American actor and comic Dax Shepard was in Connecticut Wednesday for a visit to ESPN where he talked about his new movie “Hit and Run,” with Tom Arnold and fiancée Kristen Bell. A fan of the Pistons, Tigers, Red Wings and Patriots, Shepard, who also wrote and directed the movie that hits theaters on Aug. 24, plays an ex-getaway driver who quits a witness protection program to help his girlfriend get to her job in Los Angeles. It was a dream role come true. Shepard, who also stars in the tv show “Parenthood,” loves extreme sports, is a snowboarder and skateboarder and has raced BMX bikes. He managed to make his way from New York City to Bristol this week despite bad traffic, and when he was done talking to all the sports guys, unwound for a few minutes to Spill the Beans, and wedding plans, with Java.
Q: Where did the story idea for the movie come from?
A: I wanted to do a car chase comedy. “Smokey and the Bandit” one of favorite childhood movies. That was the one that started it all as far as great car chase movies, “French Connection,” “Cannonball Run,” So I guess my movie is an homage to director, Hal Needham. There are old-fashioned car stunts. Nothing computer generated. All the people in it are really driving. I did all my driving.
Q: I have to ask, the main character’s name in the movie is Charlie Bronson. Was that after actor Charles Bronson?
A: There was a great, great independent movie in England called “Bronson” about a famous prisoner in England who named himself after the actor Charles Bronson. In my book, the character is named after the prisoner who is named after the actor. The five people who see both movies will get it.
Q: What was the best part of acting in your movie?
A: Doing the stunt and the stunt driving. I don’t have a death wish but spending 14 hours a day doing stunt driving for the movie was great. I would get home at the end of the night and think, “Oh God, and I get paid for this.”
Q: What was the best part of your day at ESPN?
A: There were so many good parts. I am a big sports fan and watch ESPN. I’m really impressed by the campus and how everyone is clearly having a good time. It doesn’t look like a job when you are out there dunking basketballs with your boss. It is similar to Dreamworks, one big campus of people horsing around with their bosses.
Q: Soon it will be the new season of “Parenthood,” where you play Crosby Braverman. Any hints on what happens to your character this season?
A: My character is going to explore what it means to be married and not have the option of just walking out the door when you are mad. It will be about making something work.
Q: Speaking of being married, when will and Ms. Bell have a wedding?
A: We will have a wedding when gay marriage is legalized in California.