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Since then, he's been busy singing, making movies and appearing in television hits like Smallville and Nip/Tuck. Now he's set to star in a three-month run of the Broadway production of the musical "Chicago" as lawyer Billy Flynn.
John sat down with TheCelebrityCafe.com to talk about auctioning off his General Lee car, following his dreams, and finding God through Johnny Cash.
DM) You're starring in "Chicago" on Broadway for the next three months as Billy Flynn. How is that going?
JS) Now that I'm out of rehearsal, my days involve trying to find a golf course. Currently there's interviews and such ... I'm leaving Friday to auction off the last General Lee. My global eBay star.
DM) Is that the original car?
JS) [My company] made the car and we rented it to the studio for [The Dukes of Hazzard] reunion movie. If they get it from me, they know it's accurate. I gotta pay somebody for a place to live. I have to rent a trailer from my own company to stay in the city for "Chicago."
DM) Why did you have to make a new car for the reunion movie?
JS) They aren't just lying around. They would have to have the transportation department make one. They rented mine because it's the really nice one. And they don't treat their cars very well. A lot of them are in the coke can you're drinking from now. Since I knew I was the only one driving my car, I treated it pretty good. Having the whole cast sit on the trunk didn't help, either.
DM) And this weekend you're flying down to Scottsdale, Ariz., to auction it?
JS) The car did sell before on eBay but then the last bidder screwed it all up. It was already sold in the millions. At 10 a.m. I had just made, out of something sitting in my garage that I love dearly, $9.8 million.
DM) And how will, hopefully, this few million dollars from the auction change your life?
JS) It will reimburse me on the other passion in my life: making the movie Collier & Co. I made it myself, editing and distributing. I took six reels of film and went to drive-ins. I've done a lot of following my dreams, and it's cost me dearly. I don't think you should get somebody else to pay for your dream as that means your dream ain't big enough! But I admit I'm kind of an idiot to my wife as I spent all our money on a video. I'm a hopeless romantic, I guess. She's good with it now as she sees how happy it made me. I spent it and we're selling a car to try to make up for it. I have three kids and I think it's good for your kids to see you put your money where your passion is. I work hard for what we have and my kids see that.
DM) You didn't plan this from the beginning; i.e., lets make the car and sell it for a few million?
JS) I had the car for a long time and I had a great time with it. I put it on sale because I wanted to make Collier & Co. 2. Paying for the first one gave us some money for the second. eBay called me and they said they wanted to put the auction on the cover of their motor news section. I said sure, why not. The bidding then jumped up to two million to three and, eventually, up to nine million dollars. In my mind, I was thinking this is really cool.
DM) And is the rumor true that you once lived with Johnny Cash?
JS) The only time God made sense to me was seeing how a firm belief in God kept Johnny Cash together. It was the first time I saw Christianity not as a mamby-pamby religion. God became real to me with his religion. See, Johnny and his family loved The Dukes of Hazzard. When we did a movie for CBS, I got to know Johnny and June. Johnny asked, "Where you going to stay while you're in Nashville?" He said, "It's fine with me if you want to stay with us." I told him while he watched The Dukes of Hazzard, I watched his show in the late 60s. When it was happening it made sense, but when I look back it does feel pretty strange. Larry Gatlin lived there, Kris Kristofferson lived there. So Johnny was a collector of mutts at this point. I remember when I first walked in the door he was wearing a uncharacteristically white shirt. He said, "Welcome. If you treat the house like it's not yours, you're not welcome." Take that and his drug history and the wreck he pulled out of through grace of God and June Carter Cash. A man with as many scars as he had. If a man like him can say there is a God, then there is a God. I never believed it from a pastor or a TV show, but I believed it from Johnny Cash.
DM) Any other abstract friends stories?
JS) Naw. All the big stars today, maybe 43 years old and under, chances are they grew up watching The Dukes of Hazzard. I met George Clooney and Brad Pitt. He was jumping out of his window.
DM) Have you ever run into a fan who didn't know you were Bo Duke?
JS) Actually, three days ago a woman looked at me and I could tell she wasn't going to say Bo Duke. I could tell she didn't want to. She said "Oh my God ... you're Ram Peters [from Nip/Tuck]." It's appearing to me that the character in Nip/Tuck might eclipse The Dukes of Hazzard because he's so different from how I was in The Dukes of Hazzard.
DM) You're from Mt. Kisco, N.Y., but you played a "good ol' boy" on TV.
JS) If you're from Mt. Kisco, N.Y., and you play a redneck, you're forever a redneck. But I'm an actor. I don't understand it, but I think somehow when you play in something like The Dukes of Hazzard, which has been successful for 30 years, it's like the Frisbee of television. You're no longer considered an actor.
DM) Are most Duke fans shocked to learn you're a Yankee?
JS) I think so. I had a conversation in a bar. It was a New York moment. This guy was blasting blacks. I showed him my license and he was like "son of a b****." This guy wound up throwing out the most offensive racist bulls**** I ever heard. You'll wake up tomorrow and realize ... I said "You know the s*** I get for putting a rebel flag on a car?" People think I'm a racist for just being on that show. I'm sitting here way north of the Mason-Dixon line having a conservation with the most racist organism I've ever met.