Dax Shepard: A very family-oriented man

“Dax Shepard’s actually not that terrible.”

For his directorial debut, “Parenthood” star Dax Shepard decided to take on Hollywood, making a mockumentary about his attempts to ditch comedy and become an action star in the ill-advised “Brother’s Justice” — with a little help from friends like Ashton Kutcher, Bradley Cooper and his former agent. But as he made clear during our chat, nothing makes Shepard happier than working with — and heaping praise on — fiancee Kristen Bell.

What made you want to make a Hollywood satire?

Making a Hollywood satire is probably the easiest thing to shoot if you live in L.A. and are friends with lots of actors. It’s the equivalent of making an auto movie if you live in Detroit.  

Like friendships with people like Ashton Kutcher and Jon Favreau. What are your
relationships with them like?

Superloving, supportive friendships. I look at Hollywood as this opportunity to go through high school all over again, but this time I like everyone. I’ve gotten along with everyone I’ve ever worked with, and I try to maintain my friendships. Even like Josh Hutcherson, the young kid who was in “Zathura.” I still go out to Bob’s Big Boy with him.

Did anyone say no to being in the movie?

No! I was really shocked, because it’s a pretty big favor to ask. But I’m not a big favor-asker. I never asked anyone to come help me move or anything like that. And I tried to make it as easy on them as possible.

How has your profile changed since ‘Parenthood’ debuted?

People say nice things about me in reviews now. [Laughs] But I noticed there seems to be a pattern where all the positive acclaim came with a disclaimer, like, “I know you’re not going to believe this, but Dax Shepard’s actually not terrible.” I guess for my mom, it’s nice because people are saying nice things about me.

How is working with Kristen?

It’s heaven. I love working with Kristen. What’s even more fun than acting with Kristen is writing for her. As a writer, you can write anything and Kristen can do it. Whereas when I’m writing for myself, I have to be realistic about what my limitations are. With Kristen, I can write any scene that’s ever been written in a movie and she can do it.


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