A note to young readers: I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell is an R-rated movie and materials on the public movie blog & Tucker Max’s website are not meant for younger viewers. I have summarized the Matt Czuchry elements here on this site so that you don’t need to click to those websites.
On Friday, as I sat on a ferry going to Salt Spring Island, I had the opportunity to do a phone interview with Matt Czuchry, who is currently in Shreveport, Louisiana filming I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell. They began filming the movie, based on Tucker Max’s life andbest-selling novel of the same name, earlier this summer and have a week left on set. Matt says he’s enjoyed working on the film and a couple moments from the film have made their way into his list of the "Top 5 Weirdest Experiences" of his life.
In the movie of I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell, Matt Czuchry plays Tucker Max in an adaptation of the "Austin Road Trip" story. The film loosely follows the short story about Tucker Max’s trip to a friend’s bachelor party. On that trip, Tucker Max gets the groom into trouble then abandons him to pursue his own carnal pleasures. After getting banned from the wedding, Max must attempt to get back into his friend’s favor.
Although both Tucker and Matt had written about how he had come to be cast in the film, many of you wanted more details. Matt says he had not read the book prior to receiving Tucker Max’s screenplay, but has since gone back to read it. Matt describes the movie as following one of the short stories of the book, though structured differently with narrative written around it.
Matt described in a recent blog post that "The movies that I tend to connect with have something in common: They come from real experiences and are colored by the lives of real people." In follow up, I asked what about this story and Tucker Max attracted him to the film. Matt Czuchry says, "Tucker has this energy and a love for living in the moment. He has a rawness and authenticity about him."
Matt says it was this "energy and passion" that attracted him to the movie. Because he and Tucker Max are so different, Matt says that "just knowing what it would take to do this role" was a challenge he was eager for.
Matt says that he and Tucker share that love of the moment; that Tucker "live[s] life in a way that’s honest," which is something Matt himself tries to do. Although Matt shares this characteristic with Tucker Max, the two are very different. When it comes to comparing himself to the scripted Tucker Max, the character he plays in the movie, Matt says "We’re quite a bit different. How we are with friends, with women, how we treat others…"
Although Matt Czuchry initially had some reservations about the public perception of the character in the film, he had to let that go once he joined the film. Matt talked earlier about trying to make the character "redeemable and lovable", and his success in that he leaves up to the audience. "I try to make sure the character has motivations for what he does," Matt says, which he hopes will ultimately make the Tucker Max-on-film authentic and likable.
The Tucker Max character in the film draws from the real life and story of Tucker Max, but is built up with what he (Matt) brings to it as well. The Tucker-on-film does not try to emulate the real-to-life Tucker Max; the character is "a movie version of who Tucker is," says Matt.
Matt Czuchry spent the last 3 months with his acting coach and with Tucker Max trying to develop the character on film. He would spend time with Tucker asking him the "why" and the "how" questions and adding his own interpretation to that. Given that Tucker Max and Matt Czuchry differ so greatly as individuals, Matt had to put himself into a new "headspace", as he describes it. The evolution of Tucker Max-on-film came out of trying to put the character into his own life.
Matt Czuchry says that when we see the movie there will be some "wow" moments in it. Moments that made him go "wow" himself. "There will be some self-explanatory scenes where the audience goes ‘wow’," Matt says, when asked about what was challenging in the film. "Scenes that are funny and scenes that are raw", Matt continues when describing these "wow" moments.
In Matt Czuchry’s latest contribution to the I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell blog, he writes that "the crux of this film surrounds the friendships of three characters;" Tucker (Matt Czuchry), Drew (Jesse Bradford), and Dan (Geoff Stults). He then goes on to tell a story of a road trip the trio took to New Orleans; it’s clear to me that these actors have bonded in real life. When asked how important friendship is to this movie, Matt replies "It’s essential. You need to believe that 3 friends (myself, Jesse and Geoff) have been friends for a long time." Matt says that this friendship is essential to believe in their story. I believe that if any portion of the friendship evident between these three makes it on screen that I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell will be a success with the audience.
I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell will be released in Spring of 2009. Meanwhile, Matt Czuchry will be heading to Germany and Belgium on September 19 for ten days for the USO Tour with the Hollywood Knights.
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Come back later in the week to see what Matt Czuchry has to say about Gilmore Girls, about his other work, and to see his answers to some random questions including "What’s your favorite book" and "Do you have any pet peeves?"
Photo credit: Matt Czuchry by Greg Dunaway