Gorringe: That leads very nicely to a question I have,
which is are there any plans for biographies or for a film?
John Force: We are right
now, and this'll interest you...a movie was made a year ago
by a young actor - in fact he's in London today and I tried
to reach him - his name is Stephen Hopkins. He's not an actor,
he's a producer, and we signed Ashley with the William Morris
Agency, and we have our own TV reality show. You'll see it
this year. We started filming over a year ago and I met Stephen
Hopkins. I think he's from Australia but he lives here in
London and he just did the life and times of Peter Sellers
and he won the Emmys and all the big stuff in the States...what
are they called, the Golden Globes...he won all of that, and
the actress Charlize Theron, I think she's from Africa, she
won a Golden Globe. Whatever, they won everything in '05 and
his production company is called Svengali. It's a group of
three of them and I had his numbers, I called yesterday and
his girlfriend is in America so he might be in the States.
But I was supposed to meet him here. We have to go tomorrow
and get together on money. But he is producing, it's his production
capital, everybody knows who Peter Sellers is and his movie
was a big hit in the States and I'm sure over here.
But he is doing our reality show and it's called The Driving
Forces. And the first race that he ever came to was a year
ago in 04, when Ashley and I won Pomona. And he'd never seen
a drag race, didn't have a clue. And he was in total shock!
He was there in the final when I won and she won, and he was
in the media room and he said "There is a movie in the
making here". And that's when we signed the reality show.
But we had to sell the show, and it took about a year. We
went to New York, we went to LA, MTV, we did every channel:
Disney Channel, ABC, NBC, we hit 'em all. And the channel
that took it was the A + E Network. We had offers for one
show, three shows, A + E said "We'll take six right now."
And we signed for ten, with an option of fifteen and twenty.
They say it's gonna be a two-year run. They put a huge budget,
2.7 million, advertising budget behind us. There are five
of us. It's about this family of young girls, that wanna be
like Dale Earnhardt, the dad, except they're girls...
Roger Gorringe: Is
it going to be something a little bit like a racing version
of The Osbournes...
John Force: Exactly. We
really struggled because MTV, they wanted to dig for the dirt:
"Have these girls ever done drugs?". My kids are
good, they were raised by their mother. These girls are the
closest to Princess Di you're gonna get, OK? I married the
Princess Di from the States. I say that in all respect because
Princess Di, in our country she's a hero. In our country,
when she died the States hurt. You know what I mean? And you
can understand these young girls that followed her. You know,
everybody hates the paparazzi, we loved them because what
they gave us. We can open our magazines - and sorry for what
took place - but in the States if they're not following you
then you ain't shit. And I'm sorry but that's the way it is.
And I've told Ashley about the media - the media can be very
stressful. She don't have a problem. You interview her, she'll
be politically correct what she says, but get her loose that
kid can out-talk me. I said to her mother once "Why does
she never talk?" and her mother goes "You never
let her." Get a few minutes, get her off to the side
and talk to her.
And Eric is another talker. Eric will...he out-talks me.
But they're all so respectful to me, you know what I mean?
And Robert my son-in-law, he's another believe it or not off-the-wall
gabber, but they never speak around me. I never knew it about
'em. I knew it about Eric, I've seen Eric on stage with the
guitar, playing and singing "Johnny B Goode"...he's
sucked up from day one, he knew how to get a job!
But what I'm saying is, our reality...sorry, I got sidetracked...but
our reality show, we have our press day January 12th in LA.
They're gonna unveil it but it's gonna hit the market of TV
in June - I think it's late May, early June - on A + E, ten
shows. A + E's a good channel, a great channel, but it's got
huge exposure. They're already bringing us to England and
Japan, our show will come here.
We've had a number of book offers to do a book. I gave the
rights to Densmore to produce the book. I didn't give him
the money rights, I gave him the rights. But he knows me,
for thirty years.
If you wanna see racing turn on ESPN. This is about what
the girl does in the morning, and like in the opening show
it's me screaming "Get out of bed!".
But let me say this. My wife and I are married happily. My
attorney advised me "Never get a divorce, or you'll be
one team and she'll own three," and we had our problems
over the years because I went racing, and I lived in that
world., and I sent all the money home. I never needed money,
racing gave me everything. You know what I mean? I never had
to buy a meal. In thirty years I could tell the story...probably
in the first four years of my career I could eat anywhere
free because they wanted to hear the bullshit. You know what
I'm saying? I can go in any bar in the States and they'll
buy me a drink just to hear the stories. Because I tell stories
about Earnhardt, Don Garlits, stories about Shirley Muldowney
and they love it, right? Never about myself, just about what
So in the process of this, this show is about these girls...I
got sidetracked, I'm trying to come back...about these girls
wanting to drag race in a world of John Force and what it
was like. My wife just got the Super Comp licence because
the TV show thought it would be good if their mother was licenced
and the girls could relate to the mother. She's a beautiful
woman, you'll see her tonight. Trains, runs every day, looks
like a movie star. Don't look like me, trust me! And she's
very Catholic, very much into the Queen, When we stood at
the gates I'm making jokes and my wife slapped me! "Could
you be respectful for once?". I said "But look at
them guys walking back and forth", you know I'm yelling
"Hey, over here!" and my wife's saying "No!
Be respectful". She loves the charm of London, totally.
But when NHRA took me away from my family - this is the show
- NHRA is putting them back together. 'Cos now with the girls
racing, my wife's at every race, she has her own eighteen-wheeler,
you know what I'm saying? And she won't hardly come in the
bus. And she says "I love you, I just don't like you!
I've always loved you, but you're just nuts!". And if
you interview her, she'll say "It's just John".
Santa's coming down the staircase, and he's talking about
how he's gonna beat Bernstein and Prudhomme - on Christmas
morning! Because that's the way I am. But she loves me, I
love her, and we have our life but now it's getting us close.
When the girls were cheerleaders I was watching the football
game not the cheerleaders. I wanted a son, I never got a son
- I don't know how in the hell that happened! I may have a
few pop up on the Tour, any day now! But the truth is, now
her and I are closer than we've ever been. And she told me
standing right out in front of the Palace "Would you
show a little bit of respect to the Queen?". I said "They
told me at ten after five she's leaving. I wanna see what
kind of car she drives". Ford Focus! My wife says "Everything's
a joke to you isn't it?", I said "No, I don't know
how to get through a day without..." - it's what I do.
And same thing on the plane, you know what I mean? I've never
been treated the way that Castrol and Ford Motor Company treat
me. Let me tell you something: I own one suit, and one red
tie. The same grey tie and red stripes I've worn since the
first Banquet. And my Crew Chief will say "Every time
we go out, you wear that same suit and tie". It's kinda
like, it's what I wore from day one.
And when I go to be afraid to go on stage, because I have
a big fear of the stage, that's why I talk so much. I've studied
the books on Jay Leno, I learned more from Jackie Gleason
on The Honeymooners. The first time he ever went on stage
he bombed, and he was backstage, and he went to the bar, and
he said "That's the end of my career" if you read
his book, and a guy came down in the bar to get a drink, the
producer, and they were all stressed. And Jackie Gleason is
entertaining them and the bar guy said "Go back out and
do what you're doing now, they'll love you". He goes
"They hated me!". And the bar guy said "Whatever
you're doing, go do". And he went back on stage with
a couple of drinks in him and they loved him, and that was
the start of his career in New York, in the Bronx. Because
he had to get loose, and I have to get loose. And that's why
sometimes you'll hear me on the stage just scream - because
I'm terrified. And then once I get going you can't shut me
up. Like now!