America’s very own Kenny Powers aka The Man with the Golden Dick is officially leaving North Carolina and shipping off to play ball(s) in Mexico, better known as Hell on Earth in recent months due to drug cartel violence, kidnappings, and the rest of it. So, yikes, the “sour patch” seems only to worsen for Danny McBride‘s iconic steroid-taking professional baseball pitcher turned existential curse of an oaf. In early April, I wrote of the confirmation of an international change of setting from Eastbound & Down co-director, David Gordon Green. He first brought up the possibility in 2008 during my set visit. In recent weeks, Puerto Rico had been bandied about quite a bit as a shooting location for the HBO series, but as I hinted, the island will sub in for ever-topical Mexico. The core team has been in Rico working on the scripts for the next eight episodes (its predecessor had six), and shooting begins in May.
Now, Deadline confirms two new regulars for the second season. In line with rumors, many of season uno’s beloved characters won’t be returning. One of the regulars for season two, actor Michael Pena, is a no brainer. He played the amazing thief/mall pig named Dennis in 2009′s Observe & Report, the cult classic sophomore feature from EB&D co-creator and co-director Jody Hill. In a subtle hat tip to the movie and the series’ new setting, fans will recall that Dennis fled America in a raffle car for Mexico where “the water’s warm and the girls are wet. “ More details south of the border, including news and pics of Kenny’s vivacious new lady friend…
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Restless authority-types and newscasters have referred to him as “the Teen Houdini,” “the Boy Who Loved to Fly,” and “the Barefoot Bandit.” Over a two year period, he’s allegedly stolen and crashed a handful of cars and aircraft, having taught himself to fly from video games and a flight manual purchased using a stolen credit card. Citizens of western Washington State say he lives in the woods, where he catches animals for food with a pair of illegally obtained night-vision goggles. Others say he risks capture due to a weakness for ordering pizzas.
And now Fox and Rough House Pictures, the new production company founded by David Gordon Green, Jody Hill, and Danny McBride, own the movie rights to a book proposal about his life. We think a bitchin’ congratulations is in order to the precocious teen rebel in question, Colton Harris-Moore, the D.B. Cooper of a new generation. Run kid. Run hard.
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Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer is evidently now locked to follow-up his aforementioned hit horror-com with 30 Minutes or Less, a most-likely R-rated comedy about a slacker pizza delivery man facing an explosive ultimatum at the instruction of a pair of goons. It was previously one of several projects being mentioned online for the director, alongside an original buddy cop flick and Mission: Impossible 4. According to Production Weekly, Fleischer will soon jump into production, with a summer start date for shooting in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Anyone who follows Fleischer on Tumblr may have noticed some recent photos he posted from Michigan, specifically from the hell hole known as Detroit, including this personal favorite.
Also in line with previous rumor, Danny McBride is said to be in talks to star as the character Dwayne—which it should be noted is not the pizza slinger, and instead one of the goons who, uh, has some serious daddy issues. More details after the jump, and in addition, a tiny update on, hold on to your dick, Eastbound & Down Season 2. Kenny Powers is officially leaving the States.
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Now that Danny McBride and Jody Hill ostensibly have the keys to the kingdom by way of their new production company, Rough House Pictures, the world of comedy better watch its stagnant ass. Hill is attached to direct, and McBride to star as a “beaten down, hardboiled private investigator,” in a new action-comedy called L.A.P.I. Their pal and fellow North Carolina School of the Arts alum, David Gordon Green, who co-founded the company with them last year, will co-produce.
What’s intriguing is that unlike their previous collaborations The Foot Fist Way, HBO’s Eastbound & Down, and Observe & Report, the idea and pitch for L.A.P.I. originates outside the crew’s creative circle, from screenwriter team Michael Diliberti and Matthew Sullivan. The duo have two other buzzing projects in development: a comedy entitled Comic Con (one of two scripts by these guys on the 2009 Black List) and a remake of Brewster’s Millions. McBride and Hill are pretty damn selective about material, so I can’t wait to hear more and see what appealed to them. Read the official press release and additional /Film thoughts after the jump. Or just go celebrate in your backyard by waving around a machete and leaving uncool magical trails…
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Mandate Pictures have signed a two-year first-look deal with David Gordon Green, Jody Hill and Danny McBride to produce high concept comedies with their brand of humor under a new label – Rough House Pictures. The trio have been making movies together since college, where they all attended the North Carolina School of the Arts. Green says the aim is to produce a slate of comedy projects that are “a little left of center.” Read the full press release after the jump.
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Viral videos have popped up this week under the guise of scratchy infomercials for something horrendously called The American Budget Shopping Network. A few readers have emailed in to ask if these are previews for the upcoming season of Eastbound & Down, which is understandable since they are hosted by Andrew Daly, aka Principle “I’ve been goin’ a little bit of crazy” Cutler, and are faux-aired from North Carolina. Well, they aren’t for the show’s second season, but they are directed by series co-creator, Jody Hill, and tie into his native town of Concord. View all five videos and find out what they are for after the jump, or call 1-888-TAB-9373 to order a “Candy Lamp” from a distraught Daly.
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This past April saw the release of writer/director Jody Hill‘s first official Hollywood feature entitled Observe & Report. The film is an uncompromised portrait of a young mall-cop riding the peaks and valleys of bi-polar disorder like a vigilante daydream set to Queen‘s Flash Gordon theme. In the lead, Seth Rogen gave his most memorable and invested performance since a scathing-eyes debut on Freaks and Geeks.
On top of that, Observe‘s production design was deliberately unglamorous; its depictions of a troubled, goofy main character and firearms bordered, at times, on misanthropic endorsement. Hill’s script and direction managed to flesh out an endlessly talented supporting cast (Anna Faris, Aziz Ansari, Patton Oswalt, Ben Best, Danny McBride, Ray Liotta, Michael Peña, Collette Wolfe) in a decidedly untypical comedy. Many critics and viewers didn’t know what to make of it. Far too many critics said, “I liked it, but it’s not for everyone.” Movies as Joe Viewer trough? Moreover, gallons of digital ink were wasted on a bullshit, hit-fueled “rape controversy,” in yet another growing-pain display of male movie writers as over-sensitive guardians of today’s PC-gates.
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With only two feature films and one TV show to his name, writer/director Jody Hill, is now synonymous with ignoring the boundaries and “genre rules” of modern comedy and creating anti-heroes that laughably burble with nihilistic rage, scary faux pas and hot-air egos. But there is also an internal depth to these macho doofuses played by Hill’s longtime pal and writing partner, Danny McBride, and comedy star Seth Rogen, to surpass the high art of a perfectly-timed and pronounced “fuck.”
Hill’s work on Observe & Report, The Foot Fist Way, and his cultural breakthrough, HBO‘s Eastbound & Down, contains more glass-darkly social commentary and life-lived expression than the work of any hotshot young novelist in recent memory. Rather than document the cold realities and indulgent pleasantries of another big city with bright lights, Hill is set on exploring the very place that so many creative-types vacate upon the arrival of their first Visa card or college acceptance letter: the American South. Moreover, as many middle-class and broke white American males face sobering, if inevitable, realizations and disillusions about the future, laughing at Hill’s moronic, unhinged versions as they champion outdated movie/sports star heroics atop small-town kingdoms is like homemade medicine. When it comes to countering the monotony of the average day-to-day? Eastbound is harder to beat still. The sight of Kenny Powers “dancing” in a middle school gym under the influence of eggrolls and ecstasy or ejecting a topless broad from his Jet Ski is priceless. Like cheetah-spotted gold or “a bulletproof tiger, dude.”
A native of North Carolina, Hill is the latest progeny of the North Carolina School of the Arts, alongside McBride and creative partner Ben Best, fellow EB&D director David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express), and EB&D cinematographer Tim Orr. In the first part of my interview, we discuss the show in-depth, including some of the surprising and vile admissions and special features on the Season One DVD. We also talk about what it’s like to be a young director coming from, and staying in, the South, why so many comedians today are from there, and why the region was overdue for a proper comedic depiction.
Hunter Stephenson: Hey Jody, how are you?
Jody Hill: Hey Hunter. Good, good, good. Hey man, I wanted to say that I was sorry I wasn’t there when you visited down in Wilmington [Eastbound & Down set, 2008]. I remember the piece you wrote, and it sounded like a really good time. [laughs] Sucks I couldn’t there, man; I was editing my film (Observe & Report), and Warner Bros. wouldn’t let me go. When you have to do a director’s cut, they want to lock you up for 10 weeks. [laughs] Everybody said they had a blast…and I was editing.
Yeah. I expected to interview you there. And I didn’t know about the change, that David Green was now directing the majority of the episodes while you were in L.A. But it all worked out, he killed it. My first question: Legend has it that when you, Danny [McBride], and Ben [Best] first conceived of Kenny Powers you were sitting in a kiddie pool in North Carolina drinking beers. [laughs] Is that accurate?
Jody Hill: [laughs] Yeah, this was before we made Foot Fist Way or anything. We were trying to come up with ideas for shows. I was between jobs; I had been working this really shit reality show job, doing motion-control for Behind the Music and shit like that. [laughs] It was pretty lame. And so, yeah, we were in Charlotte, in the backyard of Ben Best’s house. And yeah, we were literally sitting in a kiddie pool with a case of beer. And Kenny was one of the ideas that, uh, we came up with. [laughs]
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