America's Best Redneck Reveals His True Hunting Colors
June 5, 2003
The following phone interview took place about a couple of weeks ago. At that time, Willy and Billy were on location in Willy's basement. Willy was gratious enough to spare a few precious minutes to let you all in on a little secret. The secret is this: THE INCOMPLETE DEER HUNTER 3 is a must-see if you're a diehard deer hunter. That secret -- plus a few others -- gets uncovered right here in Realtree.com's Online Journal. Enjoy this tongue-in-cheek chat with Jeff "Willy" Foxworthy.
What Was it Like Embarking on the Third Installment of The Incomplete Deer Hunter? I kind of thought that when we did the second one that that would probably be it. I didn’t anticipate doing another one. We were actually thinking about going into different areas like The Incomplete Fisherman or something like that. It was like one of those “popular demands’ type deals. Everywhere I went people were coming up to me asking, “When are you going to do the next Incomplete Deer Hunter? So my brother and I started talking about it with David Blanton and some of the guys at Realtree and realized that there were so many things that we haven’t done yet. On top of that, some of the characters like the deer costumes and Billy and Willy had kind of grown to the point where they were writing the scenes themselves. So we all finally sat down to do #3 and I really think this is the funniest one we’ve done. It’s twice as good as 1 and I think 3 is better than 2.
What's the Real Deal with Willy and Billy? Willy and Billy are a lot like going to the State Fair, five minutes with Willy and Billy and you feel better about your own family.
Will There Be Deer Herd Meetings in 3? This year thankfully we filmed the Herd Meetings in February. Last year we filmed in June or July. Inside those deer costumes it’s about 150 degrees. Basically, you’re trying to be real funny real fast in the summer time. When David and I first started talking about the Incomplete Deer Hunter video, I said let’s get some deer suits made up so we can cover deer hunting from the deer’s point of view. Coach Buck is Billy in the deer suit. To answer your question . . . yes, the herd will be out and about in full force.
What's Your Problem with Taxidermists, Jeff? Anybody that’s ever dealt with a taxidermist — That’s what we we’ve been trying to do here with the making of these videos. We think about things that every hunter goes through. For instance, everybody’s had something at the taxidermist at one time or another that stayed at the taxidermist’s shop 3 times longer than what the taxidermist told you it was going to take. And stepping back to Deer Hunter 1 — one of my favorite scenes was the “How do know when you’ve shot a pretty pathetic deer?’ When someone looks in the back of your truck and says “that’s gonna be some good eatin.’”
How Long is the Incomplete Deer Hunter 3? Shooting took us about 3 or 4 days. What we would generally do is shoot for a day. Go to the editing suites and find out what we liked and didn’t like. Then go back the following day and shoot some more. The whole project took about 3 weeks total.
I think this is the longest one we’ve done. Heck, it’s an hour long plus a bunch of bonus footage. And we edited out at least that much more! When we began the project we were worried about not having enough footage. Turned out we had twice as much as we needed. If people could ever see all the behind-the-scenes things — we are laughing and goofing up constantly. The whole thing is just simply fun to make in that unlike most of the other things that I’ve done; half of this stuff there’s no script for it! For Billy and Willy, they just put in the teeth. I put in the teeth and Billy puts the sunglasses on and we just say, “Bring Bill in, bring David in, bring Michael in.” We just sit “em down and start interviewing 'em. Of course the fun in that is that those Realtree guys have no idea what we’re going to ask them. Heck, neither do we! That’s some of my favorite stuff from Incomplete Deer Hunter 3 — interviewing them.
Is Billy Your Real Brother? No, no, no. Not in real life. I guess that for the sake of the videos he is. I think their relationship (Willy and Billy) is more than one level — It’s probably brother/nephew or something like that. Billy is a real actor. His name is Shane Caldwell and he lives in Nashville. He’s done a lot of commercials and acting up in those parts. I got tuned on to Billy from some country music people up there in Nashville who had tapes of Billy doing these crazy skits. He would save his money up and pay for time on cable-access television and perform these goofy little skits he’d written. And he had a cult following of country music stars that would tape these things and carry “em on the buses with them. I think Alan Jackson showed me the first Caldwell tape while we were on location shooting a music video or something. He asked me if I’d ever seen this guy. He wound up showing me the thing and I almost cracked up laughing. So I got wind of where he was at and the rest is history. He’s Billy, and he’s more side-splittin’ funny in 3 than all the others.
New Characters? We did put T-Bone in there on 3. I guess T-Bone is another nephew/uncle of mine. He was such a hit on the Monster Bucks opening segment the year before that people kept on asking me about him. Now, T-bone only weighs about 450 I guess. This year Willy tries talking T-Bone into putting on a safety harness and stepping off the end of a tree to prove that the harness works. As soon as he steps off the tree — (Editor’s note: So that maybe you’ll buy the video or DVD, we’ve cut out the back end of the last sentence. Tune in to see what happens when the dainty T-Bone makes his move.) I think T-Bone, and this tree incident, is one of the highlights of the video. Man, and that bow he shoots! We thought he was going to retire that old thing and he brings it back (To the Monster Bucks XI video). We told him, “If you’re going to be in an archery contest with these guys, you’ve got to shoot a real bow!’ In Monster Bucks XI, Gill Jordanian tries to pay T-Bone off to throw the match. Of course, Willy gets wind of the shady deal and tries to put an end to the antics. He shoots that horrible bow and still beats them! I don’t know how he does it.
Now, there’s no contest going on in Incomplete Deer Hunter 3, but T-Bone is featured on an episode of “Spotlight On Deer’ with Billy and Willy. There he talks candidly with Willy and Billy about what the last year has meant to him as far as being a hunting celebrity.
How Did Willy Do This Deer Season? I think for fear that somebody in law enforcement might be looking in, Willy never quite divulges what his hunting season was like. Let me put it to you this way, I don’t know that he filled out any tags.
Did Willy Have Problems with the Law on Incomplete Deer Hunter 3? There always seems to be a misunderstanding about Willy’s hunting season. I think that sometimes he gets excited — maybe he starts the season a little too early or lets it go a little too late.
Willy’s Favorite Hunting Tactic? Well as Willy tells Miguel Waddellman in Deer Hunter 3, he really doesn’t like bowhunting because he can’t get off a good “volley’ of shots. He says it’s hard to get a good volley off with a bow. In other words, I don’t think Willy is a member of the “One-Shot-Johnson’ club.
If You Were to Give This Movie a Review, What Letter Rating Would You Give? Instead of PG or G or even R I'd make this movie Rated “I’. The “I’ standing for Idiotic. I will say this. Mostly I’m a stand-up comic, but I’ve done TV and radio and movies, but I don’t think I’ve ever done a character where I don’t know what the character is going to say. When I do Willy, I literally don’t know what that stupid idiot is going to let out of his mouth. In one of the scenes on 3, Billy and Willy enter a deer into a “big-buck’ contest that looks remarkably like somebody’s taken a whitetail cape and put it on a set of caribou antlers. The duo gets put under a lie-detector test and Willy starts telling a story about shooting this next to the local Nuclear Power Plant. I told David Blanton right after we stopped filming that bit that I had no idea where that idea had come from. Willy really is that much of a fun character for me to do, “cause I really don’t know what he’s going to say until he actually says it.
Let's Step Away From Incomplete Deer Hunter 3 For A Second. Why Weren’t You Able To Get a Successful Kill On Video For Monster Bucks XI This Year? Probably the biggest reason was because they didn’t invite me to go hunting with them this year. Honestly, I’ve really got to peg this up to professional jealousy. I think that what happen was that Bill and David got tired of me killing the big deer on those videos. And so, it was becoming embarrassing and they just quit inviting me. So, that’s why you don’t see me this year on Monster Bucks XI — because they didn’t invite me. And it hurts. It really does hurt. Rest assured, though, I’m going to carry on.
Do You Think You’ll Get Invited to Monster Bucks XII? Well, I think once the people see Monster Bucks XI and they see that I’m not on there that there’s simply going to be an overwhelming demand for me to be back. At least that’s what I’m hoping. Heck, it’s not like I haven’t killed some big deer for them. They know where I live and they can send me an invite. I’m not even picky, I just want to go on another deer hunt.
How Much Do You Love Deer Hunting? My wife she says to me, “We got invited to the Academy Awards and you turned that down. And then we got invited to the Grammy’s and you turned that down. You turned down going to the Country Music Awards — BUT YOU NEVER TURN DOWN ONE OF THOSE DEER HUNTS!’ I tell her constantly, “But those deer hunts are fun! Putting on a tuxedo and going to all that other stuff — that’s not fun. I was out and about a week or so ago at the store. The butcher at the counter asked, “Was that deer you shot in Montana two years ago bigger than that one you shot in Texas three years ago?’ People watch those videos religiously. They don’t want to ask me about anything else I’ve ever done in my life. They just want to talk about that deer I shot off the cliff in Montana. Wait until they see what Willy and Billy do in the Incomplete Deer Hunter 3. That'll give them something to wonder about.
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