HIT AND RUN is a comedy about a young couple that risks it all when they leave their small town life and embark on a ...
Rating: R for pervasive language including sexual references, graphic nudity, some violence and drug content
Length: 100 minutes
Released: August 22, 2012 Nationwide
Cast: Dax Shepard, Kristen Bell, Bradley Cooper, Kristin Chenoweth, Tom Arnold
Director: David Palmer, Dax Shepard
Writer: Dax Shepard
For real-life couple Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell, "Hit and Run," their first movie collaboration, is almost literally a labor of love.They took into consideration what it might mean to work so closely for weeks on end.
"I think we even joked about it a little," Bell says with a bit of a laugh. " 'Well, we might be fighting by the end of this.' "
Those fears were certainly nothing to be concerned about. Making "Hit and Run" did consume their lives — every waking moment was centered on the film and what needed to be done. It was a lot of work that fell squarely on their shoulders as producers and a couple. But they thrived on it.
"When we are working most of the time, we don't see each other as much," Shepard says. "Our show schedules don't always come together."
Shepard co-stars on NBC's comedy-drama "Parenthood." Bell is on the Showtime adult comedy "House of Lies."
Made on a shoestring budget, shot within driving distance of their home and cast with their friends (including everyone from Tom Arnold to Bradley Cooper to Kristen Chenoweth), "Hit and Run" isn't your typical Hollywood fare.
It was no frills all the way.
Instead of fancy cars with drivers to haul the actors to the set, Bell manned one vehicle, packed with the cast. Rehearsals consisted of Bell running lines with the actors as they drove to the set.
If Shepard was already on set before Bell and cast arrived, he was tinkering with concerns of the day — the right lights, the perfect camera angles, the logistics of shots.
He wrote "Hit and Run," a romantic comedy balanced with high-octane chase scenes and plenty of muscle cars.
The story focuses on an easygoing guy named Charlie Bronson who is in love with Annie. They have a tranquil life in the middle of nowhere.
Then Annie gets a job offer that would take her to Los Angeles. That's when Charlie confesses he is in the Witness Protection Program, and even his name is fake.
Charlie was the getaway car driver at a bank robbery, which, of course, took place in Los Angeles.
He risks it all to accompany Annie on the road trip to Los Angeles — with the Feds, a gang and Annie's ex-boyfriend in tow.
"Writing this movie makes it easier for me to memorize my lines," Shepard says in all seriousness, "because what you are saying sounds like the way you would talk.
"I thought it was really important to make this sound like the way people really talk, not just the way people talk in movies.
"When you hear the way some people talk in movies, you think, 'Nobody talks that way in real life.' I wanted to make sure that wasn't (the case) in this movie."
Shepard used one of his own vehicles in several scenes.
Going into making "Hit and Run," which also stars Shepard and Bell, the two knew it might put a strain on their relationship. However daunted by that, "we weren't going to let that stand in the way of what we wanted to do to get (the movie) done," Shepard says.
"We were really lucky that spending every moment together for eight weeks is an environment we really thrived in."
When in Knoxville a few months ago to screen the film, Shepard and Bell conducted interviews in the small bar of the Oliver Hotel. Shepard wore a black T-shirt, jeans and dirty tennis shoes. Bell was casual chic, also with jeans and a loose-fitting sweater.
The banter between them is comfortable in that old shoe kind of way.
Shepard, 37, and Bell, 32, have been in a relationship for four years and became engaged in 2010. No wedding date has been set, though.
The couple joke about pulling together to get the modestly budgeted movie made. When the subject of being Hollywood's newest power couple is broached, the two mock it.
"Yeah," Shepard deadpans, "we're a 'power couple' — without the power."
"We like to think of ourselves as the updated Kurt (Russell) and Goldie (Hawn). We want to do 'Overboard 3 and 4.'"
All kidding aside, they found working on "Hit & Run" actually helped them bond.
"We work really well together," Bell says.
© 2012, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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