SCARY MOVIE 4 was all about being “a clown”

For “Saturday Night Live” alumnus, Chris Elliott, saying yes to the call to do SCARY MOVIE 4 was a no-brainer: “I’ve been a fan of David Zucker’s from way back. ‘Airplane!’ sort of changed my whole perception of comedy, and I’ve never been in one of his movies and so I jumped at the shot.” Playing the village idiot from “The Village,” Chris totally went for it with the physical humor in his scenes but played it straight when it came to his lines. Impressed with the great jokes in the script, he shrugged, “When they’re funny on the page, you don’t have to do much to it.”

Reprising his role as George from SCARY MOVIE 3, Simon Rex laughs saying that it took him “about two seconds to get back into character because all I had to do was look around at David Zucker, and Anna Faris, and it all came back to me’.” Rex is “happy to be brought back…working with David Zucker, I couldn’t wait to come to work and just hang out on set.”

For Shaquille O’Neal, playing himself in SCARY MOVIE 4 was all about being “a clown” and having a good laugh. “People don’t understand that laughing is one of the biggest relievers of stress. You start to smile, you start to laugh, and then you forget about your problems.” O’Neal was also tickled to be doing a scene with Dr. Phil. “This is his first movie and I think he did a fabulous job,” Shaq says admiringly.

Dr. Phil bounces the compliments right back at O’Neal. “Shaq is so much fun, and he so gets into it that it really makes it easy.” The compliments keep flowing from Dr. Phil for David Zucker as well, “I mean of all the directors I’ve worked with, oh wait a minute, he’s the only one! So far, he’s just been a blast!”

Dr. Phil’s esteemed colleague, Oprah Winfrey, doesn’t personally appear in the movie, but her doppelganger, actress Debra Wilson, does. Four and a half hours of makeup, padding and prosthetics was all it took to transform Wilson into the Queen of Daytime Television. While Wilson had played Oprah before on “Mad TV,” she said spoofing Oprah in a movie was a first. “It’s a privilege because I feel like it’s trend-setting to get Oprah in a movie on the large screen. To skewer her…I can’t wait to barbeque her. I’m going to have her with a side of roasted potatoes!”

When offered a part in SCARY MOVIE 4, James Earl Jones’ wife loved the role the writers created for him and said to him, “Ooooh, you gotta do it!” There was no need to twist his arm, as Jones is a self-described “huge fan” of both the franchise and of David Zucker, with whom he worked on “Naked Gun.” Jones’ character is, mysteriously, named James Earl Jones and he will only say, cryptically, that his character speaks “about values and love.”

Playing the creepy basement guy from “War of the Worlds,” Michael Madsen was especially delighted to be cast in the part. After seeing the real “War of the Worlds,” his teenage son said, “Dad, you should have had that part.” Now he does. Madsen is also thrilled to have had the chance to work with Zucker, saying, “One thing I like about David is that he’s very collaborative…and we make up a lot of stuff on the spur of the moment, and a lot of stuff I did wasn’t even in the script.”

Leslie Nielsen is no stranger to Zucker’s directorial style, “the extraordinary attention he pays to the comedic detail, that’s what makes it good. The more credibility you bring to it, the more credible the humor is.” Describing Nielsen as “an old friend,” Bob Weiss was delighted that Nielsen was back for SCARY MOVIE 4, again playing the President of the United States. “It gives the story that big feel and that national feel that important things are happening. So we were thrilled to be able to have Leslie Neilson back again, and there’s really no one like him.” Nielsen felt his humor fits like a glove with Zucker’s, explaining, “I’ve always said things that are absolutely outrageous with a straight face treating them with all the gravity in the world.” Zucker loved it, saying, “He was there at the very beginning for “Airplane!” and you see Leslie as the straightest of the straight. He just doesn’t let on that he’s even in a comedy.”

Saddled with trying to keep a straight face while Nielsen did his Presidential-thing was comedian/actor Alonso Bodden, who plays the President’s Aide. Bodden concedes, “The thing about Leslie Nielsen is he’s just so funny. He’s just associated with funny so you know anything he’s gonna do is gonna be funny.” Bodden was such a fan that he said yes to the job without knowing anything about what he was going to do. “The script was top secret until I actually got there, so I had no idea what the scene was, or what I’d be saying…or anything!”

Fellow comedian, David Attell, had a different strategy for his role as “Knife man” in his “War of the Worlds” scene with Craig Bierko and Fabolous. “I’m not an actor. In fact, my game plan is to show up on time and not get fired. That’s my acting style.” Attell had a great time and found himself continuously marvelling at how the screenwriters managed to be so topical: “You always feel like you’re right on it….and I don’t know how they do it since it’s a movie and it comes out way later – they must have some psychics working on the film!”

As with SCARY MOVIE 3, SCARY MOVIE 4 has a roster of rappers on board. Spoofing a variety of “War of the Worlds” scenes, the music stars-come-actors were stoked about being a part of what many consider to be a classic and growing comedy tradition. Fabolous is happy that his fans get to “see a different side of me, and see me make people laugh.” Lil’ Jon, playing the guy with “the last working car in New York,” simply saying it’s “amazing” to be in a SCARY MOVIE picture. Young BloodZ, playing whacked-out refugees in their movie-acting debut concur, “We were very excited to get the call.” D-Ray, playing the mechanic, says, “It’s cool” to be cast because the franchise is “just entertaining.” He goes on to say, “I like to see good writing and to see people get a chance to act the fool. You don’t get to do that as adults, and I think SCARY MOVIE allows adults to act the fool, because that’s what I’m gonna do.” Patrice O’Neil, who plays a curious guy at the epicentre, loves how this franchise puts horror movies in perspective and points to his girlfriend who can now watch the “real” movies and find them hilarious. He says “She can watch it with these little parodies in mind.”

Chris Williams, who plays another “War of the Worlds” character, appreciates being a part of a film that attracts such a plugged-in audience. “The SCARY MOVIE fans have already seen all of the other movies also. They’re movie-going people, teenagers and young adults who see everything, and it’s all encapsulated into every year, or every other year when a new SCARY MOVIE comes out. They can appreciate it.”

Appropriately, Anna Faris sums it up best: “True fans know what they’re going to get into when they see a SCARY MOVIE. It’s a good time, not to be taken too seriously, not for people who are easily offended, and it’s just a lot of laughs.”

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