Comedian’s new film is a love letter to Arizona

Comedian Rob Schneider and his daughter Miranda Scarlett Schneider star in “Daddy Daughter Trip.” (Daddy Daughter Trip/Submitted)

Actor Rob Schneider has a love affair with the Valley, where he now resides. Because of this, he’s bringing a taste of Hollywood to the Grand Canyon State.

“Daddy Daughter Trip” — which he produced, directed and stars in — is now showing exclusively in Harkins Theatres.

Shot in Arizona, the film is a family affair. His wife, Patricia Maya Schneider, co-wrote the script, and it stars his daughters, singer-songwriter Elle King and Miranda Scarlett Schneider. “Daddy Daughter Trip” also features the legendary John Cleese (“A Fish Called Wanda,” “Monty Python’s Flying Circus”) and introduces Gavin Guerrero.

“We hope people love it,” he said. “I hope people get the love. My daughter is fantastic. She’s young and she never made a movie before, of course. She just turned 8. It was her idea.”

She took multiple takes well, too, once she understood.

“I had to explain that it’s not that easy. It’s work,” he said.

“It’s fun and it’s exciting and it’s glamorous, with camera and makeup. It’s long hours. It was so hot in the back of the car. We had an old car and it was repainted a beautiful blue. That’s the theme of the movie. The color of the car is the color of the sky that I see in Arizona.”

Rob and Cleese appeared at comedy clubs around town during the filming. The actor, often paired with friend Adam Sandler, said it was an honor to work with Cleese.

“He’s my hero,” he said. “He really is a wonderful man. He has a lot to say, and God bless him. It’s OK to have opinions. He’s to the left of where I am, but we both agree it’s about making the human condition better. He won’t call himself a conservative, but we do bridge the gap. Free speech is everything.

“But ‘Life of Brian’ is the greatest British comedy of all time. I love British humor. Monty Python is the high watermark of comedy in the 20th century. If you think otherwise, you’re not educated about comedy, and you can’t argue it. They changed comedy. Without Monty Python, we wouldn’t have had ‘Saturday Night Live.’”

A blend of live action and animation, “Daddy Daughter Trip” tells the story of second grader (Miranda) who dreams of a fun-filled spring break vacation her family can’t afford. Against the better judgment of her mom (Jackie Sandler, Adam Sandler’s wife) and with only coins in their pockets, her dreamer father (Rob) decides to take her on a spring break trip anyway.

After a series of misfortunate adventures, their vacation is saved when the duo meets a couple of famous travel bloggers.

“It’s about dreams,” Rob said. “If you don’t have money, it doesn’t mean you can’t figure out how to have a dream. It’s about family and hanging on to your dreams.

“In a way, it’s a universal truth that we’re dealing with in the movie that I’m really, really happy with. Besides all the jokes and the physical comedy, this is about love and family and that’s something I really wanted to show.”

The film is also a love letter to Arizona, where the Schneiders moved two years ago.

“My family, we are California refugees,” he said. “Arizona was nice enough to take us in. This is my thank-you letter to the people in Arizona. We feel very welcome here. I’m grateful.

“It’s my love letter to the state and the people who were unbelievably helpful to get this movie made. I show some pretty cool places here and how beautiful the state is. The differences are incredible between Flagstaff and Sedona. It just goes to show how gorgeous the state is. I love it here.”

Now he’s hoping to bring more films here, thanks to the state’s tax incentives.

“I was asked to make this movie in other states for a tax rebate,” he said. “I’m glad we did it here. I think we’re looking to open a studio here, but we need to see how this movie does and how it’s received and then we’ll take it from there.

“We want to support other filmmakers. I’ll produce the movies and make a few more. I don’t know how many more I’ll do. I’ll make more films here and have them made here. As a matter of fact, I’m flying to meet some investors to produce more films here.”

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