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Staffing Club Dread
At the heart of Coconut Pete's Pleasure Island Resort is the rum-soaked, guitar-toting owner Coconut Pete – a 70s rock star who believes passionately in having a good time, even if you can't remember it later. The ultimate partier, Pete is nevertheless probably the last person you'd want in charge of an island with a mysterious killer running amok.

Broken Lizard got an early big break when the award-winning actor Bill Paxton – whose work has ranged from blockbusters such as TITANIC and TWISTER to acclaimed roles in such indie hits as ONE FALSE MOVE and A SIMPLE PLAN -- approached them to play Coconut Pete. Paxton had been drawn immediately to the script's sense of humor and wanted to join the party.

"I'd been looking to do a comedy,” explains Paxton, "and I not only enjoyed this script but I loved this iconic character named Coconut Pete with his unbridled lust and his unapologetic hedonism. I also liked that when the film gets scary, it really gets scary. Plus I was very intrigued by Broken Lizard, these five guys who had banded together in college to become a comedy group, sort of like a rock and roll band. l looked forward to being a part of that kind of camaraderie.”

He continues: "I think the film has a terrific and original sense of humor. Perhaps Jordan Ladd put it best when she called it ‘sophisticated low brow.' The Broken Lizard style is contemporary but there's also something classic and old school about their routines, which are filled with gags out of Laurel and Hardy, physical comedy out of Buster Keaton, absurdity out of Monty Python and a lot of contemporary sexual innuendo.”

Paxton so loved the idea of the island playground that he even jokes he might start such a resort himself. He especially related to Coconut Pete's "seize the day and party hard” philosophy. "I see Pete as a guy who believes we're only here on earth for a short time, so why not just sit back, relax and have a great time,” he explains. "I loved the opportunity to embrace that whole lifestyle.”

Prior to CLUB DREAD, Paxton had never even played a guitar, but he was a lightning quick study. He says, "If I had known how to play the guitar, I probably never would have become an actor. This was a real dream come true to learn to play and even perform some songs.” 

To further embody Pete, Paxton roughened the edges of his speaking, and singing voice. "I felt Pete's voice would have gone to hell from too much tequila and pot and every other damned thing. It gives him more character,” he notes. Paxton even altered his physical appearance for the role. "I got these hair extensions that turned out to be the most painful thing I've ever done for a movie role,” he laughs. "They took about eight and half hours to put in and my head was sore for days.”

But it was all worth it in the end. "I had a great time getting to know Broken Lizard and everyone in the cast,” sums up Paxton. "They're all super-talented and super funny people who have this tremendous spirit. When I left the set, it was like leaving camp at the end of summer. And, as a bonus, I haven't had a tan this great since I was fourteen years old.”

For their part, the members of Broken Lizard were impressed by Paxton's total immersion in the role. "I'd met Bill before so when I came to the set and saw him as Pete it was sort of like ‘who's this salty old dog?' He looked totally different, he talked totally different, it seemed he was a completely new guy. I'd never seen a transformation like that.”

For director Jay Chandrasekhar, Paxton was a perfect fit. "He came in and really lived up the idea of this sort of ultimate beach lifestyle. I have no idea if Paxton's really like that in real life, but he was on the set and it was great,” he says.

Chandrasekhar himself plays Putman, a prima donna British tennis pro who looks far hipper than he could ever hope to be.

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