The Hitcher - MTV

Source: MTV
'Hitcher' Cast's Rule Of Thumb: Leave Hitchhikers Behind
By Shawn Adler, with additional reporting by Larry Carroll
January 2007
Stars of Friday's remake say original film made roadside strangers scary.
You're stranded and alone on the side of the highway and, wouldn't you know
it, your cell phone hasn't had a single bar for three straight hours. It's a
gloomy, miserable night, and the torrential rain isn't helping you feel any
better. Do you stick out your thumb to hitch a ride?
How about if you're the driver? Is picking up a hitchhiker another
high-stakes way to play Russian roulette?
That's the question we posed to stars of the new movie "The Hitcher," a
remake of the 1986 horror classic starring Rutger Hauer. You'll have no luck
getting a lift from leading lady Sophia Bush - the 24-year-old actress
insists that her "rule of thumb" is just to drive on by.
"I have a rule, and it's still the same rule after the movie: I have the
highway patrol in my contacts list and I call them up if I see somebody
stranded and ask them to dispatch an officer," she said. "They get help, I
don't get slaughtered. I like to help people, but at the same time, I like
to keep my trachea in my throat."
But is the likelihood of getting your throat slit that prevalent? Not
according to "California Crimes and Accidents Associated With Hitchhiking,"
an oft-cited report by the California Highway Patrol that showed hitchhikers
are in no more danger of being hurt than the general population. Problem is,
that report was published in 1974.
"No picking up people; just keep on driving," co-star Zachary Knighton
reiterated. "The original [movie] just terrified me. It killed any ideas of
picking up hitchhikers. There's got to be some kind of statistic out there."
There's not. No further studies. No statistics. No recent data to discover
just how safe hitchhiking is. But Knighton is right in at least one respect
- anecdotal evidence suggests hitchhiking is not nearly as common in the
United States as it once was. Director Dave Meyers says that has a lot to do
with the original film.
"The original 'Hitcher' was in the bloodstream of the whole culture. It's
why we don't pick up hitchhikers anymore," he argued. "When we talked about
doing a remake of it, we already [had] a culture of people who understand
not to pick up people in the rain. So we addressed that in the film by
having it more complicated and more believable and real."
Those changes include giving new villain Sean Bean a seat in the car without
actually having to hitch at all. Not that Bean thinks he'll have any more
luck in real life, especially after his portrayal of the psychopathic killer
in this movie.
"People do have that subconscious thing. [They] remember you through roles
you've played," Bean said laughing. "They don't know where I'm from or why
they feel like that, [but they think], 'Sh--, there's something funny about
him.' "
Bean - whom Bush called "the guy [who] could totally be James Bond" and
Knighton equated to "Jaws ... because he keeps coming and coming" - admitted
to having "flashbacks to the original" movie. "I must have seen it about 20
years ago," Bean said. "I went to see it with my girlfriend at the time and
remember it made quite a big impression on us."
The lack of statistical evidence may in itself prove that hitchhiking is
safer than generally thought, because there's nothing newsworthy about it to
study or report. It's for this reason, concluded Meyers, that the tone of
the new film had to be changed from straight-out horror (in which Hauer
represented all hitchers) to a thriller (in which Bean is seen as a crazy
"Once you get past [hitchhiking], it's a fun psychological thriller for
teens," he contended. "You have horror films for teens, but you don't really
have this [type of] film."
Comforting to know, perhaps, for those rainy nights by the side of the road.


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