Actor John Schneider reveals that he had to become a good ol’ boy in order to nail his audition for the hit show “The Dukes of Hazzard.”
The New York native felt he didn’t have a chance of landing the role. At the time, he was living in Atlanta with his mother and had just recently finished high school. Schneider would act in local theater productions and also worked car washes on the weekend to make a little money. He heard they were auditioning for “The Dukes of Hazzard.”
“I was just out of high school, I went to summer school,” Schneider said during a Youtube video. “I was doing a show called the Manhattan Yellow Pages down in the Omni International Hotel in Atlanta. Doing the Academy theater, doing Shakespeare, doing all kinds of theater. And washing cars. I had a little car washing business on the weekends. We didn’t call it detailing because we didn’t know what that was yet. Anything to try to make a little money and be able to pay my auto insurance, my car payment.”
The only issue was the show was looking for someone authentic to portray Bo Duke. That definitely wasn’t Schneider, who came from New York. Fortunately, the young actor heard a bit of advice around Atlanta on how actor Sonny Shroyer wound up on the show.
“There was a legend around Atlanta about this actor who came in for a reading on an audition and spits on the floor. The script called for [mimics spit motion] and he got the callback,” Schneider said.
John Schneider Becomes Bo Duke
Schneider quickly decided to do his own bit of method acting to secure the part. That involved embracing his inner country boy and literally becoming Bo Duke for the audition.
“Here I am this Westchester county guy. And here’s this rural thing. The word is they want actors 24 to 30 years old from Georgia, from the sticks, from the farm. Dirt in their boots. Not on but in their boots,” Schneider said.
The actor borrowed a friend’s pickup truck, dressed in boots and a tee-shirt, and bought himself a six-pack of beer. At his audition, he opened up a beer, leaned back, and started offering other people beer. His schtick quickly impressed one of the executive producers, who gave him the part in the show.
And just like that, the show had found their Bo Duke.