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Dax Shepard Talks DIY Road Movie 'Hit and Run,' Co-Starring Kristen Bell and Bradley Cooper

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood August 8, 2012 at 2:17PM

Actor-writer-director Dax Shepard ("Parenthood") delivers a populist crowd-pleaser with his second film "Hit and Run," which debuted in July at Comic-Con. We sat down for an interview at the Hard Rock. While he admires director Steven Soderbergh's run-and-gun filmmaking, Shepard's role model as actor-director is Burt Reynolds in "Smokey and the Bandit" mode.
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Dax Shepard and Bradley Cooper in 'Hit and Run'
Dax Shepard and Bradley Cooper in 'Hit and Run'

Actor-writer-director Dax Shepard ("Parenthood") delivers a populist crowd-pleaser with his second film "Hit and Run," which debuted in July at Comic-Con. We sat down for an interview at the Hard Rock. While he admires director Steven Soderbergh's run-and-gun filmmaking, Shepard's role model as actor-director is Burt Reynolds in "Smokey and the Bandit" mode. (Trailer and interviews are below.)

And Shepard provides a model for DIY filmmakers. He puts everything on the line in this low-budget (under $100 million," he insists) digital movie, from his wife Kristen Bell ("Gossip Girl") to his two beloved cars, which miraculously survive the film's rigorous action sequences. Shepard plays a reformed getaway car driver  living under the radar in the middle of nowhere under the witness protection program; when his girlfriend (Bell) wants to go after a job in Los Angeles, he puts himself back in the line of fire of ex-cohort Bradley Cooper, who would love to kill him. (Pal Cooper starred in Shepard's first movie "Brothers Justice.") In the course of this car chase road trip Bell learns a lot that she didn't know about her boyfriend.

I admired Shepard in Jon Favreau's underappreciated "Zathura" as well as Katie Aselton's "The Freebie," in which he showed his prowess as a leading man who can improv in intimate situations. Clearly, "Hit and Run," which Open Road will open wide August 22, is more of a scruffy date movie than a critic's picture. (Shepard is right to skip the film festival circuit.) But Shepard's eager-to-please, confident fearlessness played well in San Diego, and could please undemanding moviegoers looking for a good 'ol time.

This article is related to: Hit And Run, Dax Shepard, Independents, Open Road Films, Video, Trailers


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.