"Scary Movie 4": RT Talks With David Zucker

by | April 12, 2006 | Comments

A few weekends ago RT got the inside scoop on "Scary Movie 4" from its director, legendary comic trailblazer David Zucker ("Airplane!," "The Naked Gun"), and castmembers Anna Faris, Regina Hall and Craig Bierko. Read on for the first installment of our "Scary Movie 4" interview series, in which a candid Zucker talks comedy, "Brokeback," and the art of spoofing.

David Zucker is a veritable comedy legend whose career began with co-writing 1977’s "The Kentucky Fried Movie," took off with the 1980 classic, "Airplane!" and continued with even more comedies: "Top Secret!," "The Naked Gun" series, "Ruthless People," and more. After reviving the "Scary Movie" franchise with 2003’s "Scary Movie 3," (which made $109 million at the box office), Zucker is back this week with another "Scary" parody (written by Craig Mazin and frequent Zucker collaborator Jim Abrahams) — and this time, he’s set his sights on "War of the Worlds," "The Grudge," "Brokeback Mountain," Tom Cruise, and more entertainment phenomena from the past few years.

Q: Which was better for you to make, "Scary 3" or "Scary 4?"

David Zucker: ["Scary Movie 4"] was harder, because we only had nine months to do it, from conception to release. We worked weekends, and nights, mainly because one of the main requirements was to have the two main movies — for "Scary 3," there was "Signs" and "The Ring" — for this one we were all set to do "The Ring 2," but "Ring 2" was not accepted by the audience. It was quickly forgotten. In part maybe because of "Scary Movie 3!"

So we had to wait for "War of the Worlds." But our release date was already set, April 14, so we all agreed that we were just gonna do it. So for this one it’s "War of the Worlds," "The Grudge," and a bunch of other movies like "Saw."

Q: Did you spoof all the movies you wanted to in "Scary Movie 4?

Zucker: Yes, every possible one. In the past few years, the pickings were a bit thinner than they were for "3," so we had to really make the best of the movies that were in the popular mind. "Million Dollar Baby," "The Grudge," "War of the Worlds," and "Saw" were big. "The Village" wasn’t as successful as other M. Night [Shyamalan] movies but it was a very striking, original movie.

Q: What makes Anna Faris so convincing in the role of Cindy?

Zucker: Horror movies are scarier if it’s a woman, and we learned that the scarier it is, the funnier it is. [Faris] is a really good actress; she’s so convincing, and she can convey the sincerity. The more the audience can be involved in the plot and believability of the characters, the funnier the jokes will be.

I don’t tell the actors to try to be funny. My biggest direction is to let the lines do the work — let the script be funny, you just do the dramatic acting.

Q: In "Scary Movie 4," a lot of jokes revolve around women and children getting punched in the face…

Zucker: Anna Faris gets it all the time, with all the physical comedy. The best horror movies have women in the lead because it’s just scarier, they seem more vulnerable, but [in "Scary 4"] the lead characters always have to get bonked around. That’s been comedy since vaudeville, Charlie Chaplin, the Marx Brothers.

There’s always children in horror movies, and they’re always treated with great reverence in current cinema. That’s something we dive into; we say, we’re not gonna hold these kids sacred, they’re movie actors, and we’re gonna knock them around the same way.

It’s just like my mom loved "Airplane!" but she hated that scene of Peter Graves talking to the child…I could never convince her that it wasn’t just a joke on pedophilia, we were really doing a joke on the image in American cinema of the squeaky clean, all-American airline captain. And this was the one thing that really undercut that image, and that’s what made people laugh. Personally, I don’t think pedophilia is very funny at all. I have no qualms about using that, or child abuse — who thinks that’s funny? — but I think people can take all these jokes in the context of, we’re doing a spoof, we’re satirizing movies, this is not real-life comedy. We think we’re following rules that are different from other comedies.

Q: Were any of the jokes added at the last minute?

Zucker: "Brokeback Mountain" was definitely not in the movie as written, that was added later. While we were shooting, the whole "Brokeback" story broke, and that became so talked about, such a cultural phenomenon, that we wrote the scene. We didn’t know how that would play – we were all set for people not to laugh at all. We were always thinking in the back of our minds, a lot of jokes have been made in print, on Letterman and Leno; how many more laughs can we get out of this movie? But it worked.

Another big surprise was that just the mere mention of Myspace…we just thought, it’s a clever thing and it’s almost like an ad lib, we threw that in a couple days before but we get such a reaction.

[Possible spoiler ahead]

Zucker [On Leslie Nielson‘s nude scene]: There was a body double, when you see him from behind…that’s part of my weird job. I have to look at asses.

Tag Cloud

Comedy Sony Pictures Mary Poppins Returns Rom-Com festivals Year in Review Red Carpet Spring TV CBS All Access finale discovery Best and Worst anthology Peacock witnail SDCC Martial Arts Television Critics Association DC Comics CW Seed Adult Swim Marvel Studios award winner MSNBC comic Nat Geo NYCC Classic Film Lionsgate Chernobyl Holidays The CW Avengers Turner Classic Movies Infographic Black History Month 45 Family canceled TV shows Bravo Turner Comic Book video OWN Trophy Talk First Look cars Trivia Opinion National Geographic versus Sundance Star Trek Nominations Anna Paquin Hear Us Out elevated horror DirecTV Comedy Central cartoon Walt Disney Pictures Schedule WarnerMedia BAFTA hollywood Apple GLAAD Drama free movies 2020 Mudbound jamie lee curtis Certified Fresh chucky El Rey Superheroes facebook Kids & Family 21st Century Fox APB TV renewals sitcom zombie Black Mirror 71st Emmy Awards Arrowverse dragons GoT classics aliens OneApp Disney Channel Thanksgiving Rocky BET cancelled TV shows indiana jones indie PlayStation First Reviews movies historical drama Warner Bros. justice league Oscars President screen actors guild Reality toy story biography technology Pride Month 72 Emmy Awards American Society of Cinematographers RT History cats HBO Max series films crime thriller Grammys Netflix Christmas movies news YouTube Premium Set visit Extras Biopics streaming Cosplay war psychological thriller space Pop TV social media Comics on TV Pirates Columbia Pictures MTV Disney Plus Watching Series New York Comic Con Photos TCA Winter 2020 Heroines Fall TV Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Mystery supernatural Pixar breaking bad RT21 stop motion Baby Yoda what to watch halloween animated christmas movies YouTube Red blaxploitation rotten Film Festival independent crime drama politics cancelled television concert spanish language cancelled TV series Vudu Sundance TV Masterpiece ABC critics zombies NBC 2019 Apple TV+ Shudder cops composers BBC America golden globes name the review Lifetime mutant hist Spike Mary poppins thriller disaster Teen Epix Sci-Fi VH1 dceu 007 Ellie Kemper E3 crime Amazon Studios Premiere Dates reboot canceled children's TV crossover 4/20 PaleyFest DC Universe game of thrones Stephen King true crime Paramount Network natural history Fox News Showtime GIFs YouTube medical drama Ovation SXSW ESPN Spectrum Originals Hallmark Television Academy HBO transformers Superheroe Film Marvel HBO Go Food Network documentaries Disney+ Disney Plus See It Skip It Lifetime Christmas movies political drama FXX reviews talk show cooking 2016 police drama San Diego Comic-Con IFC Films FX USA Network Lucasfilm binge ITV dogs IFC game show teaser anime period drama based on movie TruTV LGBT Pet Sematary vampires obituary Winners TCM psycho sag awards nature screenings Captain marvel Awards kids Amazon Prime Travel Channel X-Men The Purge Marvel Television comedies travel VICE Super Bowl serial killer asian-american The Witch Animation Discovery Channel Horror BET Awards Interview Writers Guild of America quibi Winter TV DC streaming service FOX The Walking Dead twilight Freeform Music Chilling Adventures of Sabrina A24 Action comics Reality Competition ghosts Pop YA casting stand-up comedy docudrama mockumentary a nightmare on elm street Universal revenge Brie Larson dark LGBTQ sports Rocketman Box Office Country SundanceTV stoner Britbox Tarantino werewolf Paramount 2018 ratings TCA Disney streaming service robots zero dark thirty movie Crunchyroll spy thriller Marathons Holiday TIFF child's play Musical Star Wars BBC One USA spinoff PBS singing competition worst south america BBC Nickelodeon Syfy Tumblr Elton John nbcuniversal strong female leads DGA Tomatazos Creative Arts Emmys cancelled Mindy Kaling AMC all-time Funimation 2015 mission: impossible Awards Tour dramedy Valentine's Day Countdown Musicals Cartoon Network TCA 2017 boxoffice Cannes Trailer Women's History Month Starz doctor who romantic comedy television Dark Horse Comics romance 2017 cults franchise TV CNN satire TBS latino comiccon emmy awards scary movies blockbuster sequel Western Election FX on Hulu tv talk Shondaland foreign superhero slashers Tubi harry potter Podcast Crackle Disney CBS Fantasy Song of Ice and Fire Sundance Now spider-man spain 20th Century Fox die hard Logo adaptation unscripted best joker renewed TV shows VOD Mary Tyler Moore Ghostbusters laika Acorn TV Amazon Prime Video Endgame miniseries Amazon book Emmys adventure Sneak Peek documentary WGN parents Polls and Games ABC Family directors The Arrangement richard e. Grant TV Land Toys Hulu Binge Guide cinemax fast and furious video on demand Quiz hispanic Netflix diversity E! criterion Summer History MCU dc Calendar TCA Awards green book rotten movies we love 24 frames Rock Academy Awards theme song universal monsters Character Guide CMT TNT batman Hallmark Christmas movies Video Games A&E science fiction Christmas Emmy Nominations Apple TV Plus TLC Esquire