Gephardt: "I Like Al Sharpton; I Think He'd Be a Great Mayor"

Unreal chats with Dick's daughter, then comes face-to-face with Playmates, zombies and a 66-year-old powerlifter

Clad in a tight blue tank top, white New Balance sneakers and Zubaz sweatpants, the barrel-chested Bourisaw appeared to sport a respectable amount of chest hair as he took frequent ganders at himself in the J's ceiling-to-floor wall mirrors -- a far follicular cry from when he shaved his chest for an appearance on Regis & Kelly. Thanks to a savvy nomination by his wife, Bourisaw was named one of America's seven hunkiest husbands and got to compete on Philbin and Ripa's show against a half-dozen younger beefcakes in front of a panel of judges that included Joan Rivers.

"She looks like she's got cement on her face," Bourisaw says of Rivers. "Those [six other hunky husbands] were my grandson's age, all of 'em. So I shaved my chest. I had to."

James Gunn reflects upon his hoosier past.
Michael Gibson
James Gunn reflects upon his hoosier past.

Hollywood Here We Come!

Yes, Unreal likes to project the image that we spend our spare time watching the films of Fellini and Tarkovsky. But truth be told, we much prefer the oeuvre of New York's Troma Entertainment Inc., makers of The Toxic Avenger and Surf Nazis Must Die. That's why we've been hip to St. Louis native James Gunn for a while. He was paid $150 to pen the 1996 classic Tromeo and Juliet, which Troma claims has "all the body-piercing, kinky sex and car crashes that Shakespeare wanted but never had."

But Gunn's gone mainstream since then and has two Hollywood pictures debuting this month -- the retro-themed Scooby-Doo 2 (he wrote the first movie as well) and a remake of the zombie flick Dawn of the Dead. Unreal caught up with Gunn between movie premieres to figure out just what the hell went wrong.

Unreal: You went from co-writing the micro-budget cult film Tromeo and Juliet to writing the big-budget Hollywood film Scooby-Doo. How did you fall so far, so fast?

Gunn: To me there's not that big of a difference between Scooby-Doo and a Troma movie. They both have strict formats. Just substitute dismemberment and naked breasts and toxic mutations with castles and ghouls and cowardly kids. Actually, I think Tromeo and Scooby-Doo 2 are my favorite two films [I've worked on] thus far.

What's the difference, in multiples of ten, between what Lloyd Kaufman paid you for your Tromeo script and what Warner Bros. paid you for Scooby-Doo 2?

Um.... Okay, here's an equation for your readers: 10,000 times Tromeo and Juliet equals Scooby-Doo 2. Not including royalties. Because Troma's not guild, I didn't get any royalties on Tromeo. Unless you consider getting laid by Belgian girls at horror-film festivals "royalties."

How did you feel rewriting a classic like Dawn of the Dead?

I had more fun writing that script than almost any other. I feel even better now that we're opening, and with any luck we're going to kick The Passion out of first place. I mean, really, we should. Who would choose to see one guy rise from the dead when you can see a thousand?

Writing the zombie parts, did you draw upon your experience with Freddie Prinze Jr.?

Hey, Freddie gets a raw deal because all our girlfriends and wives and daughters would fuck him if he nodded the right way. I've worked with and met far more zombiesque actors. Like Perry King.

But you did draw from your experience with hoosiers, right?

Hell yeah. Dude, I grew up next to Winchester.

You're hitting all the movie premieres, hanging out with celebrities and having two movies released in two consecutive weeks. That's an awfully hollow existence, isn't it? Don't you ever wish you had just stayed in St. Louis where people are real and you could earn a decent living with your own two hands?

I don't think anyone in their right mind would want me working at McDonnell-Douglas. St. Louis, and the world, should be glad I left.

Can I come wit' you?

Only if you don't mind me pretending I don't know you.

Bunny Love

"You have the Arch, right? What is that for?"

Thinking dry thoughts, Unreal is chatting up Ava Fabian, Miss August 1986, at last Thursday night's Playboy 50th Anniversary Club Tour while watching the line for the men's room snake around the balcony at the Kastle nightclub. The arduous task of learning how the other half lives is proving difficult, what with the prodigious quantities of Sprite and Chivas Regal (pronounced alternately by spokesbunnies as ree-gle and re-gal) Unreal is consuming. Why, we had to wonder, had so many cigar-toting wannabe playboy dudes bothered shelling out the weekly salary of a mid-level Argentine office worker to be here?

It strikes us then that trying to explain St. Louis' glories to someone who's been hit on by a sizable percentage of humanity is fairly pointless. Luckily the uncommonly bosomy Ava is quickly trapped by a fan wanting a picture, leaving Unreal to jawbone with PR flackette Jay Jay Nesheim, who informs us that Playmates must comply with many rules: No drinking, no smoking, no kissing in the club....

"Star in a Vivid video," Nesheim explains, "and you won't work for Playboy again."

Emboldened by such frank talk, Unreal simply has to know: Of the ten Playmates present, how many had likely done the Heffy? Nesheim swears ignorance and steers the conversation to the Playboy founder's gentle ways. "Think about how many women he's slept with over the years, and how you never hear any complaints about how he treated them," she says.

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