Phase9 Entertainment

DUDE, WHERE'S MY CAR? - About the film

Last night, two party-hearty Dudes had an unbelievably sweet time. Too bad, they can't remember a thing, including where they parked their car. All they know is there's a year's supply of pudding in the fridge, and their girlfriends are ticked at them for trashing their house and forgetting their anniversary. To make up with the girls, the Dudes have to find the anniversary gifts they bought for the occasion. But it won't be easy - the goodies are in their car.

So, the Dudes embark on a mission: retrace their steps to find out what they did last night (and who they did it to), hoping it will lead them to the missing car. Little do the Dudes know, they're in for the ride of their lives.

Ashton Kutcher, who headlines the hit Fox sitcom THAT 70s SHOW and Seann William Scott, from the smash film comedies AMERICAN PIE and ROAD TRIP, play the DUDE, WHERE'S MY CAR? Dudes. The film also stars Jennifer Garner (PEARL HARBOR), Marla Sokoloff (TV's THE PRACTICE) and Kristy Swanson (BUFFY, THE VAMPIRE SLAYER).

The film is directed by Danny Leiner (TV's FREAKS AND GEEKS), written by Philip Stark (THAT '70s SHOW), and produced by Wayne Rice (SUICIDE KINGS), Broderick Johnson, Andrew Kosove, and Gil Netter (MY BEST FRIEND WEDDING, THE NAKED GUN movies).

DUDE, WHERE'S MY CAR? screenwriter Philip Stark admits that some of the characters and situations in the film are based on his own circle of friends. "Basically, DUDE is about just me and my buddies," Stark offers. But Stark also wanted to create his own version of one of today's most popular genres. "DUDE is a take-off on teen/high school comedies," he continues. "But I was less concerned with creating typical romantic and adventure elements than with concocting a story, with an absurd logic to it, about two lovable knuckleheads."

The DUDE cast and filmmakers thought Stark's characters and take on the genre were truly original. "DUDE has a fresh voice, and it doesn't feel derivative," producer

Wayne Rice says. Director Danny Leiner's (FREAKS AND GEEKS) initial reaction to Stark's script was, "What is that crazy title?" But as he continued to read, he got caught up in the story's unique universe. "I really fell in love with this bizarre adventure," he continues. I was laughing out loud as I read it."

The actors who play the Dudes were equally taken with the script. Ashton Kutcher says that "DUDE, WHERE'S MY CAR? is a completely altered universe, and completely out of control." Fellow DUDE-ster Seann William Scott adds, "You read the title, and right off the bat you're laughing. But you also really care about the Dudes. They're goofy and funny, but their heart is always in the right place."

Scott and Kutcher's on-screen chemistry was crucial to the film. "We knew going in that DUDE would work only if our Jesse and Chester had great chemistry," Rice explains.

"We were looking for the great comedic team of the new millennium, but we just settled for really funny," jokes producer Gil Netter.

The filmmakers cast Kutcher after visiting the actor at his home. Within five minutes of their arrival, they knew they had a Dude. "Ashton was doing grouting work in his bathroom, while he was receiving guests throughout the evening," Rice remembers. "He was like this Home Depot guy - a dude, through and through."

With half of the Dude team aboard, the real casting challenge was only beginning. The difficult part was finding the right actor to pair with Kutcher. The filmmakers screentested over a thousand hopefuls before Seann William Scott nailed the part. "Seann really surprised us," Leiner recalls. "We knew his work in AMERICAN and ROAD TRIP, where he played tough, jock-type guys. But in reality, Seann has a real sweet side to him, which was perfect for the role.

"Seann and Ashton nailed the Dudes during the screen-test," Leiner continues. "Their comedy and physical timing were just perfect. They really climbed into their characters' skins."

Scott and Kutcher's clueless dudes hardly are typical movie protagonists. But in DUDE, WHERE'S MY CAR's other-worldly and bizarre reality, they may be the film's closest thing to "normal." The actors, while enjoying the Dudes' humor and fun, wanted to make them real characters. "Even if they are bumblers, you want to believe in these guys and root for them, like you root for Jim Carrey in 'Dumb and Dumber,"' Scott explains.

Scott and Kutcher displayed a very real emotion - fear - during a key sequence involving malevolent ostriches. Both actors thought working with the 10-foot, 250-pound creatures was their most memorable experience during production. "They're big friggin' animals - like dinosaurs, or at least a really big chicken," Kutcher laughs. Scott adds: "The ostrich scene was the weirdest thing I'd ever read - and filmed. It was a real rush."

Kutcher's adrenaline really began to flow when one of the beasts decided to charge him. Although Kutcher was outweighed by almost 100 pounds, the fearless actor was more than up to the challenge. He grabbed hold of the ostrich's neck, stopping its race for freedom. The southern California town of Sierra Madre, where much of the film was shot, was grateful to Kutcher. "That ostrich could have done some damage to the neighborhood," one relieved resident was heard to say.

Crazed ostriches aside, the characters' real challenge is to get back in the good graces of their girlfriends, "The Twins," who are angry because the Dudes forgot their anniversary. Marla Sokoloff (THE PRACTICE) and Jennifer Garner (PEARL HARBOR) play The Twins, respectively, Wanda and Wilma. Like Kutcher and Scott, the two actresses were an instant match. "The first time I read with Marla, we clicked," says Garner. Their chemistry even had some DUDE cast and crew believing that the Sokoloff and Garner were actually related. "People on the set kept asking us if we were twins," Sokoloff says, "even though we look nothing alike."

Some members of the DUDE production team became dudes in their own right when the film's vernacular infiltrated their speech. They began "double dude-ing" - beginning and ending each sentence with the Dudes' signature word. While the effect wasn't permanent, it did leave a lasting impression. "It's hard for me not to laugh now when I hear someone use that word," Kutcher says.