Hello again. Sean Baker here, director of the "Bad Po-Fo" episode. As I wrote about my other episode, 'Crash Course', the worlds of 'Warren the Ape' and 'Greg the Bunny' have always been entrenched in homage and parody, especially in our days on IFC. This episode, more than any other, demonstrates a return to those roots.
First off.. is the movie trailer for Warren's exploitation film, 'Bad Po-Fo,' We actually shot this fake trailer over the course of several production cycles, while shooting different episodes. We produced so much material that we probably have enough for a short film. Sometimes we'd let the scenes play out longer than needed, even though we knew they'd eventually be cut down to just a shot or a soundbite in the final trailer.
The awesome poster for the movie is not used in the episode but appears hanging in Warren's apartment for other episodes. It's design was based on the movie DEATH WISH (see below) and was designed by Rhyan Tayler who did most of our photoshop work on the show. There are shirts and mugs of this poster available at our store.
I want to do a shout out to the awesome puppeteers who performed the other puppets in the trailer. Especially the Kingpin and the "Frizzies" gang members. Thanks so much guys... you brought so much to the table. Among them were Victor Yerrid, Paul McGuiness, Ted Michaels, Artie Esposito and Colleen Smith.
(Dan looks so upset that we're about to blow this puppet's brain out.)
So... I bet you can't find all the hidden references in Bad Po-Fo. Well, there are three films that we primarily parodied and about 4 others that we reference. Of course Charles Bronson's Death Wish is a given. But the other two are William Lustig's Vigilante and John Flynn's Rolling Thunder (written by Paul Schrader 'Taxi Driver). You'll also see some of James Bryan's "The Executioner 2" (there was never an Executioner 1 by the way), "The Exterminator" and of course "The Warriors." (We sorta designed "The Frizzies Gang vest logo after the Warriors.) And finally the fake studio "Howitzer Films" is a shout out to the legendary Cannon Film Group and the films of Isralie duo Mehamen Golan and Yoram Globus.
Oh... and for you hardcore genre film junkies, the stock footage of the car flip was bought from Troma.
We applied a scratchy film look to the trailer and then took it one step further. We dumped the trailer on to VHS, crinkled the tape and then digitally captured it again. Props to our great editor AaronLindenthaler and our awesome Assistant Editor and FX supervisor Richard Sanchez for a job well done. Thanks guys.
You can see an EXTENDED VERSION of the BAD PO FO trailer by CLICKING HERE.
This leads us to the man who wants to "Travolta" Warren's ass.... Benton Shaw, played by Matt Besser:
Matt is a founding member of Upright Citizens Brigade.
I have been a huge fan of his for years and knew that he would be able to bring the hyperactive, manic personality to the role of Benton that we were looking for. Plus, I couldn't wait to see Dan Milano (Warren) and Matt improv together. Things went great and I especially love what Besser brought to the Testing Center scene near the end of the episode. That was our last day of shooting this episode, so by then everybody was very comfortable and understood each others' characters.
Shown above being directed by Benton is Warren's partner in crime, Billy Crudup, playing himself. He did such a great job and brought such subtlety to our very unsubtle world. We decided to end the episode on his line because it said so much about his character. In a way, he is just as much victim as Warren is in the episode, unappreciated and disrespected. His character is exhausted, demoralized and frustrated and it comes across in his delivery in the final Dented Badge scene. Thanks Billy, you rocked it.
The cop show "Dented Badge" is a clear parody of CSI. The poster is actually modeled after NCIS: Los Angeles.
We used a steadi-cam and post gradation filter to achieve that CSI look.
The line, "We ain't brothers, we ain't partners and we ain't friends," was spoken by Eddie Murphy in the original "buddy cop" movie, 48 HRS.
The Corey Feldman epilogue to the episode was shot weeks later. Billy was not present for that. It was simply cut in to the existing footage that Billy had shot with Warren. Corey was a trooper and did a great job. He first appeared with Warren on the FOX version of Greg the Bunny, and also comes back for a leading role in an upcoming episode of Warren the Ape, called "Rock Opera."
The actor who plays the junkie in Dented Badge is our close friend Matthew Huffman. Matthew is a talented director/writer who sometimes dabbles in acting. He actually appears briefly in the opening AA scene of our first episode, "Big Score." I wish we had time to show more of his junkie character because it was downright hilarious. You'll see Matthew again briefly in an upcoming episode called "Support System."
One last note... Victor Yerrid is one of the talented puppeteers who works on our show. We put him in the AA scene as the character of Joe because of his persistent begging and whining for a role. (just kidding Victor.) Well, he delivered my favorite AA scene of the season. Thanks man!
And also a very special thank you to another close friend of our show, Laura Kachergus. Laura has appeared in several of our IFC episodes in various roles over the years and on "Warren the Ape" she plays the recurring role of Warren's very patient and frustrated AA group leader.
The puppet in the focus group uses the term "Fabricated American" as a politically correct term when the human uses the puppet slang word "sock." Both words were first used in the FOX version of "Greg the Bunny."
The poster for "Dented Badge" used in the focus group scene featured an image of Billy Crudup without his moustache. Thinking quickly, the puppet department used some puppet fur to create a fake moustache that was then STUCK ONTO THE POSTER for this one shot.
We received no money or perks from the people at Soup Plantation. A lot of people probably think we were doing product placement by featuring the restaurant so prominently, but the truth is that we just thought it was funny that Benton was obsessed with soup. After several writers' lunches at Soup Plantation, the idea was thrown out there and it stuck.
The Soup Plantation was located on the corner of LaCienega Blvd and 3rd, and we filmed while the restaurant was preparing to open for the day. The staff got free soup for lunch :)
There were additional scenes of Warren trying to ruin his MTV show, including scenes of him cursing out the camera and trying to make his show boring by watching paint dry.
Josh Sussman did an amazing job during Cecil's strip tease. He was originally supposed to be crying, in an homage to a scene in the movie FAME. Josh went to great lengths to make tears roll down his cheeks, but unfortunately the footage was not used. His shoe hitting Warren in the head was a total accident on set, and became the funniest and best take.
Well, that about does it. Thanks to everyone for a great job.