The actor’s two films ‘Poker Run’ and ‘Christmas in Tune’ will premiere on November 26
John Schneider is hitting the road.
The actor, popularly known as Bo Duke from the hit series “Duke of Hazard”, is busy this holiday season with two new films premiering on the same day. For starters, he’s rolling the dice with “Poker Run,” where he served as writer, director, and leading man. It is the sequel to the fan-favorite “Stand On It,” a “Smokey and the Bandit” tribute that was released in 2020. The 61-year-old is also starring in the new Lifetime movie “Christmas in Tune” with Reba McEntire, where they find themselves sharing the stage.
Still, Schneider is eager to reflect on his past as one of the good old boys. “The Dukes of Hazard” aired from 1979 to 1985 and starred Schneider alongside Tom Wopat and Katherine Bach. In its early stages, the series attracted 20 million viewers per episode and, by its third season, had become the second-largest show on TV. Hollywood Reporter shared.
Nevertheless, the outlet noted that the show has been criticized for its use of the Confederate war flag painted on the ceiling of General Lee, the ’69 Dodge Charger. In 2020, there was renewed interest in removing the flag from the series, which has been a symbol of Southern pride for some and hatred for others.
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Schneider spoke to Granthshala News about the show’s legacy, how he feels about canceled culture and what it was like working with McEntire, 66.
Granthshala News: Many fans remember you from the “Duke of Hazard”. Which one memory of your time on set has been on your mind lately?
John Schneider: All my best memories from “Dukes of Hazard” revolve around Denver Pyle, who played Uncle Jesse. He was a wonderful mentor to me. Whenever I had a new girlfriend, he’d tell me, “You’ve met someone, haven’t you?” I would say, ‘Yes, sir.” And he would say, “Does she make you laugh?” If I had waited more than half a second to answer the question, he would look at me with a sad face and say, “Good luck “
At the end of our run, it was quite clear that Denver had met someone. You can just tell when someone is in love. So I said, “You’ve met someone, haven’t you?” He said, “Yes, I have.” I asked, “Does she make you laugh?” He smiled at me and said “all the time.” I have taken it with me. so i call [my wife] Alicia my smile. That’s my laugh. And whenever I think about it, I think of my wonderful relationship with Pyle.
Granthshala News: How would you describe your relationship with Tom Wopat and Katherine Bach today?
Schneider: Tom and I talk a lot. Tom and I have music in common so we talk about that all the time. We always catch up and see what we’re doing. Sadly, I haven’t seen Katherine in probably two years. This whole COVID thing has isolated people, of course with quarantine. But we used to bump into each other a lot at events. it definitely stopped [with the pandemic], But it looks like they may be back now.
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I’m not sure how Katherine is doing, but I hope to catch up with her soon. As for Tom, he’s doing great. He’s been one of my best friends ever since we met and I don’t think that will change anytime soon. We are both theater boys. He came from community theater. So did We have a common love for the theatre, the roar of the crowd and all that. We are forever joined at the hip.
Granthshala News: In 2020, the “Duke of Hazard” faced controversy. Are you surprised that the current generation still wants to remove the flag from the series after so long?
Schneider: It was the older, uneducated generation that wanted to remove it from the series, by the airwaves. There is a group of people who base their values on removing what they are opposing. I have always put people’s values on what they are for.
… it was attacked probably 20 years ago. And then the attack went off. I think the critics found another hobby. So no, it didn’t surprise me. But let me tell you, my wife and I do dirt track races. We live among people from coast to coast all year long… and there are still kids playing with Gen Lee in the dirt, even as the cancellation culture is trying to cancel it. And I think it’s because the parents save their General Lease and pass them on to another generation.
It’s weird. “The Dukes of Hazard” is still out of date and as relevant as it ever was. You should see how the kids react when they find out I’m Bo Duke. It depends where you are, but from where I stand, none of the antics of the canceled culture are going to diminish what the show has represented for the families it grew up on. It brought families together. It was never about division. Over the years, people from all walks of life have come to me and talk about how the show brings their families closer together. Generations saw it. And they still do.
Granthshala News: What do you understand by cancellation culture?
Schneider: The other day someone asked me, “What do you think of all this canceled culture business?” And I quoted Groucho Marx. Simply put, why would I want to join a country club that would have me as a member? Cancel Culture is very short-sighted and it goes against everything I believe in regards to freedom of speech and freedom of expression. I look forward to the day when the wind finally comes out of the sails of all that crap.
Granthshala News: It sounds like you’ll want to rule out the cancellation culture.
Schneider: Absolutely. My grandparents used to say, “Give them enough rope and they’ll hang themselves.” And you know, I saw something on Facebook that was amazing. Like the picture that used to be in your grandparents’ homes, someone put together a Bible verse with their hands praying. And over this picture he said, “Some people may find this word and this picture offensive.” But you have to click on it to see the picture. It was praying with the hand and there was mention of “God”. There is no way in the world that a free society is going to allow this to continue any more. It has gotten out of hand.
So yes, I am looking forward to that day. But till then we do our own thing. Every day, we tell the stories we want to tell. And we deliver them the way we want to deliver them. We are not in that country club. We have removed our shovels and buckets from their sandbox to make our own. And we play there all day, every day.
Granthshala News: You spoke earlier about the importance of the national anthem and how its meaning affects us even today. Why are you proud to be an American?
Schneider: The ability or opportunity to advance one’s own definition of happiness. Life, freedom and the pursuit of happiness – they are at the foundation of our country. That’s why people from all over the world are trying to come to this country. I believe that we are a city on a hill. We are a living example of a free society. So I believe we have to go against the notion that we are not a free society. That we are not free to show praying hands and mention the word “God” in a public forum. We have to end it.
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The final lyrics of “The Star-Spangled Banner” are “And in victory the Star-Spangled Banner will wave over the land of the free and the home of the brave.” I tell people it’s up to us. It’s not going to happen by itself. I believe that freedom is something that is maintained and achieved. Our national anthem reminds us of this. Our flag should be hoisted on the land of the free and the home of the heroes. It is up to each of us to ensure that he stays. The world rests on it. We are what people see as a free society. We are a land of opportunity, love, life, freedom and the pursuit of happiness. That’s what’s great about America. It gives the world something to strive for.
Granthshala News: Why did you want to make a movie like “Poker Run” now?
Schneider: Well last year, we did a movie called “Stand on It,” which was a tribute to “Smokey and the Bandit.” It did incredibly well. So I’m trying to build a new franchise that wants people to get into their cars and go a little faster – safely. And it felt like “Stand On It” did exactly that. When that film was a success, I immediately got on my laptop and started brainstorming. And I can honestly say it’s better.
Granthshala News: Comments for the trailer have been overwhelmingly positive. One commenter even compared it to a combination of “Smokey and the Bandit” and “Deuce of Hazard”.
Schneider: I think this is great. I am very excited by this. And the real proof for me is that people who’ve seen the movie say they all hit their cars on dirt roads.
I’ve seen “Smokey and the Bandit” at least 50 times so far. And when I first left the theater, I did exactly that. And I know that’s what people do when they see “Duke of Hazard.” They just love the notion of driving down a dirt road and creating a little dust behind your car.
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I am not talking about reckless driving. But there is no other feeling like this. I feel like filmmaking as a whole has been ignored or forgotten, which makes no sense because it was popular. And it made Burt Reynolds the king of the world… I know what it’s like to be the man behind the wheel of a fast car.
Granthshala News: You’re also starring in a Lifetime holiday movie called “Christmas in Tune” with Reba McEntire. how was that?
Schneider: Oh, I’ve known Reba for 30 years, maybe 35. We have a wonderful relationship. And our chemistry is amazing. We finish each other’s sentences and each other’s thoughts. We sang, I think, three duets together, which was a real treat. She is an amazing singer and a wonderful friend.
Granthshala News: Looks like there was more drama than work on that set.
Schneider: Always. I believe in having a good time. I am the one who will always find happiness in everything. And it was so easy to work with Reba. We sang and played a lot. The only difficulty with doing this film is that we were doing a Christmas movie. So we were pretending it was cold and July and very hot. But it was great. I look forward to finally seeing it.
“Poker Run” will be available on DVD on November 26 and will be streaming on CineflixDOD.com. “Christmas In Tune” premieres November 26 at 8 p.m. ET on Lifetime.