When the bogus Miller family headed by David Clark, a small-time pot dealer (Jason Sudeikis), in company with a stripper, Rose O'Reilly (Jennifer Aniston), and two fake kids (Emma Robson and Will Poulter) try to smuggle a “smidge of pot” (two tons of marijuana) across the US-Mexican border in a rented Coachmen Encounter Class A motorhome, all kinds of mayhem and madness ensues. Directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber “We’re the Millers,” a rip-roaring action-adventure RV road trip movie from New Line Cinema, focuses on a hapless family’s attempts to mollify Brad Gurdlinger, Clark’s drug supplier and erstwhile drug baron (played by the incomparable Ed Helms), whilst simultaneously avoiding detection by cross border law enforcement agencies. The “R” rated movie -- which opens across the country on August 7 -- not only provides a welcome showcase for the Coachmen division of Elkhart, Indiana-based Forest River Inc., but also shines a light on Ford’s durable and dependable 22,000lb F-53 stripped chassis upon which the “Encounter” line of Coachmen motorhomes is based.
Two Coachmen Encounter RV units were used during the filming of “We’re the Millers” along with a 1991 Foretravel Grand Villa Class A unihome -- on a Chevy chassis -- driven by co-star Nick Offerman, who plays Clark’s neighbor Don Fitzgerald. However, if you’re paying attention you’ll no doubt recognize a host of additional RV bit players including a Newmar Dutch Star motorhome. According to the Warner Bros. movie production notes, special sets were constructed to duplicate the Encounter RV interior -- built on a movable base to simulate the scenes on the road -- which were designed with removable walls and front panels to help handle the indoor motorhome shots.
Filming of the US-Mexico border movie scenes actually took place in New Mexico which involved “borrowing” a stretch of highway in the Land of Enchantment for a period of three weeks. “We’re the Millers” producer Chris Bender recalled one unexpected result of the periodic road closures when the film crew needed to stop traffic for a while. As the police were holding the cars, someone (apparently a real drug dealer) thought it was a real police control point, threw a bag of drugs out of the vehicle window, took off running and was subsequently arrested by police, thus lending credence to the hoary old adage that sometimes truth is indeed stranger than fiction.
The last major Hollywood movie to provide a starring role for a recreational vehicle was Greg Mottola’s “Paul” back in March, 2011 which featured British comic actors Simon Pegg and Nick Frost in a thirtysomething Winnebago (the interior scenes were actually shot in a Fleetwood Bounder) making a road trip to Area 51 in Nevada where the duo picked up a hitchhiking alien (voiced by Seth Rogen). Hopefully Warner Bros. “We’re the Millers” will prove equally as entertaining.