Dax Shepard knew CHUD when I walked in for our one on one for his new film, Let’s Go to Prison, opening this weekend. “You’re from CHUD,” he said. “CHUD’s been intermittently mean and nice to me – they can’t decide if they like me or hate me.”
The fact of the matter, and I told this to him, is that we tend to like Dax Shepard here at CHUD, but we can’t always agree with his film choices. He seems to make the kind of movies where all you can say is, “Well, Dax Shepard was good in it.”
One choice we agreed with was appearing in Mike Judge’s Idiocracy, a comedy about a not that bright guy who wakes up a thousand years in the future to discover that America has been so dumbed down that he’s the smartest man alive. Mike Judge earned a massive cult following from Office Space (to say nothing of Beavis and Butthead), a movie that had been mostly dumped by the studio. This year Fox did the same thing with Idiocracy, completely shitting on the film, releasing it into a tiny handful of theaters. I had to find out what Dax thought about it all, and what Mike Judge’s reaction was – after all, Office Space, a movie that got a better (though still shitty) release, almost made him quit directing.
Nobody could go see Idiocracy because Fox totally shit on that movie. What happened?
Shepard: I don’t know. There are all kinds of conspiracy theories surrounding it now, but there are a couple of issues. One is that it tested poorly, and they base all their P&A funds on how well it tests. But what they didn’t step back and think about is that the people who go see a free test screening on a Saturday night are the people being made fun of in the movie, so of course it didn’t test well. And then I think there are also issues with all the corporate attacks and Rupert [Murdoch] being a very immersed guy in the corporate world, globally. That has to do something to do with it.
Because they did more than dump it – they sabotaged it. They intentionally listed it wrong on Moviefone, in my opinion.
They didn’t let Mike Judge finish the picture from what I understand.
Shepard: We finished shooting and they did a reshoot.
I mean post.
Shepard: Yeah, they did not fund the special effects the way it should have been. I know [Robert] Rodriguez donated some shots; he and Mike Judge are friends.
Can you really test comedies, especially non-mainstream ones?
Shepard: That’s the thing. But I get it – Fox is not in the business of making boutique comedies that appeal to you and I. Searchlight can do that, but big Fox doesn’t do that. They don’t know how to market that kind of movie.
The only perplexing thing about the Mike Judge movie is, why did they make it? The ballsy thing, in my opinion, was making the movie. The movie was the script – they knew what it was going to be. I don’t understand them making it in the first place. It doesn’t shock me that they didn’t know how to market it, but I’m shocked they made it.
How is Mike Judge taking the whole thing? I know that after the problems he had with Office Space he said he would never make another movie.
Shepard: I think he had a similar knee-jerk reaction to the whole thing, and he’s certainly done working with studios. But I don’t think it’s put him off directing. He still wants to direct, but he wants to do it on a much smaller scale. This was an infinitely bigger movie than Office Space was – it was a 30 million dollar movie, it was set in the future, there were huge sets. I don’t think he loved that aspect of it.
Look for the whole Dax interview this week, as well as an exclusive interview with Let’s Go to Prison director Bob Odenkirk!