Last year Cinematical had a chance to visit the set of this summer's Year One, and to be quite honest it was unlike any set I'd been to before. All I knew going in was that Harold Ramis was directing some sort of biblical comedy with Michael Cera and Jack Black, and it was filming in Shreveport, Louisiana. "Cool!", I thought -- "Shreveport rocks like a pint of hardcore!", I shouted as I stepped off the plane. All kidding aside, what I soon realized was that Shreveport had become its own mini Hollywood thanks to fabulous tax incentives, and a number of different movies were shooting there (according to my cab driver, who also knew where to score some fabulous crawfish).
Soon after I arrived, myself and a group of other notable professionals from other websites that aren't as awesome as Cinematical shipped off to what I can only describe as a giant city in the middle of "Where the hell are we?" Turns out the Year One production crew had taken five whole acres and built the ancient city of Sodom, complete with royal chambers, massive courtyard, stores, roads, caves and tons of little nooks and crannies. You can see part of the main courtyard -- where they built this giant tower -- in the image above. And see those costumes all the extras are wearing? Yup, guess who had to throw one of those on as soon as he got there? I'll show you a couple of pictures after the jump -- in the meantime, check out this clip from the film below.
Pictured: Our crew of movie experts from around the web make a pit stop at The Gap, Year One-style before touring the set and interviewing the talent.
Our first visit was to this giant wardrobe tent, which was right next to the giant craft services tent (mmm ... craft services), and inside this wardrobe tent the place was split into several different sections. On one side you had racks upon racks of ancient-looking clothes, along with dressing rooms that had comparison images taped all over the walls. In another area, there was someone who dealt specifically with facial hair -- and hats, and boots ... and then a whole separate spot for make-up. After about an hour or two, our lot was finally ready to make our way into Sodom.
The studio puts me to work inside Sodom on the set of Year One
Once inside Sodom, Sony brought out the whips and put us right to work (those bastards!!!). Never in my life had I gathered so much straw hay and then innocently posed for pictures. I was living the glamorous life of a biblical extra and it was exhausting. After tooling around the city of Sodom, posing for photo ops and signing imaginary autographs, we met up with the film's star Michael Cera -- who told us how painful it was to be painted gold by Kyle Gass (cameo alert!) in one of the film's final scenes. "It's insane, my whole body is painted gold. It was really uncomfortable and miserable and washing it off is just awful. Especially under my armpits because I guess they hey put this gold powder on which is kind of this metal base. So, it was really sharp. Wiping it off was like sandpaper. It was just crazy. And then like your armpits all day are sort of like this (holds up his arm). And they were on fire for like a week after. I couldn't lift my arm higher than this or it was excruciating."
Pictured: Michael Cera, David Cross and Jack Black in Year One
Cera also talked about taking on quite a bit of physical humor in the movie -- which, according to him, includes being attacked by a cougar, falling down a cliff and hung upside down for a torture scene. But the upside-down thing wasn't too bad, says Cera: "Well, y'know, it would only be for a minute at a time. They would take me down in-between each take, but all day I would be upside down. And then at the end I pee, so I had apple juice running down my face. Yeah, it kept getting in my noise. And then in my eyes. Like, the second they said, 'What do you want the fake pee to be?' And I said apple juice – it stings your eyes. I should have gone with just water. No, they just said, 'What do you want the fake pee to be? We'll use apple juice.' 'O.K.' I guess normally they don't have it go in people's eyes."
In the film, Black and Cera play a couple of lazy hunter-gatherers, who, after being banished from their village, embark on this epic journey that eventually leads them to the city of Sodom. Directed by Harold Ramis, Year One also boasts appearances from David Cross, Paul Rudd, Olivia Wilde, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Oliver Platt, Hank Azaria, Vinnie Jones, Juno Temple and Ramis himself in a role I won't spoil here. Once in Sodom, Cain (played by Cross) turns on the boys (go figure) and they become slaves. Can they find a way to free themselves, woo the royal women and somehow save the day?
Stay tuned for the second part of our Year One set visit, where we talk with Jack Black, Harold Ramis, David Cross and Oliver Platt. Plus, do I ever get to stop stacking hay? Cliffhanger!
Year One hits theaters on June 19.