In the new hidden camera comedy film Bad Trip, comedians Eric André and Lil Rel Howery star as two friends trapped in many unfortunate predicaments on a road trip from Florida to New York. Tiffany Haddish also stars, playing Howery's sister, who broke out of jail and hunted the boys down for stealing her car. The movie is not full of actors and extras playing the characters around the chaos-invoking pair, but rather, every insane stunt and shocking prank are pulled on real people.
Ahead of the film's release on Netflix, André and Howery sat down with PopCulture.com to talk about the challenges of filming a movie like this and revealed a few tricks producers used to avoid the actors getting recognized. In Howery's experience, the issue of getting recognized was something he initially "thought" would happen a lot but discovered that it "wasn't that bad" in reality. His explanation as to why it didn't happen more often is that they were "doing things so fast" that it didn't "give people time to process" that these were Hollywood stars right in front of them.
"You've got to let the craziness be the craziness," Howery said. "Where it's like, 'What the hell going on?' It doesn't give them time to process exactly what's happening." He added that he got recognized "a couple of times, but not as much as I thought it would have been."
Bad Trip was co-written by André, along with Dan Curry and the film's director, Kitao Sakurai. André is also a producer, as are Jeff Tremaine, David Bernad, and Ruben Fleischer. Tremaine is most well-known for being a co-creator of the Jackass franchise and directing the series and each film, including the Oscar-nominated Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa.
Bad Trip is similar to Bad Grandpa in that it is a film with a narrative that revolves around stunts and pranks pulled on real people in real life. However, the stars of Bad Trip were definitely at a greater risk of being spotted because they are not shrouded in prosthetics and makeup like Johnny Knoxville was in Bad Grandpa. Aside from things like haircuts and shaving — and Haddish going, as André put it, "full tilt" [with] face tattoos and cornrows — the Bad Trip cast didn't have a whole lot keeping them from being recognized by fans.
André provided some insight into just how they pulled it off, saying that they "had it down to a science," starting with being cautious about who they pranked. "We didn't prank anybody in my demographic. My demographic used like males under 29 years old," he explained. "So, a lot of people we're bringing, it's like soccer moms in their 40s and 50s and people that wouldn't necessarily recognize me so that anytime we could bring the marks in to be pranked into a situation, we would reach out to older folk."
The second portion of their formula was a code word that could be used whenever one of the stars realized that someone had recognized them from a distance. That code word was "Phyllis," and André could say that into his hidden mic so that producers could intervene before a shot was ruined. "My stunt coordinator or [a production assistant] would come to intercept the person and just kind of go, 'Hey, you know what we're doing here?' and quietly get them to not enter [the] frame and not ruin the scene," he said. "So, we had multiple tactics." Bad Trip is streaming now on Netflix.