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Magnolia Moves 'McAllister'

10 Dec, 2007 By: Billy Gil

Moving McAllister's Mila Kunis, John Heder and Ben Gourley

Anyone who's had to move cross country knows it's hell. Try doing it for someone else.

Moving McAllister, out on DVD Jan. 29, 2008, (prebook Jan. 1) from Magnolia Home Entertainment, tells such a story. In the film, a law intern agrees to move his boss' niece (Mila Kunis) across country — along with her pet pig. Along the way the pair meet such problems as picking up an irritating hitchhiker (Napoleon Dynamite's Jon Heder) and having their rinky-dink truck break down.

“It was inspired by a trip I took moving my mom,” said Ben Gourley, who wrote the screenplay, co-produced the film and stars as the down-on-his-luck intern. “It was probably a two-hour move, and it took two days because they gave me the truck from hell — it would go about 20 miles per hour uphill.

“I thought I was going to die, and I thought it was a good premise for a movie.”

Gourley was working in Los Angeles editing a behind-the-scenes documentary for another film when he decided to make his own film. The 29-year-old actor knew Heder from their time together at Brigham Young University, where Gourley received a degree in film production. He created the character of Orlie the hitchhiker around Heder's characteristics. He also created the character of the out-of-control niece, Michelle, with Mila Kunis in mind (or, more specifically, her character Jackie Burkhart, on “That '70s Show”), and agreed to accommodate Kunis' busy schedule when she signed on for the film.

To play the intern's boss, McAllister, Gourley was able to get Rutger Hauer (Batman Begins). The honor was at first lost on Gourley, who wasn't familiar with his extensive body of work at the time.

“I had never seen Blade Runner or Lady-hawk,” Gourley said. “I didn't have that awe of this guy, and everyone else did. He'd walk onto the set or into a restaurant, and people's jaws would just drop. I think the fact that I hadn't, and that I could relate to him as a human being, endeared us to each other.”

Gourley is currently sifting through more than 30 hours of behind-the-scenes footage for DVD bonus material and said the DVD, listed at $26.98, likely will have an audio commentary, deleted scenes, a couple of featurettes and possibly an alternate ending as well.

“Watching the footage, you forget how many lives you put in danger making a film,” Gourley said. “We were driving this truck across country, and we went through four engines. … My right leg would be so sore from pounding on these brakes. It was like doing lunges for hours.”

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