Director Dennie Gordon has an illustrious list of credits over her neatly 30-year career behind the camera, not the least of which is the classic 2001 comedy Joe Dirt. Starring David Spade as the trashy and mulleted title character with a heart of gold, Joe Dirt has become a fan-favorite film from the comedian's post-SNL era. Recently, PopCulture.com had a chance to catch up with Gordon to speak about her new series, the Peacock Thriller Last Light, and she took some time to reflect on what it was like filming Joe Dirt.
"Dirty Joe Dirt! Whenever I run into David Spade, he says it's his favorite project," Gordon said. "We had so much fun in that movie. Can you imagine how much fun we had making that movie? And every day we looked at each other and said, 'I can't believe people are paying us to make this movie.' I mean, my God." She added, "What a cast. Oh my God. Kid Rock, Christopher Walken. Oh my God. We had so much fun. I cannot tell you."
In Last Light, Matthew Fox plays petro-chemist Andy Yeats, who is trying to get back to his wife, Elena (Joanne Froggatt), and their young son during a near-apocalyptic oil-shortage event. He has help along the way from Mika Bakhash (Amber Rose Revah), an operative with connections in the British government and the targeted oil company. Speaking about her Last Light cast, Gordon praised the stars, saying, "We're telling a global story and I really wanted a diverse global cast and I didn't want anybody to be run-of-the-mill. Like MI6 is not run by Judy Dench. It's run by a badass black woman [played by actress Rhiannon Harper-Rafferty]."
She went on to address the show's strong female representation by saying, "Listen, I'm a woman in power and I want to show other women, other powerful women. I think all the female characters brought this fantastic combination of heart and professionalism to this global crisis. In the end, Cameron [Harper-Rafferty] at MI6 says, 'What else are we going to do? We just have to keep on. We have to keep on going.' And I love hearing that from these strong women."
Gordon continued, "I always want to use strong women as much as I can where I can. We didn't go out of our way here, but we were thrilled to find the strong women that we did between Amber and Rhiannon and, of course, Jo Froggatt, she had no idea the action she was going to get dropped into. So we were just thrilled with the entire cast. It was challenging but it was really such a fun process for all of us. Everybody ended up training."
The director then went on to spotlight Revah in particular, revealing that she "did all of her own stunts." Gordon added, "She did that fight from beginning to end. That fight in the kitchen in the Middle East, that's all Amber. I'm telling you she's the next Bond girl. She is bad. She just leaped into it. My stunt coordinator, [Josef Jelínek], took one look at her and said, 'Woo-hoo, we're going to have fun with her.' She did it all and such a stunningly beautiful actress as well so that was really fun. And to show her really fighting was thrilling."
Finally, we asked about the massive sandstorm featured in the first episode of Last Light, in which Gordon joked, "I blew sand over their faces. I totally made them cry. Especially Matthew. She continued, "At the end there when she's telling him, 'You're not going to get to Paris,' I have a sand gun and it's going right at him. And I said, 'I'm just going to do one take. Just roll with it.'" Gordon added, "I mean it was fantastic. We did a fair amount of VFX, but a fair amount of stuff is literally blowing into their faces. They were such troopers." All episodes of Last Light are now streaming on Peacock.