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Josh Duhamel Explains the Real Reason Dax Shepard Isn’t in Buddy Games: Spring Awakening

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Josh Duhamel is teaming up with some old friends for Buddy Games: Spring Awakening, a new comedy that’s got a serious and even kind of bleak core to it. A follow-up to 2019’s Buddy Games, the sequel did not bring back Dax Shepard, but instead used the death of his character to kickstart the events of the plot, giving his friends motivation that not only gets the plot moving, but also grounds the movie in an emotionality that you don’t necessarily expect from a bro comedy filled with physical comedy and Spring Break hijinks.

This movie gets a little more mileage out of the idea of a bunch of middle-aged guys trying to keep up with the partiers of Spring Break, which kind of underscores the idea of mortality — something that obviously shaped the film — but killing off Shepard’s character wasn’t originally the concept. Instead, it became the premise after Shepard couldn’t participate due to scheduling issues.

“It was a get to get him the first time around, and I knew that he’s been so busy that there wasn’t a chance I was going to get him to come back for the second one,” Duhamel told’s Chris Killian. “So I just told him ‘Listen bro, we just can’t pretend you’re not there, we’ve got to do something, so I’m going to kill you off.’ He was like, ‘Alright, that’s fine.’ Dax is one of my very good friends and I would have loved to have him, but he’s just been — you know, with the podcast and everything else he does out in the desert with the dune buggies — the guy just isn’t available. So we had to come up with a story around it, and I think that it was actually kind of a blessing, because we needed a way into this one, and as somber as the movie starts, it gives us that base that you need. This movie, with all the shenanigans that happen, it does ultimately have to be about friendship, and brotherhood, and how do you celebrate a fallen brother’s life? That’s kind of what the whole driving force behind the movie is. As a guy who has very close friends, this is the kind of thing that we’d go do. I mean, not at spring break, but we would take his ashes and go spread them and celebrate him.”

You can see the official synopsis for the film below.

Dan Bakkedahl (Veep), Kevin Dillon (Entourage), Josh Duhamel (Transformers Franchise), James Roday Rodriguez (Psych), and Nick Swardson (Grandma’s Boy) reunite for the hilariously outrageous sequel to the hit comedy! Faced with their biggest challenge yet, the gang sets out to honor a lost friend only to find themselves in the middle of where it all began – Spring Break – where they learn their old school ways of partying hardly compete with today’s generation. 

Buddy Games: Spring Awakening is in theaters now, and is set to come to Digital on June 2.

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