Quantcast ICONS Interview with Brian O'Halloran - BRUTAL MASSACRE, CLERKS, CLERKS 2

Brian O'Halloran!

We were thrilled to get the chance to chat candidly with actor Brian O'Halloran, whom genre fans will see along side David Naughton, Ellen Sandweiss & Gunnar Hansen as Jay the "A.D." in Stevan Mena's mockumentary BRUTAL MASSACRE: A COMEDY. Being a huge fan of Brian's work, we couldn't help but also chat a bit about his humble beginnings, his work with Kevin Smith - particularly on CLERKS and CLERKS 2, and what it was like to work on M. Night Shyamalan's THE HAPPENING! Read on for a one of a kind interview here on ICONS OF FRIGHT! - By Robg. - 7/08

What are your earliest recollections of the horror genre? Do you remember the first films to scare or have an impact on you?

My father was always a big fan of Chiller Theatre on WPIX in the New York area, and I remember those films scaring me. And he was a TWILIGHT ZONE fan, which is not really so much horror as it is suspenseful type of stuff. I was actually probably too young to have seen this, but I remember my brothers (I have 2 older brothers) taking me to go see THE EXORCIST. I remember THE OMEN, which was another one they took me to. When I was in school, I used to have my hair just like that kid, and I remember kids calling me “Damien!” in school because I looked like that. (Laughs)

THE EXORCIST and THE OMEN are quite damaging films for a little kid to see!

Those were definitely damaging to a young psyche. And I used to just freak out just to the introduction to Chiller Theater with that hand coming out of the grave, dragging the other letters down into the grave with it. That was the type of thing that scared me as a kid.
Did you become a fan of the genre back then as a kid, or did you have to revisit it when you got a bit older?

I kinda had to revisit it a little later. It’s not really a horror film, but I was young when JAWS came out and that scared the hell out of me. So, it was a genre that wasn’t my mainstream (as a kid). My main genre was science-fiction, and comedy. But as a teenager, I then saw the Freddy Krueger and Jason movies, mainly because your friends did, ya know? They’d say, “Hey, let’s go see a movie.” And that’s what we’d go to see. But it wasn’t an active genre for me in the sense that I was like, “Oh my God, I can’t wait for the new such-and-such to come out.”
What were the origins behind you pursuing acting? That wasn’t what you initially set out to do, right?

Yeah, what it was – my father was an automotive engineer and automotive mechanic, and that was an interest that I really enjoyed. He unfortunately had passed away when I was 15, and I’d lost my interest in it. At 15, you’re just at the right molding peak of interest that you can sway your life style towards. The learning process of doing that, learning from my father, had just started to begin in a serious sense, and was kind of shattered with his death. He passed away from heart disease. And so, the acting part of it came out of (funny enough) role playing games, which my friends and I used to play, similar to Dungeons & Dragons and Champions and DC Heroes. These were games where someone was the game master and would take people through an adventure in which then you’d created characters. Obviously, this was before computer gaming. I was always interested in the performance of it all. And then I had a regular job.
I went to community college here in Jersey and took all the acting and theater classes the college had offered and then I just left and I didn’t get a degree in it or anything like that. And so, it was just something that I fell into back in 88. I went to college there and then went and worked for the Shop Rite Supermarket company for about 4 years. And I used to bitch and moan to friends while we’d watch movies, “Oh, that guy’s terrible.” Or “This could’ve been done so much better,” that my friends just through enough of my bitching and moaning about bad filmmaking said, “Why don’t you do it yourself?” And a friend of mine just hooked me up for an audition for a local theater here in New Jersey to do a rendition of DRACULA, and I auditioned for the role of Renfield, the lunatic.


I got the role and it got really great reviews here in the press, and I really enjoyed doing it. I then went on to do CHARLOTTE’S WEB, where I played Templeton The Rat. I went on to do a lot more community and local theater here in Jersey. And really, I just fell into it that way, and enjoyed it. Then back in 93, when Kevin (Smith) had held auditions out of the theater that was in his local town, which was a theater that I had done stage work out of. I auditioned for him, he called me back for 3 other call backs and enjoyed what I did, and I was just auditioning as an extra, because he had already cast the main 6 characters. He liked what I did, and the rest as they say is history.
Yeah! And it’s funny, because initially Kevin (Smith) had written Randal in CLERKS for himself to play, before he realized how difficult it was going to be to act!

Right, exactly. And Jeff (Anderson) went down there because a friend of his was auditioning. He didn’t plan on auditioning, but Jeff and Kevin had known each other from high school. They weren’t friends, but they knew each other from high school, so Kevin asked him to go up there and read the role of Jay. And so, if you get the CLERKS 10 year anniversary, the CLERKS X DVD, there’s an extra with the auditions. And you’ll see Jeff doing Jay’s lines, which is really funny.
I auditioned as an extra and I had put together a really creepy monologue from a play I was doing at the time called WAIT UNTIL DARK, which was a movie actually in the 70’s starring Alan Arkin. I did this really creepy villain audition, not knowing what I was auditioning for, to be honest with you. I didn’t know it was a comedy, I just knew it was a movie and the owner of the Playhouse had called me a month prior and said, “Hey, you should come down and audition for these guys.” I mean, I could’ve been auditioning for porn for all I knew. (Laughs)
(Laughs) Thankfully, it wasn’t that.

It was that type of audition process.

And not for nothing, even though Kevin had said he wanted to play the Randal role because he had the best lines, I think inevitably Dante Hicks ended up being the heart and soul to both of those CLERKS movies, and I think you’re responsible for that.

Well, thank you.

Well, back in 93… it was 93, right?
We shot it in 93 and by the time the editing process (which happened during the summer of 93) was done, in October of 93, we showed the first screening of it with the original ending at the New York Independent Feature Film Market, which was a film festival that I think has changed because of the IFC Film Festival? We screened it at the last day of the festival, which was a Sunday at 11am. There was at most 20 people in the theater, 12 of which were us from the movie, but we were fortunate enough that someone who saw it, Bob Hawk, who was part of Sundance Film Institute.
He had recommended it and gotten a buzz going and introduced Kevin and John Pearson, who’s a producer’s rep and filmmaker himself. And they started to go individually to distributors like FINE LINE and MIRAMAX. People weren’t quite getting it. They never were able to get a screening shown, but Sundance had accepted us. We had 4 screenings, all of which were sold out and it wasn’t until the last screening of the festival that Harvey & Bob Weinstein from MIRAMAX came and saw it, and really liked it. After the screening, they went to dinner and that’s where Kevin sold it and got a 2 picture deal.
Obviously, you guys had no idea what that movie would become while making it, but… at the same time, if you look at the movies of that time era, you must’ve had some inkling from the script, because Kevin was writing material that just was not in movies at the time! The conversations, the dialogue…

Oh absolutely. That’s kind of why in reading it, I thought it was hilarious. It was just subject matter that you’d never say, and in a language that was never said and…

(Laughs) I mean, STAR WARS references years before FAMILY GUY!

Right, right! Absolutely! Because it was things that were relatable to us at that time. Um, just talking about pop culture iconetry in conversations. It was funny, because that year at Sundance, one of the bigger screen premieres was REALITY BITES, and I got to go to that screening. And it was really weird, because I’m watching this going, “Wow, it’s really weird that my generation is making films that are being seen by the mainstream.” I’m watching Ethan Hawke and Winona Ryder and Janeane Garofalo and this subject, and I was like wow, this is pretty cool. It’s a pretty good movie, but I thought ours was kind of funnier because ours was more real and true, and yet raw at the same time, ya know? Sometimes, the guy doesn’t get the girl. Sometimes, he does get pissed on. It’s not like REALITY BITES where the guy gets the girl in the end. They may go through fighting, they may go through shit, but the guy does get the girl in the end, while in our movie that doesn’t happen. The girlfriend fucks a dead guy and is taken off to a hospital. (Laughs)
I love the buzz that CLERKS naturally created, because I remember when it came out, I loved it because at the time I was a “clerk”. I worked at a Dairy Barn here on Long Island. And I just remember waiting on line for some movie, and we were chit-chatting with the guys in front of us, and out of nowhere, we started quoting CLERKS. Now, it had just come out, so it was like, “Have you guys ever seen that movie CLERKS?” And it just became one of those movies. It didn’t matter who you were, you could probably relate to something in there, and it became one of those movies where you can casually talk to someone on line, quote it and they’d get the joke right away.
Right. That’s always been so bizarre for me too, because that’s how me and my friends are at movies, as well. When you like a movie so much – to this day, me and my friends quote movies from the early 80’s as well as from the 70’s and even 90’s and now this is great. I never in my life thought I’d be involved in a movie that people would be quoting going on almost 15 years later.
It’s pretty amazing. And you mentioned the alternate ending before (in which Dante is killed by a robber). Again, I worked as a clerk at the time, so it really upset me! I’m so glad you guys changed it!

Even when I first read it, I told Kevin I really don’t think this is necessary! You have this funny movie all along and then boom, you kill the guy. And he’s like, “Well, that’s reality.” I’m like… OK.

It seemed like a very “indie” movie ending!
Yeah, it was just like… He wanted to have a way to end it where people would be like, “How awful is this. He wasn’t even supposed to be there that day, and he gets killed.” I said “Wow. That is dark. But… alrighty.” And, John Pearson was the one who finally convinced him, “You can’t do this. You’re going to piss off your audience. They’re going to like you all the way up to the very ending. Those type of endings are the one’s that end careers. If the audience gets pissed off at that filmmaker, they’ll just think ‘Oh that guy can’t end a movie’”
Plus, it’s out of place, because the whole movie is consistently funny, and despite the drama, for me, it was a feel-good kind of movie! I mean, I felt good when I watched it. I didn’t want to see something bad happen to any of those characters! And… jumping ahead, thankfully they changed it because then you were able to do CLERKS 2. Which, just like everybody else when I first heard about it, I was skeptical…

Absolutely. Us too! While we were shooting, we were skeptical.
… But man, you guys really put together a great sequel. And it wasn’t what I expected at all, but it was brilliant. I actually like it because it’s a movie for me now at this age. I’m about the same age as all of you guys, so it made so much sense to me now as an adult.
Right, which is pretty much what Kevin Smith does. Kevin writes what he’s feeling at the moment and that’s what it was. What happened was we had done the commentary track for the 10 year anniversary DVD of CLERKS. And as a treat, Kevin had the idea why don’t we animate the scene that we never got to actually film? Which was the funeral scene. So, the film for the DVD, if you had chosen to watch the film with the included new scene, ala KILL BILL the film would go on and go from real film to animation and back. That’s what that lost scene did. So, he called in Joey Lauren Adams and a few other actors. As a matter a fact, the guy who plays Kinky Kelly (Zak Knutson) in CLERKS 2, he plays the voice of the father in the animated clip.
My girlfriend plays the voice of the mother in that clip. In doing the voice-overs for that clip and having the fun of getting us all back together, it kind of sparked something in Kevin. He thought, “God, I really, truly missed these characters. It was so much fun doing this.” Especially because this was after doing the animated cartoon, which we all just loved. But he had that spark, and wondered “Where would they be today? 10 years later?” And so, he started writing it. After he had gotten a certain part of it done, even at the end of that weekend (for the voice over work), he was even saying “Look, I’m thinking about doing a sequel. Are you on board?” And I was like, “Absolutely. Why not?”
Jeff (Anderson) on the other hand was more skeptical and was more like, “You sure you want to do this? What if it doesn’t come out right? Then we piss off our fan-base over a beloved movie.” So, he was skeptical about doing it all the way to the day that we were shooting it. It wasn’t until 3 days after shooting began, when Kevin started to get the dailies back. Kevin likes to edit while he shoots, so at the end of a shooting day, he’d go up to his editing suite, which would be in one of the hotel rooms on set. And he actually called us in after the 3rd or 4th day and he had put together 2 of the scenes that we had shot on the first day. And after watching it, Jeff and all of us, including Rosario thought, “Wow, this actually looks great. Let’s see what happens.”
There were a lot of points in the years before that the idea of a "CLERKS 2" had come up. Was there ever a point where you heard stories or ideas for other potential versions of CLERKS 2? For example, after DOGMA, there was talk of it, and then CLERKS 2: HARDLY CLERKIN’ became JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK. So, was there ever any serious talk about doing it before then?
Um, yes and no. I mean, our hope was that these CLERKS characters would’ve lived on in the animated series. That the animated series would take off, and that even to this day, we’d still be doing a CLERKS animated series. So, the ideas that would’ve been used for a live-action feature film would’ve been just channeled through that. But because of the politics that are ABC, it was killed before it even aired for the most part. And WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE was supposed to be the big savior for ABC in 2000-2001.
Even now, the rumblings keep coming up (for an animated movie), just like CLERKS 2 were the rumblings from time to time. Now, it’s the resurgence of the cartoon that gets talked about. That would probably be our next venue that these characters would be approached in. It’ll probably be either a CLERKS animated full-length movie, for theatrical release. Or maybe another attempt at doing the television show, which I think would be awesome. But, today’s day and age? Who knows? I think it would fit perfectly on ADULT SWIM.

Yeah, I think the timing could be right for the animated CLERKS show again.
Kevin’s just finishing up editing and putting the final touches on ZACK AND MIRI MAKE A PORNO, which comes out October 31st, Halloween no less. And then his next picture, I believe is RED STATE, which is Kevin’s attempt at a horror film.

Cool! Can’t wait for that one!

I haven’t read it. I don’t know what it’s about. I’m not involved in ZACK AND MIRI, but I’m looking forward to seeing that as well.
Again, I feel you’re the heart and soul of the two CLERKS movies, but you’ve also had bit parts in all of Kevin Smith’s films and it’s usually a ‘Hicks’ character. Were there any other ones that stand out for you personally? I always get a kick out of your appearance in MALLRATS as Gill Hicks!
That was definitely a lot of fun. It was our first film after CLERKS. It was our first real studio type of film, so the experience was literally like jumping onto another planet from coming from no budget with no crew and just shooting and just going home for regular work and regular jobs. To… we get on a movie set, we’re in hotel rooms in the middle of Minnesota, with staff, with grips and make-up personal and people asking you if you need anything. That typical Hollywood type of scenario that people are always saying, “Well, when I make it big, it’s going to be like this!”

But what was also fun was having like-minded, like-aged people on set that really got the humor. And yet it was still bizarre being on the same set as Shannen Doherty. It’s like “Oh my God, it’s fucking Brenda from 90210!”


You know what I mean? It was that kind of bizarreness. This was Jason Lee’s first film ever. He was a skateboard champion and that was all he was known for at the time. But it was really cool just hanging out with everybody. Here we are, us guys that had just made a little film called CLERKS and now we’re working on this big film budget.

Yeah! I mean, even that Ben Affleck guy, whoever he was!
Yeah! And Ethan Suplee playing the guy who couldn’t see the sailboat.

Yeah, yeah!

Joey Lauren Adams. That’s where Kevin met her and it was soon thereafter that they started dating. I think the full production was for 6 weeks, and I was up there for about 11 days and it was a lot of fun!

Ok, let’s talk about BRUTAL MASSACRE: A COMEDY. I know you’d known writer/director Stevan Mena from meeting him at a film festival before. This movie came together pretty quickly! What stood out for you about the project when it first came to you? Was it the fact that you’d already been somewhat familiar with Stevan? The script? Or a combination of all those things?

Well, I had met him at the Long Island Film Festival where he was getting an award. He had a screening there of MALEVOLENCE and I was asked to present an award to him. I had a movie there myself called DROP DEAD ROSES, which is a film I did up in Toronto, a romantic comedy. So, we had met there and talked, and he said he had an idea for a comedy and he asked for my information. He seemed cool enough, and I’d seen MALEVOLENCE and I had enjoyed it, so we kept in touch. I think about 2 years later, he contacted me and said “Hey, I finished this comedy script, I would love for you to take a look at it.” So, I said sure and he emailed me the script.
I had read it and thought it was really, really great and funny. The role he was offering me was Jay, the AD, which I could totally relate to because I’d worked on many films and known many Assistant Directors, and not just on films but also in theatrical stage productions, that it wasn’t that hard of a stretch to get into the role. I just enjoyed the fact that – I’m a big Christopher Guest, mockumentary fan. So, the fact that it was about the making of a film, and then it’s a movie about making a film that happens to be a horror film. And just the problems that not only go into making a film, but the extra problems you have in making a horror film. I thought it was really, really funny.
And from your experiences working on independent films, is this accurate? That a lot of times things just go totally wrong? (Laughs)

Oh yeah, absolutely! Things happen out of the blue, or people will quit. Or an event will happen that will completely change your location. Or you had grand ideas of shooting it “this way”, now it has to come down to this simple, quick stealing of a shot, so to speak.

What was your relationship like with David Naughton, who played Harry Penderecki, the filmmaker trying to make his come-back film with BRUTAL MASSACRE? Being his AD, I think he’s the character you end up spending the most time with in the movie?

It was quite easy actually. He’s a really gentle, low key and funny guy. Plus, he comes from a stage background as well. He does a lot of theater, and so in meeting with him and talking to him and getting a rapport, he got it. He’s the one out of the entire cast that has to play it straight, and take the whole project (meaning the horror film) completely serious for the gags to play. So, it was really nice meeting him. He’s kind of a prankster as well, which was kind of cool. Yeah, I was a fan of AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON. Ya know, “Keep off the moors!” And he happened to be the spokesman for one of my favorite sodas, Dr. Pepper.
Oh yeah! I forgot about that!

Funny enough, while packing cloths to go out to the shoot in Pennsylvania, I had unconsciously packed a Dr. Pepper shirt, just not thinking, “Oh my God, that’s right. He used to do those commercials.” (Laughs)

The other comedian in the film is Gerry Bednob, who totally stole 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN in my opinion!
Absolutely, and he makes an appearance in Kevin’s new movie ZACK AND MIRI MAKE A PORNO. He was just hilarious. Me and him got along like a house on fire. (Laughs) It was just too much. Unfortunately, towards the ending of his last couple of days of shooting, he had come down with a major cold. Otherwise, he was just hilarious. And every time we see each other, I feel like I can call him up anytime and we can just shoot the shit whenever. He’s a really nice guy, and there are times in BRUTAL MASSACRE where I think he steals the movie.

Yeah. Totally. And of course, one of the characters I love talking about is Krenshaw as played by Gunnar Hansen! It’s just so surprising to see him play this no-nonsense, fowl mouthed Vietnam vet! How’d you guys feel about his performance when you were seeing it? I mean, this is the guy who played Leatherface and now he’s cursing up a storm!

Right! I thought he was great! I mean, no one would ever consider how funny Gunnar is! And he portrayed this role just terrifically. He came up with these stories in talking to vets, and being the age where he had went to Vietnam himself, it was weird that he would give these ideas like, “What do you think about this about Krenshaw?” It was really, really cool. You look at this giant imposing man, and yet he’s such a sweet and thoughtful, caring type of guy. And yet he pulls of this comedy hilariously. You think, “Wow, he should be doing more comedy!”
Yeah. And I saw you guys do a few panels together for BRUTAL MASSACRE at a few conventions. You brought up the point that – He’s known as Leatherface, he’s been signing pictures as Leatherface for years, but it’s kind of neat to think he may just have to start signing pictures of Krenshaw that read “I was in the ‘nam, pussyfart!” It’s hilarious!

Right! That’s the funny thing! Hopefully, the fan-base will enjoy this enough to make it something that they’ll quote as well. With lines like that, “I’ll tear your head off and go bowling!” or “Fuckin’ A!” (Laughs) There were so many great things out of Krenshaw’s mouth that I can see people quoting him from this day forward.

Well, one of the things that came out of this experience is you’ve had the chance to attend a few horror themed conventions these last few months. So, what’s that experience been like for you? I’d imagine the horror fan-base is not far off from say the fan-base for Kevin’s films.

It isn’t. What’s funny enough, the fan-base that is fans of the horror/“slasher” genre is not far off from Kevin’s bawdy, thinking-man, adult type of humor, where the language is as harsh. It’s not far off from the comic-cons that I’ve gone to in the past that Kevin’s goes to often. It’s the same type of science-fiction/horror fan-base. It’s been fun meeting this fan-base, because it’s a regular low-key, down to earth group. The fans feel they can talk to the people that are in these films they love quite regularly, because it is that type of vibe. It’s not the type of fan-base for something like SENSE & SENSABILITIES. You’re not having to talk about great, ethereal types of concepts with people at these functions!
From what I’ve seen at the few conventions we’ve both been at, it seems the horror fans have really embraced having you there.

Oh yeah, and I enjoy it too. The last one I went to was HORRORHOUND out in Pittsburgh, and the Saturday night over the weekend, at the hotel, they had karaoke at night! So, I went up there to do karaoke. Doug Bradley (Pinhead) was there. William Forsythe was there in attendance, and they were singing along with everything and it was a blast!
For the fans, it just blew their minds that we were all there just hanging out. And we had no problems whatsoever. It was funny, because in the same hotel at the same time, there was a “veterans of foreign wars” convention going on, so we had all these war vet marines there. And we also had this large wedding party that was going to be there all weekend. So, it was really funny to have this mix of people in the hotel bar with this karaoke thing going on. It’s the type of thing that everybody enjoys themselves at.
You’ve seen BRUTAL MASSACRE screened a few times and seen clips at conventions. It really is meant to be an audience picture…

Right, right. Listening to the audience react at the screenings, they really thoroughly seem to enjoy themselves and have a good time! It’s playing at the Pioneer in NYC for the rest of the month, and I believe it’ll be out in LA for this month as well. I think we have a special screening going down in Dallas.
I’ve seen it theatrically and it just plays so well with an audience, which is how I recommend our readers see it, in a theater with other people.

Absolutely. Because you feel that 2/3rd’s of the audience will get it and the 1/3rd will be like “Oh, ok!” They just need time for it to catch up to them.

(Laughs) Right. So, one of the things I wanted to bring up, you’ve worked with auteur directors. Kevin Smith obviously has a specific style to all his films, and most recently you worked with M. Night Shyamalan on THE HAPPENING. What are the differences in working with 2 different filmmakers whom obviously have distinct voices for their respective movies?

Well, the obvious difference is that Kevin is a comic director. And Night is obviously a drama, suspense, thriller director. So, in that regard, there’s two different genres that you’re approaching these roles with that are slightly different. But a lot of it is very similar. M. Night knows exactly what he wants. He surrounds himself with a crew that he’s worked with on all his movies. He works out of a city that he loves to work out of, just like Kevin places his stories in a state that he loves to work out of and base stories out of. Kevin also brings the same people from his crew a lot of the time. So, there are a lot of similarities between the two of them. And the differences, M. Night really knows his history about the suspense, thriller genre, and really can bring references to you as a director, just like Kevin can bring up comedy references up to his cast to help him get what he’s looking for.
Because of the genre and because of the nature of the film that was THE HAPPENING, I was only given my segment of script that I’m involved in. And I’ve now seen interviews with Mark Wahlberg, Zooey Deschanel and John Leguizamo where even when on set, they literally had to check out and check in their script to the production office everyday. They weren’t allowed to hang on to a script past whenever they would need it. So, if let’s say Mark or John needed their script over night, the night before they’d go down to the production office in the hotel, get their script, check it out, sign out for it, it would be numbered and they’d bring it up to their room.
They’d go over whatever lines they wanted to go over and then bring it down and check it back in before they could get to set. So, in that sense, that’s kind of different from what Kevin’s movies are like! Yes, the scripts (on Kevin’s films) are locked down but never where you had to check it in or out. They were just numbered and they had copy proof paper and all that stuff.

Well, because of the secret nature of M. Night’s movies, that doesn’t surprise me.
What was cool about him, he’s really a funny guy! He really needs to do a comedy! He’s really cool. The first day on set, I’m coming out of the make-up trailer, and M. Night’s coming out of his trailer and he’s getting to set early as a director normally would so he could set up the shot before the cast gets there so that it’s all ready to go once the cast is on set. He was going to his car and his driver brought the car around, he jumps into it, and as they’re about to leave, he drives by – and what was cool - he made the driver stop, and he rolled down his window and he said, “Hey, man. I just want to thank you for coming on board with this.” And I’m like, “Oh. No, thank you!” It struck me, like wow, M. Night stopped just to say thank you to me. Here I am, honored just to be on one of his sets, being a big fan of his and he was really cool. When I got comfortable enough with him, I started joking with him. We were on a break while they were doing a lighting set-up and I say “Hey Night?” (Because everybody calls him Night)
He’s like, “Yeah?” I said, “I just want to let you know… I’ve read the script and I remember auditioning for this, and I’m reading the section of the script that I have. Here I am, I come to set and I’m kind of disappointed.” And he’s says, “What?” And I continue, “Yeah. I’m really confused about the script?” And he goes, “Well, what do you mean?” “Well, I thought… you were shooting the live version of WHAT’S HAPPENING, the TV show.” (Laughs) And he just started laughing. And that broke the ice more so and to prove that I’m sort of a wiseass on set. We kept busting on each other about things like that. So, then we were jokingly saying things like, “Well if this was WHAT’S HAPPENING, who would you cast?” “Well, perhaps maybe Dave Chappelle as Roger? And maybe the kid from GOOD BURGER and SNL playing Rerun?” Then, I’d say, “Well, you need some kind of wise crackin’ young girl to play Dee, the sister.” So, it was really funny and he rolled with the joke.

That’s great. I feel a lot of people really like to attack him and his films, but despite what anybody says, there’s always something about each and every one of his films that I love.

That’s the problem when you have such a huge first film success, because then everybody then compares it to that one. It’s tough. They gotta give the guy a break. Sometimes he changes it up with different levels of how he wants to tell a story. I didn’t know what the full story of the film was. I didn’t know what was happening in THE HAPPENING, so to speak, until I saw it myself. I was kind of surprised myself that there were some humorous parts to this. It was almost like campy humor, but it went well.
Me and my girlfriend went to it, along with a couple of other friends, and we went to dinner afterwards and discussed it. And we said, “You know what? If you take the film for what it is, it’s actually a really, really good film.” I started reading some reviews and seeing some posting on some of the websites, and a lot of people were just tearing him a new one and just shredding it. I thought, wow. People are getting way over the top and down on this guy! Sometimes it’s not the red blurry cloak in the background! It doesn’t have to be that!
I just read that you finished a film called HOOKING UP?

Right. That was a film done by 2 graduates from NYU film school and it was their first feature. It stars Corey Feldman. Pretty much what it is is a high school sex romp comedy, along the lines of AMERICAN PIE. These guys are based just outside of Philadelphia. They had myself and Bronson Pinchot come in and I play the high school principle. Bronson Pinchot plays one of the high school science teachers. And it’s about how these students are trying to hook up. I think it takes place over the course of a week, the last week of school.

Well, with you, Corey Feldman & Bronson Pinchot – That sounds cool to me!

It is a very eclectic cast! I have no scenes with Corey myself, so I never met him. I was supposed to meet him during MONSTER MANIA, but he had arrived a day late and then was in his signings forever, so I didn’t get a chance to say hello to him. Bronson, I did get to work with and he is hilarious! And such a sweet and kind guy! So, that’s looking for distribution right now. And the thing I’m working on right now, I’m in on pre-production meetings for a film. I’m going to co-produce a film about the New York Yankees.

I heard that you were gearing up to produce a film about the Yankees! It sounds like a passion project. How’d that come about?

It’s a project that came to me through a friend who had the rights to a children’s book called A BOY’S VIEW, which is about a kid who through the history of the Yankees, Yankee greats come to him, because he’s a bat boy for the New York Yankees. So, we’ve got writers involved and had screenplays written up based on that story. So now we’re in the middle of meetings trying to secure all the financing, and we’re trying to get some A list names to direct this. We’re on a bit of a time constraint. He have the Yankees on board, we have the Steinbrenners family on board. We have major league baseball on board with us. We just have to shoot in the old Yankee Stadium before they tear it down by the beginning of next year! Hopefully it’ll come together shortly.

Well, I wish you the best of luck with it. It sounds great, so please definitely keep us posted!

Thanks so much.

And thank you for talking to us and the ICONS audience!

Special thanks to Ed Peters & Tim Bristol!


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