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With the 2006 MTV Movie Awards on the horizon, we thought we'd bring back some of our favorite interviews and features from the past year to remind us why we got so excited about these films in the first place. So join us as we take a fond look back — and then get on over to the Movie Awards site and cast your votes.

Stepping into the shoes (or boots) of a cultural icon is no easy matter. When that icon happens to be named Daisy, with a style of short shorts named after her, and you grew up pretending to be her — well, the task grows even more daunting. For Jessica Simpson, playing Daisy Duke in the big-screen version of "The Dukes of Hazzard" — along with Johnny Knoxville and Seann William Scott — has been more than a challenge; it's changed her life in ways she couldn't have predicted. MTV's Chris Williams spoke with Jessica about learning to stunt drive, what the film's (male) director looks like in a pair of Daisy Dukes and why hanging out in a bikini in front of 40 guys is a quick way to learn all sorts of things about the movie business — and about oneself.

 Photos: Jessica, Johnny, Ashlee, Wilmer, And The General Lee At "Hazzard" Premiere
MTV: When you were young, did you ever think you were going to grow up and do a film version of "The Dukes of Hazzard"?

Jessica Simpson: I didn't even know what a film was, really. I didn't grow up going to a ton of movies. But I think anybody who goes into a movie theater wouldn't mind being up there on the big screen. I never thought in a million years that I would end up being Daisy Duke. When I heard that there was actually going to be a movie, I'm the one who kind of sought it out. I went and knocked down [producer] Bill Gerber's door.

MTV: You sought out the role?

Simpson: I made it very, very obvious that I wanted to be Daisy Duke. That was one thing that I told my dad, who's my manager. I was like, "This is my first movie. This has to be my first movie." And I looked at it as a goal I had to work towards, and I mastered it.

MTV: Being a Southern girl, what effect did Daisy's character have on you when you were young?

Simpson: I'm definitely a girl who looked up to Catherine Bach [the original Daisy Duke]. I wanted to be her. I just remember me and my cousins — my cousins would be Bo and Luke, and I would be Daisy, so to actually be able to try to fill those shoes has been such an honor.

MTV: Was it difficult living up to the expectations that come along with being Daisy Duke after Catherine Bach?

Anatomy Of A Stunt:
"Your Movie Show" relived the General Lee's very first jump. See it from all angles, only on Overdrive.

Simpson: Stepping into your first role is always a nerve-wracking thing. Having to be Daisy Duke just adds to it. I knew that I was gonna have to walk around in this bikini and short shorts, and yet have this confidence and strength. It was fun to play that role because it ... she taught me a lot. She taught me how to walk and talk and get away with things — in a good way. Having to wear a bikini and smile and be a role model at the same time is a hard thing to pull off, but Daisy Duke does it well.

MTV: Does walking around in a bikini and short shorts take some getting used to?

Simpson: Yeah. I'm not even a girl who walks around the beach in her bikini. I lie down on the towel, and I wrap up when I stand up, so I was definitely acting in the movie. Having that confidence of taking off my jacket and just using my body like that — it was definitely far out for me. It was a big step. But I'm proud of it. I'm proud of being able to pull off a character like that. I know how to fight and drive and wear a bikini now. Wow, the perfect Southern girl!

MTV: How hard was it to get your body in shape for that role?

Simpson: When you know you're going to have millions of people looking at you in a bikini, I think any girl would want to make it look as good as they possibly can. That's just how I looked at it. I looked at it as me training for a character, training for a role, and then I loved training so much and I loved the diet. It made me feel better. I cut out sugar and it just gave me so much more energy and so much more confidence. So, you know, I definitely owe that to Daisy Duke. But getting in shape was probably my biggest challenge for the movie.

 Feature: "Jessica Simpson: Blonde Ambition, Southern Style"
 Set Visit: "The Dukes of Hazzard"
 Simpson, Knoxville, Seann William Scott on the set of the movie
MTV: What goes through your mind when they're shooting a close-up on your body?

Simpson: It was a closed set the day I had the bikini scene. Well, actually, there's a couple of bikini scenes. But the one where I bare all in a bikini was pretty much a closed set, but that still means there's like 40 people around. You know, men. Forty men, not women. It was hard for me. But when I took my jacket off it was mostly like, "OK, I hope everything stays in, and I hope my sticky tape is on right, and that my body makeup isn't sweating down my body." So there are definitely things that are going through your head, and most of it is not really professional. It's all about insecurities, more than anything, but I had the confidence. I was proud of my body, so I didn't mind taking it off. I was proud of being Daisy.

I think every girl always has somebody that she looks up to. I mean, there are bodies out there that I want mine to look like. Even the biggest of celebrities will look through a magazine and say they want to look like somebody else. It's never good enough and you're never satisfied, but just as long as you find confidence in who you are and give yourself a goal and work towards it, once you get there, then you can take your jacket off and be proud.

MTV: How do you think loyal fans of the show will react to you as Daisy?

Simpson: I think that they're going to enjoy it. Of course, it's not exactly what they watched, because that was for TV. This is on the big screen, and Daisy Duke is blond, and there are things that will probably be brought up that some fans won't like. But I like it, and I think that all my friends love it and my parents love it, and as long as my friends, parents and fans love it and I make a couple more along the way, that's all that matters.

 Photos: "The Dukes of Hazzard"
 Watch the trailer
MTV: What was it like working with Jay Chandrasekhar, the director?

Simpson: Jay was the best director to work with on my first movie, because he's an actor, as well, and he just made me feel really comfortable. He knows from an actor's point of view what you're thinking and your insecurities, and he was just really good at putting his arm around me and taking me to the corner and running lines with me. He even stepped into a pair of Daisy Dukes. I basically made a bet with him that by the end of the movie he would have to wear 'em. It was the last day of shooting, and I was like, "Don't you remember that bet we made?" And he came walking out in Daisy Dukes. We had a moment. They weren't short enough, though.

MTV: You went to stunt-driving school for this movie, right?

Simpson: I went to driving school, which was a blast. I learned things that I never thought in a million years that I would do. I mean, I learned how to do reverse 180s on a wet pavement in a cop car. I wish I could've done it in the movie! I was like, "Can't we write this in, 'cause look, I'm doing it, I'm doing it!" That was so exciting for me. There were great moments of just being in the car and screaming, pulling it off and being so proud. I wasn't really that much of a thrill-seeker kind of girl — but now I am. I loved doing that. I loved just kind of putting myself out there and not being Jessica for a little bit.

MTV: The General Lee is arguably the most popular car in entertainment history. Why do you think that is?

Simpson: Yeah, the General Lee is one of the most iconic cars in history. Other than the Batmobile, I think. The Batmobile and the General Lee are, like, the two most recognizable cars in TV or film. Growing up, that was one of my favorite characters, in a way, and my favorite TV show. It was a very cool car, so it was fun to drive it.

MTV: Fans seem to like you even more than the General Lee, though. They're looking forward to seeing you as much as they're looking forward to the car.

Simpson: That's good. Maybe it's my Southern charm that won me the part and, hopefully, will win over the hearts of America. And the rest of the world, for that matter.

Check out everything we've got on "The Dukes of Hazzard."

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