'Hitcher' Cast's Rule Of Thumb: Leave
By Shawn Adler, with additional reporting
by Larry Carroll
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
insists that her "rule of thumb" is just to drive on
"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
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
an oft-cited report by the California Highway Patrol that showed
are in no more danger of being hurt than the general population.
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
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
- anecdotal evidence suggests hitchhiking is not nearly as common
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
not to pick up people in the rain. So we addressed that in the
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
luck in real life, especially after his portrayal of the psychopathic
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
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
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.