Toureg and the Angry Inch

John Cameron Mitchell, who played the dynamic almost-transsexual in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, which he also wrote and directed, may seem an unlikely spokesman for Volkswagen, but hey. VW is sponsoring Escape From Hollywood, the show Mitchell is hosting on the Independent Film Channel. And one of the things that commercial-free IFC offers sponsors is to create brief promos on their behalf. Thus was born a new VW spot in which Mitchell spoofs Arnold’s Toureg ads from this past spring.

The original ads featured mock auditions in which people react to an off-screen voice while pretending to sit in cars (“Monkeys abound” is one cue). For Mitchell’s ad, shot earlier his month at Susan Shopmaker Casting in New York and due to break in October, IFC’s creatives re-created the Arnold set, down to the metal folding chairs. Mitchell improvised reactions to their directions (“You’re on the freeway. Someone cut you off! But you’re not mad. Stay zen. Now you’re in the desert. The sun is beating down”), at one point nearly getting blown away by a wind machine and then getting splattered with mud (well, chocolate-cake mix) as he drove through a pretend puddle.

“This is the kind of commercial actors want to make,” Mitchell told Shoptalk as shooting wrapped. Mitchell is currently directing a movie in which actors have real sex on screen. It’s a project that features “a lot of improv, and this [commercial work] is reminding me about certain things,” he said, and paused. “But Volkswagen might not want to be associated with that.”