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Training The Cast
Before the story of WILD HOGS could roar to life, the cast would first have to learn to ride the roaring chrome machines with which their characters are so in love. But riding a Harley is no quickly acquired skill and comes with a big risk—as all experienced riders know, it's not a matter of if you'll ever wipe out, it's just a matter of when.

To make things even more complicated, each of the film's four stars started in completely different places—John Travolta was an experienced rider who knew Harleys like a pro, Tim Allen had ridden sport bikes but not Harleys, which have a flavor all their own, while Bill Macy was a gung-ho novice, and Martin Lawrence had never so much as straddled a bike in his life and had no idea what was in store! To get everyone equally up to speed, the filmmakers brought in stunt coordinator Jack Gill to run a pre-production training camp. Gill started the crew out on dirt bikes to hone their handling skills, then moved up to cruising Harleys around the twisting roads of Malibu Canyon, which served as a testing ground for the newbies.

Tim Allen admits the learning curve did occasionally lead to meeting with the road. "With cars, I know where the limit is, but I don't really know bikes, so when you get going fast and you try to put on the brakes, they don't stop very well—which I found out a couple of times!” he laughs.

Adds Bill Macy: "These are big-ass bikes, and when they start to tip over, they're going. I don't care if you're Arnold Schwarzenegger—you're not going to be able to correct it when it hits the tipping point.”

Still, like his cast-mates, the newbie Macy quickly discovered just why so many men develop a Harley habit.

"They're big motorcycles, but Lordy, what a feeling. Only people who have ridden understand that feeling of freedom and lawlessness and living on the edge. It's irreplaceable. It's legal and non-narcotic and fun as all get out,” he enthuses. "I am seriously hooked.” Indeed, Macy notes that he regrets not putting in his deal memo that he be allowed to keep his bike!

Although Allen, Travolta and Lawrence were each allowed to select the bikes they ride in the movie, Macy's Sportster was given to him to further establish character. "You have to be a Harley person to get the joke, but the bike I'm riding is a Sportster, which is known as a chick bike. I'm on a 1,200cc Sportster, so if it's a chick bike, I don't want to meet the chick,” he laughs.

Real-life bikers were also called in to educate the cast on the history of the biker lifestyle— and how it turned from being feared by all but the most rebellious Americans to being revered by so many today. Once on the set in New Mexico, the cast were further submerged in leatherclad biker culture, especially after an open casting call for extras turned up 1,300 devoted bikers in full regalia and attitude.

At any given point during the filming, up to 100 motorcycles were simultaneously roaring on the set. Bike aficionados will recognize the broad diversity of motorcycles that were used—and especially three very special bikes that veteran riders and customizers Paul Teutul, Sr., and Paul Teutul, Jr., who also make cameos in the film, lent to the production from the popular show "Orange County Chopper.” Says Teutul, Jr.: "They're what we call ‘old school' bikes. Ray Liotta is on a bike that we built a while ago called the Greeny, and there's an orange old-school 1974 Sunshine that is seen on a pedestal in the Cincinnati Byker's Island bar. That was the first Harley that my father customized. And there's another hot-rod-looking chopper, an old-school Paul 2, with ape-hanger handle-bars that's also in the film. They're very nostalgic-looking bikes.”

In addition to learning to handle Harleys, the cast had another fierce and powerful beast to worry abo

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