JESSICA SIMPSON on The Dukes of Hazzard Edited by Michael J. Lee, Executive Editor for Radio Free Entertainment
From 1979 to 1985, television audiences loved The Dukes of Hazzard, a show about a trio of cousins (Bo Duke, Luke Duke, and Daisy Duke) who had routine run-ins with the corrupt, local authorities led by the big-boned Boss Hogg. Armed with the General Lee, their superpowered 1969 Dodge Charger, the Duke boys regularly outran the bumbling cops of Hazzard County and found ways to foil Boss Hogg's greedy schemes.
The 2005 movie rendition of the classic series stars Seann William Scott and Johnny Knoxville as Bo and Luke Duke, Jessica Simpson as Daisy, Willie Nelson as their moonshine-runnin' Uncle Jesse, and Burt Reynolds as the sleazy Boss Hogg.
In this interview, Jessica Simpson talks about the making of the movie, including how she dealt with sliding into Daisy's signature short shorts.
MEDIA: How do you feel about making the jump from music and television to the big screen?
JESSICA: This is a huge deal. [laughs] I've been on Cloud 9. I've had so much fun. I can't even sleep because I'm so excited and anxious for everything right now.
How different is the movie making experience from what you've done in the past?
Well, it's new territory. It's like having a new car or something. [laughs] I've enjoyed every moment and it's been...honestly, I can't even find words to tell you how happy I am to be in this position.
What was your first day on set like?
My first day on set, I had a lot of butterflies. I only had like one line or something, and I was so scared that I was going to mess it up that I thought about it way too hard. I was nervous that I was going to fall in my heels or rip my shorts or do something stupid. But it all went really smoothly. My first day was with Seann and Johnny, so they were very encouraging the whole time.
You obviously have to look good and be physically fit to play Daisy...
Yes. The first thing I did when I found out...I ate a huge piece of chocolate cake. And I was like, "Okay, I'm done. All right, here I go! Let's go to the gym!"
How much did you have to work out to get in shape for the role?
It was pretty grueling...I worked out for two and half hours a day, six days a week, for about two months.
Daisy's signature piece of apparel is, of course, her short shorts. How many different pairs did you try on?
I tried on over a hundred. And I had to take Polaroids of all of them. [laughs]
And how did you decide on the right pair to use?
Well, it's the ones that the girls like on the butt and the guys like on the butt. [laughs]
What was the reaction when you first walked on set in those shorts? Were there gasps?
Oh, I don't know. I was so nervous, I couldn't hear anything. I had so many different voices going on in my head, I have no clue if there was a gasp. [laughs] I was gasping.
You claim to be a bit shy. Was it difficult for you to flaunt the goods in all of Daisy's revealing outfits?
That was the biggest challenge for me. I mean, that was me acting. [laughs] To just "strut my stuff" in that...that's very much not me. I like my little dresses, you know. [laughs] So that was pretty much the hardest part about doing the movie.
Did you ever meet the original Daisy Duke, Catherine Bach?
I haven't, no. I would love to though. I grew up absolutely adoring her.
How popular was the General Lee, the Dukes' trademark orange Dodge Charger?
Everybody looked at it, everybody wanted to touch it. There were so many extras taking pictures with it. It's phenomenal how famous that car is.
Did you have any desire to get behind the wheel?
I wouldn't want to. I would be scared.
What were some of the stunts that you learned to do?
I had to learn how to hit with a pool cue. The most amazing thing, to me, was to be able to learn how to kick somebody with heels on and pin them down by the neck. [laughs] That was fun! 'Cuz I didn't use a stunt double. I wanted to do it.
Were you nervous about performing those stunts?
Not really, because that was the best week on set, when we were shooting the bar fight. Because there's like people flying over your head. It's amazing to see what these people go through, you know--what they do to their body. [laughs]
The Dukes television series was extremely popular. Why do you think people connected to it?
Family. It's all about a family who's got each other's back. They all work together. They all help each other out. And it's that southern town everybody is so curious about. It's very cliche, but it's fun.
How much can you relate to that?
Very much. I grew up in Dallas, but my family pretty much lives in McGregor, Texas...Really small town. So I can relate to it.