Chill-O-Vision reshoots scenes on
Chevy Chase comedy “Bad Meat”

Chevy Chase and Lance Barber star in “Bad Meat”.

Scott Dikkers and Michael Hirsch knew they wanted a helicopter sequence included in the April pickup shoot for their Chevy Chase feature “Bad Meat.” They just didn’t think they could afford one.

“Michael Frank of Helimotion told us he knew about our budget limitations and put us in touch with a producer for the E! Entertainment Network who needed aerial footage around the same time,” said Hirsch, who produced “Bad Meat” and co- wrote with director/editor Dikkers.

“We were able to afford it by sharing costs with E! We got establishing shots of the fictional town of Butcher’s Mill, Illinois, using Hegewisch, East Chicago, and Gary, that whole industrial wasteland, because that’s the look of our film,” Hirsch said.

Dikkers and Hirsch’s Chill-O-Vision did six days of pickup shoots April 17-22, using a skeleton crew from the under-a-million-dollar 35mm feature, which shot principle photography for five weeks in November and December.

“We lost a few days with the snow storm in November, and we knew we’d have to come back in the spring for establishing shots,” Hirsch said “We raised additional funds, and we decided we needed bigger shots to add production value.”

“Bad Meat” tells the story of two down-and-out types (Lance Barber and Billie Worley) who launch an ill-fated scheme to kidnap and ransom a corrupt congressman (Chase).

The picture shows a different side of Chicago than what’s typically represented in movies. “Every time you see Chicago in a movie you see Wrigley Field, Lincoln Park, the Magnificent Mile and the Loop,” Hirsch said. “We’re not showing any of that. We shot at a junkyard, a trailer park, meat packing plants. We’re showing the underbelly of Chicago.”

Production struggled with typical pitfalls like weather and a short pre-production period (a month from greenlighting to shooting). But Hirsch said their most frequent difficulty was one any comedic filmmaker would envy. “People would laugh all the time and ruin the sound. I was amazed to hear that people had the best time on the film, considering conditions were so tough, but everyone loved the performances and the script.”

Hirsch expects to complete post by July and is looking for a producer’s rep to steer the film through festivals and distribution. “John Sloss at Cinetic Media read the script and loved it,” Hirsch said. “They’ll be the first to see the film.”

Chill-O-Vision financed “Bad Meat” through private investors, mostly from Chicago. They entered development on the picture when financing fell through for their film “E-Day,” another Chase comedy, about Eskimos invading the U.S. “It’s a war spoof, and after Sept. 11 nobody wanted to touch that type of theme,” Hirsch said. “We sent the ‘Bad Meat’ script to Chevy Chase, and he said he’d do it, only he needed to be paid this time,” Hirsch said. Chase had acted for free in an “E-Day” demo.

Dikkers met Chase when the actor called The Onion to express his admiration. Dikkers, a co-founder of the newspaper, was editor-in-chief, a position he has since left. (Hirsch was a writer for the paper.) Dikkers and Chase became friends, and Dikkers began visiting Chase’s house on Long Island.

“E-Day” is back in development, having been optioned last fall by the Motion Picture Corporation of America (“Dumb and Dumber”). “I think anything goes again now, and everyone is looking for comedies,” Hirsch said. “If you look at box office reports, comedies are doing very well recently.” Hirsch projects a budget for “E-Day” of $2.5 to $5 million, with shooting locations still to be determined.

If “E-Day” isn’t up and running within six months, Chill-O-Vision will return to the “Bad Meat” model, “doing another low budget comedy, ideally in Chicago,” Hirsch said.

Chill-O-Vision’s first feature, “Spaceman,” sold to Palm Pictures (“The Believer”) in 2001 after winning the top prize at the Austin Film Festival. Palm released “Spaceman” on video and sold cable rights for an extended run on the Sci-Fi Channel and appearances on Showtime and international stations.

Reach Hirsch at Chill-O-Vision, 773/929-1914, or
–Ed M. Koziarski,