By Louise A. Barile
Updated March 28, 2003 01:35 AM

Don’t mess with the opening of Chris Rock’s movie. That’s the message the comedian has for Matt Drudge after the Internet gossip columnist claimed Rock was “strongly advised” by DreamWorks studio executives “not to engage in any Bush-bashing” as he promotes his new comedy “Head of State,” reports Reuters.

Drudge reported this week that studio execs feared Rock, 38, might make comments poking fun at President Bush — thereby sparking a Dixie Chicks-style public backlash against the film. (“Head of State,” which opens this weekend and marks Rock’s directorial debut, stars the comedian as a last-minute replacement to run for president.)

Rock, however, released a statement Friday saying he “never had any intention of bashing President Bush.” In fact, he reserves his real tongue-lashing for the gossip columnist himself.

“I never met Matt Drudge, but if I see Matt Drudge, I’m going to take my red-blooded American foot and put it up his un-American (backside) for trying to disrupt the opening of my movie,” Rock said in his statement.

A rep from DreamWorks, the distributor of “Head Of State,” denied to Reuters that anyone from the company ever tried to influence Rock’s comments.

Rock has a history of not pulling punches with his stand-up routine. But in an interview in this week’s issue of PEOPLE, his evaluation of the President was strictly limited to Bush’s contribution to comedy.

“(Bush) is a comedown no matter what,” Rock said. “We’re never going to get as much material as we got with Clinton. Bush can’t cop it. He would have to murder somebody. It’s impossible.”