A spirited studio, stereotypes, and ‘Smothered’ with John Schneider

A Mardi Gras Selfie with John Schneider and Quentin Tarantino - © 2014 by John Schneider
A Mardi Gras Selfie with John Schneider and Quentin Tarantino – © 2014 by John Schneider

John Schneider is known world over for his many roles as a sweet, kind, fun loving, good, old boy from his role as Bo Duke in “The Dukes of Hazzard” to his role as Jonathan Kent in “Smallville.” If you have ever met the man in person, you know he really is that nice. When you can read an IMDB profile that streches into decades and have personal experience with the man, it is easy to think you have him nailed down and tied up in a nice, neat box.  But  if you think you have a nice, neat, tidy box of “John Schneider” you will soon find your hands empty with him grinning over your shoulder.  With his new movie, “Smothered”, your expectations will be blown away. You can catch the official premiere on  May 16, 2014 in the Sheraton on Canal in New Orleans, Louisiana.  In the meantime, check out this new interview/update with Mr. Schneider.

John N Collins (JNC): Thanks for agreeing to update me John.  Lets start with your new studio in Louisiana. It is rumored to be haunted. Can you tell us a bit about its history including why some folks say it is Haunted?

John R. Schneider (JRS): They say that the builder of the home in 1910 had a visitor here from overseas who was an opera singer. Apparently she used to practice singing on the lakeshore because she enjoyed the natural reverb. One evening she fell into the water and drowned. When I first looked at the place people told me they could hear singing in the breeze!

(JNC): Do you believe it is Haunted and have you seen or experienced anything that you could share regarding that?

(JRS): I do. I hear things all the time. Find myself responding to people who aren’t there. Get a chill every now and then (which is pretty rare in Louisiana!) and find that I am very creative here. I just wrote a scene where every window pane has a face in it in the master bedroom! Only about a forty panes in there!

The horror icons of "Smothered" at Q & A following the Sneak Peek at the Mad Monster Party
The horror icons of “Smothered” at Q & A following the Sneak Peek at the Mad Monster Party

(JNC): I saw the sneak preview of your first film from your new studio, “Smothered”, a few weeks ago. Do you have any updates on the distribution, premiere, and such on “Smothered?”

(JRS): I learned at 50 that there are things that are not my department. Distribution is one of those things. I’m sure we’ll get it because the movie is unique and pleasing.  But I’m not involved in that end of things, thankfully. The Sheraton in New Orleans is hosting the Louisiana Premiere of “Smothered”, on the 16th. It is a red carpet event and I’m very excited about it. All I have to do is show up. Again… not my department!

(JNC): With “Smothered” you took a new direction for you. “Anderson Bench” looks like it will go even further into the darkness. How do you expect your old, fun loving, Dukes fans will react to the direction?

(JRS): These are the stories, concepts and ghosts that haunt my soul. The lighthearted stuff was always for other people. I think the Dukes fans will enjoy this ride because they are very different stories hopefully well told. I do realize that they aren’t for everyone but then again… nothing ever really is. You can’t please everyone but you do have to please your own soul. These stories are very soul pleasing for me. If someone is offended or shocked or turned off by them…  there’s always reruns and YouTube!

John Schneider having a blast in the 2014 Orpehus Parade
John Schneider having a blast in the 2014 Orpehus Parade

(JNC): I had the pleasure of meeting you in New Orleans during the Orpheus Captains Party and later, spending some time in the streets shooting photos of you and Quentin Tarantino as you rode as Monarchs of Orpheus. Were you friends with Mr. Tarantino before Mardi Gras or was this your first opportunity to get to know him?  Also is there any possibility of a John Schneider/Quentin Tarantino collaboration?

(JRS): Quentin used to sneak on to the Burbank Studios lot when we were filming Dukes. He was a delight then and is a delight still. A real movie fan. Honestly I don’t think he shoots the kind of films my studio is designed for.  We are designed for the independent filmmakers on a very tight budget.  QT hasn’t been one of those in a very long time.  We are both Alpha Cinematic Males…  If we did a collaboration, one of us wouldn’t live to the end of it!

(JNC): After watching “Smothered” and reading “Anderson Bench” I can’t help but notice that the killers in both shows are women. I have to ask, did Daisy Duke ever came to mind in creating those characters.

(JRS): Ha! Nope. Daisy would never kill anyone like these gals. She’d hurt them…  sure. Kill them…? Never! I do subscribe to the old adage “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”

(JNC): In writing the screenplays, did you ever wonder, “What would happen if Daisy Duke had been abused and betrayed by everyone she had trusted over 30+ years and pushed beyond the breaking point.” What was the process that led you to these characters?

(JRS): Daisy again..?  Really..?  I believe that even the worst people on the planet believe that they are somehow justified in their neurosis.  My goal in Smothered was to make a believable backstory for a beautifully damaged woman that would pull all of her shenanigans together into a believable moment in time.  I’ve seen the audience acknowledge her pain every time we get to the part where se says “I saw you see him do that.”  So I think… mission accomplished.  I hate the “Oh come on” moment in most films where the audience smells bullshit and try to avoid it at all costs!

(JNC): Anderson Bench is an unusual character who seems obsessed with taking the waste/second hand goods that life offers and turning them into a profit. His life peaks when he gets the delivery of a bleeding edge new shredder/mulcher machine, changing his life, forever. What inspired the Anderson? As the younger brother in a single parent household, did Anderson have a little bit of you in your early years.

(JRS): I’m not nearly that deep. I think actors have a tendency to purge on a regular basis. Not many skeletons left in my closet because I invite them to dance all over the front room! I wonder what the lives of people who have settled for jobs and lives that drive them crazy are like after hours. I believe that a dream un-followed turns into all kinds of bad things in the lives of those who don’t pursue them. Anderson is someone, like many, who have settled for a life unfulfilling. My thought was “I wonder what someone who knew they were engaged in the best day they had, or ever would have, would do at the end of it. It’s one thing to be content and hope to stay that way for the days and weeks to come… an entirely different thing to know that it will NEVER get better than this.

(JNC): Thanks again for inviting me to the sneak peek of “Smothered,” allowing me to read “Anderson Bench,” and for answering my questions!

(JRS): A pleasure. I attached “Useful People.” It is the next one as Anderson wasn’t as pleasing to the investor as “Useful.” Let me know what you think of it.

– Schneider

(JNC): Awesome!  I will be honored to read it!

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