FRENCH SETTLEMENT, Louisiana — It seems getting someone on the set of “The Dukes of Hazzard” movie to talk about the storyline is about as challenging as catching them darn Duke boys.
“If you want to talk about plot, talk to Jay,” Johnny Knoxville, dressed as his Luke Duke character and leaning on the General Lee, said last week, referring to director Jay Chandrasekhar (“Super Troopers,” “Club Dread”). “We don’t know what the hell is going on.”
“We’re just having a good time,” added Seann William Scott, who is portraying Luke’s cousin Bo.
“Yeah, ’Punch this guy,’ that’s the kind of direction we get,” Knoxville said.
OK. So, Jay, what exactly is this movie about?
“Well, in this one, the Dukes get in trouble and they get chased by Roscoe P. Coltrane,” he explained, giving a description that could apply to any episode of the classic TV series, which ran from 1979 to 1985. “I don’t want to tell you the ending, though.”
Chandrasekhar did let it slip that Knoxville already rode a safe tied to a car going 30 miles per hour (no stuntman necessary), so there is some sort of heist in the movie. “We’re trying to save Hazzard County,” Scott said, vaguely.
While Chandrasekhar and his cast wouldn’t reveal much about the plot, they were willing to discuss their approach to the movie. Rather than spoof the original show, like, say, “The Brady Bunch Movie” did, they’re playing it straight. If anything, the movie will be more serious than the show.
“I think there are certain things about the TV show that you have to keep: the General Lee obviously, Boss’ car, Daisy’s Jeep, Roscoe has a dog named Flash,” Chandrasekhar explained. “The rest of the movie was inspired by the ’Dukes of Hazzard’ TV show and ’Smokey and the Bandit,’ so it’s going to feel a little different. It’s played a little tougher, a little more macho.”
In other words, Roscoe’s signature laugh is gone. “With no disrespect to the original, that was a little hokey,” said M.C. Gainey (“Con Air”), who is playing Coltrane.
“[We’re capturing] the spirit of the show, we’re not trying to imitate those guys, ’cause in my mind, those are the Duke boys forever,” Knoxville added. “We’re just trying to bring a little spin to it, or at least I am. I don’t know Seann’s method.”
“I don’t even have a method,” Scott replied. “I just like driving the car.”
And, as it turns out, he’s not the only one having fun behind the wheel.
“I did the whole driving-school stunt work stuff and it’s been really fun,” Jessica Simpson, sporting the requisite Daisy Duke shorts, said while showing off her Jeep.
Like her male co-stars, Simpson is also doing some of her own stunts.
“Yesterday, I got to kick somebody in his chest and knock him down and take their order with my heel in their neck,” she said. “It was funny. Daisy’s that kind of waitress. Don’t piss her off!”
For a more in-depth look at life on the set of “The Dukes of Hazzard,” check back with Movies on MTV.com in January.
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