The Dukes’ Jessica Simpson

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You just gotta let it roll of your shoulders. If people weren’t interested in writing about me, then I’d be nervous. In some ways, you just have to look at it as a compliment and just keep going, and hope that your character proves all the false things wrong.

Don’t be duped by the clueless ditz act. Though Jessica Simpson has built a career by behaving like a dumb blonde, she is said to have an I.Q. of 160, which would make her a genius and eligible for membership in Mensa. But between her television shows, singing career, clothing line, and endless endorsement deals, the 25 year-old Texas-native probably doesn’t have any time right now to hang out with other eggheads. Together with her hubby, Nick Lachey, Jessica has met with tremendous success with their own reality TV series and hosting specials, most recently, a USO tour during which they entertained American troops stationed around the world. Here, she talks about making her feature film debut in The Dukes of Hazzard, where she’s been asked to fill some pretty tight cut-off jeans in bringing the beloved Daisy Duke to the big screen.

BSN: How familiar were you with the TV show before you took this role?
JS: I was young when it came out, but I watched a lot of the re-runs. Me and my cousins played Dukes of Hazzard and I was always Daisy.

BSN: What made you want to do the screen version?
JS: The spirit of the TV show was something that I really loved. I always liked the idea of this great family that has a really cool bond and just fights for each other all the time. So, when I heard they were making the movie, I basically knocked down [producer] Billy Gerber’s door. And I begged, begged, begged for the role. This was about two years ago, when I heard it was in production.

BSN: You hadn’t made a movie before. Did you land this role easily?
JS: No. It came out in the press that I already had the role, even though I didn’t. I still had to audition for it. So, that put a lot of pressure on me.

BSN: How did it go?
JS: I was really shy in my first audition. I didn’t even know how to audition. They told me to come back. I had three auditions. The screen test was so much easier for me, being dressed up and in the scene. I just slipped right into it. I thought it would be the best first movie role for me.

BSN: Did you like the process of making a movie compared to your other work?
JS: The best part about it was being in the same place for three months. I can’t remember the last time I was in the same place for three months. I took a bath in the same bathtub. I slept in the same bed. In my musical career, you’re traveling all the time. When you’re on tour, you’re in a different place every day.

BSN: How did you come up with the drawl you adopt for this role?
JS: I look at Daisy Duke as just this cute, Southern, sexy thing. And I wanted to kind of give it a couple of extra syllables, more than somebody from Texas.

BSN: Were you at all hesitant about wearing any of the costumes?
JS: Some days on the set, I’d look over at my wardrobe, and say, “You’ve got to be kidding me!� there were so many days when I didn’t want to put those clothes on and go though all the body make-up and the whole thing. But it is what it is.

BSN: Did you draw a line?
JS: I definitely told them that I wouldn’t wear anything up my butt, except if it was a bikini. But I didn’t want the shorts to be like that at all.

BSN: What was it like to be on location in Louisiana away from the set, after hours, during the shoot?
JS: All we did was have fun. There were lots of karaoke bars. And I learned how to play a little bit of pool. It took me out of the trendiness of Hollywood and L.A.,  it was so cool to be around all these guys, because I can hold my own and burp with ‘em. I’m such a guy’s girl, so I really had a blast. And I had my girlfriends out there with me, too. I always surround myself with really great people. I couldn’t have asked for a better cast.

BSN: What karaoke songs do you like to sing?
JS: I don’t. I sit back and watch. I’m horrible at karaoke. I don’t know why. When I was 14 years-old, I got up there to sing a Shania Twain song and totally messed it up. I dropped the mike and walked off stage and I haven’t karaokeed since.

BSN: Did you prepare for any of the auto stunts in this picture?
JS: I did go to driving school and I learned how to do reverse 180s and all kinds of fun stuff, since Daisy drives the Jeep.

BSN: Do you and Nick have any plans for another reality series?
JS: No more reality shows. I think people have seen enough of our reality. More than anything, we enjoy doing the ABC specials. We might do a couple more of those, ‘cause that’s really the only time we’ve ever worked together. The only other thing we work on is our marriage, and that’s what Newlyweds was. That wasn’t work for us.

BSN: What was it like being on tour with the USO?
JS: It was unbelievable. They didn’t show a lot of what really went on, all the enemy attacks and the shelling. There was so much stuff that went on.

BSN: Why didn’t they air any of the footage from when you were in Iraq?
JS: Somehow, the tapes got mysteriously replaced.

BSN: How did being in a war zone change you?
JS: I was ready to come home. It put everything in perspective for me. Those men and women really did teach me the definition of sacrifice. I can’t even fathom being out there right now.

BSN: how do you feel about always being the subject of tabloid rumors?
JS: You just gotta let it roll of your shoulders. If people weren’t interested in writing about me, then I’d be nervous. In some ways, you just have to look at it as a compliment and just keep going, and hope that your character proves all the false things wrong.

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