Dan Fogler and Josh Duhamel star in Scenic Route, a thriller that finds their characters on a cross country journey that is supposed to be fun. Only, when they get stuck in Death Valley, deep-seated issues come up between the two that may not only threaten their friendship, but push each to within inches of their lives. As teased in the Scenic Route trailer, Fogler and Duhamel are playing way against type.
Fogler, most recognized for his starring turn in Balls of Fury, welcomed the challenge to hark back to his “theatrical roots” for the role. And who doesn’t want to see Duhamel with a Mohawk acting crazy?
We spoke to Fogler recently for an exclusive interview that took us inside the rough shoot and even have a Def Leppard question for him about Balls of Fury.
Movie Fanatic: When I spoke with Josh Duhamel for Safe Haven, he could not stop talking about how excited he was to shuck his persona and play the role in Scenic Route. What was that front row seat like to see this guy play against type?
Dan Fogler: It was awesome. I approached it in the same way. I read the script and thought that both our parts were great parts for actors. I was curious if he was going to rise to the occasion. He and I were in the same boat in a lot of ways. He was being looked at as a pretty face and I was the guy who wore shimmery and short-shorts and played ping pong in Balls of Fury. From the moment I met him, I was taken with his passion for showing more of himself than ever before. I felt like I was in the same boat.
Movie Fanatic: What was it in this script that was so special for you as an actor, as you said?
Dan Fogler: It reminded me of doing a play, a crazy Mamet play where they pick each other apart and they end up trying to kill each other. It’s like the Coen brothers.
Movie Fanatic: It’s Mamet meets the Coen brothers!
Dan Fogler: Yeah! I thought if we could pull this off, it would be something special. The Death Valley thing scared the (expletive) out of me. It was facing my own fear. I’m a city boy. That was real.
Movie Fanatic: The title captures it. On one hand… it is scenic. But, on the other… it’s nothing but death and desolation.
Dan Fogler: I’m like a conspiracy nut, so I was thinking the ground was going to open up with an Area 51-type person coming out to get us [laughs]. I tried to always be positive. But there were times where it was sunny and we were filming and I’d think, “This isn’t so bad.” Literally 20 minutes later sandstorm, hail, whipping winds… it was like another planet. It was scary. I didn’t stray far from the herd when we were out there [laughs]. You’d hear coyotes coming closer and think, “Are those our coyotes or their coyotes?” [Laughs] You’d be at craft services and see a scorpion. Yeah, that was an amazing experience. We got in the dirt there.
Movie Fanatic: Was that kind of acting new for you?
Dan Fogler: I’d done that on stage. Even in a movie like Balls of Fury, I put my all into it. I come from that physical actor on stage background. You do plays and you’re asked to sing and dance and fight and throw yourself around. So, I’m used to that and I love that. I love that about Scenic Route in particular. There was a lot of physical things to do. I do my own stunts!
Movie Fanatic: It was a difficult shoot, no question. But is there a moment that stands out for you that is particularly rewarding?
Dan Fogler: I think about the first day. We had this rehearsal process that we felt good about it. Then, we started doing the first scene, the first take, and it’s like a 20-minute take. It’s like a play! A lot of the crew, they’re seeing it for the first time. We finished and they just started clapping like a play [laughs]. The Goetz brothers made us so prepared and we knew we had to get this 20-minute scene in one take and we had to deliver before a dust storm came through! After that, I think the crew was like, “We’re on board. Let’s do this!” We felt like we were pirates leaving our wives and families behind and we might not come back. Or, we might come back with gold. We found a bunch of gold!
Movie Fanatic: Lastly, you’re driving down the street and Rock of Ages comes on. It was famously used in Balls of Fury. You must have heard it a million times and become almost defined by that song. Do you change the channel?
Dan Fogler: I was a fan of that song before the movie. I don’t bust it out at karaoke. But if it’s on… hell yeah, I turn it up!