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Naked truths


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POSTED: Tuesday, March 24, 2009

An assistant offers strips of tape to comedian Rob Schneider, who removes his pants to secure the flesh-colored stocking that amounts to less than a rudimentary loincloth. Tape anchored, he crab-walks with a pinched face, muttering “;Ow!”; and a few unprintable words as the extras take their places. Donning a whistle and a goofy captain's hat, Schneider responds to the director's call for “;Action!”;

In the scene, he offers to retrieve a volleyball hit into the bushes. This requires the very exposed Schneider to bend over with his back toward onlookers, who cover their faces to suppress peals of laughter.

Schneider's brother and manager, John Schneider, glances between his Blackberry and sibling, and shrugs. “;Nudity is comedy,”; he says.

When the director yells, “;Cut!”; Schneider emerges from the bushes and waves to the crew and extras, their applause affirming the success of the philistine humor. “;Thank you,”; he nods, pulling a towel around himself. “;Some of my finest work. All those years of acting lessons!”;

A veteran of more than 80 “;Saturday Night Live”; episodes in the show's second round of glory days in the early 1990s, Schneider is also a writer, director and character actor who has appeared in films such as “;50 First Dates”; and “;You Don't Mess With the Zohan.”;

He's in town shooting a satirical movie trailer for the Web site FunnyorDie.com. Plans to make the video in Los Angeles changed when he accepted a part in the feature “;You May Not Kiss the Bride,”; in production here with David Annable, Tia Carrere, Mena Suvari and Katharine McPhee. New location? Punaluu. The two- to three-minute piece spoofs cliche-ridden 1980s action flicks like “;Red Dawn”; and features Russian soldiers invading America — represented by a nudist colony. Started by Will Farrell two years ago, Funny or Die solicits audience judgment on all submitted videos.

“;If it's not funny, you're going to get roasted,”; says Cuirus Legg, an extra on the set. But that's all part of the fun.

Word of mouth and advertisements on Craigslist invited Legg, his twin brother and anyone with a sense of adventure to participate.

“;Everyone showed up on the premise that there would be flesh-colored underpants,”; extra Rob Masterson notes with a smirk. “;We got here and there were socks.”;

during the low-budget shoot, men secure towels with one hand and send text messages with the other between takes. A table covered with bagels, chips and pretzels keeps everyone satiated until the bento lunches arrive. Inside the private home, a few clothed extras endure slaps to the chest as wardrobe chief Ara Laylo covers the “;U.S.”; printed on their uniforms. Others shout Russian phrases while an actor/instructor corrects them repeatedly. Plastic machine guns are passed around. One extra complains that his pants are several sizes too small and won't zip properly. Producer Mike Farah mutters, “;Guess it's better than a sock.”;

Away from the activity, Schneider gets philosophical. “;We love filming in Hawaii,”; he says. Sitting cross-legged in a chair and draped in a towel, he chats about the “;ridiculously good food”; at Alan Wong's Restaurant and his affinity for the islands, where he spent summers as a child. “;The people are the most amazing; the crews are great. It's a magical place. If you make friends with a Hawaiian, you've got a friend for life. I appreciate being here.”;