Simpson comes across as open and eager. She is clearly excited by this turn in her career, and she isnt entering the golden movie door blindly. She has a role model. I asked her whose career she was excited by. Her answer was quick and firm: Dolly Parton. I admire her as a woman, as an entertainer, and as a personality, she said.
The movie is pretty much a souped-up version of the series and doesnt stray too far from the standard teleplay storylines. Bo and Luke are good-lookin, fun-lovin good ol boys, and Daisys their sexy cousin. Their uncle Jesse (Willie Nelson) still makes moonshine, which the boys deliver around the countryside in the General Lee. Boss Hogg (Burt Reynolds) is the crooked county commissioner, and assorted familiar names pop up such as Cooter, Roscoe, and Enos. Rounding out the cast is Joe Don Baker as the states Governor and Wonder Woman herself, Lynda Carter, as the good-natured Pauline, the object of Uncle Jesses affection. The plot turns on a plan by Boss Hogg to strip mine most of the acreage of Hazzard County and turn it into a toxic nightmare, although making himself a wealthy man in the process.
The movie has a real retro feel to it. Its sensibilities are rooted in the original show, and it has a playful respect for the more colorful and quotable aspects of southern manners and mores Director Jay Chandrasekhar said that he had always wanted to make a movie that had a Seventies feel to it, with lots of car tires screeching and a jaundiced take on law enforcement. He noted that he was a big fan of Smokey And The Bandit and had a poster of Daisy Duke on his wall when I was a kid.
For Seann William Scott, acting, as he put it, is a way of living out his fantasies. Noted for zany, over-the-top characters in such films as Road Trip, Evolution, the American Pie movies, and Dude, Wheres My Car?, the lanky and gym-toned Minnesota native is anything but a wild and crazy guy. Famed for living a disciplined and quiet life, he rarely makes the bar and party scene. Scott said that he moved out to L.A. to act. I really dont have time to waste. Im a private guy. Id rather stay home and watch movies. I also like to try and work out. I grew up as an athlete. Its kind of good therapy.
On the other hand, Knoxville, Scotts male co-star, is relishing every moment of the fame he garnered from the ground-breaking MTV series Jackass and from Jackass: The Movie, both of which featured outrageous and often painful stunts participated in by a group of guys that seemed to have watched Popeye cartoons and Three Stooges movies in the womb. Knoxvilles take on his character and that of Scotts is clear. Luke and Bo are basically good guys. Theyre reckless as hell and they can be mean as snakes, but in a good way. After all, family is vital to them. And you dont want to go against the family. They are respectful of women and enjoy the chance to deck somebody who isnt, especially if the rudeness revolves around cousin Daisy. The only real trouble they get into, and its in the context of the life of Hazzard County, is if they get caught selling moonshine or outrunning the law. Family was also key for producer Bill Gerber. He believes that at the heart of The Dukes Of Hazzard is family and protecting them because family is what you love. Bo and Duke are endearing characters, and theyre a little bit like Robin Hood.
Director Chandrasekhar couldnt have found two actors better-suited to their roles. On screen, Scott is always a funny bundle of energy and Knoxville is an ex-stunt man whos a good comedic actor. They are the perfect combination of being a little bit crazy and a little bit country. Southern charm blended with Southern rebellion. Johnny and I had a great time making the movie, says Scott, and I think it comes across on the screen. Hes crazy and likes to have a good time, so I knew wed definitely get along. I dont think I would have done it without him.
For Knoxville, the feeling is mutual. I love Seann. Hes a complete nutter, but in the best possible way. Hes brilliant and funny as all hell to work with. Thats why it was a terrific movie to shoot and I think thatll come across to the audience.
For movie newcomer Simpson, being surrounded by experience was a blessing. My first day on the set was the hardest to get through, she says. But she stresses that with the director and producer aiding her behind the scenes and Knoxville and Scott helping her in front of the camera, things went well and she slowly warmed to the fascinating world of filmmaking with its 4 a.m. wake-up calls, long periods of down-time, and hugely collaborative process.
But one thing she couldnt do with anyone else was fit into the Daisy Dukes. What was the first thing she did after she was told she got the part? I went straight to the gym. I had to look good in a bikini. I watched the episodes; they were reruns because Im young. I always looked up to Daisy, and I always thought she was an amazing, strong, smart woman. I thought this would be a dream role for me. I thought what a great transition from my career now and starting an acting career. I want people to know that Im a strong woman. I went after this role as far as I could, and I got it.
As for those famous cut-off denims? The secret to parading around in them according to Simpson was to walk confidently. She is, after all, a woman who, as she puts it, doesnt even walk around in her bathing suit at the beach. It was definitely acting for me. Drop the coat. Be in a bikini. Try to get my cousins out of trouble by using my body. That was acting. Theres no denying that Daisys purpose on screen is to provide the sex appeal, although for plenty of female audience members Seann William Scott and Knoxville will also fill the bill. But as Simpson puts it, Daisy definitely knows how to make a man melt. Theres no question that a lot of attention is going to be paid to what Jessica Simpson is wearing, or perhaps better put what she isnt wearing in The Dukes Of Hazzard, the big screen interpretation of the popular television series that ran from 1979 through 1985.
The TV show, about a group of wise-crackin Georgia layabouts who spend most of their time spinnin goofy yarns and comically runnin from the law spawned the now famous short pants worn by the main female character Daisy Duke (played by Catherine Bach). The denim cut-offs, snipped ever so close to Bachs magic time, became an iconographic fashion staple known as Daisy Dukes.