someone said, “Oh, you could do this,” and then it became a pretty nice—

;

Paul:; It was the “Express Shells”.

;

Steve:; If you can stand there in the face of the storm, and the storm will be pretty severe at times.

;

Erik:; It gets cold sometimes.

;

Steve:; It really does.

;

(Some crosstalk as they discuss how the “Express Shells” bit went from being heavily criticized by Heffernan to getting accepted by the group as a whole.)

;

Steve:; Heffernan was the one who was left out in the cold.; And if you’re the guy who criticizes something, and suddenly everyone else is on board, you’ve got suck it up and get on board.

;

Because Jay is the director, does he carry any special weight?

;

Steve:; Just around his waist.; (Steve reaches out for a high five, which I reciprocate.; I later find out why he’s so proud of this very obvious joke.; The other two laugh very broadly.)

;

Erik:; When he’s directing Dukes, yes, but not for Broken Lizard.

;

Paul:; We can bully him if it’s a Broken Lizard movie, but with Dukes… at the end of the day, it was his movie.

;

With Dukes of Hazzard, were you guys on your best behavior because Burt Reynolds and other outsiders were working on it?

;

Steve:; When we wrote it, we were writing at the hotel in this strange smelling, strangely lit conference room.

;

Paul:; The Evangeline Room.

;

Erik:; We were there for six weeks.

;

Paul:; We were in this tiny conference room in the Marriot, and we just sat for days and days and days.; We’d give them pages, and they’d come back, and we’d start going a little bit crazy.

;

Erik:; The weird thing about that is, even when we were working on other stuff while Jay was shooting that movie, one of the hardest things is when a bunch of guys are writing something and they think it’s hysterical… it’s always hard to be the guy who wasn’t in that writing session.; We often have sessions when one guy will miss because life intervenes, and it’s hard to be that guy who wasn’t there when the joke was conceived just because you’re not a part of that joke.; That’s a minor problem.; Some guy will come in and say, “I don’t think that’s funny”, but the other four guys do think it’s funny.;

;

Paul:; Part of the difficulty of this whole thing when you’re writing stuff down on paper and giving it to people… we’re visualizing something, conceptualizing something and realizing that you have to put it on a piece of paper and hand it to somebody.; It’s tough.; Hopefully, we’re getting to a point now where more people will trust us, but it’s hard.; It’s not just a joke, but something intangible when you try to put it on paper.; When we handed people that first scene in Super Troopers, people were like, “I don’t get it”, “I’m not quite sure why that’s funny”, “I don’t think it’ll work”, “It doesn’t make any sense to start the movie with these kids in the car and introduce your characters as guys who come in and aren’t who they claim to be.”; And we were like, “But we think it’s funny.”; And the thing people complimented us on the most was that opening scene.

;

Steve:; The “meow” scene was another one.; There were some people who loved it, but for the most part, you’d give it to the studios, and they’d say, “Meow?; I don’t get it.; These guys just keep saying meow over and over again?”; But the way that the joke came to be, we just thought it was so funny having this cop slip that word in there.; We could just picture how it was going to work.; Maybe our credibility is blown after Club Dread.; They don’t trust us so much anymore.; But we’re going to get it back.

;

Do you think that’s because you guys were setting out to do something that was not just comedy but a horror film as well, and people were just expecting more of the same?

;

Paul:; I think we overestimated people’s passion for shitty old horror films.; I kind of thought that people would love us taking the piss out of slasher movie as much as we did.; It was a reference point that was not as universal as I thought it would be.

;

Steve:; I met a woman on a plane who was like, “Oh, I saw Club Dread.; That movie sucked!”; I was like, “I just told you that I made that.”; And she said, “I know, but it sucked.”; So I was like, “Okay, okay, this is fair.; Tell me why.”; And she said, “I honestly didn’t know if I was supposed to laugh or if I was supposed to be scared.”; I guess that was a mistake on our part.; We tried to make the scary parts really scary, but I don’t know if we e;xe;cute;d that part.

;

Paul:; Well, it is a challenge.; Audiences are accustomed to sitting down and knowing what’s expected of them when they watch a movie.; If we had been able to market the movie better, or if Searchlight hadn’t bailed on it, I think we could’ve prepared people better.; It was jarring for people.

;

It’s tough walking that horror and comedy tightrope.; It’s interesting.; Whenever you ask John Landis about An American Werewolf in London, he says it’s a horror film.; There’s comedy in it, but, for him, it’s a horror film.; And Wes Craven might say Scream is a horror film.

;

Steve:; Well, An American Werewolf in London scared the shit out of me.

;

Paul:; And that was our model.

;

Steve:; We had talked about that being our model.; Unfortunately with Club Dread, there was so much more comedy written, but for the sake of time the studio had us cutting all of these comedy scenes for the sake of the plot.; It was a real bummer because, obviously, our strength lies with comedy.; But you see the movie and… I still find the first act is so fat.; There are extra scenes that you just don’t need, setting characters up and slowing the movie down.

;

Paul:; Studios are still very slavish to the concept of really making sure you understand everyone’s motivations, and making sure we know why we’re rooting for this person, making sure we know what the stakes are, and I agree that, generally speaking, that’s all very important stuff.; But when you’re dealing with ensemble movies – you know you’ve got the five of us, and you’re going to have a couple of supporting characters.; So, if you really get too hung up on making sure I understand what everyone’s backstory is and why I should be invested in what they do, you’ll get bogged down in that shit because you’re not just talking about one or two people; you’re talking about the five of us plus a couple of additional people.

;

If you look at Super Troopers, we really weren’t very interested in that shit.; We had that stuff in there at times when we were developing it with people, but ultimately we cut that stuff away.; Scenes that existed in Super Troopers that were there to make sure you liked the guys and understood where they were coming from, all of that shit ended up being cut away in favor of making the movie funny.; And we assumed that the guys would be likeable.; Ultimately, that works so much better; you don’t go through Super Troopers and feel like, “I’m not really sure I know why Mac is who he is, and what are his hopes and dreams.”; You don’t fucking care!; It’s Mac.; You know by his performance how he’s defined, and you like him because he’s funny.

;

Steve:; Farva’s another example of that.; You don’t need to know why Farva became the way Farva is.; Everyone’s got a guy like that in their office.;

;

Paul was talking about the opening scene; we were developing [Super Troopers] with a studio before we made it independently, and their whole thing was, “You can’t start the movie out not on the cops.; Our heroes are the cops.; The audience is not going to know who to root for.”; Our thing was, “No, this is the only time you’re not going to know our heroes are cops.; What we want to do is actually capture the essence of that feeling when you’re pulled over.; We want to be in that car with those guys, and have the experience of being pulled over by these guys for the first time.”; Ultimately, it worked.;

;

Who knows when it started, but it’s so safe now.; It’s like, “We need a love story here, something to get the women involved.”; And you watch a great movie like The Wild Bunch – there’s not a single woman in that movie.; It’s just a bunch of guys going around shooting the shit out of things.; You don’t need [a superfluous romance] to be successful.; We watched North Dallas Forty.; It’s such a funny movie, and it’s definitely a guy movie, but every time that love story comes in it’s like, “Ugh, fast-forward!”; Nobody wants to see that stuff.

;

Paul:; It’s very forced in there.; It’s not organic.; If it can be organic, great, but when you end up paying lip service to certain things, [the movie] ends up being weak.

;

For them, it’s hitting every quadrant possible.; They can’t be creative, but they can control what elements will be added to the film, and what mold in which you’ll be set.;

;

Erik:; Time is space.; Pages are real estate.

;

Steve:; I remember when we were making Club Dread, it comes out later in the movie that [Brittany Murphy’s character, Jenny] had slept with two of the guys who just got killed; then she confesses to sleeping with two of the guys who haven’t got killed.; While we were making the movie, we were having a creative meeting and a note came down from the marketing division.; It said, “We’re wondering if you can make Jenny have a ‘No Sex with the Staff’ policy, and actually say she hasn’t had sex with anybody, because we think it’ll be hard to market her character to women”.; We were like, “Fuck that!;

;

Paul:; It was literally, “The girls upstairs in marketing think it would be better for Jenny to have a policy where she doesn’t sleep with anybody she works with”.

;

Well, that’s funny!; The stuff you could do with that premise!

;

Paul:; They were like (girly voice), “Maybe there could be a funny joke about it!”

;

I wonder on Dukes of Hazzard, where you were working on a pre-existing script which you were trying to bring more in line with the Broken Lizard sensibility, did you guys ever find you were coming up with stuff where it’s like, “That’d be great for a Broken Lizard movie, but we can’t do that here”?

;

Steve:; Sure.

;

Paul:; Yeah.; Daisy Duke was going to have a cock, right?

;

Steve:; We wanted Daisy to have the biggest dick in Hazzard County.

;

Paul:; That we could maybe pull off with Broken Lizard.

;

(Only until I transcribed this did I realize they were completely serious.)

;

Steve:; That was just a fun thing.; When you know that the guidelines going in are that it’s going to be a PG-13 movie, that’s okay.; It’s not like you’re actually writing it and shooting it, and then the studio is telling you to cut it.; In this case, they were big on the unrated DVD.; The unrated DVD is actually going to be a completely different movie.; There are R-rated jokes replacing the PG-13 jokes that are there now.

;

This is more your preferred cut of the film?

;

Erik:; Oh, yeah.

;

Paul:; I suppose.; Who know?; I haven’t seen a lot of it, so I’ll wait until I see it.; It’s also weird because that movie was an experience of writing stuff for movie stars.; It wasn’t a matter of just pleasing the five of us; you realize there’s some star who’s going to say, “I don’t want to say that.”; That makes it incredibly weird.; There are so many people having their input on a joke or a scene, it’s tough.; You end up having to please so many people, you see how shit gets watered down.; In movies, unless the director is established enough, they kind of push their shit through.

;

Steve:; When somebody is just on set for a day, and this is what happens often for studios, they’re making a suggestion that’s instant gratification for particular that scene, but they have no concept of the repercussions of what that will do to lines that are going to come later in the movie – like the setup for a joke.; Things will wind up getting changed, and then the meaning of things is lost, whether it’s the actors or a studio person on set that day.

;

Paul:; Not only being on set, but handing the entire script in to the studio, and getting a note that says, “You know what?; It would be funny if you changed ‘that’ to ‘that’”.; And you’re like, “But don’t you see what that affects?”; “Oh, we’ll worry about that later.”

;

Steve:; We had a great time working on Dukes of Hazzard, but by example you’ve got Warner Brothers and then you’ve got Village Roadshow, and a lot of the times they’re not communicating with each other, so you get conflicting notes.

;

Paul:; These are really just widespread thoughts about working with studios in general.; Frankly, Warner Brothers has thus far been better than anyone we’ve worked with in terms of having trust in us.; I don’t want it to come across like we’re bitching about Dukes; it was great, and, obviously, we’ve established a great relationship.;

;

I also wanted to bring up that you guys are being generous enough to sign Dukes of Hazzard posters that will be auctioned off through eBay on Collider.

;

Paul:; I’m trying to think of the person who’s getting bamboozled by bidding on a signed Dukes of Hazzard poster, and finding out it’s signed by us.;;

;

They’ll be looking at it going, “That kinda looks like ‘Johnny’”.;

;

Steve:; The three of us went up to Minnesota to do this benefit for Shjon Podein, who’s a retired hockey player.; He has a charity for kids with Ataxia.

;

Erik:; The foundation’s called Team25.

;

Steve:; Erik is from Minnesota, and we had done a radio interview.; And through that Shjon got in touch with him because he’s a big Super Troopers fan, I guess.; So the three of us to Minnesota, and, personally, I had never done a charity event at all, and it was sort of a life changing experience going there, meeting the kids and raising money for them.; You realize how important that stuff is.

;

Erik:; For the first time in our lives we realized we could lend value to something like this.; It’s been really great.

;

Have you guys thought about doing any live stuff?; The Kids in the Hall went back and did that, and I know they were developing a musical that would be something akin to what the Marx Brothers used to do.; Have you guys ever thought about doing something along those lines?

;

Paul:; We did a one-act play at the Aspen Comedy Festival a couple of years ago.; The intention is, every now and then, to do something live.; We did something at The Comedy Store earlier this year where we all showed our favorite clips from comedies and talked about them.; That was a little more of a lecture-y thing than a performance, but it ended up being a lot of fun.; The guys love doing stuff on stage; it just depends on what kind of time we have.; We wanted to do something in November in Las Vegas, but for some reason the scheduling didn’t work out.

;

Steve:; That’s one of the biggest problems, especially right now.; We’re so busy.; To get five of us together, we need to write these films.; Or movies.

;

Paul:; I like “films”.

;

Steve:; We keep talking about doing a live tour, because we started doing an hour-and-a-half twice a week in New York City for two or three years straight, but we just haven’t been able to get back to that.; When we did this one-act thing in Aspen, we had a blast.; It was the first time we’d been on stage in a long time.; When you’re on stage doing stuff, and you’re making short videos, you realize, “Oh, man, we’ve got to make movies.; There’s so much you can do in a movie.”; Then, when you’ve been a way from it for a while and you get back on stage, you go, “Holy shit, we have got to get back on stage.”;

;

;

For now, I’ll settle with getting them back on screen in their full-fledged Broken Lizard glory, which, if all goes according to plan, should happen next year provided no one dies of alcohol poisoning on the set of Beerfest.; I have a feeling this isn’t the last bit of coverage we’ll be running on that project.; Much to Warner Brothers’ chagrin, the boys might spill a bit more on their website, so why don’t you bookmark it?

Watch Now
Around The Web

Latest News