LAKE HAVASU, Arizona — Conventional wisdom says that if you want to watch a great artistic achievement, you look to accomplished filmmakers. If you just want to have a good time and eat some popcorn, you choose something loud, gory and unapologetically exploitative. But somewhere in the middle are the “Piranha” films — and when we recently visited the set of the franchise reboot, we found a unique mix of blood, babes and bona-fide actors.
“The movie is going to be insane, because as much blood as it has, it has the equal amount of boobies,” grinned Paul Scheer, the “Human Giant” funnyman who stars in [movie id="341169"]“Piranha 3-D”[/movie] alongside a huge cast that includes Elisabeth Shue, Richard Dreyfuss (in a nod to his “Jaws” role), Christopher Lloyd, Eli Roth and Ving Rhames. “It’s boobies and blood. And we supply the boobies!”
When MTV News was on set, an enormous water tank served as home to a half-submerged party boat — the last remnants of the “Girls Gone Wild”-like party Scheer’s and Jerry O’Connell’s characters bring to Lake Havasu. As the sleazy duo do their best to talk girls into exposing themselves for their cameras, a group of prehistoric killer fish are unleashed in the lake below, leading to a mess of half-eaten, half-naked hot people — all in glorious 3-D.
“I play the local girl from Lake Victoria,” “Gossip Girl” star Jessica Szohr explained of the horror flick, directed by “The Hills Have Eyes” remaker Alexandre Aja. “I come back from college and somehow get persuaded to come on this crazy, ‘Wild Wild Girls’ boat with Derek — who’s played by Jerry O’Connell, and then some crazy stuff happens … and then piranhas start to attack.”
On the day we visited, two actresses were filming a nude scene in the water. Porn star Riley Steele was still talking about some recent photos that had hit the Internet (you can do your own search, folks), showing her giving co-star Kelly Brook a “motorboat.” But before you dismiss “Piranha 3-D,” know this: The 1978 film and its 1981 sequel “Piranha II: The Spawning” launched the careers of respected filmmakers Joe Dante, John Sayles and James Cameron — and these fish have been known to swim in deep waters.
“The piranha go for the one defining feature on each of us that seems to tell everything about our character,” Brook laughed. “Jerry O’Connell’s character has a pretty unsightly situation with some piranhas and parts of his anatomy that will remain unspoken about on MTV.”
“Ving Rhames does something to get back at the piranhas with a homemade piranha-killing device,” O’Connell revealed. “Which I think will be my favorite scene in the film.”
“There’s one person in the film who wears sunscreen on his nose the entire time, and it’s kind of funny because he gets attacked by one on his face,” Szohr laughed, discussing the killer fish that will be added in later via CGI (producer Mark Canton said some of the piranha will have recognizable “personalities,” à la “Gremlins”). “I’m dying to see how that ends up turning out in 3-D.”
“Over 600 gallons of blood were used in this movie so far, and we’re not even done,” Scheer grinned. “This is gonna be the most boobs and blood in any motion picture of all time.”
“This movie is probably going to win the record of most dead people — and most blood and most nakedness and most everything,” Brook agreed.
“I might show my boobs at some point,” added Adam Scott, who plays a geeky scientist-turned-action-hero out to stop the toothy fish. “All I know about piranhas is they’re scary as sh–. And they will eat you. I’m not joking: They will eat you fast; they will take you down.”
So, when “Piranha 3-D” finally swims into theaters next March, which will audiences see more of, the boobs or the blood?
“In the beginning, I would say boobs, but now that they’ve shot all of the bloody scenes and the attacking, I think they are a tie right now,” Szohr said. “It’s a little crazy.”
Check out everything we’ve got on “Piranha 3-D.”
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