Thursday, April 16, 2009

Article: Jody Hill interview


'Observe and Report': 'Blart' with violence

By Joe Scott
Special to Go Triad

When N.C. filmmaker Jody Hill premiered his feature debut "Foot Fist Way" at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival, it didn't win any awards.

But the low-budget comedy about a tormented redneck martial-arts instructor got a prize far more coveted than any award: a distribution deal from Paramount Vantage.

Then the flick languished on the studio's shelf, unreleased for two years.

"I don't know what the studio was trying to feel for, but I am sure they were waiting for some sign that this would be a hit," says Hill, a native of Concord and a graduate of UNC School of the Arts. "But I don't think anything was achieved by waiting."

That sign came in the form of Hollywood's comedy elite. DVD screeners of "Foot Fist Way" found their way into the hands of several A-list laugh-makers, including Will Ferrell, uber-producer Judd Apatow, and then-budding star Seth Rogen. Their interest jump-started "Foot Fist Way," landing the film in a few theaters.

The movie became more of a cult hit than a box-office smash, but it helped launch the career of Danny McBride, a friend and fellow School of the Arts filmmaking graduate, who went on to play parts in "Tropic Thunder" and the upcoming Will Ferrell comedy "Land of the Lost."

As for Hill, who played a small role in "Foot Fist Way," he managed to nab a cameo in the Rogen-scripted comedy "Superbad." After that, the two decided to collaborate again on "Observe and Report," which opens in theaters Friday.

(Click here to read the rest.)


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