About The Production
JOY RIDE is a new contemporary thriller from director John Dahl, who is widely acclaimed for breathing new life into modern noir thrillers, such as "Red Rock West" and "The Last Seduction." In those pictures. and now in JOY RIDE.
Dahl finds darkness laced with humor in the heartland of America. Says producer and co-screenwriter J.J. Abrams: "John' s movies have a wonderful
irony, a real sense of humor, humanity and noir sensibility."
"John is a great storyteller, who can take a thriller and infuse it with character and humor, all while capturing the American landscape." adds producer Chris Moore. "It's easy to find a director who can work on any one of these levels, but John excels at all of them."
Abrams came up with the idea for a scene that became the foundation for JOY RIDE. "Imagine," explains Abrams' co-writer, Clay Tarver. "Two guys are driving together on a remote highway. They're having a good time, when a voice comes over the CB. saying 'You really should have that tail light fixed.' The boys look around — only no one's there.''
From this ominous-sounding premise. Abrams and Tarver fashioned a screenplay that was filled with terror, humor, shocks — and more. The writers and director John
Dahl give JOY RIDE a vibrant, contemporary tone rich in character, as well as in thrills and laughs.
"The humor comes from the situation and characters," Tarver explains. "Funny things
can happen when you're scared, or placed in a frightening situation. And we tried to create smart, funny, and self-deprecating characters who also provide some humor. Lewis and Fuller, for example, although they are estranged. begin to bond as they and Venna drive across the country. And hopefully there are some funny things that result from this bonding."
Adds J.J. Abrams: "The humor also results from the characters reacting to situations the way smart. real people do. They don't exist to be killed, chased or threatened, as is the case in some thrillers.
Lewis, Fuller and Venna are likable and easy to relate to. Our goal was to create
a scenario and characters that you would want to follow in a drama or comedy, and not just in a thriller.''
The characters get into big trouble when Fuller goads his younger brother into using their newly—purchased CB radio to play a childish prank. Using a "come—on" female voice, and sexy CB handle, "Candy Cane," Lewis draws the attention of a trucker, who Lewis invites to a romantic
rendezvous at a roadside inn. When Rusty Nail learns he's the victim of a practical joke, he wreaks havoc on the boys — and anyone else who gets in the way.
The dynamic between the two brothers — Lewis, the "good one, and Fuller, the
rebellious black sheep — is central to the story. "We made JOY RIDE to be a thrill ride laced with laughs," says
Dahl, "but it's also a story about two brothers, the gap between them and how, facing incredible danger, they pull their relationship together."
"JOY RIDE isn't your typical thriller," adds executive producer Bridget Johnson. "It's kind of a stealth character piece that has something to say about the relationship between these two brothers, one of
whom has made some bad choices, the other who has trouble standing tip for himself."
For Steve Zahn, who plays Fuller, the story's focus on the characters, the sibling dynamic, and Fuller's bad-boy sense of humor heighten its inherent genre elements. "What makes the movie truly scary is that the characters are believable, and audiences will identify with their relationship," Zahn explains. "This will allow audiences to also become more involved in the nightmare the characters face."
Fuller is a charismatic screw-up who hasn't found his place in life, while his brothe
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