‘Cool Beans’: 15 Trivia Tidbits About ‘Hot Rod’

‘Cool Beans’: 15 Trivia Tidbits About ‘Hot Rod’

This week marks 16 years since we first witnessed Andy Samberg strap on a fake Mario mustache and fail to jump a pool. Written by South Park collaborator Pam BradyHot Rod was Akiva Schaffer’s directorial debut and saw The Lonely Island guys team up with comedy greats like Will Arnett, Bill Hader, Isla Fisher and Danny McBride. It also shed a hilarious new light on Ian McShane, allowing him to spread his comedic wings as Samberg’s relentlessly mocking stepfather, Frank.

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While the movie bombed at the box office — grossing $14 million on a $25 million budget — word-of-mouth and repeat home viewings gave birth to a cult phenomenon. So get pumped, say “cool beans” a dozen times and read on about the making of Hot Rod...

Chris Parnell’s Tattoo Joke Almost Didn’t Make the Cut

Parnell used the word “semen” instead of “residue” when they shot his character, radio announcer Barry Pasternak, showing off his tattoo. The MPAA objected to using the word, which was changed to keep the joke.

Hader’s Acid-Trip Scene Was Based on a Real Story

“Bill had told me this story about his friend who took acid and got a piece of metal stuck in his eye, and Bill had to take him to the hospital,” Samberg remembers. After the movie came out, Hader “bumped into his buddy, and he was, like, ‘Hey man, I saw that movie you were in. You know that scene where you take acid? Did you know that happened to me?’”

The ‘Team Rod’ T-Shirts Are a Homage to a 1986 Sports Movie

Paramount Pictures

During an interview with IGN, Jorma Taccone revealed that the T-shirts worn by the Team Rod gang are a nod to Rad, a 1986 movie “which is basically Karate Kid on BMX bikes.”

The Movie Was Meant for Will Ferrell

The original draft of Hot Rod was explicitly written for Ferrell in what would’ve been his debut movie. However, the project sat at the studio for years, with Paramount apparently worried that Ferrell (who was on SNL at the time) couldn’t carry a feature as a leading man. Lorne Michaels would convince Paramount to give the project to Samberg and his band of merry men instead, and that was that.

Paul Thomas Anderson Convinced Sissy Spacek to Do the Movie

Paramount Pictures

Spacek, who plays Rod’s mom Marie Powell, told Yahoo! that she only signed up for the movie because the Boogie Nights director convinced her to do it. “My husband, Jack (Fisk), had worked on There Will Be Blood with Paul Thomas Anderson,” Spacek said, “and Paul called him to say, ‘This is not a film that Sissy would ordinarily do, but they want to offer it to you, and they know you’ll never see the script unless we get to you. These guys are great — you should do it.’ And when Paul Thomas Anderson talks, you listen! So that’s why I did it, and now I’m friends with all these young, cool guys with crazy names like Akiva, Jorma and Andy.”

The Lonely Island Guys Rewrote a Lot of the Script Themselves

While they still gave Brady full writing credit, her script had to be rewritten because a lot had happened in the six years it took to get Hot Rod in production. “If you actually read her original script, there are so many movies that came out since she wrote that,” Samberg told Collider. “She was ahead of the game. It was actually kind of crazy.” He also said that they added the Footloose-inspired scene because it had always been something he wanted to do on-screen.

McBride Considers the Movie His First Real Acting Job

As McBride, who plays Rico, said, “It was the first real deal job acting-wise. At this point, I had done All the Real Girls, which was really independent. It was with David (Gordon Green), a buddy of mine. Jody Hill and myself had just made The Foot Fist Way for basically 10 bucks. So this was the first time anyone outside of someone that I was friends with had cast me in a movie where there was a real paycheck, and there were people who did this for a living, not just friends helping each other out. It was awesome. I know that was a big break for those guys, and I remember Bill Hader was on the set with me, and I had just met him. All of us were at the beginning of our careers, where things were just starting to take off. That movie and that experience was such a special, particular moment in all of our careers.”

The Guys Fought Hard to Save a Throwaway Cameo ‘For No Good Reason’

The climactic scene of Rod getting up after hilariously missing his landing features Ebenezer Scrooge (played by John Burnside) popping out from a school bus window to serve up some cooked goose. “The reason Ebenezer Scrooge came out at the end, originally when the number hits $50,000, and it’s like, hooray they did it, they won the day, church bells were going to start ringing, and it was going to start snowing and become Christmas because it was such a joyful moment,” Taccone once explained. “But we just left Ebenezer Scrooge in because we couldn’t afford the rest.”

“The studio didn’t like it,” Schaffer told Vanity Fair. “They kept asking us to take it out. But you heard an audible laugh from the audience. If there’s 300 people in the room and 50 of them laugh, you’re like, ‘Hey, all right.’ But on a test score, that would only be one-sixth of the audience.”

Samberg Had to Learn to Ride a Motorbike from Scratch

Samberg was a rookie biker, and though he got a lot of wheel time, he never went airborne. “I had never ridden a motorbike of any sort before, and I was sort of terrible with anything on wheels to start with,” he told Rotten Tomatoes. “Skateboard, BMX, you name it, and I’ve crashed on it when I was a kid. So I’m starting from scratch, and by that measurement, I did a lot of stuff. If I had tried anything too dangerous, I would have been hurt.” The biggest stunt he did was going over the curb for the title shot.

The Origin of the ‘Grilled Cheese Sandwich vs. Taco’ Joke

According to The Lonely Island gang, their friend Josh was hanging out with them at work one day when he started drawing the two characters who would eventually make it into the movie. “Josh was obsessed with drawing food items fighting at that time,” Taccone told Inverse. They immediately wanted to include the gag in the film and ended up reverse-engineering the joke based solely on Josh’s drawing. In the original script, Rod would meet Evel Knievel during his blackout, but they changed it to complete the food joke.

McBride and Hader Were Shooting ‘Tropic Thunder’ When the Film Premiered

The two actors couldn’t attend their first-ever movie premiere because they were filming that movie where Tom Cruise looks like Paul Giamatti. “So (Hader) and I were like, let’s just go drink some beers at your house and let’s look at reviews,” McBride remembers. “Neither of us had been in something that had come out before. So that whole process was new to us. I remember we were sitting around Bill’s rental house in Hawaii, and we started looking at reviews like, Ooh. That one’s pretty tough. Ooh. That one’s even tougher.’”

The Elaborate and Literal ‘Eat My Shorts’ Joke That Was Cut

“It was the apology, which is why it wasn’t needed because we did the other apology scene,” Schaffer explained. “But it was Danny saying ‘eat my shorts’ to Andy and then taking it literally, and Danny McBride taking off his shorts and putting them on a grill, and grilling them up and then plating them, but then as it goes on, they go, ‘Well, if you’re going to eat them, you should have some ketchup.’ And then they say, ‘Well, that makes sense, might as well get a bun,’ and then, ‘Okay, yeah, a bun would be smart, but what about relish?’ And then, ‘Well, yeah, you could eat them with relish and tomatoes and onions,’ and slowly it’d get to, ‘Well, if you got all these great ingredients out here, you might as well get a burger on here.’ And then, ‘Sure, and the shorts are kind of in the way, anyways,’ and it would really slowly, line by line, disintegrated until he was just cooking the burger, and then making Rod eat that burger as repayment, and then they were cool again.”

‘The Whoopee Boys’ Poster Was Included Before Any of the Crew Even Saw the Movie

Paramount Pictures

Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius poster was originally on Kevin’s bedroom wall, but it felt off for the crew. According to Schaffer, it just didn’t “quite fit because it’s computer animated and so digital looking. Everything in their world is so analog except for their computer.” They still had to replace the poster with a Paramount Pictures movie, and their choices came down to John Candy’s Summer Rental or The Whoopee Boys, “which we had never heard of,” Schaffer continued. “As soon as we saw that poster, it’s on his wall.” 

The entire crew apparently became obsessed with the poster and the movie, but the film proved difficult to track down. Paramount eventually gave them a 35 mm print which was screened for the cast and crew at a Vancouver theater.

The ‘Cool Beans’ Gag Is The Joke That Most Divided Viewers

Initially, Schaffer cut the bit where Samberg and Taccone do that weird little pseudo-rap, but the two actors decided to edit the bit themselves. At the last test screening, Schaffer eventually added it back in, telling studio executives, “We’re trying out a bizarre scene. Don’t freak out.” The test audiences either cited the scene as their least favorite or absolute favorite, so it stayed in the movie.

The Line People Keep Quoting at McBride

“I still get ‘I like to party’ all the time,” McBride told Decider. “It was always from people much younger than I thought it would be. It would always be like 13- and 14-year-olds. These guys set out to make their version of an early Adam Sandler film, and they really did. The audience that found that movie was at the age those guys were when seeing those first Sandler films.”


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