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July 2005
Dukes of Hazzard : An Interview with Jessica Simpson

Dukes of Hazzard: An Interview with Jessica Simpson

By Wilson Morales

A few months ago, I had the pleasure of traveling down to Baton Rouge, Louisiana and visit the set of "The Dukes of Hazzard". The film is obviously a take from the TV series that was on CBS in the 70s. As Johnny Knoxville and Seann William Scott were cast to play the Dukes Cousins, Luke and Bo Duke, there was a heavy debate as to who would be cast as Daisy Duke, famously played by Catherine Bach. At one point, Brittney Spears was considered for the role, but she and others lost out to singer sensation and pop star Jessica Simpson. I, along with some other folks, had spoken to Jessica when she was shooting the film, and now as the film is set to be released on August 5th, Jessica came down to New York City to give me more answers in regards to her character. In speaking with blackfilm.com and other journalists, Simpson goes over her audition as well as being in the spotlight all the time with fans and paparazzi following her constantly.

You looked like you had fun playing up the sex appeal of this character. Is there a line you won't cross?

JS: Oh, there's a lot of lines I won't cross. I did have fun playing up the sex appeal of Daisy Duke because she's a woman, she's a smart woman and she definitely knows how to use her body! [giggles]

Did you learn anything from her?

JS: I took a lot away from the set. I took a lot from Baton Rouge and just being in the Daisy Duke shorts.

How would you say she's smart?

JS: Um, she was the brains behind getting everybody out of trouble all the time. She would always undo everything that was all wound up.

What was it in your audition that impressed the directors?

JS: My first audition I was very shy. I was really shy. I didn't nail my first audition. I had to come back. They wanted to screen-test me anyway because it was already in the press that I had the role! That put pressure on me already, it was something that I wanted really bad, but I should have never said it to the press - I should never have said that I wanted the role. But actually, doing that, it - I told myself that you have to get this. When you walk in to do that screen-test, you have to walk in as Daisy Duke. So I went and worked one time with acting coach Larry Moss. He was basically saying, Just do what you're doing. I was confident - y'know, he has trained a lot of amazing women like Hillary Swank for Million Dollar Baby. I was like, all right! I'm gonna go out there and do what I was doing. And just do what I would do.

Why did you want the part so badly?

JS: I wanted to do a movie. It was the perfect time for me to do a movie and I thought playing up the whole southern sexy thing would be great. And to kind of show strength, because a lot of people haven't really seen that from me. They see my ditzy side and my fun and dorky side and my obsession with clothes and all those things that are a part of me, but they haven't seen a lot of strength as a woman, and I thought that Daisy Duke would be a great way to show it.

What's your relationship like with the press? On the one hand, you need the press for your career. On the other hand, it can be so invasive and so intrusive. How do you deal with it?

JS: I don't even really know. I just do what I do and I go where people tell me to go and I just speak my heart, speak my mind, and I don't even really think about it. I try not to. A lot of people are out to get you and bring you down, but I think that through it all, when you persevere through stuff like that, you really can't complain about it. I can't complain about people wanting to write about me. That would be stupid. I can complain about the actual article, the fact that I'm in the magazines and that there's the paparazzi it's just a part of it.

What's the biggest misconception about the South that you'd like to correct for people?

JS: The biggest misconception about the South? Everybody thinks the South that everybody's riding horses and wearing cowboy hats, y'know? [Giggles.] I wanted to do Dukes of Hazzard because what I loved so much about the South is how tight the family bonds are. The families always have each other's back and I also love - especially about Dukes of Hazzard, I love that everybody is so friendly, everybody knows each other, everybody roots each other on, but then you have like the Boss Hoggs. That's very much like the South. It's the story of the South. It's the good cops and the bad - y'know, the bad - it's definitely - I mean, maybe it's because I grew up watching too much Dukes of Hazzard, but I also grew in small towns like McGregor, Texas, where my grandparents had a ranch and the whole thing.

How many pairs of shorts did they have you put on before you found the right one?

JS: Over a 100. Yeah, and I did do a different butt pose for the whole thing. And do Polaroids. Like it had to hit every - it had to fit perfectly. The girls had to like it and the guys had to like it. And I had to like it, or else I wouldn't have been able to walk with confidence, which would speak for itself

So how did you go from walking with confidence to washing the General Lee in a pink bikini?

JS: I look at the General Lee and the bikini and all that stuff, that was Daisy. I don't - I mean that was definitely me playing the role. Me as Jessica Simpson, I could never do that. I couldn't even walk on the beach in a bikini. I lay down under a blanket! I'm really shy, so but I wanted to carry that over to the music video as well.

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