In Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star, Nick Swardson portrays the world's most innocent naked actor. And that's no easy feat, recounts Swardson and Allen Covert, who wrote the comedy with Adam Sandler for Sandler's Happy Madison production company. They spoke with us about how careful they were to keep this film (which also features Christina Ricci, Don Johnson, Kevin Nealon, and Stephen Dorff) sweet and not sleazy -- a tall order when surrounded by the real-world porn industries of the Valley and Hollywood.
How did this idea come about?
Swardson: It was Adam Sandler's idea and we wrote it together. He had the premise of somebody who accidentally comes across an adult film and finds out that their parents are in it and that, unlike 99 percent of people who would see it, he was actually into it and would think that it was his calling. It's just such a funny idea.
Did he immediately think of you as that character?
Swardson: No, he told me the idea and I thought it was funny and from there he was like, "Wait a minute -- you could play this kid!" And then from there we kind of grew into the Midwest accent, the bowl cut, it just kind of snowballed into this character.
Covert: He had the idea for a while and then in his head it snowballed to, "We really gotta make that movie! That's a really funny idea!" We were shooting Bedtime Stories, which is rated PG, a big movie for Disney, and it was on the set of this clean-cut family movie that for some reason he just got more and more, like, "Seriously! We should do it! Swardson will be the guy, it will be really funny!"
Disney would be so mortified!
Covert: Whenever [Sandler] says, "You know what would be really funny?" I think, five years from now, we're going to be talking about this to somebody.
That must be exciting to be around that kind of environment as a writer.
Swardson: It's tricky when you're writing something and someone is so passionate about the idea and the premise. But I think the genius of the movie is that it's a really sweet character. When you think of the porno comedy, you think, oh, it's gonna be gross, but it's a really sweet story about this kind of fish out of water and this guy going on this journey. And Adam was really adamant about not making it a filthy movie.
Covert: Yeah, 'cause we even had parts when we were writing when we were thinking, maybe Bucky gets all caught up in the world and really becomes a big shot, and Sandler kept pulling us back, saying, "No, the key is that he's so sweet and innocent amidst all this craziness. And he never loses sight of his goal, which is following in his parents' footsteps."
So did you interface with the real porn industry at all?
Covert: No, it's not like we visited porn sets and figured it. When you live in L.A. and are in the Valley, you kind of brush up against it every once in a while. You always meet someone at a party and everyone's like, "Yeah, that guy makes pornos."
Don Johnson appears as an old director called Miles Deep. How was it working with him?
Swardson: Amazing! So fun, he was great. I almost felt like I was a little kid with Santa Claus. But, instead of presents, he was giving me Miami Vice stories.
What's the best Miami Vice story you heard?
Swardson: Oh, I mean I can't speak for Don! But the stories were so amazing; every day I just wanted more and more. It was so great, so great.
So they were better than the ones you could create in your head?
Swardson: OH MY GOD! Whatever you think they would be, times 10.
Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star is currently screening at the AMC Van Ness 14 and the Metreon.
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