Jessica Simpson Is Daisy Duke
And No Longer a Newlywed
New York City – If you think you know Jessica Simpson – the chaste, blonde singer, teenage role-model, superstar who proudly saved her virginity for her wedding night – think again. The daughter of a preacher is stripping down and baring a lot (not quite all) as Daisy Duke in the big screen rendition of the long running, 80s television show, “The Dukes of Hazzard.”
Jessica Simpson was in New York City recently, along with her movie co-stars, Seann William Scott and Johnny Knoxville, who play Bo and Luke Duke, respectively, and was in high gear, ready to talk about her first movie, her popular television show, “Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica,” and the constant, “ridiculous” rumors about an impending divorce between she and her husband of three years, Nick Lachey.
“I don’t know where people get the story that Nick and I are divorcing,” says a perfectly coifed, manicured, made-up, tanned and dressed Simpson, perched on a couch in a suite at The Drake Hotel, bare legs crossed and holding a bottle of Evian.
“Honestly, people have been saying we have already gotten divorced, or have been planning on divorcing for six months or more, now. I don’t think anyone who was divorced or planning on getting one would have bought a house together, or continue to live with each other. I am a singer, not really an accomplished actress, yet, at least, and I don’t think I could pretend all that well, especially for as long as the divorce rumors have abounded.”
Clearly, the rumors about a Nick and Jessica divorce are not as dramatic as the alleged “engagement” of Tom and Katie and if Jessica can help it, the story will die down soon. “It’s funny,” she exclaims, “newspapers and TV gossip shows all seem to want to get a ‘scoop’ about a celebrity, whenever they can, but it is funny, though, how big a deal they made of Tom & Katie in the weeks before the release of ‘War of the Worlds,’ and then, after it opened, what? Not a whisper. And here, with the upcoming release of my movie, the same thing, to a much lesser extent, but the same. I just hope once the movie is released on August 5th, that the gossip about Nick and me ends.”
As for the movie, the first she has chosen to star in, Simpson is happy to talk.
“I thought making ‘Dukes’ was going to be a lot harder than it really was. It was much different than anything I have done before, but the camaraderie on the set made things so easy. Seann [William Scott] and Johnny [Knoxville] were so funny and were real pros, making things fun, especially when the cameras were not rolling – which was a lot of the time.
“As for choosing ‘Dukes’ as my first movie, well… I needed to keep as close to my persona as possible. No, I am not a ditz or a sexpot like Daisy Duke but she is an amazing character, a strong girl, physically and emotionally. She’s from the south, like me, which made the accent easy and she is an all-American girl.”
When “The Dukes of Hazzard” first premiered on television in 1979, Simpson was not even conceived. “I never saw the show when I was a kid,” she laughs. “The year it ended, , I was only five. It wasn’t until re-runs, when I was a teen, that I first caught a glimpse of the show.
“When I decided on taking the role of Daisy,” which coincidentally is also the name of Simpson’s dog – and that has been seen on “Newlyweds” (Seasons 1 and 2 are now on DVD from Paramount Home Video) myriad times – “I had to cut out a lot of the fast food I loved so much and couldn’t eat chocolate cake. It went from Taco Bell and Chuy’s to fruit salad and grilled chicken. And, most importantly, I forced myself to work out two hours every day. Now that the movie is completed, I still work out – maybe not two hours a day – but I am back to eating my favorite foods –u til the next movie comes along, at least.”
When it came to the wardrobe for Daisy Duke, the costumer designers didn’t have to do much besides get out their scissors and run to the local high end jeans shop. “I tried on so many jeans,” recalls Simpson, “and after trying on what seemed like every brand I settled on Lucky Brand. They fit just right, I think?” she smiles, with a little hesitancy in her voice.
After wearing and trying on so many pairs of jeans, Simpson decided to create her own line – Bridges. And, “I hope to have my own line of Daisy Dukes, too. My mom and I are going to be working together on the merchandising.”
It is all in the family for the Simpsons. Dad is Jessica and younger sister, singer Ashlee’s manager.
What Simpson is most proud of is her image; her wholesome image that she has tried to maintain throughout her singing career and her television show, “Newlyweds.”
“I get such a great feeling when mothers come up to me and thank me for being such a positive influence on their young daughters.” What Simpson doesn’t do is name names, say Britney Spears or Christina Aguilera, but she does make one thing clear. “I like being an inspiration to girls in a way that they don’t normally see. I think they will realize with Daisy Duke, that she is a character I am playing, and that is not really me. And more importantly, if they do take anything away from the movie, it’s that Daisy is strong person; someone who can hold her own. She is the one always getting everyone out of trouble.”
Simpson does reveal that “Newlyweds” won’t be coming back for another season. “Nick and I will do four more variety shows together but we are happy with what we have done with ‘Newlyweds,’ but we aren’t newlyweds anymore. So it would be kind of dumb to keep doing it.”