I was tipped off by a friend — who apparently guessed my love of smart caveman comedy (and people getting hit on the head with anything) — to the trailer for Homo Erectus. The indie film from Detroit Rock City‘s Adam Rifkin has yet to find a distributor, and I’m not sure why: It’s about a virgin prehistoric Einstein named Ishbo whose tribe thinks his inventions — and the fact that he doesn’t believe in clubbing women — are crazy. It stars a pre-Heroes Ali Larter (pictured, right) as Ishbo’s love interest, Fardart; David Carradine as Ishbo’s father, the tribe’s leader; Talia Shire as Ishbo’s mother; Gary Busey as a mystical assassin sent to murder Ishbo’s father (who doesn’t want to see that guy control the minds of animals?); and Tom Arnold as a gay tribemate. Watch the trailer (naked old man butt alert!), and tell me, what is the problem?
Well, I phoned Rifkin, who’s currently shopping the film, and he had one idea: “The biggest hurdle is the fact that the movie stars me [pictured, left], and I’m not a movie star. Yet,” he says. What he is is a guy who wanted to pay tribute to Woody Allen and Mel Brooks comedies, and who would love to see his homage get some big screen time before it hits DVD, where he realizes it will do most of its business. If the trailer isn’t enough to convince you the movie has potential, perhaps these clips of Larter, Carradine, Arnold, Busey, and Rifkin in action will.
addCredit(“Homo Erectus: Felicia Graham”)
You may also want to watch these outtakesof Bill Tyree, the (Warning! NSFW!) extremely foul-mouthed,octogenarian non-actor who was cast as the tribe’s eldest member, OldFool, when one of Rifkin’s friends and Homo costars met him ina bar in Ventura County, Calif. Two of the actors drove Tyree 1,500miles in a van to Austin, Texas, where the film shot for five weeks inthe fall of 2005. He was carried by stretcher to the production’sremote locations. “He’s such an original, [but] literally, he couldn’tremember one line,” Rifkin says. “You can see in those outtakes, hedidn’t understand the process. He couldn’t figure out why we kept doingit over and over again. He would get really ornery.” (Again, warning!It shows. And it’s hysterical.)
Tyree’s character was so beloved by the crew, they’ve started green-screening him into other films like The Breakfast Club.In the end, Tyree had the time of his life, Rifkin says: “He got SAGscale for four weeks, so he made about six grand. He thought he wasrich.” You’re our boy, Bill.