This year marks the 20th anniversary of Encino Man, that little film in which two high school students, social climber Dave (Sean Astin) and outcast Stoney (Pauly Shore), find a frozen caveman (Brendan Fraser) buried in Dave’s yard, thaw him out, and enroll him in high school. Knowing that the DVD’s only special features are the original trailer and a three-and-a-half-minute production featurette — the highlight of which is watching a movie producer use a gigantic cell phone on set — EW decided to celebrate by creating its own set of extras with help from Shore.
TRIVIA: Shore was originally offered the role of the caveman, Link. “A guy named Peter Paterno, who was the head of Hollywood Records took my MTV stuff into Jeffrey Katzenberg, who was running Disney at the time,” Shore says. “They didn’t know who the hell I was. Then they offered me the role of the caveman, because I guess I looked like a caveman at the time, you know. I passed on it. I’m like, ‘That doesn’t make sense, because then I would have to grunt the whole movie.'” Instead, Shore worked with writer Shawn Schepps, producer George Zaloom, and director Les Mayfield to rewrite the best-friend role in the script, gave him all the terminology Shore was popularizing on his MTV show Totally Pauly, and named him Stoney. “Me and my manager started looking at tapes of different actors, and that’s when Brendan’s tape came in, and we were like, ‘Holy crap, this guy’s a really good actor’, ” Shore says. “People always say, ‘Never work with kids and animals,’ but I totally disagree. Because kids and animals, and then cavemen, are very spontaneous. Brendan went to so many crazy places, like a kid would or an animal. That’s why I think the chemistry was good between us. I think a lot of other actors would have acted the role. He was feelin’ it. I think his acting made my comedy better.”
COMMENTARY: Though the movie may have hit with fans, it bombed with critics. (EW gave it a D+.) “I think any time anyone comes out of the gate as big as I came out … critics tend not to like things that are really popular,” he says. “So they s— on it and said whatever they said. But I’ll have critics or other people come up to me now and say, ‘I actually liked Bio-Dome,’ and I’m like, ‘Why the f— didn’t you say that when it came out?’ I think it was just because my style was so — I don’t want to say obnoxious, because it wasn’t really obnoxious — outrageous. People get into hating something before they actually really watch the movie itself.”
A sequel was considered. “There was the cave babe at the end of the film, which was the setup to Encino Man 2. I wanted to do it. They talked about it, but it just didn’t happen,” Shore says. Fraser, however, did cameo as Link in Shore’s later films, including Son in Law and In the Army Now. The movie also lives on — on cable and in the minds of people who enter convenience stores. “I think subliminally, every time anyone goes into a convenience store and they go to the Slurpee machine, and there’s an Indian behind the counter, it probably immediately brings them back to the time they saw Encino Man,” Shore says. “I know I’ve done it before, where I go into a convenience store or 7-Eleven, and I’ll scream, ‘No wheezing the juice!’ and they just look at me like, what the hell? I wouldn’t be surprised if there was other people who go into convenience stores and reenact that scene.”
“I just thought the director did a really good job of capturing what it would be like if two kids really found this caveman in Dave’s room, that feeling of ‘Oh s—, Stoney, there’s a caveman in the room.’ That’s what I like about that movie — it took fantasy and reality and put it all in one. I don’t think there’s enough movies like that,” Shore says. “It just had a lot of heart. There’s people who grew up on my films, and they turn their kids on to them. You can say, ‘Oh, growing up, I saw Encino Man. Kids, check this out.’ And the kids all like it, because it’s timeless.”
GAG REEL: “I don’t like roller coasters. They give me a headache,” Shore says. “We had to do that scene a couple of times, and I was always kinda pissed off like. We’d finish, and I’m like ‘Okay, we got it,’ and they’re like, ‘We gotta move the camera,’ and I’m like, ‘You son of a bitch.’ It’s not one of those scenes you want to keep doing over and over.”
WHERE IS HE NOW?: Shore, who’s also celebrating the Comedy Store’s 40th anniversary this year, is on the road doing stand-up prepping for his next Showtime special, Paulytics, which he’ll tape this June in Washington, D.C., for a fall air date to coincide with the election. (He’s still in the planning phase, but he’s already written a rap for Obama called “Obama Got Osama,” he says.) He also stars in Whiskey Business, a CMT original movie premiering this Sunday at 7 p.m. ET. He plays a Jersey Shore-style guido named Nicky who ends up in rural Tennessee after his mob boss father’s second-in-command tries to kill him and take over the family business. (Nicky wants nothing to do with the business — he prefers bar tending.) “If you just Google ‘juice heads,’ ‘tan people,’ or ‘douche bags,’ all these images come up. So I had my assistant print them out and I put them all over my office wall,” Shore says of his research. He also underwent a spray-tan-a-week while filming, and had his buddy Vinny from Jersey Shore hook him up with a friend in L.A. so he could work on his accent. Watch the trailer below.