Automotive enthusiasts worldwide are familiar with the Top Gear franchise, and luckily for fans in the U.S., hosts Rob Corddry, Jethro Bovingdon, and Dax Shepard are bringing all the fun and spectacle right to their backyard.
The Motor Trend series is well underway, but Jethro and Rob promise that they've "definitely figured out the show" one season in.
In an exclusive interview with Distractify, Rob and Jethro reveal that they're ready to "ramp up all the action" and further honor the Top Gear America name in their own way.
Rob and Jethro's driving on 'Top Gear America' is "very, very, real."
Jethro was quick to admit that the group is ready to take risks when filming, telling us exclusively that "the production team has a very 'strange' view on what’s dangerous and what isn’t."
Nonetheless, when an automotive challenge comes their way, the hosts are unlikely to turn it down. Case in point: their early Season 1 Ford Explorer jump scene.
When they were supposed to tear through an assault course in expensive SUVs, the weather turned against them. So, the trio thought on their feet and devised a new stunt: jumping a 40-year-old Ford Explorer.
"Whatever happens, when we leave today, we’re going to jump that Ford Explorer over those log piles," Jethro said of the stunt, adding that "Dax, being Dax, committed absolutely to the task."
"It was the perfect storm of brilliance: Rob was feeling terrible, Dax committed the way Dax always commits, and the Explorer survived this hilarious jump," Jethro shared. "Rob didn’t have his helmet done up, his seat broke. It just felt like a real, authentic Top Gear moment that wasn’t planned."
Although that moment stood out to both Rob and Jethro, they agreed that the show was chock-full of similar ones, which is precisely what makes it so great in their eyes.
Rob, in particular, said he enjoys the real-life work environment Top Gear America affords him, as opposed his work on major films.
"It’s all so fake in the movies and what we’re doing on Top Gear is very, very real," he said candidly. "Next time I do a movie, it’s just going to be so boring."
The Emmy Award winner added, "Even on Hot Tub [Time Machine], I wasn’t allowed to drive that Firebird into my garage. I wasn’t allowed to drive it down the street and into a garage, they shaved a stunt man’s head, it was his easiest day of work ever, just going, like, 40, into a garage, I was so mad."
Dax and Jethro are the most competitive drivers on the show, according to Rob.
Although all three hosts end up competing against one another, Rob revealed that Jethro and Dax often get heated over who wins and loses.
"Yeah, Dax is the reckless one. Jethro is, I’ve never seen anyone more courageous, and I’m their plaything," he said jokingly before spilling the beans on how Jethro and Dax really act around each other.
"I’ll open the book on Dax, I’m ready to spill the beans. Jethro also doesn’t like losing. Dax, I hope he never sees this, but Jethro tends to win and it makes Dax so mad," Rob said through more laughter.
"Now, he can laugh it off on set, but you know he’s just punching his steering wheel on the way home, it’s so fun to watch those two. It’s so fun being separated from that rivalry, it seems like so much pressure to me."
Jethro agreed, adding, "Dax says to me, 'Oh yeah, Kristen [Bell] says to me, "The only person whose approval you seek in life is Jethro’s."' Early on, when we first started working together at the end of the day, he’d be like, 'Jethro, I really like working with you, it’s pushing me into new places.' So I think that’s where we’re at. It’s pretty cool."
Overall, the hosts are just happy to be doing what they love every day.
Jethro summed it up best when he described what Top Gear America means to him.
"Top Gear is not necessary; it’s a huge amount of fun, though, isn’t it? I think we just wanted to do it, [and] be mindful of what’s come before in terms of how the sort-of irreverent style of the show is," he shared.
However, he maintained that they refuse to be "put in a box." "Someone’s like [Jeremy] Clarkson, and someone’s like [James] Hammond, and someone’s like [Richard] May. That was something we definitely wanted to avoid, we just wanted to be ourselves," Jethro explained. "So, unnecessary but awesome fun is how I would sum up Top Gear: America."
Catch new episodes of Top Gear America on Motor Trend On-Demand now!