With their own inimitable and imaginative satirical style, Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer – the filmmaking team behind Scary Movie, Date Movie, Epic Movie and Meet the Spartans - take on one of the biggest and most bloated movie genres of all time: disaster films.
Slyly named DISASTER MOVIE, the comedy/drama/adventure/romance/action film not in 3D centers on a group of ridiculously attractive twenty-somethings who are trying to make their way to safety as every known natural disaster - asteroids, twisters, earthquakes, the works - hits the city on one fateful night. The story follows these friends on their comic misadventures as they face catastrophic events while they simultaneously try to bring an end to the destruction by solving a series of mysteries. DISASTER MOVIE takes aim at everything and everyone, from Sex and the City and Iron Man to Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Brothers, lampooning movies, pop culture icons and public figures along the way.
“Every possible disaster you can think of – both of natural causes and man made – that can occur in a twenty-four hour period are included in the film,” says Friedberg. “There is nothing too outlandish to have some fun with, be it a weather catastrophe or an individual with an oversized persona. Everything is fair game.”
DISASTER MOVIE spoofs some of the biggest hits and names-in-the-news of the year. With the jokes coming fast and furiously, the film opens with a parody of 10,000 BC by depicting a dim-witted prehistoric man running for his life from a dinosaur. While trying to escape, he runs into both Wolf from American Gladiators, who challenges him to a fight, and Amy Winehouse, who he mistakes for a saber tooth tiger. She drunkenly removes a lap top from her beehive hairdo to check her Facebook profile.
Two of the leading characters - Juney and Enchanted Princess - are also parodies in themselves. Juney has an uncanny similarity to the pregnant teenager Juno, with her witty and clever quips. The Enchanted Princess is a spoof on Enchanted. Even with her vulgarity and promiscuity, she is straight from a fairy tale. Other outrageous spoofs include the cast breaking into a High School Musical like performance and Hannah Montana being killed by a falling asteroid.
To bring these over-the-top situations and personalities to life, the film needed confident, no-holds-barred actors and crew. The stars of the movie, in particular, were a truly creative force with their own individual wit and charm.
Leading the cast is Matt Lanter (“Heroes,” STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS) as “Will Jones,” whose romantic troubles propel the story forward. Lanter, who has been seen on television, in film and even on the theater stage, make his first foray into the genre with DISASTER MOVIE.
Says the actor, “I've never done a spoof movie so it's my first experience working with the guys and this kind of story. I've always wanted to do this sort of film, having grown up on movies like Hot Shots and the Naked Guns. They're my favorite movies of all time. This is a dream come true.”
In traditional spoof style, the film pokes fun at many of the icons of the day. “When my character Will’s girlfriend gets lost, the film takes the rest of the group on this wacky journey through a bunch of other stuff. I can't even list it all! I also play the guy from 10,000 BC which is the opening of the movie. I’ve got the beard and the dreads. It's gonna be huge! I even play Zac Efron from High School Musical. I've got the High School Musical songs in my head and I can't get them out.”
Returning to the spoof fold is siren Carmen Electra, who rejoins Friedberg and Seltzer in yet another of their movies. Vanessa Minnillo and Kim Kardashian both make their motion picture acting debuts with DISASTER MOVIE. Rounding out the cast Tad Hilgenbrink and a cavalcade of improvisational comedians, including Nicole Parker, Crista Flanagan and Ike Barinholtz, all of “Mad TV” fame, and Gary “G-Thang” Johnson.
“I feel so lucky because I’ve been able to work with Aaron and Jason a bunch of times,” says Electra, who previously teamed up with them for Date Movie, Epic Movie and Meet the Spartans. “I just love them – both the guys and their movies. I just feel really comfortable. Honestly, where else can you work with such great guys, with a funny script, and all the fun stuff they put in them?”
For instance, in a wrestling match, spoofing World Wrestling Entertainment, Electra faces off Kim Kardashian with a gleam in their eyes – and practically no wardrobe.
“She is just the sweetest thing ever,” says Kardashian of Electra, “but with this huge wrestling scene between us, it was so intimidating. I’m wearing leotards and basically nothing else and we’re just all over each other. I was nervous because she’s like half my size, but she was amazing, and she really helped me through it. That scene was probably my favorite out of the whole movie.”
Added Electra, “It was just so much fun to shoot. When you watch the movie, you can tell the cast is really having a good time. I think the audience will have as much fun watching it as we did making it. Movies like this…it’s all about having a good time.”
Minnillo is also making her motion picture debut with the film, though she already has a great deal of experience in front of the cameras. “This is my first movie, and I’m super excited it’s with Jason and Aaron,” she says. “I’m a huge spoof movie fan. Actually, it’s funny because I think the girls from ‘Mad TV’ pseudo-spoofed me, and now they are all on the set with me. As long as you have a good sense of humor and a good head on your shoulders, then it’s flattering. So go ahead: spoof away!”
Though Kardashian has become a big reality television star, she had never been in a feature film prior to DISASTER MOVIE. “I definitely want to pursue acting,” she says, “and this was the perfect film to start with. The directors and producer have been so amazing with me and with everybody. Just helping us every step of the way. I’m really fortunate.”
It wasn’t all fun and games, however. At one point, there was real tension on the set when Flanagan, who did a “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” sketch on her show “Mad TV,” was going to meet Kardashian for the first time.
“I was really nervous about meeting her given the sketch I did of her family,” said Flanagan. “I held my breath when I first saw her and thought, ‘Oh, please don't bring it up.’ But Kim walked right up and said ‘I thought that was really funny and cool.’ Ah, crisis averted.”
For Flanagan, the story even gets better. On set, Kardashian had a spider web on her butt, and she yelled, ‘Get it off! Get it off!’ Said Flanagan, “The next thing you know I'm touching Kim's ass! That's so cool, sort of, but weird. The crew couldn’t get over it. Everyone was like, ‘you touched her ass!’ It was a very proud moment.”
The cast and filmmakers are particularly excited about DISASTER MOVIE because, as G-Thang says, “it takes the genre to a whole new level. There’s a lot of stuff going on in the movie. Stuff is falling. Cars are on fire. Buildings are blowing up. There’s never been a spoof movie where there’s been so much action and spectacle but that’s why it’s our job to save the world.”
It was indeed “lunacy on the set,” says Peter Safran, the producer of DISASTER MOVIE with Friedberg and Seltzer. “Pretty much on a daily basis, everybody was weeping with laughter. We had very, very funny people all around us, and the improvs and comic riffs they all did were amazing and ingenious. One of the greatest things about a Jason-and-Aaron production is the relaxed but efficient manner of their sets. They are inherently good guys. They tend to use many of the same actors and crew so there is a short hand of sorts involved. People enjoy working with and for them.”
The filmmakers, per their custom, tend not to like to talk about themselves or their projects. “What are we supposed to say – that we are clever and witty guys?,” says Seltzer who notes that core demographic for their films are teenagers and twenty-somethings – a generation once or even twice removed from their own ages. “What we and our audience have in common is that we are very aware of and interested in pop culture and our love of social and cultural satirization. It’s a very particular type of humor, but one that hopefully resonates with moviegoers.”