John Schneider Explores General Lee Confederate Flag Controversy in New Film, ‘Christmas Cars’
Former The Dukes of Hazzard star John Schneider is paying homage to the show that first made him famous with a new movie he is making, and he will push back against critics of the Confederate flag that appears on the show's classic car, the General Lee.
Schneider is filming a movie titled Christmas Cars, an independent film he is developing via his studio. Schneider and his new wife, Alicia Allain, worked on the new movie together, which Schneider wrote and directed. He says the film was inspired by all of the fans who have asked him whether there would be a Dukes reboot over the years.
“And I say, 'Probably not because they made that awful movie in 2005 and that means they don't understand the source material.' I think I do," Schneider tells Fox News. "So we made Christmas Cars. I play a guy who was on a show 40 years ago and I drove an orange Charger with a flag on the top of it and number 1 on the door.”
Schneider plays a fictional version of himself in the film, a former television star who's since fallen on hard times. He now owns a store, and he starts selling a line of die-cast replicas of the famous car from his old show to honor the 40th anniversary of the series. He sells out of his inventory, only to see that success threatened by someone who calls for a boycott of the memento.
“And he does that by getting online and saying, 'Boycott this man because he and his show and his car are the universal sign of intolerance and racism,'" Schneider explains.
"So I went from having five thousand orders to having 4,800 people who want their money back," he adds. "So it's pretty cool. So it is life imitating art or art imitating life. It's one of those things.”
Warner Bros., which owns the merchandising rights to The Dukes of Hazzard, stopped sales of merchandise bearing the Confederate flag in 2015, after a mass shooting at a church in Charleston, S.C. The 21-year-old shooter reportedly said he was there specifically to "shoot black people," and images later turned up online of him with the Confederate flag, re-igniting a long-running debate over its place in American culture. Schneider has since become embroiled in the debate about the meaning of the flag, against his will.
“People have told me now for the last four years or five years or so, what I must think because of the car I drove on the television show and they tell me what that car meant on the television show,” he tells Fox News. “Well, who the hell are you to tell me what that car meant then or to me now?”
“If the flag on that car when we did that show represented inequality or racism in any regard, Uncle Jesse would have made us scratch it off with our teeth. And people know that," Schneider adds. "But people are also led around by social media. We have a line in the movie where my barber — Floyd, the Barber — says, ‘People don't think what they think anymore, they think what they're told to think.’"
Christmas Cars is available for pre-order on DVD via Schneider's official online store. Orders will be shipped by Nov. 25. Watch a trailer for the movie above.
See the Cast of The Dukes of Hazzard Then and Now: