"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

cartoon Animation Fox Searchlight Acorn TV WarnerMedia The Walking Dead zombies Rocky slashers richard e. Grant miniseries dark Bravo Showtime Extras cinemax emmy awards all-time discovery superhero ABC Family Superheroes singing competition Teen Countdown spanish joker south america game show Disney Britbox nature ratings book witnail Television Critics Association Song of Ice and Fire cults Hallmark Anna Paquin Hallmark Christmas movies Syfy mutant Alien jamie lee curtis versus japanese Sundance TV video on demand Valentine's Day San Diego Comic-Con black Turner Classic Movies Spectrum Originals game of thrones venice Trophy Talk Paramount Network scorecard nfl twilight Travel Channel Best and Worst APB dragons VOD thriller Columbia Pictures football talk show Superheroe USA Photos Amazon Prime Video rotten movies we love screen actors guild Apple TV Plus streaming worst Sony Pictures Disney streaming service Epix obituary comiccon psycho unscripted Netflix Christmas movies mockumentary Kids & Family Sneak Peek boxing SundanceTV The Academy Mudbound news Awards Infographic RT History Spike casting TCA Pet Sematary Video Games werewolf CNN Election spanish language finale A&E IFC Peacock robots french E3 DirecTV Holidays laika New York Comic Con TLC halloween tv theme song PaleyFest MSNBC NBC 99% anthology Cannes Western Discovery Channel Pixar franchise El Rey Biopics Fall TV cats 2016 TCA Awards Comic Book award winner DC Universe Esquire TCM Amazon Film universal monsters A24 NYCC strong female leads Martial Arts TCA Winter 2020 Nominations cancelled television dc ESPN VICE Horror USA Network Rock Amazon Studios sequels series Marvel The Purge Endgame LGBT Avengers Marvel Television zombie Pop TV Creative Arts Emmys National Geographic archives American Society of Cinematographers comedies Baby Yoda vampires chucky The CW hollywood stoner Starz renewed TV shows DC Comics screenings crime thriller President VH1 Disney Channel Food Network Amazon Prime Calendar police drama Musicals First Look Certified Fresh Trivia spider-man dogs Crunchyroll MCU Apple TV+ true crime nbcuniversal Winter TV Adult Swim kids rt archives supernatural dramedy comic books RT21 Mindy Kaling Grammys Pride Month justice league Comedy based on movie The Witch WGN Mary Poppins Returns Universal transformers breaking bad Chernobyl reviews Freeform Black Mirror Classic Film Sundance sitcom quibi stop motion PBS Spring TV 45 Film Festival adaptation Warner Bros. 2018 2017 Turner docudrama Cosplay Star Trek LGBTQ Schedule what to watch critics space Musical Toys CMT remakes dceu Premiere Dates Lucasfilm worst movies The Arrangement fast and furious historical drama Paramount science fiction Winners halloween spy thriller Heroines period drama social media movie Set visit james bond concert Academy Awards Captain marvel Lionsgate green book Nat Geo BBC America christmas movies Tubi 2019 Polls and Games ITV cancelled TV series Tarantino Ovation satire Reality Chilling Adventures of Sabrina name the review Music festival Mary poppins Holiday italian facebook die hard biography Rocketman cops boxoffice 20th Century Fox 71st Emmy Awards Comedy Central Character Guide diversity Tomatazos blaxploitation mission: impossible 4/20 doctor who independent rotten Rom-Com YouTube Elton John Vudu free movies television BET Awards TBS Marvel Studios 21st Century Fox Black History Month spain 007 Mystery political drama HBO Max comics composers Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt ABC DGA scary movies cars hispanic YA hist romance Masterpiece BBC One zero dark thirty video blockbuster cancelled Trailer Marathons AMC Opinion Ghostbusters BET binge Nickelodeon Box Office animated CBS toy story movies teaser FX on Hulu cooking ghosts Women's History Month TIFF YouTube Red Watching Series Crackle Arrowverse BAFTA ID Quiz toronto Brie Larson Shudder criterion TV renewals war Star Wars batman Stephen King Tumblr TruTV CW Seed 2015 FX revenge DC streaming service crossover CBS All Access Shondaland Fox News harry potter MTV deadpool Disney Plus Mary Tyler Moore FOX disaster GLAAD child's play Disney+ Disney Plus asian-american medical drama directors comic First Reviews natural history Oscars TCA 2017 canceled TV shows latino Country Sundance Now Lifetime Christmas movies fresh reboot Interview stand-up comedy SXSW Apple politics Cartoon Network BBC Summer parents Hear Us Out X-Men Walt Disney Pictures Fantasy 72 Emmy Awards OneApp Dark Horse Comics FXX Red Carpet 24 frames Drama australia serial killer Emmy Nominations psychological thriller festivals IFC Films HBO Hulu films History best Year in Review romantic comedy Super Bowl Podcast E! cancelled TV shows canceled Thanksgiving sports travel indiana jones technology GoT YouTube Premium Awards Tour See It Skip It TNT PlayStation HBO Go documentary Lifetime SDCC Ellie Kemper aliens Pop Reality Competition children's TV Pirates TV 2020 Netflix elevated horror Action a nightmare on elm street TV Land golden globes foreign Emmys Binge Guide crime Family indie GIFs Logo Christmas sequel crime drama Television Academy Comics on TV Sci-Fi spinoff classics OWN sag awards Writers Guild of America Funimation adventure tv talk anime documentaries