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SCARY MOVIE 5 Behind the Scenes with Producer David Zucker

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Did you know a Hunger Games spoof in SCARY MOVIE 5 was cut out of the movie, while 50 Shades of Grey which isn’t even a film yet, was parodied because Harvey Weinstein wanted it to be?  SCARY MOVIE 5 producer David Zucker gives Cinemovie a behind the scenes look at the making of the film starring Ashley Tisdale.

David Zucker created the movie spoof with Airplane in 1980. He joined the Scary Movie franchise on the third outing and returned to bring us more fun parodying popular movies like Mama, Black Swan, Paranormal Activity and Rise of the Planet of the Apes in the latest Dimension release.  According to Zucker, the Mama spoof wasn’t in the movie until its success at the box office translated into spoofing material.  

In our Q&A with Zucker, he talks about returning to production to spoof Mama, working with Lindsay Lohan and what makes a good movie spoof.

Q: How has social media like Twitter affected your movies?

Zucker: These are critic proof. It’s pretty democratic. The audience will be either texting or tweeting during the movie. ‘This is good. This is bad. It sucks.’ No matter what they want to say. From Friday to Saturday, those are the reviews that count.

Q:  Has audience tastes change since you created the spoof movie with Airplane.

Zucker: I think it’s pretty much the same. In spoofs, you just assume that the audience share references. And other movies work better than others. I don’t know how much of our audience saw Black Swan. That may have skewed older but we know that they saw Mama. They’re familiar with that and Paranormal Activity. We’re probably on better ground there. Its got to be up to us to take those segments of these movies where they take themselves too seriously and then we can take out the air a little bit.
Simon Rex, Ashley Tisdale, and Caesar the monkey
Q:  Speaking of Mama, the hit horror movie was just released in January. How did you turn it around so fast?

Zucker: This is what has happened in every scary movie. We shoot for about seven or eight weeks and we pick out the movies. Then during post production after we’re done another movie comes out. We’ll go out and reshoot. So that’s what happened here again. So Mama came out and we thought ‘great,’ this is not only perfect for us but it gave us something we didn’t have – a physical entity.  Because Paranormal Activity didn’t have a physical monster.

Q: Were some movie spoofs cut out?

Zucker:  Yeah! We did a thing on Hunger Games which just didn’t work. Nothing! Just no laughs at all.  But that happens.  There’s always whole scenes that are cut out from all these movies.  We shoot 100 minutes to get 74 minutes.

Q: What elements make up a good spoof movie?

Zucker:  You need really good movies to start with.  For Airplane, we had a movie called Zero Hour. It had the whole plot.  The better the plot, character, and structures of the movie we’re spoofing, the better the movie will be. Airplane was the best in that regard.  In Naked Gun, we used a couple of different movies with their own plot.  And in Scary Movie 3, which is my third favorite movie, was Signs and the Ring. Craig Mazin, whose the writer of it [Scary Movie 4], did really did an amazing job of weaving those two movies together. That’s just the most important thing – having that story to root for the characters. That character has to go through that change.  That’s screenwriting 101.

Q:  So 50 Shades of Movie is spoofed, but that’s not actually a movie. How did that come about?

Zucker: No, it’s not a movie yet. That I wouldn’t advise anyone to do.  That’s crazy.

Q: Whose idea was that?

Zucker:  Harvey Weinstein. Harvey won the bet. It’s the studio’s franchise. I have to be a team player.  There was some funny things in it. As far as that requirement of spoofs, its required that the audience share the references. We appeal to thirteen to seventeen.  If you haven’t read the books, what is this! It is what it is.

Q: Charlie Sheen is always a good sport. Was Lindsay Lohan open to making fun of herself.
Zucker:   Charlie and Linsday got along pretty well. Lindsay is a really good actress. Really talented. But there’s other craziness around her that interferes with her career being better than it is.  That’s all I can say about her. Once she’s on screen, she’s great. She does it.  And you can see there’s a lot of talent there.

Q: But was she open to poking fun at herself?
Zucker:   She was.  She was fine with that. She had a couple of suggestions and we added some things.

Q: Are there any plans to remake Airplane?
Zucker:   We haven’t heard of it.  I don’t think it’s a good idea.  Paramount did Airplane 2 which we didn’t want to do and had nothing to do with.  The studio has an asset they need to exploit.  That’s why there’s sequels.  Truth is, there were no more airplane jokes. It just wasn’t a good idea for a franchise. But for the Scary Movies, they keep making horror movies so I think this will always be fresh.

Q:  Which movie was the most fun to spoof ever?
Zucker:  The Ring.  A videotape that kills you. What a gift that was. I couldn’t believe it when I was sitting in the movie theater. ‘There’s so many jokes we can do on that.’ I couldn’t wait.

Q: Any upcoming movies that are ripe for spoofing?
Zucker:  I think some of the international spy thrillers are ripe for spoofing. I’m going to try that… like the Bourne Identitys, the current Bonds, and Mission Impossible. I may start to work on something about that.

Q: Any more Scary Movies for you in the future?
Zucker:  It depends on what horror movies come up.  It usually takes a few years for movies to come out. We are only good as the movies that we’re spoofing.  I think Mama is pretty good so that’s the one we were really able to sink our teeth in.

Q: What made Ashley Tisdale right for the role?
Zucker:  We read a lot of actresses. I was with my daughter who’s ten and we’re  watching High School Musical 4 or something, because she’s into those things. She said why don’t you put Ashley in your movie.  And I said there is no good reason why we wouldn’t.  She knows how to play comedy. You can’t teach somebody to play comedy. She has the natural smarts that she could do it. We read her and she came over the house which my daughter Sara was thrilled with. And so I worked with her and she came in and read. She read with Simon and she was great. Bob Weinstein of Dimension immediately saw it.  She got it.

SCARY MOVIE 5 is now playing in movie theaters.

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