The one phrase that comes to mind when describing Dax Shepard is 'down to earth'. You've no doubt seen the 37 year old actor/director in one of the projects on his lengthy filmography, whether it was on the television show, Parenthood or starring alongside Luke Wilson in Idiocracy. He's incredibly successful and some of his close friends include Bradley Cooper and Ashton Kutcher, but you'd never know it by just talking to him or even reading about him (he's pretty low-key for a celebrity). Before all the movies and fame, Shepard was raised in Highland Park, Michigan and jumped around to Millford to Dearborn to Detroit, never expecting anything to come of his love for acting. "I don't know how I made it," he says, but it's a good thing he did because if you didn't already love his work, you will after his latest project, Hit and Run, the action comedy he wrote, directed, acted in and produced.
In it, he shows off a more loveable side as opposed to his usual roles, and plays the main character and caring boyfriend of his real-life wife, Kristen Bell. "This film is very much a metaphor for Kristen and I's first year together. We came from such different backgrounds and the trust was such a process," says Shepard and it really does show – their chemistry in the film together is captivating, "There is visible and palpable love on display." In addition to his wife, there's something else featured in the film that he holds close to his heart and that's his 1967 Lincoln Continental he's had for about 12 years now and successfully turned into a racing car which he felt he'd put so much money into that it deserved its own movie. "This movie is an homage to my Lincoln and my wife," he says.
In fact, he didn't trust anyone else to drive his car, so all of the chase scenes (there are a lot) were done by him rather than a stunt double. "There was no way I was going to watch someone else drive my Lincoln or my race car, which is also in the movie," he explains. "There were points where I was driving my Lincoln into the L.A. river with cops leading and following and when I'd peel out, they'd give me a thumbs up. I kept saying 'Oh my God, this is a dream come true – the cops are supporting my wreckless driving!'," he remembers of his favorite scenes from the movie.
The most important thing for Shepard in making this movie was keeping the material fresh, which he thinks films today are lacking due to the hefty expenses that have to be poured into them. "Even if it isn't the easiest recipe for guaranteed laughs, I'd rather have you leave the theatre feeling like you had an original experience," he explains. And it appears that he's accomplished this with an end product that's a unique and eclectic mix between comedy, romance, action and crime. "If you liked Pulp Fiction and you liked Smokey and the Bandit and you were hoping these two movies were put in a blender and became a smoothie, this would be that movie. At least, I'd like to think so," says Shepard. | RDW
by Rebecca Hillary