Tim Allen, John Travolta, William H. Macy and Martin Lawrence Interviewed – ‘Wild Hogs’

     February 28, 2007

Opening this Friday is Wild Hogs and it stars Tim Allen, John Travolta, William H. Macy and Martin Lawrence as four best friends who are at different places in their lives – one is happily married, one is getting divorced, one is regretfully single and one doesn’t wear the pants in his relationship. So when John Travolta decides that he needs to hit the open road and take a break from everything his friends gladly join him and off on a weeklong adventure they go.

If this seems kind of familiar, like you maybe have seen it before when it was called City Slickers, you’re not wrong. But I’m sure the movie will appeal to the demographic it’s aiming for – my parents. Also it’s kind of rare to get four semi-big to A-level actors in one film. And with the amount of press these four have been doing it might even open bigger than Disney thinks.

The interview below was done as a press conference a week or two ago. Out of all the junkets I’ve attended this was the least informative I’ve ever been apart of. Just try putting four big Hollywood actors on stage with no one to pull in their antics and you’ve got what is posted below. If you want to hear it, and trust me it’s a crazy listen, click here.

Wild Hogs opens this Friday at theaters everywhere.

Question: What kind of experiences did you have while riding and were there any spills during the filming?

TRAVOLTA: Okay, I’ve ridden a bike since I was 18, and it was the first transportation when I came to Hollywood because it was inexpensive and easy for me, and then I rode Harleys with the Daytona Bike League several times hither to the movie. So that’s my history.

Any spills during the shooting?

TRAVOLTA: No. Tim [Allen] was the only one that had spills. And that’s because he was showing off, like he likes to always.

MACY: I rode bikes when I was a kid.

TRAVOLTA: What was the brand name?

MACY: A Hadaka in college. And I had a bike the first time I moved to L.A., I had a Honda, and I got around on that, but I’d never ridden Harleys, so I went to Harley school. Not really, but we learned how to ride Harleys for about a week. A couple of weeks, before we went there. And I dropped the bike once. Just because we had to pull in and put the kickstand down, and climb off very quickly, and I did all of that except the part about putting the kickstand up. The bike fell. They roll if you don’t put the kickstand down.

ALLEN: I rode many bikes and motorcycles, and my brother was in an accident when he was a kid, and my mom forbade us to use motorcycles and about four years ago I bought a Norton that I’ve been riding around L.A. a little bit, but this was the first time I was on a Harley.

LAWRENCE: I rode like a long time ago, but I wasn’t that good, so I got lit up, and only time I started riding it was on this movie, and I was really nervous, so I feel really good to announce my retirement from riding.

ALLEN: But like Jay-Z, you could come back.

LAWRENCE: Exactly.

Are any of you still riding?

TRAVOLTA: Yes.

MACY: I’m hooked.

ALLEN: Here too.

What was it like to work with Peter Fonda and can you talk about the nude scene?

TRAVOLTA: For the record, I used to pull (my underwear) down occasionally just to feel the cool water. It was my idea to have Peter Fonda, and I will take full credit for this idea. Because I was 13 years old when I saw him on the screen in “Easy Rider,” and pretty wowed by that, so I thought it would be the perfect classy cherry on the cake idea, to bring him in as the savior of the day again. So I am very fond of Peter and Jane (Fonda), and glad that we used him in the movie. Now, naked in the pond…

MACY: It changed my life. (Laughs)

ALLEN: All of ours. Lord. Where’d you put that sock again? What was that sock you were – he had a sock he was wearing.

TRAVOLTA: (to Macy) Can I ask a question? Is your mother still alive?

MACY: No.

TRAVOLTA: Okay, your father is?

MACY: Yeah.

TRAVOLTA: What will he think of your hiney on that screen?

MACY: He’ll be very proud.

LAWRENCE: It’s safe to say that in the movie, Bill (Macy) shows his ass.

MACY: I put my ass on the line.

Do any of you have a favorite road trip memory?

ALLEN: I took a trip with the best looking girl from college, got her somehow convinced, she was a rich girl, to take a trip with her Camaro, thinking that they got hooked up somehow, and you know, she had to be stuck with me in that damn car. I was the most frustrated angry man. She’s driving in a bikini, because we didn’t have air conditioning. So I had to sit there in the car, we drove across country, when we got to Los Angeles, I was just gonna go home and explode if I didn’t get out of the car. She said why don’t we stop by the capitol before we go home? And I said, of what? She said we’re almost to Washington. I said, that’s, um – that would be Washington, D.C., this is Washington state we’re heading towards. (can’t hear but it’s something about how there can’t be two Washingtons)

Any other road stories?

TRAVOLTA: Well, when I was a kid, I would take short trips to Santa Barbara and Palm Springs . But nothing, no road kill to report or any such thing.

LAWRENCE : My road trips have been to Vegas, but you know, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

MACY: I’d been on a road trip right out of college, with a buddy of mine. It was uneventful. We didn’t get laid. Although one time, it was about 800 degrees, and we were in Texas, and we had shorts on and nothing else, and somehow, a motorcycle cop pulls up beside me, and says come on, get on it, get on, go, go, go! So I speeded up, and it turns out we’re in a huge state funeral. There are about forty black Cadillac’s in a row, and then a green van called Mr. Greenjeans, with two guys with no clothes in it, and we went right out of town onto the freeway, I waved goodbye to them, and isn’t that a good story?

ALLEN: No!

With the bigger commercial success that you’ll get –

MACY: Let’s hope. (laughs)

Are you getting the benefits of being in a bigger film?

TRAVOLTA: Oh, yeah, I can vouch for that. He took to riding in private jets and caviar like nobody I’ve ever seen. Haven’t you, Bill?

MACY: I’m a personal friend of John Travolta. I was at the Super Bowl, we were in a box. It wasn’t raining where we were. We had shrimp.

Was the dancing in the screenplay or did you add it?

TRAVOLTA: The dancing was in the screenplay, actually. We modified it, and made it more about Bill’s dance with Marissa than mine intruding, we actually removed a lot of what they wanted me to do, because I thought it was a little arbitrary. So, basically I said I would teach and let him go do his thing, but I didn’t want to go out there as well, you see, so. They actually eliminated some ideas there more than added to.

What about music?

ALLEN: Gary Busey, what? Was he in this? He was great. Gary and I are like this. The music, I picked that AC/DC tee shirt because it was the only one Disney could afford. No, we had a whole series, the Allman Brothers Band, J. Geils was my pick. That’s what I wanted, was Full House, because that was what I grew up with, and that’s what the character – I wanted to have the old rock and roll, and he’s lost all that, and John’s (Travolta) character and mine, we were real partiers, and I always just thought that was cool, because I got a bunch of guys like that, that just were – these guys, I thought they were gonna die, the way they partied, and now these

guys are dentists. And I said, doesn’t that ever bother you? I think we killed a few people. I don’t even remember what we did, but this is the kind of guy who wanted AC/DC after that – what was that, it was in Spain, the cops – they were confused (can’t hear). I hope that answered something, I don’t have any idea what I just said.

You’re all big Hollywood stars..

ALLEN: Yes, the biggest! We’re HUGE Hollywood stars!

You haven’t had the chance to go through the middle age soul searching…

ALLEN: We’re not allowed to.

So how did you relate? What was the personal connection to these characters?

TRAVOLTA: Well, we’re too blessed to be stressed. Woo! Well, the only thing I ran into is that I am a wanderlust, as far as travel and adventure, so I will go off on any given moment with the family and friends to explore the world, I go around the world once a year, I go to Africa, you know, Russia, wherever, I love it. So I do, that’s probably the only thing I identify with my character, is the wanderlust aspect of it.

ALLEN: I went to all my old high school reunions, that’s where I came from, is high school reunions, that I love all my old friends, I’m still in contact with them, and I’ve got three guys, one who took it in his head to raise one of his brother’s kids, he’s got two of his own kids, he took over his drywall and plumbing business when the dad had died, and all of the sudden, we were both at this party and he goes, what happened to my life? And this guy was gonna be, go to Africa and I don’t know, skin beasts with a pocket knife, I don’t know what he – and he had all these plans, and now he turned around and look what he’s got, he’s living in a modest size home outside of Warren, Michigan, and he goes, what the hell happened? Does that make any sense to anybody? You all just want to go get something to eat.

MACY: I think we’re all confused.

ALLEN: Isn’t there a meal penalty coming up soon? Sandwiches and Orange Crush for everybody. Come on, sign up!

MACY: Orange Crush? (laughs) It’s Fanta.

This question is for all four of you

ALLEN: Good luck. (laughs) Good luck with that.

Have any of you gone through a mid life crisis in your romantic life? Or relationships? Do all guys?

LAWRENCE : Romantic? I don’t know…

ALLEN: Martin’s too young for any of this shit.

MACY: I don’t think the film’s about four guys having a mid-life crisis as much as four guys who are trying to regain something. One of the things that I love about it, what I love about it is that these guys adore each other, but they don’t know how to say it. They don’t know how to express it. And because they face this danger together, it never has to be stated, but it’s more palpable at the end of the film. And secondly, I think it’s four guys who are tired of being afraid, just afraid all the time, they’re afraid of saying the wrong thing, of not being there when they’re needed, they’re afraid in their jobs – the whole thing, they’re just afraid. Then they hit the – one of the things about the whole Harley motorcycle culture is that it’s a little bit renegade, and it’s a little bit dangerous, and then it gets intensified when they run afoul of this other motorcycle gang, and they stand up for once in their lives. So it’s not about the midlife crisis as much as, four guys who need to sort of plant their flag.

TRAVOLTA: It can happen at any age, really.

MACY: At any age.

ALLEN: (there’s noise coming from the adjacent ballroom) But what party is going on next door, that’s the more important thing. What the fuck is going on that we’re not part of? Slide the goddamn doors open! ([laughs) Let’s join the goddamn party.

So let’s talk about the love men can have for other men, like in this film. (laughter)

MACY: John?

ALLEN: What?! (laughs)

It’s a gay question.

MACY: You know, there’s some – it’s a gay question, yes. [laughs] We talked about homophobic moments in this film, we talked a lot about -

ALLEN: It should be called homophobe on bikes, that’s what it is.

MACY: Homophobia. I think women are a lot better – I think women are better, especially after marriage and kids, women are a lot better at staying in touch with their friends, and guys have a tendency to isolate.

TRAVOLTA: Well my character, it takes the whole movie for him to admit that his wife left him, if it was two women, they’d get it out there in the first five minutes, so it takes guys longer to get in communication with each other in an emotional way. And in this movie I think these guys have a lot of growth in that way. And actually end up in a good place with each other, and trust.

So what do you think about the Oscars coming up?

ALLEN: We expect one for this, yes.

Any thoughts on awards, from those of you on the receiving end of a nomination?

ALLEN: Have you looked at the group up here?

TRAVOLTA: I’ve been nominated twice thank you, so I’ll start.

ALLEN: You have? Of course you have, I remember, it was unbelievable, John!

TRAVOLTA: Well, you weren’t in the business, you weren’t around yet, Tim. (laughs) I’m very proud of the Academy and the experience. I love giving out awards, and I love being nominated for them. It’s a pinnacle in your work, where you’re recognized, I think it’s a great part of your career to be involved in. So I take great pride in it.

What do you remember of the experience?

TRAVOLTA: Well, I remember being nominated for “Pulp Fiction,” nominated for “Saturday Night Fever,” and I won the Golden Globe for “Get Shorty.” And a few other Golden Globes , but I think the award process is a wonderful acknowledgement of your work. I don’t want it to be taken away, I’d like it to stay.

ALLEN: I think I would like to take away everybody’s awards.

And Tim, what’s the word on Toy Story 3? John, what about Dallas?

ALLEN: We’re combining it. “Toy Dallas.”

Sp how is Toy Story 3 coming then?

ALLEN: Disney would like us to not talk about it for some reason, even though it was in the Wall Street Journal, they’d like us not to talk about “T3,” I don’t know what it was. They’ve just stopped talking about it.

And John, Dallas and Hairspray?

TRAVOLTA: “Hairspray” comes out July 20, and “Dallas” starts whenever they say it is, I’ve already started to get paid on that, I just haven’t gotten a start date.

How was it to dress in drag?

TRAVOLTA: Oh honey, you gals have such power, it’s amazing – I would get in that get up, and the men would flirt, and I’d be like do they even realize it’s me under here? How ya doin’, Edna? You get those things going, and everybody gets happy about it.

Who going to play Sue Ellen at this point? Any suggestions?

TRAVOLTA: There have been so many changes, I don’t know who it will be now.

And if you could choose?

TRAVOLTA: I’d choose my wife, of course. Personal choice.

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