What went wrong: Well, the first day of shooting went great. After that, the production ran into trouble, as the cast, the crew, and the writers kept questioning each other. Friedman describes a diner scene that was playing to stony silence on the set — Zucker: "Usually the crew laughs, even if it's a mercy laugh." — before he came up with the bright idea to have one terrorist continually push a fellow terrorist face-first into different plates of food. Friedman also ridicules a line Zucker wrote about Malone/Moore: "'The people who like your movies don't go to movies…' I never understood that line, because people do go to his movies."
An American Carol's right-wing backers were reportedly happy with the dailies they were seeing, but when the movie was test-screened in Texas, audiences were perplexed. They found the scene where General Patton shoots zombie ACLU lawyers too mean — "Didn't they get that the lawyers were zombies?" Zucker wonders — and they found some of the jokes too raunchy. So Zucker and his team cut a lot of material in order to appeal more to social conservatives, who, Zucker moans, "stayed home in droves." Describing Zucker's mindset throughout the shoot, Friedman says, "You kind of yelled a lot." Zucker: "Well, directing's tough." Friedman: "It is tough. And if you have to direct and you're a dick, it can be so much tougher."
Comments on the cast: Beyond making fun of Kevin Farley for being low on their list of choices — "We couldn't get Frank Caliendo," Zucker cracks — and pointing out that country star Trace Adkins come up with the idea to call Farley's character "turdhead" all on his own, the commentators spend most of their time weighing the political leanings of their various guest stars. Leslie Nielsen "is a liberal… but some might say he's too liberal when it comes to accepting movie parts." Kelsey Grammer (who played Patton) is a conservative, but still balked at having to say the line "Enjoy your privacy rights in hell!" until the writers softened it by having him note that privacy rights are great, except when they're "interfering with survival rights." Jon Voight (playing George Washington) is so conservative that he worried Zucker and company were making Farley's character too sympathetic. And as for Dennis Hopper… Well, according to Zucker, "Dennis can't remember what he is."
The creative team were also impressed that Paris Hilton pronounced "Riefenstahl" correctly, and they observe, "Bill O'Reilly does this thing with his face that some people would consider a smile, but I don't think you can call it a laugh." And they thank David Alan Grier, whose presence they believe gave them "cover" in the plantation scene. Friedman: "Even Sinbad turned us down." Zucker: "And Frank Caliendo. Again." Friedman: "We were going to put him in blackface."
Inevitable dash of pretension: Zucker notes that the scene with a wacky Hitler is "an homage to Mel Brooks." Friedman retorts, "I thought it was an homage to Hitler."
Commentary in a nutshell:
Zucker: "Here comes the plot."
Friedman: "We should put on the screen in big letters, 'Good scene to follow.'"
Farley: "But this scene really isn't all that great."
Friedman: "No, this scene isn't."
-- Noel Murray, "Commentary Tracks Of The Damned: An American Carol", The Onion AV Club