When actor Robert Hays, known most notably for his role in the cult classic “Airplane!,” was asked to join director and producer David Zucker in Wisconsin for a new commercial spot aimed at driving tourists to the state, he said, “Surely, you can’t be serious."
“Thirty-two years since we worked together (in ‘Airplane!’) and I thought, 'Shoot, why not come out here and push ourselves on Wisconsin,'" Hays said. "Make you guys miserable for a few days.”
Hays and Zucker, joined by state Tourism Secretary Stephanie Klett and Gov. Scott Walker, announced the new commercial, cracked jokes and spit quips during a press conference Monday.
Zucker, a Shorewood native who has directed, produced and written some of the most successful comedy films over the past three decades, including the last two installments of “Scary Movie,” “The Naked Gun” series, “Ruthless People” and "Airplane!," said he will start filming the commercial Tuesday in Eagle River, WI.
"I'm pretty sure when this commercial shoot is over, it will be another 32 years before we do this again," Zucker joked.
The commercial will be the second state tourism ad that Zucker has directed. Last winter, he directed a TV spot at Milwaukee's Riverside Theater. It featured the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra performing a concert and breaking into a snowball fight.
“David made a symphony orchestra look undignified in our winter TV spot. Just imagine what he’s going to do when we let him loose on one of our Northwood’s lakes,” said Klett.
In the new spot that is expected to air next summer, Zucker said Hays will play a fisherman named Ted on a lake. Hays played a character named Ted Striker, an ex-fighter pilot with a fear of flying, in "Airplane!"
"He's going to get into some trouble with casting his line, and one thing will lead to another," Zucker said of Hays' role in the spot. "The last line of the commercial will be, 'You don't need any special skills to enjoy Wisconsin.'"
Walker said it's a privilege for the state to help reunite Hays and Zucker.
"David and Robert's involvement with 'Airplane!' was a classic moment in Hollywood history and we're thrilled to be the ones to bring them back together after all these years and make a little history in Wisconsin," Walker said.