‘It’s Like a Redneck Hangover’ Says ‘Death of Dick Long’ Director

The Death of Dick Long premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January. Daniel Scheinert. one half of the duo Daniels with Dan Kwan, directed this dark comedy solo and played the title character, Dick Long. After a night of drunken partying, Dick Long winds up dead. His surviving friends Zeke (Michael Abbott Jr.) and Earl (Andre Hyland) try to cover up the circumstances of Dick Long’s death.

Death of Dick Long
Andre Hyland (L) and Michael Abbott, Jr. (R) in The Death of Dick Long | A24

Scheinert spoke with Showbiz Cheat Sheet this week about The Death of Dick Long, including how it related to his experience growing up in Alabama and the women in his life. The Death of Dick Long is in theaters now. 

Why the film is ‘a redneck Hangover’

The Hangover is also about a group of guys who wake up after a drunken night of partying and have to piece together what happened when they blacked out. 

The Death of Dick Long
L-R: Daniel Scheinert, Andre Hyland and Michale Abbott, Jr. in The Death of Dick Long | A24

“We’ll just say it’s like a redneck Hangover,” Scheinert said. “That’ll get people to come see it, right?”

They made two sequels to The Hangover and many more movies about overgrown manchildren getting into trouble. Scheinert wanted to show there were consequences to such shenanigans.

The Death of Dick Long
Virginia Newcomb in The Death of Dick Long | A24

“I love movies about manchildren and yet there is this kind of itch in the back of your head when you watch them where you’re like, ‘Are they glorifying this behavior in a way that’s not so helpful?’ My friend, Virginia [Newcomb], who stars in the movie as Lydia, she watched a rough cut and afterwards she started crying because she was like, ‘There’s just so many guys I know who just wake up after a horrible weekend and just ignore what happened and bottle it up.’ She still lives in Birmingham [and] found this the characters frighteningly relatable or recognizable.”

Daniel Scheinert, interview with Showbiz Cheat Sheet, 9/16/19

The wives are the heroes of ‘The Death of Dick Long’

Earl tries to keep the circumstances of Dick Long’s death secret from his wife Jane (Jess Weixler). He’s not as smart as Jess, Lydia or Officer Dudley (Sarah Baker) though.

“It wasn’t just a movie about manchildren,” Scheinert said. “It was about the women who clean up their messes. I feel like so often I watch movies and I wish this movie was more about those wives. They’re really interesting.”

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Sarah Baker in The Death of DIck Long | A24

And not only comedies. Scheinert cited dramas where the women were neglected by the film.

“I saw that movie Black Mass with Johnny Depp. It’s just a bunch of bros doing crime sh*t and then a wife would come on for like two minutes and just steal the scene and then be gone for the rest of the movie and be like well, she was good for when we had her. With this movie, we got to really lean into the women of Alabama who in real life I feel like are overlooked. The headlines about Alabama are usually about some white dudes doing some horrible sh*t.”

Daniel Scheinert, interview with Showbiz Cheat Sheet, 9/16/19

The Scheinert women may not want to be associated with The Death of Dick Long, but that didn’t stop Daniel.

“My mom hates when I say this but there’s a part of this movie that is a love letter to the women in my family because I have a lot of very dark sense of humor smart battleaxe southern women in my family,” Scheinert said. “It was really fun casting the police officers and the sheriff and being like yeah, she reminds me of my aunt Vicky.”

Daniel Scheinert played Dick Long to own up to the film

The Alfred Hitchcock cameo of casting Scheinert himself as Dick Long’s dead body was actually screenwriter Billy Chew’s idea. 

“It was Billy who wrote it and produced it with me that bullied me into it,” Scheinert said. “I was afraid that people from Alabama, where I’m from, would think I was just making fun of them. There was something cathartic about playing the most embarrassing role myself and putting a target on the back, being like, ‘All right, I’m with you guys. I’m a part of this too.’”

Daniel Scheinerts at Sundance
Daniel Scheinert at Sundance | David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images

Since it was Chew’s script, it did not make sense for both Daniels to direct The Death of Dick Long.

“Billy, who wrote it, is one of my best friends,” Scheinert said. “He wrote this while he was living in Alabama where I’m from and constantly calling me and telling me, ‘Dude, Alabama’s awesome and interesting and bizarre.’ He taught me to love where I’m from. So he was trying to put the movie together, I got really excited about going and making it with him.”

Daniel Scheinert is confident people will find ‘The Death of Dick Long’

The Death of Dick Long is a weird movie that gets even weirder when you find out the answer to the mystery. Scheinert isn’t worried though. He’s sure the right people will find the film.

The Death of Dick Long
L-R: Daniel Scheinert, Michael Abbott, Jr. and Andre Hyland in The Death of Dick Long | A24

“I think that people want something different,” Scheinert said. “You can ask some statisticians in the movie industry what’s commercial but they’re going to base it off of a bunch of safe movies. I think weird movies find their audience. I hope to stay in that niche.”