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24 Things We Learned from Joe Carnahan’s ‘Stretch’ Commentary

“This is as close to a rom-com as I’ll probably ever do.”
Helms and Wilson in Stretch
Universal Pictures
By  · Published on January 12th, 2021

Welcome to Commentary Commentary, where we sit and listen to filmmakers talk about their work, then share the most interesting parts. In this edition, Rob Hunter revisits a man, a limo, and one crazy night in Stretch.

2014’s Stretch is an underseen and underappreciated action/comedy, but you don’t have to just take my word for it. Writer/director Joe Carnahan says as much — more than once — on his commentary for the film. The fine folks at Kino Lorber have just released the film to Blu-ray for the first time, and hopefully that means more people will take the plunge for a fast, fun, and creatively chaotic ride. Its journey here has been a long one after bypassing theaters back in 2014 and getting dropped unceremoniously onto home video a year later, but better late than never.

Keep reading to see what I heard on the commentary for Stretch.

Stretch (2014)

Commentators: Joe Carnahan (writer/director), Maile Carnahan (daughter), Rockne Carnahan (son)

1. Carnahan is happy to see this now seven-year-old film get a home video release as “the fine folks at Kino Lorber have released how wildly underrated and great the film is.” He’s not wrong.

2. The film was made for roughly $5 million under the Blumhouse banner, and while they let him do whatever he wanted “we didn’t get a theatrical release ultimately.” It’s the Blumhouse model!

3. The bulk of the film was shot in Hollywood and downtown Los Angeles.

4. Maile wrote the short article in the In Touch magazine that Stretch (Patrick Wilson) is reading on the toilet. The guy in the photo with Brooklyn Decker was a waiter whose look they liked for the guy who stole Stretch’s girlfriend.

5. He acknowledges the After Hours (1985) influence while writing the script.

6. If the music cue at 6:45 sounds familiar it’s because they tried unsuccessfully to secure rights to Yes’ “Owner of a Lonely Heart” and ended up riffing it themselves. They also tried getting songs from Pet Shop Boys and The Strokes for later beats, but they couldn’t afford any of them. “I’ll never forgive Jeff Lynne and ELO for not giving me ‘Telephone Line,'” he says for the end sequence in the diner.

7. Jessica Alba was in the middle of negotiating a multi-million deal for her cosmetic line, and “I think she’s making like scale on this movie.” Her and Wilson had great chemistry, and unfortunately quite a bit of their interactions were left on the cutting room floor.

8. The silent woman standing behind Naseem (Shaun Toub) is Mona Marandi — the real-life owner of the limo company where they were filming. The company name, Selahi, is Carnahan’s wife’s maiden name.

9. The limo interiors are all done via green screen.

10. He wrote Stretch over several months, and one day he looked down and it was finished.

11. The arrival of David Hasselhoff was the scene Carnahan struggled over the most despite the actor being great fun. “He understands who he is.”

12. The Jovi is played by Randy Couture who is now married to one of the women in the back seat of the Rolls Royce that arrives to pick up the Hoff. “She’s a hardcore Trumpian,” but she’s also very sweet.

13. Maile and Rockne are in the background at 18:48. It’s just one of their cameos as they are also in the earlier club scene.

14. The film that Ray Liotta is shooting is Narc 2: Revengence, a reference to Carnahan’s earlier film, and a smaller trailer door can be briefly glimpsed with Jason Patric’s name on it.

15. The window Candace (Decker) is seen in at 21:49 is actually one of LA’s Scientology buildings. Carnahan says it was “creepy” but then quickly laughs and says they were all very nice.

16. Chris Pine’s appearance here is uncredited, and Carnahan’s love for the guy is clear. Pine suggested his character arrive wearing a jockstrap and a tiger backpack. “He likes playing freaks.”

17. He mentions a few instances in the film that risk offending the politically correct, and while it’s clear he doesn’t care he does acknowledge trimming the earlier scene with Naseem due to those concerns.

18. Carnahan is currently remastering Blood, Guts, Bullets and Octane (1998), his first feature, for an upcoming home video release.

19. This is the first commentary Carnahan’s done where he isn’t drinking through the entire thing. It’s probably due to the presence of his kids.

20. That’s Carnahan’s dad as the grey-haired FBI agent in the club with Laurent (James Badge Dale). “He missed his calling as a great character actor.”

21. Carnahan’s original script for Bad Boys 3 featured the character of Boris, played here by Matthew Willig.

22. The house where Roger Karos (Pine) is partying is owned by a very successful Hollywood stuntman, and the old woman who hits Stretch with here car is stuntwoman Sandra Lee Gimpel. The film also features some cameos by UFC fighters and football players.

23. He hates circular dolly shots — “I just can’t stand them” — but he does one at 1:20:15. He says it makes sense for this sequence.

24. Candace was originally in that end sequence in the alleyway with the Feds, fire, money, and explosion, but they decided to cut her as that storyline and relationship was successfully closed.

Best in Context-Free Commentary

“It’s always interesting to see a sex scene with your children sitting in the room.”

“Patrick Wilson is the biggest Van Halen fan on the planet.”

“We’re gonna get a look at your balls, so just be prepared.”

“This is as close to a rom-com as I’ll probably ever do.”

“IMDB and IndieWire to me are the two websites I despise in equal measure.”

“This got robbed, it should have been a theatrical release.”

“Like a Cannonball Run for freaks.”

Final Thoughts

Stretch remains an absolute good time of a movie. Yes, the voiceover narration is excessive and unnecessary, but Carnahan and friends hit every other note beautifully balancing a darkly comic tone, delivering great characters and performers, and ultimately gifting viewers with a highly entertaining ride. The commentary is light fun with the filmmaker and his kids, both of whom spent time on the Stretch set during production, and it’s clear they’re a family of film lovers. Buy the Blu, watch the movie, and give the commentary a listen.

Read more Commentary Commentary from the archives.

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Rob Hunter has been writing for Film School Rejects since before you were born, which is weird seeing as he's so damn young. He's our Chief Film Critic and Associate Editor and lists 'Broadcast News' as his favorite film of all time. Feel free to say hi if you see him on Twitter @FakeRobHunter.