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HOT ROD

About The Production
"The whole reason for making this kind of movie is to have some fun,” says producer Lorne Michaels, who likens "Hot Rod” to a good Road Runner cartoon. "It's a sort of uniquely American kind of comedy, because most other cultures would try to sneak something worthwhile into the mix.

"I'm a big fan of physical comedy,” he adds. "As a writer you spend forever getting the exact word, the perfect humorous dialogue, and then somebody runs into a wall and you're laughing twice as hard.”

The reason physical comedy is so universal, according to "Hot Rod” director Akiva Schaffer, is that "everybody carries an awkward 12-year-old around inside of them. When it peeks out every now and then, we're ashamed and embarrassed. This movie celebrates that lameness…that awkwardness. The characters are locked into it. In fact, Rod doesn't even know enough to be ashamed,” he quips. This unique vision of prolonged adolescence came to movie theaters via "Saturday Night Live” with a detour through "South Park,” explains producer John Goldwyn. "When I was still an executive at Paramount, Jimmy Miller (the noted comedy talent manager) brought this project to Lorne Michaels for Will Ferrell. He actually brought in Will and Pam Brady (writer-producer of "South Park,” "South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut” and "Team America: World Police”), who wrote the script, to pitch this idea. We bought it, because we immediately saw its potential as a great comedy vehicle.”

While Brady was working on the script, Ferrell's star quickly rose and, by the time "Hot Rod” was ready, the actor was so booked up that he graciously stepped aside to allow the project to move forward, Goldwyn continues. "We considered a number of actors and directors, but when Andy Samberg, who was in his first season on ‘Saturday Night Live,' read it, he went to Lorne and said, ‘I love this script and I really want to do it.'”

Michaels seized the opportunity, got the studio onboard, and he and Goldwyn (who was by now partnered with Michaels) offered Samberg his first starring role. "It was in 2005, just before the ‘SNL' video ‘Lazy Sunday' exploded on the Internet. So, Lorne and I went to Paramount and said, ‘How about Andy Samberg for ‘Hot Rod?' They were all for it. They already knew all about Andy and Akiva Schaffer (one of Samberg's partners in The Lonely Island comedy trio along with Jorma Taccone) and the phenomenon of how their video, a rap pastiche, became a viral phenomenon. Everyone was intrigued about how something that came from ‘SNL' then took off on the Internet. Hollywood suddenly had to have Andy Samberg.

"Andy came back and said, ‘I really want to make it but if I'm going to do it, I want Akiva to direct and Jorma to be in it with me,'” Goldwyn continues. He said, ‘If I'm gonna put myself out there, I want put to myself out there with these guys.”

Samberg, Schaffer and Taccone have been friends since junior high school in Berkeley, California. After graduating high school, they attended different universities – Samberg went to NYU, Schaffer to UCSC to study filmmaking and Taccone to UCLA. Degrees in hand, the trio reconvened in Berkeley, screened each others' student films and found that they were still very much in sync. So they decided to throw in their lot together, to move to L.A. and pursue their dream of creating their own particular style of comedy. Their moniker derived from the apartment they shared, which they called "The Lonely Island.”

"Jorma once brought home a DVD of Tennessee Williams' ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,'” Samberg recalls. "Akiva and I thought that was the funniest thing Jorma's much more a theater type than we are.” Schaffer was so amused by the film's plot that he wrote a faux Tennessee Williams play called "The Lonely Island.” When the three young men sat<

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