HomeEntertainment‘Dukes of Hazzard’: Tom Wopat Said Show Cast Him as Luke Due to ‘Gravitas’

‘Dukes of Hazzard’: Tom Wopat Said Show Cast Him as Luke Due to ‘Gravitas’

by Katie Maloney
(Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)

There’s a reason Tom Wopat was tasked with the iconic Luke Duke car hood slide. Wopat revealed the reason why he was cast on The Dukes of Hazzard during an interview in 2016.

After its premiere in 1979, The Dukes of Hazzard soared to fame as one of the most iconic American television shows of all time. The show released 147 episodes across seven seasons. And it was consistently rated one of the top television series in the late 1970s. The Dukes of Hazzard follows cousins Bo and Luke Duke who are on probation for moonshine-running. The Dukes partake in various escapades along with their cousin Daisy and other friends all while evading the corrupt law officers in their Georgie hometown. Undoubtedly, Tom Wopat, who played Luke Duke on the show, soared to fame. But how did he land the role in the first place? Wopat revealed exactly why he was cast as Luke during an interview in 2016.

While living in New York, Wopat auditioned for the role of Bo Duke for The Dukes of Hazzard. However, casting agents requested that he read for the part of Luke Duke since John Schneider had already been cast as Bo.

“They had cast all the parts except mine. They were searching for someone who had a little more gravitas than John,” said Wopat. “I’m nine years older than him and had a little more background and was a little more mature.”

He got the part and “ten days later we were shooting in Georgia,” said Wopat.

The Duke Of Hazzard Star Tom Wopat Said He Was Inspired by Andy Griffith

When you compare the two characters, Luke Duke and Andy Taylor of The Andy Griffith Show, couldn’t be any more different. Duke is on probation for selling moonshine and frequently evades law enforcement. While Taylor is an upstanding small-town sheriff. Nevertheless, The Dukes of Hazzard star Tom Wopat once explained why he respected actor Andy Griffith during an interview in 2005.

“I look at people who are honest in what they do,” said Wopat. “Andy Griffith is a really interesting actor, and he had quite a film career before he did television. I like that kind of sincerity and truthfulness.”

Although Luke Duke may not have been a big fan of following rules, he had a good heart. So, we get the connection. Wopat added that he was often stunned by how popular The Dukes of Hazzard still is decades after the show ended.

“It boggles the mind,” said Wopat. “I forget about it on occasion, and it’s brought back to me pretty quickly, usually. It was like high school. I had a great deal of fun doing it. We had lots of laughs and formed great relationships. It’s been twenty years since it’s been off the air.”