As the election nears, Ron Howard is getting desperate.
In a video posted Thursday on Funnyordie.com, the actor-turned-director reprises his role on “The Andy Griffith Show” as a way to rally support for Barack Obama.
While speaking into the camera, Howard has his beard shaved, dons a youthful red wig and puts on the kind of outfit he would have only worn as Opie Taylor in the ’60s.
“I’ve never done this before and I hope never to do it again, but I guess you could say I’m feeling pretty desperate these days,” explains Howard. “So as a demonstration of my sincerity, this is for you America.”
Then, in black-and-white, Howard sits down in the woods to talk to “Pa”: Andy Griffith. Griffith advises Howard-as-Opie that he’ll be able to vote someday, so long as he eludes the butterfly ballot.
That’s not the only old TV show revisited by Howard, who years ago traded child stardom for directing movies like “A Beautiful Mind” and this fall’s “Frost/Nixon.”
Another wardrobe change prepares him to step back into “Happy Days,” the beloved show that ran from 1974-1984 in which Howard played Richie Cunningham.
Standing in front of a vintage car and clad in a leather jacket is Henry Winkler, once again with the unmistakable coif — and greaser demeanor — of the Fonz. Winkler, still having some trouble with his pronunciation, tells Howard this election is everyone’s chance to right a wr-wr-wrong.
The video is the latest clip from FunnyOrDie.com, which has made news this election season by putting Hollywood celebrities in funny political videos. The site, which was co-founded by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay, has produced popular videos featuring Paris Hilton in a mock campaign ad and Gina Gershon as Sarah Palin.
Because the videos are produced quickly — McKay and company can dispatch a small crew in just hours — the site can create timely videos related to the news. In another video posted this week, Natalie Portman and Rashida Jones suggest their solution to the economic crisis: “Puppies!”
The video came together when Howard called Judd Apatow, the director and producer who has frequently collaborated with FunnyOrDie. Apatow referred him to McKay, who wrote a draft of the script with Howard’s input. Jake Szymanski, who directed the Hilton video, shot it.
“We were all in TV heaven,” McKay said in an e-mailed statement. “I mean, it’s the Fonz and Andy Griffith. Those were my second Fathers.”