"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

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