Dax Shepard Teases "Off-Beat," R-Rated 'CHiPs' Remake at Film in California Conference

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Dax Shepard

"They let us drive like maniacs and never gave us a ticket. I'm not going to jail!" Shepard joked about working with the California Highway Patrol on the upcoming reboot.

The iconic CHiPs television series starring Erik Estrada and Robert Pine took over televisions all across the U.S. for six seasons in the late '70s and early '80s. So, when actor Dax Shepard announced he would be sitting in the director's chair to reboot it for the big screen, it took many by surprise.

"People like branded content in their movies. They only seem to leave their house to see a Lego [film] or a Marvel movie," Shepard said, explaining his decision to adapt the beloved show into a film. "Because people have awareness to that. The movie is very off-beat and a hard R and we thought it worked best as an event you would go leave your house to see."

Shepard was joined onstage Saturday at the Film in California Conference at CBS Radford in Studio City with the film's producer Andrew Panay, Warner Brothers executive vp physical production and finance chief Ravi Mehta, location manager Rick Schuler and California Highway Patrol sergeant Manuel "Manny" Gill, who was a technical advisor on the pic. 

On working with the patrol team, Shepard shared that he and co-star Michael Pena "really tested their patience at times. They let us drive like maniacs and never gave us a ticket. I'm not going to jail!"

He jokingly told Gill, "We aim to make five of these so ... to ruin your life is the goal."

Such scenes where Shepard very well deserved a ticket were shot in California cities including Long Beach, Santa Ana, Anaheim, Irvine and Pomona. "We were all over the California map," added Schuler. 

When Shepard thinks of the iconic television series CHiPs, he remembers it by three elements: "It had motorcycle action, a cast you love and it had California." The film remake will be no different, he teased: "California is one of the main stars."

As for the film's budget, Shepard joked, "I can tell you this, it wasn't nearly enough to make the movie. We had a very modest budget. That's why the California incentive was imperative." 

And as for the incentive for moviegoers to see the film? "I took off all my clothes!" he said, adding that there may be appearances from some familiar faces, such as Estrada. "It's a surprise."

The last question that needed to be answered about the remake, which is slated to hit theaters in 2017, was addressed by an audience member: "Does Ponch dance?"

Shepard replied, "We dance on motorcycles. I was expecting that question from a female, but anyway. ..."

Other sessions on Saturday included a "State of Production" panel moderated by The Hollywood Reporter's Carolyn Giardina, as well as a panel with the producers and stars of Tangerine moderated by THR senior writer Seth Abramovitch.  

Director-producer Ryan Murphy also was presented with the new Golden Slate Award by Mayor Eric Garcetti and Scream Queens star Jamie Lee Curtis. 

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