SHREVEPORT, Louisiana — You’re on a dusty old road in the part of the country where Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas meet, but you’re surrounded by biblical figures in robes. There’s an enormous pit where a virgin is scheduled to be sacrificed, but [url id="http://www.mtv.com/movies/person/163196/personmain.jhtml"]Jack Black[/url] keeps ranting about how hard it is to be Tom Morello in “Guitar Hero 3.” There are farm animals everywhere and [url id="http://www.mtv.com/movies/person/297537/personmain.jhtml"]Michael Cera[/url] is wearing a loincloth.
Where the hell are you? Welcome to [url id="http://www.mtv.com/movies/movie/349805/moviemain.jhtml"]“Year One.”[/url]
“These shoes won’t stay laced because they are too thin. But that’s how it was back in primitive times — they didn’t have good lacing technology,” a period-dressed Black explained when we visited him last year on the set of the Judd Apatow-produced biblical flick that hits theaters June 19. “This is my slave gear. My character is going through tough times.”
“There’s a cougar that attacks us, Jack falls down a few times, I fall down a cliff,” revealed Cera, who stars with Black in the flick as a pair of lazy nomads stumbling around the ancient world. “I was also hung upside-down in one scene. … All day, at the end [of each take, my character] would pee, so they had apple juice running down me. And it was going up my nose and in my eyes. You don’t realize how much that stings. … The stunt guy said, ‘What do you want your pee to be?’ and I said, ‘Apple juice?’ But it stings your eyes, it’s crazy.”
“Ideas that turn up in this movie have been bouncing around in my head since 1975,” writer/director Harold Ramis, the filmmaker behind “Groundhog Day” and star of the “Ghostbusters” films, explained. “Back then I was doing a show, John Belushi and Bill Murray were in the show, and I watched a show on PBS about the Cro-Magnon and Neanderthal coexisting on the planet at the same time. So I suggested an improv on the show the next day, where John played a Neanderthal and Bill played a Cro-Magnon meeting for the first time. Modern man meets caveman. … It had a completely contemporary approach and that comic voice stuck in my head — someone speaking in a normal, modern way but in that ancient setting.”
“I came in today just to say the line, ‘Will my toil never end?’ ” Jack Black said of the scenes we witnessed, which revolved around Zed (Black) and Oh (Cera) being the world’s worst slaves. “And [Ramis] wanted me to do it like Charlton Heston. So I showed a lot of my choppers, and he was pretty stoked. I think I nailed it.”
“I’m being whipped as a slave, and earlier this morning we were standing in mud and it was freezing,” Cera said of the epic-minded flick that will be quite different than his previous “Superbad” collaboration with Apatow. “I’m painted gold for one scene of the movie and that was insane. My whole body was painted gold. … Kyle Gass paints me in the movie. He’s a eunuch, and he paints me to be like a statue. [He collects] gold people statues.”
And if you think things in Louisiana couldn’t get any weirder while the “Year One” cast was hard at work, well, you haven’t heard about Jack Black’s favorite scene.
“I woke up one day and I was in an orgy. Hello! It’s just another day in the life of biblical times,” he laughed. “[My long hair] gets finely quaffed for my royal orgy scene but [to keep things PG-13] you can’t really show them pumping. It’s strictly insinuated. There are a lot of people feeding each other grapes, there’s some make-outs — and some very meaningful eye contact.”
Check out everything we’ve got on “Year One.”
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