Jerry O’Connell, who plays a character reminiscent of Joe Francis in Dimension Films’ “Pirhana 3-D,” says he’s heard that the “Girls Gone Wild” creator believed he should to have contacted him “in terms of what I should be doing and not doing.” But the actor said nothing doing.
“What am I supposed to do – follow around Joe Francis for a couple of weeks? I am a married guy and a father of two. It’s never gonna happen. Can you imagine me telling my family I’m going to go hang out with Joe Francis?” he asks He also stresses, “For legal reasons I have to say that my character is loosely based on Joe Francis but he is not Joe Francis.”
Jerry concedes, “I met him once at a party he threw and he seemed like an okay guy, but you know, as far as my girls — you can’t come in contact with these people. You just can’t.” He says he plans to have a computer centrally located in his home from which to monitor his and wife Rebecca Romijn’s twin daughters when they get a little older. Presently they’re only two.
In an interview during which Jerry gets every bit as tongue-in-cheek as anything in the creature feature that is being unveiled Friday (8/20), he notes, “There are characters you want to see die and characters you don’t want to see die. In the case of a character who is trying to get Jessica Szohr on a boat and get her drunk to make a video that he can then distribute, that’s someone you want to see die.”
O’Connell made “Pirhana 3-D” before embarking on the pilot for his forthcoming “The Defenders” series with Jim Belushi. He recalls that Szohr caused quite a stir in the small town of Lake Havasu, Arizona, where the movie was made. The “Gossip Girl” star had her then (and perhaps again) boyfriend and cast mate Ed Westwick with her, and “even I almost cried when I met Chuck Bass,” Jerry says, referring to Westwick’s character. “I have to say, rolling into Chili’s with Chuck Bass, Elisabeth Shue and I felt like we were there more for security than anything else.”
Besides Shue and Szohr, Richard Dreyfuss is in the cast of the bloody fright lfick O’Connell makes clear is not for kids. “To see him coming on set, paying homage to this character he played 32, 33 years ago in ‘Jaws’ – man, he was so game for it – I knew it would be fun when I saw him there laughing and having fun.”