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WILD HOGS

Revving The Engine
With such an amazing lead cast lined up for WILD HOGS, the filmmakers found themselves in the enviable position of being able to recruit an equally illustrious supporting cast, including Golden Globe® nominee Ray Liotta and Academy Award® winner Marisa Tomei, as well as M.C. Gainey, Jill Hennessy, Tichina Arnold, Kevin Durand and Jason and Randy Sklar.

Liotta came on board in the key role of the Hogs' villainous rival, Jack, the fearsome leader of the Del Fuego biker gang—and the kind of man for whom the Highway to Hell is home sweet home. Liotta, whose roles range from the offbeat comedy of Jonathan Demme's classic "Something Wild” to the searing intensity of "Narc,” brought with him the rare ability to mix menace with humor.

Comments Walt Becker: "When we were brainstorming about who could play Jack, I kept thinking back to Marlon Brando in ‘The Wild One' and trying to think of who that actor would be today. Who could create the most awesome adversary possible and be the greatest juxtaposition to our four Hogs? Ray was the only actor I could envision pulling this role off. I also thought it would be fun to have him play things very straight in this big comedy. His chemistry on screen with the rest of the cast has been fantastic. He's made Jack more than just intimidating—which was exactly what we wanted.”

Liotta had a great time embodying such a hard-core character in a realistic way. "We went to great lengths to keep an authentic air about the Del Fuegos, because for someone like Jack, biking is not a hobby. It's a way of life,” he explains. "Jack loves what he believes real bikers represent. So when these yuppies come into his bar, it definitely rubs him the wrong way.” Aside from the incredible cast, there was another major draw for Liotta. "I'd actually never rode a motorcycle before,” he admits, "so I thought it would be cool to learn—and that turned out to be very fun.”

Then there is the film's primary female character, Maggie, the small-town café owner who gets ahold of Dudley's heart in the middle of the Hogs' journey. Once again, Becker couldn't believe his luck in getting one of the screen's most talented actresses to take on the role. "Marisa Tomei brings a sweetness to every single role she's been in, and she does an incredible job selling the love story between Maggie and Dudley,” he says.

Tomei jumped in with typical fearlessness. "I couldn't be happier being the only girl amidst these four male leads,” laughs the actress.

"Everyone took good care of me, and they're all hilarious.” As for her character's attraction to Dudley, she says: "I'd venture to say it's really love at first sight for Dudley, but for Maggie, who's seen a lot of guys pass through town, it takes, y'know, that spin on the dance floor to convince her that Dudley might be the man for her! Bill is just so adorable in this character.”

It was just as fun for Tomei to stand back and watch the comic sparks fly as it was for her to get into the fray. "Maggie is written in a more straight manner,” she notes, "so I was always trying to find my little corner of funny and ride that line between the romantic and the comic. Mostly, I loved hearing what the guys were coming up with off the top of their heads. They all have such strong takes on comedy, and watching the four of them work with one another's rhythms and give each other the space to do their thing was wonderful.”

Further rounding out the cast on the female side are the Hogs' wives: Jill Hennessy, best known for her dramatic work as a medical examiner on "Crossing Jordan,” portrays Doug's loving wife, Kelly, while Tichina Arnold, who plays Rochelle Rock on the acclaimed sitcom "Everybody Hates Chris,” has the role of Bobby's no-nonsense wife, Karen.

"Jill Hennessy adds another layer of real

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