The Rock n' Roll Cops Making Rock n' Roll Cops

Scott Shaw
The Making of The Rock n’ Roll Cops
Here is an early Press Release Article about the creation of The Rock n’ Roll Cops.


Scott Shaw came up with the concept for
The Rock n’ Roll Cops in 1995. Due to other filmmaking commitments he did not begin filming it until the winter of 1997. Initially, he planned to shoot the entire film in one ongoing take—having the undercover police officers going from one call to the next with no cuts or edits.

Shaw was set to go up on the project with his friend Kenneth H. Kim, who had collaborated with him on Samurai Vampire Bikers From Hell and Samurai Johnny Frankenstein, when his filmmaking associate, Donald G. Jackson, asked if he could come onboard, co-produce and provide the cinematography for the film—as he had fallen in love with Shaw’s title and concept. Shaw agreed. With this, this film took on an entirely new form. Instead of shooting it without any cuts, the movie was filmed over several weeks and provides many of the bizarre elements noted in Shaw/Jackson films. In order to give the movie the true feel of a documentary, the crew filmed several of the scenes in the auto-focus mode. In addition, many of the familiar faces from the Shaw/Jackson collaborations were enlisted; including: Julie Strain, Kevin Eastman, Robert Z’Dar, William Smith, and David Heavener.

As Shaw/Jackson productions always have their interesting, behind the scenes moments, this too was the case with the original version of The Rock n’ Roll Cops. Perhaps one of the funniest was when the team had rented a suite in the exclusive Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles. They had William Smith await their arrival in the suite. When Shaw and Jackson arrived, Jackson felt that Smith’s girlfriend was a distraction, so he had one of the production assistance ask her to leave.

William Smith, both on screen and off, is one of the ultimate Hollywood bad guys. He was so upset that he grabbed Jackson around the throat and proceeded to strangle him. Then, he remembered his long-standing friendship with Jackson and cooled down. His girlfriend ultimately left the suite to wait in the hotel bar as Smith’s scenes were filmed.

With the completion of each day of filming, Jackson, (as the cinematographer), would take home the footage. As Jackson tended to be a less than organized individual, when it came time to edit the film he could not find all of the footage. Thus, the edit of the movie was put on hold. Shaw actually felt that this was a good karmic cooling down period as Jackson had infuriated many of the cast and crew members of this movie due to his manic state of mind during filming.

It was not until 2003, when Jackson checked into the U.C.L.A. Medical Center for the last few months of his life, that he insisted that Shaw go to his home and acquire all of his film footage. With this, Shaw was finally able to find all of the footage for the The Rock n’ Roll Cops. He edited the film. Though not fully competed during his lifetime, Jackson was able to watch some of the scenes from his hospitable bed and was blown away by what they had created.

Hollywood P.D. Undercover

In 2001, prior to this edit taking place, Shaw had met Richard Magram. Magram was one of Shaw’s filmmaking students at U.C.L.A. The two hit it off and decided to make a film together. Shaw had always wanted to go back and film his original concept for The Rock n’ Roll Cops. Thus, production was set in motion.

Just as they were about to begin filming, Kenneth H. Kim contacted Shaw and he too came onboard the production. Though it was decided it would be too difficult to actually film the movie in one continuous take, due to the novice actors and crew they had in place, none-the-less, the movie went up and Shaw was able to create his original vision.

Distribution

As Shaw thought he would never be able to acquire all of the footage for the original The Rock n’ Roll Cops, when he initially edited and released the film he shot with Magram and Kim, he used the title Rock n’ Roll Cops. This version was released solely on VHS. So, there are a few collectable copies of this film out there with the title Rock n’ Roll Cops. It eventually was retitled and was released on DVD as Hollywood P.D. Undercover. This is a similar case with the actual film, The Rock n’ Roll Cops; in this period of transition, it was titled Rock n’ Roll Cops 2: The Adventure Begins and was released on VHS. So, if you can find a copy of this version of the film, it too is very collectable.

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