An Interview with Toby Froud Regarding “The Dark Crystal: The Age of Resistance”

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Toby Froud is best known for his appearance in the film Labyrinth (1986) and as writer/production designer of short film Lessons Learned (2014). His work as a creature designer and sculptor has been featured in such films as I Am Not a Serial Killer, Paranorman, The Boxtrolls, Kubo and the Two Strings, and Missing Link. He also worked as executive producer on Yamasong: March of the Hollows.

You have said you grew up in Magic. Can you tell us a little more about what that was like? What are some of your most fond memories growing up?

I’ve been lucky to grow up the way I have, in a place that is engrained with magic and steeped in history. I will be eternally grateful for the way my parents raised me. For teaching me to be true to yourself and the things you strive to create.

Do you think with the world being as it is today that magic is needed more than ever?

It feels like the world is in a darker place and people need magic more than ever! An escape, a place to be able to experience something extraordinary. To make them feel like they belong no matter who you are. That’s what we always strive to do when we create something.

As a parent yourself do you strive to make the world more magical for your own child?

It’s hard as a parent to know how to show your child the world, you want to protect them and make sure they have the best experience but that’s not always real. I’ve learnt that my son is continually learning for himself and teaching me how to see the world, how to ask questions and view something that as an adult we have become blind to. I hope I can make the world a little more magical for my son and other people too.

What have you been up to since we spoke last? At the time you were working on Lessons Learned. What did you take away from that whole experience?

Lessons Learned was a truly amazing experience, one I am grateful every day! I’m grateful to the crew, the friendships forged, and the challenges overcome! The responses to the work and the journey that came after. I continued to work at Laika studios on Kubo and the Two Strings, and Missing Link. Before going onto the Dark Crystal, which was the project of a lifetime.

What projects are you working on at the moment?

I’m currently on Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio which is very exciting and I’m looking forward to all that may happen next.

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Are you excited to see The Dark Crystal be introduced to a new generation with the release of The Dark Crystal: The Age of Resistance?

I can’t wait for the new generation to see the show! I’m proud of what we achieved. And truly hope the fans love it. I am excited for the new generation to experience this!

I actually got to see the original Dark Crystal on the big screen again last year. I went with some of the crew working on the series. While watching it I kept noticing the young guy next to me was truly engrossed and would sigh and react!, jump and clap as the movie went on. After I asked if he liked it, he said “Absolutely! I had no idea what it was! My friend told me it was about lizards that lived castle! It’s so much more than that! I can’t wait for the series!”

That was amazing to see someone experience the film for the first time and be so excited for what was to come! That’s why we do what we do!.

What role do you and your parents (Brian and Wendy) have in relation to the show?

My father was the conceptual designer on the show, my mother consulted on the geldings and also built wonderful creatures for the world. I was the design supervisor.

We did all sorts with the amazing teams that truly deserve the credit for making the world come to life again!

Do you think it is past time we see more projects that rely only on puppetry and less on CGI?

I feel it’s the right time, that people want puppetry! They want to feel and believe a character might truly be present in the shot or story they are actually seeing. I feel CGI actually works beautifully to enhance and bolster that idea. Working together we can now create truly amazing things!

What are some of the most challenging aspects of creating, anything that is done entirely with puppets?

(Laughs) The puppets! They are such a wonderful challenge to create, to build a character that can emote and carry a scene, that the audience will follow and believe in is the best sort of challenge.

Actually, the whole thing is challenging, building a whole world 4feet off the ground, sets that can break apart and be used with the puppets.

The team that was brought together to achieve the age of resistance was astounding! Every department and there are many!! Rose to the challenges set before them! Helmed by Netflix and Henson’s guided and driven by Louis Leterrier. We all went to work to create the greatest and largest puppet production ever achieved.

What do you think of Helena Bonham Carter, Mark Hamill, Simon Pegg, Keegan-Michael Key, and Andy Samberg providing voices for some of the characters?

The voice cast is wonderful! The talent that came on board is very exciting to have. Voicing the characters can be tricky to make them believable but I’m very excited by the cast for this!

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What do you think it is about the original characters that have made them so enduring? Did you a favorite from the original film?

The original film has a magic about it! It’s was got people into the industry and what inspired people for generations. Everyone relates or responds to a certain character or part of that film. From Skeksis to Fizzgig.

I think it’s truly and simply that no matter which character you respond to. You believe them. They feel real! And that’s true magic.

I’m not sure if I have a favorite character, there are so many for me. Between the Chamberlain and Kira to the Landstriders!

Each one is wonderful to me.

How do you think the prequel series will differ most from the film?

The way the series is shot is amazing! The camera becomes a whole other living part of Thra almost. Moving around the world and characters as they battle their way through is stunning.

I also think it expands the world in a big way giving you a much richer tapestry!

This is the way you should film puppets!

Do you have a dream project you’d most like bring into existence?

Well I will say Dark Crystal was a dream project to work on! Truly the project of a lifetime for me! But I’m very excited for the future and things to come! I feel like this is the beginning and there are lots more stories to tell! Let’s hope the world feels the same.

Is there anything you’d like to say in closing?

Thank you! Thank you to all the fans who have loved the films and my family’s work for so many years. For the people who believe in magic and who want to see and experience more in their lives!

To the wonderful talented creatives who strive to show the world beautiful and wonderful things who work tirelessly to achieve greatness so kids and adults alike can be transported to strange new worlds and journey to realms unknown.

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The Art of & an Interview with Capat

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Romanian born Theodora Daniela Capat studied art at The Swedish Academy of Realist Art, where she later became a primary teacher upon graduation. Her lavish portraits have made a two time winner of The American Portrait Society with a Certificate of Honor and Certificate of Excellence. More examples of her work can be found at https://capat.art/ .

What was it like growing up in Romania? What are some of your most fond memories of that time?

Even though I was born close to the 90’s people think that I grew up in the 80’s. Was born in 1989 during the revolution on the 9th of December. Even though communism “died” out I still felt it while growing up. I always was an outsider. Never liked dressing up like a girl. Had my moments of girly times but I’ve always been a tomboy. At school we had to wear a uniform and I hated it. I wanted to wear black! My mother always told me I have to be a lady but like Arya, from Game of Thrones:“I am not a lady.” That kinda quote was with me all the time. Growing up in Romania was hard for me to be honest, for most children after 89. Since Romania had a lot to recover, as a child I was controlled and very protected by my family. I was allowed to play only in front of the building, where the entrance to our apartment was. My mum never let me go further than that, but I never obeyed my parents. I used to “run” in the back of the building and played at the garbage dump. People threw their trash there. Since I had a very strong imagination I always found something that made it look fun while scavenging in the dump area… Sounds sad but that made me the person I am today. The old communist building made the warm orange colour the dominate atmospheric colour for most of my dreams. When I dream everything happens at my childhood place. Since I was little I dreamt extremely vividly, created worlds, and invented stories, though when I was little I didn’t speak well till the age of 6. At school I had hard times adapting. I was called a handicapped and hit with a ruler. Those were the communistic traits.

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How does society tend to view art in that particular corner of the world?

I never considered myself a smart person because I feel limited when trying to explain my thoughts and ideas. Since I grew up in a communistic world art there was a bit… too political. Corneliu Baba is one of my absolute favourite Romanian artists. He refused to paint Ceausescu, the communist leader and for that he lost a lot… Many intellectuals died during the regime thus the repercussions were felt dramatically after the 90’s. Art became ugly. Abstract art made no sense. There’s good art and bad art. I love some abstract art with well thought colour composition but since most of the intellectuals were killed or in jails it felt like we started everything from the start. It wasn’t only in Romania, most of European academies just became a joke. Few kept the academic drawing teachings alive. Feels sometimes that we start things from the start just because we forget history and all that knowledge that the old masters worked so hard to achieve, people just threw it out because it was outdated and new views had to be adapted. It is very, very sad. Nowadays art is still kept under control by the modernists. In Romania you see that well. People get offended when their own creations are threatened by a higher quality of art. Philosophical and technical. You can’t do much since Romania is still very corrupted. I always say “Romania is a beautiful country, too bad it is inhabited by people…”

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When did you first take notice of art in general?

(laughs) I never thought I would talk about this again. When I was little I started drawing horses. My mother always liked art but she never pursued it because during her time it was very difficult. When she saw me trying to draw horses she drew one for me. I was amazed at how good it was! As a child the world is so small so for me that felt huge! I started drawing that horse drawing my mum did around the apartment walls. My mother didn’t stop me. She just loved seeing me happy. After that at the age of 11, my neighbour who had also been my headmaster at the kindergarten noticed my ability to draw, so she brought me a portrait, a small picture, of Alexander the Great. She also gave me a drawing pad, graphite pen, eraser and sharpening tool. Then she asked me to draw it. The longest 2 hours (as I recall ) of my tiny life! After that I was hooked. I was just drawing on my own and buying the only magazine that made sense with art called Mari Pictori (Great painters)

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What was the most challenging issue you faced when you were learning your craft on your own uninstructed?

I can’t go in detail about it. My friend that knows much of my past told me that his life is so calm and easy in compared to how I grew up. I got a Romanian friend who had it even worse than me. Learning on my own was hard. Locked in my room, skipping school, arguing with my mum, my father telling me to stop and do something more productive… Now that I think about it, people nowadays or some artists are so spoiled by their family supporting them early on. Our parents want what is best for us but even now I am told to get a job and do art on the side. At school my teachers called me “an American kitsch artist.” I went to an art school when I was 14. It destroyed me. It would have been better if I just went to a normal school and learned on my own. Between age 16 to 19 I stopped drawing. I hated it. During that time I did some small work. Deviantart was gently getting into my life though at school I was called stupid for liking that site. Didn’t even know about conceptart.org until I was 19 and a half. Before that I discovered some art sited made by Romanians. I got the worse push back critiques from those people. Mean, jealous people. Some were kind but I was too young to know how to defend myself, that is one reason I beg parents to explain to their kids what social media really is and toughened their kids instead of protecting them. I still hid away and watched my art magazines…and wondered if I will ever be able to do that type of art.

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What was it like moving from Romania to Sweden? How do the two cultures differ most?

When moving to Sweden is was very, very hard. Coming from a country that has the type of people who throw trash on the ground, mocks you on the streets for being fat, calling you ugly and everybody is the best and you are nothing to a country where everybody is happy and trying to help everyone was a shock to me. It felt very, very superficial. Still does sometimes. People are at their worse when they are in survival mode. Sweden doesn’t survive, they live. They can travel and they have space to live, green spaces and respect to their environment. I got my issues now with Romania and Sweden. We need to understand that culture is of two kinds: good and bad. It is what it is. Some say culture is your enemy. No. It is not. Look at the work that we do. Spiritual or satanic it is based on a political, cultural agenda. Romanians are very loud and we are close to how Italians are. We have a lot of gestures in our body when we talk. Swedish people are calm, talk low and don’t flap their hands while trying to explain. I had a Swedish friend who made fun of me because of that (laughs). That is the beauty of culture. We share and we have to adapt to other’s culture when you move to their country. Not the other way around because that’s when you destroy cultures. Swedish people are starting to change, I can see that. They had enough of others telling them how they should be, accept and sacrifice what makes them Swedish. And I am very proud to see that because their culture helped me become a more calm person and rediscover my own culture in a better way.

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How do you think proper instruction helped you hone your craft most?

At the age of 20 I started at The Swedish academy of Realist art (before they were located in Stockholm). Since I didn’t accept my past and my flaws it actually kept me from developing properly while at school. It is hard to say everything that has happened. Your art grows with experience, not only skill based but also what happens in your life. It did help me improve, the school, but It also helped me grow as a person. I had my issues when I was being critiqued and also being told how to draw. I was young! When you’re young you think you know everything and I can’t tell you now that I accepted how little I actually know. Anyway, the school helped me develop what I call sharpening your eyes, see forms and shapes, compare etc. When I started the school they still had a bit of sight size method in their way of teaching which really made me unhappy. But my teachers and founders of the school got away from it, which makes this school come forward compared to others. Comparing, understanding form, seeing things more 3D is more beneficial if you want to work from imagination. It makes you faster and also broadens your vision. It doesn’t get you stuck into copying point by point what you see. You learn slower because it is hard… took me 10 years to do what you see now and I still have a lot to learn.

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Why does portraiture appeal to your artistic nature?

What we deal most in life is ourselves and others. Is the constant jungle battle for survival and to do it we need each other. We still have tribal thinking which has is flaws. It works in a small community, hence why communism failed. We are too many and we have huge desires now with social media. We see so many faces on Instagram. Filters of beauty, body building… These things makes me cringe. Why are people so obsessed with validation from others? But then again don’t I do that with art? Faces are fascinating for me. You think you know people by just looking at them but you don’t really. One still image can tell you so much. It doesn’t even show the real you since again beauty filters, shoot from a certain angle so you will look thinner. Really? Think about how sad this is. We know it yet we do it, then we wonder why we get anxious. We wanna see this…we wanna be a part of the tribe of fame because we think that will bring happiness because you will make an income as they do. Listen… I can’t say I am a good person and wise, I am pretty much full of my bad stuff too. But like Jordan Peterson said… if we would stop lying the world would be a better place. When we talk to someone we look them in the eyes… have you noticed how rare this is becoming? Social media has created so much disconnection between people, rather than bringing them together. People don’t know how to act because they created an image of themselves online that they don’t know how to bring it forward in real life. Why am I saying all of this? Because it is interesting to me. Portraits that I do are a reflection of today’s society. “Look at me… look at my beauty. Make me important , show my grief, happiness, victimization and superficiality to the world.”  I feel that most artists are doing that because, what I believe, is that we paint how the world is. And it feels that way: lost and confused but desires fame and wealth by being emotional towards others suffering.

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What do you love most about the act of creating?

I will try to keep this simple but I have to explain why. We try so hard to make our art have a deep meaning because it does appeal to people nowadays since we are so lost and confused on what we should do with our lives. What I love about creating is how well it detaches me from the “reality” of the world. It is a way to release my dreams, my fears, my anxiety, my desires, my view of the “real” world… but most importantly it is fun! We forget why we do art as time goes by. The struggle of making a living and getting out there, or whatever you wanna call it, made us forget that art is just fun. Look at kids while drawing. They are having fun.

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What did you enjoy most about your time teaching others?

How much I learned from them. Best teachers I ever had. Thinking how to help them see their mistakes, getting into their world, failing with them, growing mentally, becoming patient, hating that they hate me, so much going on as a teacher that I can’t number them. It is very hard to be a good teacher. As a student you only see your world only, as a teacher you see others and unfortunately you have to be rude and get into their world uninvited to be able to teach them technique.

Do you have any dream projects you’d most like to bring into being?

Yes…I do. One day but until then I have to work hard to be able to have that great of a place and be more mature in mind and in skill to be able to achieve it.

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You have said that, for you art is a way to represent your feelings of frustration when it comes to your understanding of self and your surroundings. Can you elaborate on that a little further?

Not sure how to explain this but for me art is more like visual poetry. I have never been good at writing compared to others. That touches you through one sentence. I had to create images to explain to people how I feel. When low, happy or depressed I found art as a source to explain how I feel. To be honest I don’t really show most of those works. Now with social media everybody shares everything. I tend to do that too sometimes but I have moments when I feel I just want this for myself, to reflect on them on my own and not be vulnerable to everyone out there.

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You have said you have always had a curiosity when it comes to life and death. Where do you think that curiosity came from? When did you first become of aware of it?

I came aware of it when I was little through my vivid dreams that I still have to this day. Dreamt death itself. Everyone around me talks all the time about spiritual guidance, believing in a God or something after life. I asked my grandmother some months ago if she fears death. She replied that she does because she feels that she hasn’t lived her life at its fullness. Time for me is weird. It passes by too fast and I keep losing track of my present moments. I am getting old and in the end I will die. Since I was born my destiny, if I can call it that, is going to that point where everything will end. That made me curious about it in combination with how it felt when dying in a dream. When I was working as a teacher and my life was quite stressful I dreamt about myself living again where I grew up as a child. There I saw two men, playing chess. The colours around me where of a warm orange colour. Very saturated. It felt very warm but somehow I got curious of this two men playing chess. Then at a point while I was wondering what was happening I got scared of this 3rd person, a man, dressed up in this long coat with a hat on that started coming towards me. That scared me. I tried to run away but he got to me. He grabbed on to me, turned me around and put this metal long steel through my chest. It hurt very bad. I was holding his arm to not push it more into me since I could feel it getting close to my heart. I was afraid and started telling him that I don’t want to die… while I kept him from pushing I was saved by this two elderly men that where playing chess. They stopped this person by holding him and pushing him away, quite gently as I recall, like somehow it was normal what he was doing. They looked at me, these 2 men, and told me that My time has not come. I got confused and everything morphed within me seeing them again from that point I first saw them while they were playing chess and drifting away from them, while seeing bright colours like a rainbow distorting everything around me. It was like I was swallowed by a colourful black hole. After that I woke up. I had to stand up on my bed thinking, confused on what has happened. I felt almost nothing… just an empty feeling of why I was saved. There’s more of this dreams that I had but I guess this answers your question a bit of why I am curious about death.

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What are your personal feelings on life and death and what does, or doesn’t come after?

I don’t really know…I think once we die it all ends. We just stop being. We go back from where we came from: nothingness. We are so conscious, so curious and so self-absorbed into our own daily life, trying to create this image of ourselves that it becomes an obsession. Time doesn’t wait on anyone. Since we are born its decided: It will all end either you like it or not. Many don’t talk about it, feels like a taboo. Got friends who are afraid of it. Famous people who are afraid of it. I don’t know but the more I think about it I just know I will go from where I came from: nothingness.

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What do you think is key to a life well lived?

I think everybody has their own answer to this. My answer might sound cheesy but It is quite simple if you think about it. A life well lived is when you know how to be in the present. When we were kids, before we became too absorbed into the world of chaos created by our fathers, into a world of future goals…we as kids didn’t care. We could stare and do nothing and just enjoy being. Now, with all of this technology, everything has become fast, everything is about “me” and what I can do to show the world how awesome and caring I am. It is nothing wrong with being selfish. You can’t help everyone. The life you have is your own. Not saying you need to not care about anything but if you know what life is… I think you found the key of how to help others and just be with time all the way till your end. We perceive time but the more you look around you it doesn’t really exist. It is static. But our mortality has created it to define the past and the future. Future? It is not even written but the result is that it will end. It all depends on how you handle time right now rather than how you will. Of course, we all have a rent to pay and trips to plan, friends to meet and friendship to keep but time gets in between. You become so bombarded with things to do that the future is brought to you faster and thus…time passes too fast that you miss out on just looking around you and feel the weird push on your body from the surrounding atmosphere. I don’t know how to really explain it but my drawing serenity is about it. Simple, floating together with everything, surrounded by black crows who for me manifest death and how it flies with you until you will get grounded and can’t go back to the sky anymore. The water is liquid and you as well. It is static but moves from place to place but it feels like it never has time. It is just there.

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What advice would you offer to other wishing to learn how to best express themselves through their own art?

Don’t forget why you are doing art, your drive to do it. Is it for yourself? Is it for the world? Is it fun still? Look at yourself and not others. Look at how you can improve and not how you can improve and be like others. It is such a death trap for us artists and I speak from experience. Social media is great but it has killed most of us because we want to be seen so we do things that are popular…Some succeed with it while others don’t. Reality is harsh so maybe some of us will make it while others won’t. Nothing beautiful comes easy. I battle this demon everyday, to not get trapped and just be myself even if I have to sacrifice my own stability and not profit from my art. I have to do things I don’t like to be able to pay my rent and disappear from most of my friends life just to work hard on this vision of mine. It is my sacrifice and my view. That’s why I know that I might not be a mum, that I might not have a proper home and that I will live month to month. But, at the end of the day, I know I stood true to what I believe. For me that is a sacrifice worth doing that most of my friends and family thinks is foolish. Right now this is how I feel.

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Is there anything you’d like to say in closing?

Life, death, past, present, future. All of this is in our mind. Once you are gone all of them will end with you. Be kind and grateful for this time you have, take care of your surroundings and don’t hurt others. We are prone to great evil and takes a lot of courage to admit to your faults and be a better person. I do my best to live on those principles and I noticed how many people can’t stand this, to admit to their mistakes. Most prefer to just become a victim of their own bad decisions. Those decisions, even if you didn’t know why you took them or things that happens in your life, is a part of you. Mistakes are the ones who teach us how to become better. Tragedy as well is a part of your growing up, takes courage to be strong, to deal with all the suffering you have endure. It is not easy but like I said nothing beautiful comes easy. I wish you the best in your journey and may you find your peace in life that will truly bring balance. Ah yes… I find balance more important than happiness. Why? Happiness can lead you do bad decisions, (laughs) Balance makes you think and not be too emotional when making decisions but…hey, that’s just me, right?

 

An Interview with Keith Lansdale on the Making of “The Pale Door”

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Keith Lansdale can currently be found working as a co-writer on the set of the Western Horror film The Pale Door, which also features Joe R. Lansdale as executive producer alongside writer/director Aaron B.Koontz (Camera Obscura). Featuring Devin Druid (13 Reasons Why), Zachary Knighton(The Hitcher), Melora Walters(Magnolia), Bill Sage(We Are What We Are), Pat Healy(The Innkeepers), Natasha Bassett(Hail, Caesar!), Noah Segan(Looper), Tina Parker(Better Call Saul), and Stan Shaw(Rocky) the film features an eclectic mix of cowboys, wolves, and a coven of witches.

How did this particular project come about?

I met Aaron and Cameron on a panel in Beaumont. I was actually there meeting about a different project and after chatting with A & C we mentioned working together.

How have you enjoyed working from the set out in Oklahoma?

If by work, you mean wander around set and try not to get in anyone’s way. My part was done, but I got invited to set for a chance to meet some of the actors and see how it was looking. I’m happy to say it looked like it was going very well.

As far as Oklahoma, the shoots I was going to were night shoots so I didn’t really explore Oklahoma so much as I slept in and hung out on set all day.

Do you get the chance to enjoy the view on the long drives to the set or do they get tiresome?

I stayed at a hotel in Oklahoma, and the drive from home to set was actually 7 hours total, which is the limits of what is and isn’t enjoyable.

What has it been to work with your father on this project? What have you learned from working with him across the various projects?

Dad, Joe R. Lansdale, is a walking masterclass. But on this project his role has been completely separate from my own. He had more to do with his name allowing them to get some real star talent.

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What was it like to write alongside Aaron Koontz and Cameron Burns on the script?

They actually wrote the outline of what they wanted and I filled in the meat of the script sandwich. Writing with other people isn’t always a fun process, so I wasn’t sure how this would go, but after they saw my rewrite, they seemed pleased with the outcome.

Do you have any interesting stories from the set that you might be at liberty to share with our readers?

I got to meet some really great people. And not just the actors, but a lot of the people behind the scenes that you don’t always get to meet.

What are some of the most challenging issues you face when bringing a Western Horror film into existence?

Making it fun, scary, and worth the watcher’s time without getting stuck in any tropes. Which I don’t think it too different than most films.

Do you think the motley mix of cowboys, wolves, and witches is something that will appeal to today’s masses?

I think it’s safe to say we’re going to find out soon. At the end of the day, the setting is never as important as the story and the characters. But having a fun story sure doesn’t hurt.

Coming from Texas as you do, did you ever want to be a cowboy yourself growing up?

I think I sort of missed all that. I grew up playing Nintendo. Also, horses sort of terrify me. Not in an unreasonable way. I don’t run for it when I see them, but I have a constant fear of somehow being behind one and getting kicked in the head.

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Why do you think there are generally less Western themes in film and television today?

Just like anything else, they swing in and out. I’ve seen a bit of an uptick here of late. I don’t try to guess it. Just write what we write.

Do you feel privileged to have the chance to work on this one?

I feel privileged any time I’m asked to be a part of a project. I’m sure I always will.

Why do you think the genres of Western and Horror merge so well?

Things are scary anyways, but this wasn’t the time of cell phones and being able to just call the police. Something’s outside your house, you better hope it ain’t that hungry.

What can audiences expect from this one?

Dark humor and dark creatures.

When do you think the film will be released and available?

Not sure. I know the next stage is looking to get noticed at some film festivals. So fingers crossed.

What projects will you be working on next?

I’ve actually got several things going, but it’s a mystery what will get done next. I’ve got a new comic Red Range: Pirates of Fireworld that’s about to go on sale, the script I did, The Projectionist, that keeps making some noise, and a couple other heres and theres.

Anything to say before you go?

Thanks so much for taking the time.

A Poem by Turner Mojica

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There was a burst of gold.
Made me squint.
Never seen nothing like it.
Over the ridge.
The edge.
It zigzagged.
The bolt cut, bright, I raised my hand to block it and it cut when it came.
Too bright.
Sparks.
Brighter.
Cut.
Zigzag.
It cracked the sky.
It came.
It rattled, the earth moved and vultures and bats and crows
scattered and cut again with black and a deep blue and howlers
and more chatter and scatter
and dogs and birds and the sky and iguanas and spiders split apart.
It opened.
Beach.
The earth moved.
All honey colored.
Got dark.
It melted.
Moths flew.

Woke up the cicadas.
She does that.
Shaking dreams from her hair.
Every morning.

Shadows four fingered and five and seven
blocking all bright all painted.
Dripping.
She just smiled all honey colored and sticky.
The thought of her.
Told me she loved me.
She lied.
Didn’t mean to.
Cut.
Deep.
She sang and left all long legs, porcelain and crickets and fireflies
and smiles soft as every orchid
and buzzing sipping nectar like all honeysuckle
and life and dancing
and I took in everything because she deserved it
and she was right
and I am the only one that saw her wings,
long, dark, with deep brown eyes
and I watched her.

As she climbed down the web.
And picked me apart.
Dark eyes.
And flew away with broken wings.
Dark eyes.

And it cut.
Deep.
And I sighed.

An interview with Bruce Glover

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Bruce Glover has had a varied career throughout the decades. He has appeared on Broadway in The Night of the Iguana with Bette Davis and Mother Courage and Her Children with Anne Bancroft. His television appearances include such shows as My Favorite Martian , Perry Mason, The Mod Squad, Gunsmoke, Barney Miller, The Dukes of Hazzard , and The A Team to name to a few. He is likely most well known for his work in the films Walking Tall and the sequels Part 2 and The Final Chapter, as well as the James Bond film Diamonds Are Forever, Chinatown, and It Is Fine! Everything Is Fine. which was directed by his son Crispin.

A man possessing many talents Bruce began teaching acting in the 1950’s and still continues to do so to this day in Los Angeles. He is also an avid painter.

 

Can you tell us a little about your earliest days? What are some of your most fond memories from your childhood?

Having a very loving mother. Fond, just being alive I suppose. I was always very curious about things. She used to take me to see movies which my father was against because he was very religious and you weren’t supposed to go to movie theaters, evil places. Which is pretty weird, anyway. I remember her taking me to movies and I saw a newsreel of F.D.R struggling to get to a microphone. And I remember showing my mother, I used to show my mother stuff because I would try to amuse her constantly, I remember showing her F.D.R and I was trying to understand why he would be walking like that by putting my body into his polio-afflicted body. So that in a way was my first discovery of the approach I’ve always taken to acting.

And what I teach as an actor is that you have to get into the body and by that into the mind of the character that you are playing.

I remember my mother watching me doing that and going, “Do you love your president?” And I didn’t know who the president was I was just rehearsing that person walking.

So I guess that is a fond memory and another one was my father’s church had pageants. It was a little tiny Methodist church. I was put in a pageant and the scene was Joseph and Mary trying to find a place to stay so she could give birth to Jesus. I was the third kid in a row. I had one line, and my line was, “No room at the inn.” When they got to me, I was three years old and had this booming little voice and I went, “NO ROOM AT THE INN!” (laughs) and the whole church burst into laughter. And I remember going, “Wow I can make people laugh.” So I said the line again and they laughed more, and I said it again and they laughed more. And then the minister came running up the aisle trying to catch me and I was running around behind the altar and through the section of the church and he’s trying to catch me and I’m yelling out “No Room at the Inn.” It was hilarious. Finally, he catches me and carries me downstairs.

So I knew I had a gift for laughter I used to amuse my mother and I always had a sense of that, but I never thought of it as acting. If you said you were going to be an actor back in those days… because I was in a tough working class neighborhood and I had to learn very quickly how to be a tough kid where you could take care of yourself and not be pushed around. I was kind of an inner nerd with the muscles of an athlete and I would protect other nerds who didn’t have the muscles.

So I was a tough working class kid in Chicago in those days you had to talk with a tough, deep dems and dos accent if you didn’t talk like that you were considered a sissy. I was a kid that liked nature and you could go down the railroad tracks and get to a forest and run around in trees and there was an abandoned factory before you get to the forest it was like a variety of environments. I was a natural athlete. I didn’t know how good I was but I was good I learned it very quickly. But I had to learn how to be pretty tough very quickly.

What was it like to have your first job delivering groceries at the age of 6? Are you thankful that you had the chance to develop a strong work ethic at such an early age?

Yeah actually. I guess this woman had a store. She thought it was cute and decided to offer me a job. Ten cents a day delivering groceries after school and Saturday mornings so I made sixty cents a week. Sometimes I’d get a tip from whoever I was delivering to, but that was the beginning of the seeking of work. I remember selling magazines door to door, Saturday Evening Post finally. There was always a job. I mowed grass, I worked with my Grandfather who was a carpenter, I worked construction, I dug graves, I got a job in Chicago working at a newsstand starting at the age of 8 it went on til 13, every day after school and all day Saturday, and my pay raise had gone up and I was making a dollar a day. $6.00 a week.

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If you don’t mind my asking, what was it like being drafted into the Army from 1953-1955 and in later days serving in Korea? What do you think is the most valuable thing you learned from that experience?

Well, Korea I was playing football and I was on a city championship team in Chicago and I was offered football scholarships and there was a weird thing that I had, and they discovered it when I was like 6 years old, it is an affliction, something that nobody knew much about, or anything about back in those days, but it caused me to not get my scholarship because I had to go to another college. So I went to a college in Chicago, a junior college, and played football there. The scholarship that was offered was to a Colorado college, they had a good art school. So the two ways I was finding out of the working class was football and art. I was selling paintings even as a little kid.

The odd thing was I was playing football at Wright Junior College in Chicago and I was all-conference both years. I had passed the test to stay out of the draft with high score, because I have a very high I.Q. All that was good and I passed all that stuff, but I flunked English three times, and the English flunking got me drafted into the Korean War.

I arrived there the last six months of that war. Now when the war finished and I was still in Korea, I was in an engineering company, the University of California sent over teachers. I picked up nine hours of college credits in Korea. The army was very good about that, they transported you to Seoul, Korea for your classes. I decided I’d better take English so I could pass it and get my full football scholarship again. This teacher, a very kind man, very smart, pulled me aside at the end of the sessions and he said, “ You know I don’t know what it is with you, but there is something odd going on. If I were to go by your scores on your grammar test I’d have to flunk you again. I know you’ve flunked before, but you write terrifically.”

He’d given out writing assignments and I’d written three good short stories. He said, “You have unique abilities as a writer and I am going to pass you. I don’t know what it is, but I am going to pass you just to get you past this so you can forget about it.” And I went, “Thank you very much.”

So, this affliction that I had I didn’t discover it until a lot of other people discovered it. There is a thing called Dyslexia. Dyslexics I think, there are probably dumb dyslexics and smart dyslexics. I am one of the smart dyslexics. I think Einstein was considered a Dyslexic he was also very bad in school, but he zoomed way ahead. I think what a Dyslexic does is they don’t want to learn the rules. They just want to do it and they see something and they just do it and that is what I believe with me as an actor, I had no idea of being an actor.

So one of the things I learned in Korea, well I loved the Koreans, they are great people and I came back with another gift. And the gift was I had caught Malaria. When I came back with Malaria I couldn’t pick up that football scholarship so I had to go back to that junior college where I’d played football and pick up some more college credits. I saw a play being advertised that I went and tried out for. The teacher/director of the play said, “Come back for the callbacks.” Well, I didn’t go back …

I am skipping something weird that had happened, back in the days when I was playing football and working out with weights, a buddy of mine who was also an artist, we used to do art projects and work out and he said to me, “Bruce you ought to go down there and pose at the art institute for the art classes.” So, I pose at the art institute and a beautiful naked woman was posing across the room.

She came up to me at the break and said, “Bruce how would you like to…” She paused and my mind was racing, you know I’m a guy and I’d seen her naked and then she said, “…be a gorilla.” I thought what the Hell was she talking about? Well it turned out she was a stripper and she needed a guy strong enough to wear a hundred-pound ape suit and toss her around for fifteen minutes. (laughs). So I thought, well that sounds like a very dignified thing to do and I did it. I went down to the zoo and studied Bushman, the famous gorilla, which the guy who owned the act told me to do. But, Bushman gave me my first acting lesson. And he said, “Think my thoughts and do my moves.” Which is simply in a way the thing I’d done at three years old trying to imitate F.D.R. Trying to understand what he was going through by putting my body into each experience.

Well I did the thing as the ape and we were down in Florida, doing the act in Tampa Bay, Florida and we had an eight week gig we were making really good money. Much better than I’d made at the job before that, I’d worked at a glass factory, ladling hot glass when I was fourteen and fifteen years old. Back in those days, you could work, and you had to work anyway because we were poor. At fifteen I remember my father calling a family meeting because his business was not doing well and he asked if me I would quit school for him to help support the family and I was just starting to like school and playing football, and I thought, “Oh my God. I’ll quit school for a while and hopefully, he’ll get on his feet and I’ll stay out of school for six months and then go back again.” And my mother jumped in and saved me. She said, “ No you won’t quit school. I’ll get a job.”

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I was faced with a lot of realities but there was always a sense of I don’t know…love, even though my father so brainy and he was weirdly Christian and had all of that religious stuff he still was a loving man and she was a loving woman.

I was given responsibility very early. I had two sisters and I had to protect them from everything. I remember my mother was pregnant with my second sister and she was irritated and told me to get out of the house with my sister because I was annoying her. I took her out into Chicago, sidewalks on a hot Summer day and she was about three years old. A car came down the street, nobody on the street but she and I. The car stopped and the guy got out wearing a three piece suit like salesmen back in those days would wear. He stood by his car with the engine still running, and he yelled out, “Little girl come over here.” And my little sister she stood up and started to walk towards him and I jumped up and said, “Lois no!” and he yelled again, “I said get over here.” I saw him coming around the car and I grabbed her and ran her up the steps of a neighbor. I put her behind me pounding on the door ringing the bell and he came to the bottom of the steps reaching out to me, and I was going to bite him. I was eight years old. I was already having to protect my little sister.

Suddenly around the side of the house, a little old man came around that I had seen him working in the yard and that was why I ran to that house.

And he said, “What is going on here?”

I said, “This guy is after my sister.”

And the guy says, “ Oh these kids are crazy. I was just asking them for directions.”

I said, “That is not true.”

And the old man went, “Shush.”

So I shushed, and the guy took the phony directions.

He drove away and I said to the old man, “You know he was really after my sister.”

And he said, “Get off my property. You kids are a pain. Don’t bother me. Don’t come over here again. ”

Then I went back to the house to tell my mother and she said, “ I told you kids to stay out of the house.”

So I took her out of the house again and I knew from then on I was on my own. Not because of any meanness or lack of love it was just I had to take responsibility very early on. I was eight years old, so there I was. It is a sense of what I’ve always felt, that I knew from then on that I was going to have to do it on my own. I was going to have to build everything, do everything, and make everything happen without depending on help from anyone.

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Then when I was doing the ape act down in Florida a magician came up to me and tapped me with his magic wand playfully and said, “Bruce you are an actor.”

I said, “What do you mean?”

He said, “You make that gorilla so believable you ought to try acting.”

I went, “What?”

There was a guy from New York singing, strip clubs were kind of classier, and this guy said, “Yeah you ought to go to acting classes in New York.” He was from New York.”

I said, “Acting classes? There are acting classes?”

To this day I don’t believe you can teach anything. I believe it is all instinct and teaching it usually gets in the way of the instincts. I do teach acting classes, but it’s very small and they are slowly disappearing because I don’t advertise. There are so many terrible teachers out there with terrible schools that never had any experience. I’ve done a hundred plays, Broadway, Off Broadway, I did summer stock, I did repertoire, I did classical. I finally went to Northwestern University when I came back.

I did not go back to the call back of that first play at the community college. I guess something about me I got a little afraid of this idea of trying this acting thing, so I was like whoa…and I did go back.

I was walking down a flight of stairs at that college, and I see the teacher/director coming up the stairs, and he says, “Where were you?”

I said, “What do you mean?”

He said, “You didn’t come back for the callbacks.”

I said, “Yeah I’m a little busy.”

I was actually trying to set my job back up. The ape Strip Club job with the GI Bill got me thru expensive Northwestern University. So, it was Shakespeare in the day and the ape suit at night at the Mafia run strip club, two kinds of education.

He said, “You should have came back.”

And I said, “Well, I am sorry.”

And he said, “I want you to the play the lead”

And I went, “Oh. Okay.”

It was a Tennessee Williams play Camino Real and I played Kilroy in it.

I picked up a Bachelor of Science Degree in Speech, so I haven’t been able to stop talking since and have a minor in Psychology. It is good for the study of people which is what acting is about. I am still learning. It never stops.

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Who were some of the people you looked up too when you were just starting out? What led you to teach acting? What do you think is the most important thing for an actor to learn?

I didn’t think it was teaching. I had scenes with people. I’d never seen a play before. I’d never even read a book on acting. I had never had any acting classes or instruction. I just knew. I knew there were real things and there were movies. There were real actors and the real ones were very simple. Like Humphrey Bogart. He was there constantly and all those other actors from those days.

I didn’t look up to anybody. Do you know what I am saying? I just looked at what I had to do. Like I said Bogart, people like that who were real that was it. I love movies. I went to movies constantly. So all of the movies that I saw affected me but I’d never seen a play. But here I was playing the lead in a Tennessee Williams play at this college with a nice big old auditorium that sat 500 people. I had scenes to do. I had a girlfriend who was a dancer and I had her teach me a dance section. I had scenes with a lot of people. Some of them were simple and real like me. I was real, and here is how it goes with real…the ape, the gorilla Bushman back in the zoo said, “Think my thoughts and do my moves.” Well, that is the beginning of real. Being like F.D.R and putting yourself into that body, that being real.

Now there was an actor who was overacting. He’d maybe taken some acting classes, so he was acting. I don’t believe in that. I believe you just have to live. So I said to him, I hadn’t read any books or anything, I pulled him aside, and I said, “Hey have you ever thought of like talking to me?”

He said, “What do you mean?”

I said, “You know when you talk to me I’ll look at you and listen and when I talk to you you’ll look at me and listen.”

And he said, “How do you do that?”

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The next thing you know I was coaching about seven people so I guess I was teaching people acting but what I was really teaching was to stop acting. I believe people that are good at anything, like you’re a painter, well if you are a painter it is because you are just good at it. You didn’t go to school to learn how to paint. You might have learned what materials to use and you might have looked at great painters and great drawings and appreciated the works, just as I appreciate good actors in movies and later in theatre. My philosophy is that. You have to live, let life in, and let life in when you are doing art. I mean if you are doing art, it is because something has caught your eye and there is something about it, you want to do…something.

I am the kind of person I can be walking down the street and see something lying on the sidewalk and go, “Oh that is interesting.” I’ll pick it up and figure out how I can include it in a piece of art.

So anyways, I did that play and got good reviews. Then I started looking around as to what else I could do. I was healing up from my Malaria, still thinking of going back to the Colorado College that had an art school. I started doing plays in Chicago with little theatre company groups who were more Hollywood than anybody. Nutty people trying to have more affairs with everybody else. And then somebody said there is a summer stock company up in Wisconsin. So I lived out of my car, slept on the porch at the theatre, and tried out for a play every week and got one of the leads. They only had three paid actors and I wasn’t one of them so I starved and did acting all Summer long. (laughs) I was getting great reviews and really enjoying it. And I went, “This is it. To Hell with football. I want to be an actor.” I went to Northwestern University and what they did for me was they cleared up my Dese, Dems, and Dose accent.

I did a lot of Shakespeare. I don’t think I ever learned anything in an acting class although I read Stanislavsky who was a great artist. The stuff he wrote was exploratory and continuing, where too many teachers or people who call themselves teachers are people who know all the truth. Well anyone who knows all the truth is full of it. Full of lies. There is no final truth. It is a constant exploration, as you know with your art there is no final thing, you have to keep on moving forward. And that to me is what life is about. That there is a constant moving forward that is important.

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A scene from the tentatively titled, “An Untitled Crispin Hellion Glover Project.”

How is your art book coming along? I also understand you work together onscreen with Crispin for the first time in an upcoming film that is not part of the “It” Trilogy. What was it like to be able to share the screen in such a manner with someone who is also family?

I do realistic paintings. I do abstracts. I do structural things and I’ve got a book that I kind of have to get together. My son wants me to, my son Crispin, who is, of course, a terrific actor and book writer. We just finished a film where he wrote a script. So the script is his script with some of my added writing and he directed it. He is still editing it right now.

He is back in the Czech Republic, which is where we shot the film. In the last five years, I must have made I don’t know maybe fourteen trips to Poland and the Czech Republic. I did a Polish film were I acted in Polish about four years ago but I also went to the Czech Republic where Crispin has an estate that is 20 acres. He has two stables that were turned into film studios, where he builds sets. There are a lot of Czech’s working on the estate I guess they are trying to get away from Russians.

He is back there right now in fact. He’s been in that series American Gods and he’s terrific in it. Of course, you know he is a terrific actor. He was in Back to the Future and River’s Edge.

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Crispin as Brutus in Grand Room 1888 from “An Untitled Crispin Hellion Glover Project.”

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Bruce as Brutus in Grand Room 1918 from “An Untitled Crispin Hellion Glover Project.”

Well you know, we are not family when we are acting. I am in the character and the scenes we were in together we are both in character so we are not Crispin and we are not Bruce. We are the characters. It is like good and talented actors become the characters and it has nothing to do with father and son. But when he was directing me in a scene with somebody else I might jump in and say something to the other actor about if there is stunt involved, or how to do a fall, or if I have knowledge of something I will just jump in and say something. Or he might also ask me questions of what do I think of this or that so there is an exchange. And it is not an exchange that has to do with competition of any sort. It has to do with different appreciations of each other. Enjoyment in doing the job. Not particularly thinking that this is my son…but you are, you know you are aware of it.

The art book, I’ve got so many projects going right now and I am still dealing with a lot of things that have to do with the loss of my wife you know and straightening out things. Crispin wants to work with me on the art book. And he wants me to take photographs of some of the paintings I have. He says I should do about twenty-five of them. I am a person that has so many projects going that I have to grab myself by the back of my head and say, “Okay, do this one now.” And, “Finish that one now and stop trying to do sixteen of them partially.” Right now I am still dealing with filing taxes which I am going to have to do late anyway. (laughs)

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What was it like to share the stage with the likes of Bette Davis and Anne Bancroft?

Anne Bancroft and Bette Davis. Well, I did Night of the Iguana on Broadway. That was my first Broadway show. A Tennessee Williams play. Tennessee was always around, very kind, he was kind of like a kindly old aunt. I did that play for a year.

Bette Davis when she came into the play you know, she was a great film actor and the worst stage actor I’ve ever seen. (laughs) She was acting, acting, acting, acting… She was very aware of her stardom. We were warned not to approach her and we were supposed to stand in awe of her constantly. She at times would reach out and try to be a human being.

I remember my character, I played a German and I ran around with a lovely girl in a bikini and I did cartwheels on stage. I had to do cartwheel between Bette Davis and the edge of the stage and I rehearsed it all on a flat floor and then when the first set we had was up in New York in Bette Davis’ old hometown the stage was jutting out over an orchestra pit. When I saw the stage the first time I was on it, for our first performance, I thought it is going be bad tonight. I had to do between the edge of that orchestra pit and Bette Davis a cartwheel. (laughs) And I am like, I rehearsed that on a flat floor and now I have to go out there and slowly go through it myself to get past the fear of falling. What were the two dangers? Kicking Bette Davis or falling into the orchestra pit. (laughs)

Bette Davis, I admired her. As a film actress, she was great. I ran into her briefly I went over to her table at Pinewood Restaurant when I was doing the Bond film I went over and talked and she was very haughty as always. But I wanted to come over and pay my respects. I hadn’t gone to her goodbye party, because it was on a Monday night when the whole cast went to it. I didn’t go because I couldn’t bring my wife and it was my only night alone with her so I didn’t go. I think she always took it as an insult. But again, she was overacting on Broadway but in film, she was a great actress, but she got huge applause when we had Actor’s Fun Night and all of that. Everyone was still in awe of her, but I saw her realistically.

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Now Annie Bancroft was a terrific actress and a terrific person. We were in Mother Courage. It was going to be directed by the choreographer Jerome Robbins. He was a great choreographer. My wife was a ballet dancer. I was always attracted to women who were dancers. He was a great genius, a ballet master who created wonderful work. I was a fan of his, but he had done an Off Broadway play which was brilliant and directing usually, now he was going to do Mother Courage. Somehow he got intimidated and he went over to Berlin and studied Brechtian Theory on how to do a Brechtian play. Well, Bertolt Brecht wrote great plays but he wrote all of those incredibly stupid rules about how acting should be done. There is a school of acting, that has hopefully disappeared by now, which went by all of his principles in which all actors were supposed to be duplicates of each other. There was no such thing as individuality. So you would learn these things where you would be robots. The weird thing is he wrote all of these rules but he didn’t live by the rules. The actors that he cast were Peter Lorre. Who else is like Peter Lorre? Peter was unique and special. Thanks to him I did a commercial for Bubble Yum Bubble Gum where I got the commercial because I did a Peter Lorre imitation. He demanded blowing big bubbles. (laughs) So, Bertolt Brecht, he didn’t live by his own rules. And the rules were we were supposed to be deciphers.

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Bruce in a Bubble Yum commercial.

So I didn’t meet Bancroft for two weeks of rehearsal and we were supposed to go down in the basement in groups. Whichever character we were playing would be discussed by the second and third players of the play. The rule was going to be that the roles would be changed so you had some characters you were given that were supposed to be your first character to play and then another, but you were supposed to sit in a group and discuss what it all was about.

Well, that is disgusting. I am sorry I am not going to do what anyone else does. And if I am anything as an actor it is that I will never the usual. I will be the unusual and I intend to continue that whatever I am doing, whether it be acting, or I’m writing, or I am going to be painting or whatever I am going to be doing. It is uniquely my own. Every character I play is an entirely different character.

So here we are in this discussion group and I had gotten the part, back in those days in New York you’d go to an audition wearing a suit and a tie. So I went for the audition with Jerome Robbins and the audience up there. I came in and the character I was going to be playing was the paymaster I think. I came in and kicked off my shoes and spit on my feet and took my socks and started cleaning my toes while I was doing the dialogue of this character. I turned him into this is all about the seven years of war out there in the field, living like animals with nothing but filth.

The when Jerome Robbins was letting us rehearse for each of our characters they threw a pile of stuff on the stage and let you pick out your own costume. So you’d get all of these amazing pieces of stuff and it’d turn out to be a German Expressionist kind of crazy outfit. So your individuality would take up in there but you were supposed to be discussing all of this stuff in the basement of this theatre…Bancroft was upstairs rehearsing pulling around a wagon, which Mother Courage was pulling around a wagon in the play.

I remember watching this great stage designer and I stood in the wings watching over from the side of the stages that were showing mockups of all the sets that he was going to build. And they were all built and we all had our costumes and then because Robbins was believing in the Brechtian way he took away all of our costumes. And he put us all in black tights. No one was to look like an individual. The sets that had been designed by this brilliant set designer were gone. They just had black walls, black curtains, black floors. And when I came out after two weeks to do my first scene with Anne Bancroft, I sat down on the floor, pulled off my shoes, spit on my feet, and Jerome says, “No, no, don’t sit down.”

I stood up and I took off my shoes standing and I spit on my foot and he says, “No, no, don’t take off the shoe.”

Then next thing I know he is giving me lines. Saying, “No, no, no.”

And he looks at me and comes up to me and says, “No, no, no.”

Then he walked away and I said, “Don’t walk away from me you little shit.” (laughs)

Because he had destroyed everything I was doing. That was my relationship with Annie Bancroft who was befuddled but the whole thing. There were talented actors and if they came up with something that was interesting Robbins would take it away from them because he was believing in those Brechtian Rules. So we were all going to be robots and the play, of course, failed on Broadway. Annie Bancroft was a brilliant actress and a brilliant person who never got to be…the play it just didn’t work.

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Are there any certain moments from over the course of your career that stand out most in your mind looking back today?

You know the fact is, certainly you can look artistically at different films. I’ve done over two hundred films and television shows over the years. I was in one hundred plays. Every one is unique and different. So if I say outstanding it is the fact that I did so many and everything was another opportunity to grow.

For an actor sometimes and rarely you are given an opportunity by the writers, by the director that was a wide open door and sometimes, the majority of the time you are given something that was not that good. And you’d try to improve it. And I would. I would go in and improvise and throw in lines that weren’t in the script. That is one of the reasons you make a lot of bad films better by just being unique and doing what you got to do.

So when you get a rare opportunity like working with my son, the film that we’ve done in the Czech Republic which is being edited now currently called An Untitled Crispin Hellion Glover Project. We will see what the title is eventually. Crispin, people like him and Guy Hamilton who did Diamonds Are Forever, the Bond film, and Roman Polanski are people who take somebody who has never acted before and put them in a major role in a movie. Because they see that they are alive and real.

Acting isn’t important, what is important is being a real entity. Brilliant directors see that and they don’t over direct. They look at what you are doing. And if you are a really good actor when you get into film and television you never get any comments because the poor director is rushing to the problem areas and you are not one of them. You start to wonder, “Why aren’t I getting any comments?” Well, you aren’t getting any comments because you are too good to waste the time on. Whatever you come up with if you have a good director you can discuss with him what you want to do. Like Guy Hamilton was wide open to every idea I had and a lot of the success of the humor of that film was me. Those were all my ideas. The final moment in the film where Sean Connery does that rude thing pushing the hooha up my yaha and giving that character his final great sexual moment is the biggest laugh in the movie. I remember getting a few compliments on that from the Saint, Sir Roger Moore saying it was the funniest Bond moment of all which I appreciate. I never met Roger Moore but I used to see him come into the big restaurant at Pinewood when I was shooting the Bond film. That was a six month job, three of the months were in England.

Roger Moore would come in like a Golden God. But for me, the Bond will always be Sean Connery. He is the real thing.

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How long were you in Tennessee during the time you were working on the Walking Tall films? What was your impression of the state?

I watched the state change over a period of time. The first film is a good film. I mean it is a terrific film. The second two were…you know there were different writers, different directors, different cast. The first film we had Joe Don Baker, Felton Perry, and me playing the cops. And we were great together we had good relationships and the script was well written. Buford Pusser was around constantly and we became friends.

The sense of Tennessee in that first place it had more to do with Buford being a man who protected people, his family and law rather than being a guy who liked pounding people with a club. The second and third films became more about the club and less about Buford.

The first film we were in Jackson, Tennessee in a hotel and we had a swimming pool and Felton Perry who was the black deputy and I am the white deputy, we are both two guys from Chicago. We like to play chess together. And we would play chess at the side of the pool and there’d be quite often a bunch of red-necked salesmen types running around playing high school grab ass games in the swimming pool and hating the fact that there was a white guy and black guy daring to sit at the side of their pool playing chess. Which of course they wouldn’t play anyway.

I didn’t know it until later, Felton and I had stayed in contact for years, we are still a little, but he doesn’t go to the Academy anymore so…anyway, Felton told me later that he didn’t do the second film because he had been getting abuse. People standing outside of his door and saying rude things and the n word. I didn’t know about it, and I said, “Why didn’t you come to me? Why didn’t you say anything about it?”

So let us say that my first impression of Tennessee was there was that racial kind of overhang there, but there is another strange thing about it, because being from Chicago, Chicago was divided up a lot so there was like a black neighborhood and a white neighborhood. I remember my high school there was one brother sister, young black people that she and he were both attractive and confident and they became very popular in this mostly white school. She was a cheerleader, he was on the football team. He wasn’t a typical great athlete he was like fifteenth string or something. But they were both very popular and I remember a couple of black people would like whiz through and disappear and they were like under inspection.

Now I understood it because as a kid making deliveries in Chicago when I was seven or eight years old going into the all black neighborhoods the hatred that would come at you from you being the only white person in a black neighborhood it made me understand how being a black person in a white environment was…so there was that separation strangely in Chicago days.

He told me in Chicago it wasn’t quite that bad for him. But, one of the things I noticed in spite of the sense of there being an overall racial thing in Tennessee there was also kind of more…mingling. In other words, there were more encounters in day to day and if that happens people start to get to know each other as people rather than just a color.

After Joe Don Baker and Felton either weren’t offered the second film or they decided not to, Buford was going to play himself in the second film. It was an excellent opportunity, there were good scenes in it, there was good writing, a good director, and a good producer and that makes a big difference. So the first film was different producer, different writer, different director, and a different time.

You said the impression of Tennessee, it changed. I watched it over a period of time. So the first film I don’t know we were there six weeks or something maybe eight weeks I am not sure. He (Buford) would be driven back and forth from the studio from the film set of the environment out in Tennessee to the hotel. Now the second film Buford was going to play himself and I ended up doing the screen test with him and they had built four sets in Paramount studios with the full crew to do this screen test with some dude who was like one of those old-time directors who would say “Roll them” and then, “Cut” and that was about it. There were lots of directors and they were just there and you knew not to worry about them and just do your own thing. Don’t listen to anything they say except this is where you stand, this is the line you know whatever…

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Buford and I had good times. I remember me taking his club and he grabbing the gun out of my holster playing games and stuff like that. You can see it on my Facebook. There is this whole thing where they turned it into all about the club not knowing what Buford was really like. He was a man who was protective of people, women especially. He had a great sense of family and women.

But he was also a playful dude. I remember getting into a car with him one time.

He said, “Hey can I drive you back to the hotel.”

I said, “Yeah Buford.”

And I got in the car with him and suddenly he is going 125 mph on a country road and he says, “I’m sorry I don’t seem to be able to get my speed out of this.”

And I am like, “Yeah Buford”

I know he was trying to scare the Hell out of me. (laughs) And he was, but I wouldn’t let on, but I never got into a car with him again that he was driving unless there was a woman present because he was very protective and respectful of women.

When the first film was going to be promoted they had done a stupid thing with the ads and they had this stupid ad that they were having a party after the screening of the thing and the screening was they had invited all the Sheriff’s department to see the screening. All of these producers thought they had a big hit in their hands, well they didn’t know what they had done was wrong.

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And they had this party after and the President of Bing Crosby Productions who had only been president of a perfume company before that, a nice man, called me over and said, “Come on out and greet the releaser of the film. He just saw the film tonight.”

And I said, “Oh really.”

And here is this little dude standing next to me. He said, “He did the artwork for the ad and he is going to see the film tomorrow.”

And I am looking at these other producers all drinking, they feel like they have a big success on their hands. “So you are going to release the film and you just saw it tonight? And dinky dong over here did the artwork for the ads? And he is going to see the film tomorrow?”

I said, “Gentleman, this is exactly why your film is going to go down the tubes.” These guys are looking at me like I am ruining their party. I said, “You’re running an ad that doesn’t sell the film that we’ve got.”

They had a picture of Joe Don Baker standing there with a big club sticking out of his fly like a you know what. I think the same guy must have done the Shaft in Africa ad that was done the year before. He is standing here with this big club sticking out from his groin, again club, club, club sticking out and where dumb guys start to misunderstand what a movie is about. And behind Buford over his left shoulder, where Joe Don Baker is Buford, there are two women with their see-through blouses showing their all. All of which was in the movie. These lovely women showing their all and then over the other shoulder there is a car flying through the air with machine guns shooting out of the window, well that is in the movie too. And at the bottom of the thing with the big club underneath it says, “The Story of a REAL Man.” Like ugh God.

And I said, “Gentlemen, the ad that you are running doesn’t sell our film that we did. It is going to be in the drive-in theater for about two weeks and then it is going to disappear and it is going to go down the tubes.”

And they are looking at me and I’m ruining their party, but one of the producers, a smarter guy, pulls me aside and he says, “Will you come and have lunch with me tomorrow at the Brown Derby?”

And I said, “Sure.”

He says, “Now tell me your ideas.”And I did.

And then he asked me to come over to Bing Crosby Productions the next day and give him more ideas. And I redid their ad, but it was too late for L.A, that was the ad and it did exactly what I said. It’d be in the drive-in for two weeks and then down the tubes, but they redid the ad for Chicago and the ad I did, which I had Joe Don Baker hugging his wife and two kids, and the club was just leaning against a wall behind him. And it said, “A Man Must Protect his Family and his Territory.” And then at the bottom it said: “Based on a true story.” And that is the ad that sold it in Chicago and it became the hit structure of the Walking Tall. Now, nobody is going to say that Bruce Glover saved Walking Tall, but I did. (laughs)

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You have said for anyone to be their best at their craft whatever it is they have to stop worrying what anyone else thinks of them. Do you think that is important in most aspects of life?

Yeah, absolutely. Of course, being a football player you are being an athlete. I am still an athlete even at my age. I can’t play soccer anymore. I played for thirty years. I created two teams…so anyway when you play sports you just have to look at the ball. Where is it? Who is that other player? What is going on? What do you do? You just keep moving with life. I mean you have to let life come in and affect you. And not have it so controlled. The same with art.

It was the same thing with Buford when he and I sat in front of this corny old director and did a read through. Buford read through with me. He was terrible. And then the director just stood on one foot and then the other and he wobbled out there and said, “Tell me when it is lighted.”

Buford said, “I was terrible.”

I said, “Yeah you were.”

He said, “What am I going to do?”

And I said, “This is what you’re going to do.”, and again this is how I teach acting, I said, “Buford when you should be sitting in your car and you see a car whizzing by and you decide to follow them, you’d look at their license plate and call it in and wait for any information on the license plate, then you watch how he was driving, and then you turn on your lights to make them stop, you watch how he is reacting, and then when he stops you park your car and be out a couple of feet so you wouldn’t get hit by car coming from behind, and when you approach the back of his car, you’d look to make sure there was nobody in the back seat. And in the driver’s seat, you’d look over his shoulder to make sure he didn’t have any weapons. And when he got out of the car you’d watch his hands and watch him and make sure, that he was not holding a weapon and you’d be looking at his eyes, and when he talked to you, you’d be watching how he is talking. You’d watch how he responded to what you were saying.”

He said, “Yeah I do all of those things.”

I said, “Well that is how you act.”

And he went, “Oh. Okay.”

And he was terrific. He got it. And that was my acting lesson to him, just do the real things. And he was going to be terrific.

When I had my boys, Crispin was up at a Boy Scout camp and Buford just had one little piece of dialogue and I was already out of costume. I was going to go up and meet Crispin at this Boy Scouts camp. And Buford was always all about family.

And I said, “Buford, you don’t need me for this.”

And he said, “No I’ll see you in Tennessee.”

I reached up and goosed him and he said, “I’ll get you in Tennessee.” and we both walked out laughing. And then he was murdered of course. What a loss it was. So anyway I watched Tennessee change, to continue that thing about Tennessee, over the next two films. The two films were all about the club but I watched Tennessee change and it became more integrated and restaurants changed and you could now bring your own bottle in. I made friends with a couple of local blacks who would take me to nightclubs and I’d be the only white person in it. I learned a lot about dancing by learning how their rhythm was working. My wife being a dancer we used to dance together a lot. So I learned a lot in Tennessee the one thing I did learn was different writers, different producers, different things I think the Walking Tall went way off base and they lost the real Buford.

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Is it true that when Crispin’s mother married you she thought, “Who am I marrying?” when she first saw that Hellion wasn’t your real middle name? What was she like as a person? What did you love most about her?

That she wanted me. She wanted me from the first she saw me. She made me know it and she made me want her. And I did. And she was smart and tough and brave. She was a terrific dancer. I did dancing too, I did an Off Broadway show for a year where I did East Indian Kathakali dancing. But she and I used to dance together. She was a terrific, strong woman, she had the physicality of a dancer with all the muscles. The brightness of her face and her eyes. She was a brilliant woman. And she grabbed me and made me marry her, Betty. And I miss her every day. We had fifty-six years of marriage and it’s three years almost now since she died. And she dies every day as far as I am concerned. I will never not miss her every minute. I mean I miss her every day.

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How did becoming a father change your outlook on the world?

Well, of course being a father is not too dissimilar to being an older brother protecting his little sisters and his little brother who eventually came along. You have to teach your child and I remember being born, literally.

So before Crispin was born I started talking to him. Putting my mouth on my wife’s tummy and talking to Crispin and playing classical music. Putting classical music on her stomach.

I think you have to have an influence and your responsibility to a child is to give to them and help them grow and to stimulate them with things. I did that and his mother did that.

The idea is not to make him conform to your way of doing things but to help them find their way of doing it which is what I believe any teaching has to be.

I used to pose for art classes and the best teachers were those that didn’t teach anything. They just went around approving of what everyone was doing. I remember there was one teacher up at the Art Institute of Chicago, I posed in his class and he just went around telling everyone how great their stuff was and he was right. (laughs) All these other people criticizing even at the Art Institute were destructive. And I don’t think you need to criticize you just need to show people life and let them live it and live their art.

So a child has to be shown…stuff and let them reach out for it. His mother did and I did. Crispin had the benefit of both of us and he had the benefit of our genes and lots of brain cells in there, from both of us. And that is being a good parent as far as I am concerned.

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What was Crispin like as a child growing up? How did it feel to have him direct you in It Is Fine! Everything is Fine. ? What are your personal feelings on that particular film?

As a little kid, he was very brave. I was in New York City. I remember him walking miles without even looking around to see if I was following him. He would climb up rocks with me, of course, I was right behind him to make sure he didn’t fall but he’d just climb. He was always very brave and curious, and he didn’t whine and cry a lot. He never crawled. The first time he got out of his crib he didn’t crawl he stood up and walked. So he had a sense, from the moment he was born he had a sense of looking around and seeing life and I guess I had already introduced him to lots of that before he was born where I used to talk to him.

Working with him as a director… is fine. He is smart enough to recognize if what you are doing is good and direction is collaboration. We still will collaborate on future things. He is a terrific director. He is smart. He is my son too. In the long run, you know the love is there and the caring and the appreciation of each of us and our talents. So again, Crispin was great to work with. I don’t know if I’ll get to have him direct me in something else again or maybe I’ll get to direct him in something. I’m writing scripts too.

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Bruce & Crispin at the premiere of “American Gods” season 2.

You have said that Cripsin, as a director has an eye for talent when it comes to casting people who have never acted before. Where do you think that ability comes from ?

I think that is just the seeing of real.

I mentioned it earlier. That Guy Hamilton had it for Diamonds Are Forever the Bond film where he took Putter Smith who had never acted before so I am playing bass fiddle with Thelonious Monk and he said, “That’s got to be one of the guys.”

So he just saw that there was a quality that Putter Smith had. It was a gift to me. He didn’t know how much of a help he was, but he gave me something to bounce off of in creating my own character in looking at his character. Since it was a rare kind of movie where for the first time in history two characters were being identified as gay. There were some strange guys.

There were more in Chicago and New York, well you know they are everywhere and great people mostly. Betty had a lot of gay friends around so that was one of the things I didn’t want to do when I did the character in the Bond film. I didn’t want to do that buddy of Betty’s going, “Oh if you two get divorced. I don’t know which one I am going to marry.” (laughs)

People are people. It doesn’t matter if you want to hump…an elephant or not. Keep it to yourself. (laughs)

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As an artist yourself, what do you love most about the act of creation in all of its various forms?

Just the experiencing of it, the doing of it. Sometimes the results fit in the changing of it. And the learning process. That it is a constant learning. And if you are not learning while you are doing an art then you are not doing it right.

Good actors never know quite what is going to be I think. There are actors that come across as good because they do the same thing over and over, and at the end of the night, they are so great looking that they get away with it.

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Are there any little known things about you that people might be surprised to know?

I suppose the Dyslexia, which I mentioned. What my theory is, is if you have a talent for something, you should do it. You don’t have to learn how. Do it. And that is one of the things I do as a teacher and I hardly have any classes anymore because all of these people who are bad teachers spend a lot of money advertising. So, if anybody is smart enough to come to me, I will help them.

One of the things they won’t know and might be surprised to learn is that I am very kind. And I want to help people. And that is what I would get out of teaching, is seeing somebody grow, but most people only listen so much and they don’t do the work that they have to do. I mean the working class dude that you asked me about earlier, that is true of…everything. If you don’t do the work you are not going to be very good at it. If you don’t take some chances you are not going to get there.

You have to take chances. I took a lot of chances as an actor where you would just barge into places and just do things and if you got a part you might change it and never discuss with anyone what you were going to do.

One of the things that I am, I suppose, is that I totally, outrageously…don’t live by the rules. The rules have to be found out now. Now I change the rules, now I have to do these rules. And you have to look at to some degree, a certain amount of balance about how you care for people and take care of them.

I suppose maybe, that might one of the things. Like Crispin…we are kind to people. We like people, but we are not going to be pushed around. (laughs)

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What would say is the key to a life well lived?

Living it. You know, every minute. Being in the moment. Not being afraid. Taking the pain when it comes and living that too. Live, live, live and that is what it really is all about.

How do you hope to be remembered when your time comes?

Ah, who cares? I’ll be dead. (laughs)

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Is there anything else you’d like to say in closing?

Live your life. That is what I try to do and whatever part of it that you are in right now. Be in it. Get through it. If it is great, it is great. If it is not great, live through it. Do work. You have to be working on something. If you are not creating something you are not living. You have to create stuff that is not abuse of a lot of people. Create something that educates people. Be an educator, be a protector and by protecting others you protect yourself. Your own integrity is to constantly learn. Learn something new every day. If you are not learning you are dead.

I’ve been close to death many times and even the death process is kind of a learning process.

I remember I had a motorcycle accident where I knew I was going to die. I ran into a cow that had ran out on the side of the road. A big steer with horns coming right at my face. And I knew I was going to die, but I noticed that his mouth was slopping his tongue out. And I laughed. So even at that moment when I knew I was probably going to die, I found it funny (laughs).

I had another moment where I was going to be struck in the face by a rattlesnake while I was climbing a cliff in Utah. And as it was striking at me I still noticed how beautiful it was.

So live it til the end and laugh when you can.

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(Author’s note: My deepest thanks to Mark Kinnaman who took the time to call and record this interview,  as well as Bruce Glover, himself for giving of his time so graciously).

An Interview with Didier Konings

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Didier Konings (27) from the Netherlands is currently Lead Digital Matte Painter / Concept Artist at Aaron Sims Creative, concept design and visual effects studio based in Los Angeles. For the past four years and a half, Didier has been working full-time at Aaron Sims Creative. Working on several blockbusters and delivering iconic concept design work and memorable visual effects. Some of the highlights being – The look of scenes for the film Rampage, the majestical worlds of the film Wrinkle in Time, The design for the Island for the film Wonder Woman, the bizarre Upside Down world for the hit TV series – Stranger Things, and the fantastical worlds for the Chinese blockbuster Asura.

What was it like growing up in the Netherlands? What are some of your most fond memories of those days?

I grew up in a small town that is part of Rotterdam called Hoogvliet. Growing up in a nice neighborhood where I had a lot of friends that are still up until this day my best friends.  When I was young I was in South Africa where my grandpa lived at the time. I was still very young. There was one night they where screening Jurassic Park. When I saw that my mind was blown. Funny enough the day after we were on a safari trip in a similar kind of car. I felt like I was in that movie, and I thought there might be dinosaurs around. It was very intense for me as a kid.

So seeing that movie of me being a dinosaur fan was for me a milestone because since then I became very interested in film making.  The film became an obsession for me in a way that I really wanted to find out how they made those dinosaurs alive. I watched and researched the behind the scenes endlessly. For some people finding out how it was made makes the magical aspect of it go away, but to me, that was where the real magic is. Inspired by that film and many other films I saw I started to film my own films with my friends.

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When did you first discover your love of art?

I had a very rich fantasy life as a kid and through drawing, I was able to scribble that into a visual format. Dinosaurs have always been my biggest passion. I had a lot of books with amazing drawings that inspired me.

Do you happen to remember what the first you loved to draw as a child was?

Definitely Dinosaurs!

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What led you to leave for the United States? Did you experience any culture shock? How do the two places differ most?

There was no culture shock, the shock was more that it’s exactly how I imagined it to be. I remember my first impression was that it all feels very cinematic like a film scene. L.A. is really a car city, so the infrastructure is built on that. Like the roads streets, parking lots.  Funny enough I’m still riding my bicycle as a crazy Dutch. But it really is a car city.

Do you ever get back to the Netherlands much these days?

Every winter and Every summer. Winter to celebrate Christmas with my family.

And the summers are nicer in the Netherlands since the temperatures are perfect, L.A. during the summers can be very extreme hot.

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You also work as a filmmaker from time to time I understand? What do you love most about that?

Directing films and telling stories have since I was young always been my passion. The fact that I’m able to express my vision in the form of a film is great. I like to collaborate and guide all the aspects of film since I’m passionate about everything it takes to make a film. Sound, Music, Cinematography. Acting, so by directing I’m able to work with people on those things. Nothing makes me more satisfied to see multiple talents coming together behind the camera and in front. Smoke comes in the lights go on, the set becomes alive, the actors transform into characters. Those moments are truly magical to me.

How did you come to find yourself working as a concept artist?

As a big movie nerd, I had the idea to make my own feature film at the age of 17, directing the low budget feature Boys in War. I spent four years on it and the aspects I enjoyed the most were directing, design, and visual effects.

So I enrolled at the Netherlands Film Academy, specializing in Digital Matte Painting and Concept Art. Afterwards, I completed a design internship at  Aaron Sims Creative, concept design and visual effects studio in Los Angeles during the summer months of 2014. In 2015, I graduated with the film The Space Between Us a post-apocalyptic science fiction film where I was able to do the Production Design and Visual Effects.

My dream of moving to Hollywood became a reality, So I moved to Los Angeles to work for Aaron Sims Creative. I work there for 4,5 years already and was able to work on a lot of big film projects, gaining lots of experience.

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Are there any projects you have worked on that were more dear to you than others?

Yes for sure. I feel very lucky to say that I have worked on things I would have never thought I would work on. I remember so clearly the night I saw the first Pirates of the Caribbean. That was so awesome!  The visual effects were so great, and still hold up to today. I once did a vfx test with my friends to replicate the effect of the skeletons being revealed by moonlight. And crazy enough … years later while I was doing the internship at  ASC where I had the opportunity to work on the 5th installment, designing the dead crew from Salazar. I was blasting the soundtrack whole the time while painting. That was great!

What do you enjoy most about the act of creating?

As an artist being able to express my ideas and visions that first live in my mind then while creating they appear in a visual form, I think that transmission process, sharing ideas in such matter is very unique and make us humans so magical.  I’m a visual thinker and can see things up until detail level in my head, I always try to bring as much of what I envision on paper.

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What advice would you offer to others looking to pursue a similar career?

I would say the only thing that makes you stop is yourself. Work hard really pays off. And push yourself always to go further and keep learning, that’s to me the most fun part. The industry changes fast, new techniques, software, and expectations. so you have to keep up. I feel it makes it fresh and fun, rather than staying in your comfort zone. I also gained a lot of growth when I changed my mindset towards critique. I really wanted people to be very hard on my work and smash it into a thousand pieces if needed. Around that time I really saw a big improvement in my work. Community is also key. Surround yourself by artists, learn from each other. Find yourself a mentor person, who is preferably a couple steps ahead in where you would love to be in the future. Don’t lock yourself away and try to invent the wheel by yourself I would say.

What projects are you currently working on?

Recently I have worked on the new X men The Dark Phoenix and I’m currently working on a film called Mouse guard and another big thing that I’m able to say a word about.

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Do you have a dream project you’d most like to bring into existence?

I’ve been working on a film project for a while that I created and directed. The Cast and Crew that were involved are very close friends. Our chemistry is like a well-oiled machine. It’s such a pleasure. We are in discussion with investors to secure funding for a new feature film project (a long form version of a short film we shot last year in Iceland). Though that’s all I can speak on it at this stage, we are extremely confident in this project and cannot wait to see where it goes.

Is there anything you’d like to say in closing?

Thank you very much for this interview and great questions.

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An Interview with Charlie Matthau

2012 Tribeca Film Festival - Tribeca Talks: Freaky Deaky

Charlie Matthau has directed successful feature films in various genres and has also directed several network television projects. In addition to the critically acclaimed The Grass Harp, he has also directed Doin’ Time on Planet, Her Minor ThingBaby-O, Freaky Deaky, and is in post-production on The Book of Leah which stars Armand Assante. A graduate of USC Film School, he has also produced and written several films. He has won several awards for directing including Best Director of the Year from The Academy of Family Films, and the AFI Platinum Circle award. He is currently developing Bodyguard of Lies, a World War Two thriller, and several other film and television projects including the limited series 1920: The Year of the Six Presidents based on the book by top historian David Pietrusza.

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What are some of your earliest and most fond memories growing up with encouraging parents in such a creative atmosphere?

I was blessed to be raised by older and more mature parents. My father was 42 when I was born and he did not become really famous until I was about 4 years old. I think I benefited greatly from being raised by folks who were not overly consumed with their careers, or their success. My father enjoyed being a film star, but he also could see through the baloney of Hollywood.

What was it like to have Charlie Chaplin as your godfather? What was he like?

Charlie was very quiet and sensitive, and modest considering he was the greatest movie star in the world for many years, and practically invented motion pictures.

As a shy child what was the most difficult thing about being in front of the camera? How exactly did your father make acting more fun for you?

I never really enjoyed acting as I don’t enjoy being vulnerable and open emotionally. But when I acted with my father, he taught me that acting is listening. That helped me not be focused upon myself but instead be in the moment, and hopefully be more natural.

You have said he taught you that acting is about listening. Can you elaborate a little more on that? Do you think in today’s world people tend to listen less than they should in most circumstances?

What?…I absolutely do. When you are talking you are not learning.

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How has being shy changed for you now as an adult vs as a child? Do you still sometimes struggle with that shyness?

I am still naturally shy, but as one gets older and gets life experience, you realize that engaging with others is not so scary and very little of what we do or say will matter in 100 years or even 100 minutes.

How did it feel to have the chance to work with your father and Carol Burnett on The Marriage Fool?

It was a joy. I am in awe of their talent, their chemistry and of what beautiful human beings they are, or in the case of my father, were.

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How was it to work with Crispin Glover on Freaky Deaky? What is he like as an individual?

I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Crispin since we both attended The Mirman School for Gifted Children in Bel Air California. We were both there for many years and even acted in the school play together. He is extremely smart, uncynical, collaborative and funny. I wish I could work with him on every project.

Who have been some of your favorite actors to have worked with so far? Have any been more challenging than the others?

There have been so many. Getting to work with my father and Jack Lemmon, Piper Laurie, Sissy Spacek, Mary Steenburgen, Joe Don Baker, Charlie Durning and all those wonderful actors on Grass Harp was a priceless experience I will always treasure. I’m glad the film turned out so well so that I did not embarrass them or waste their time. I recently worked with Armand Assante, and he is a world class talent and gentleman.

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What do you think it takes create a piece of work that everyone involved in can be proud of?

It takes a good script, creating a safe, collaborative and fun environment, and a lot of luck.

Are you still planning to bring about The 1920 Election television series? Can you tell us a little more about that?

The election of 1920, the first modern election, is surprisingly similar to 2020. The main issues were isolationism, anti-intellectualism, terrorism, immigration, a presidential sex scandal, women’s rights, and the manipulation of new media to sway voters. In 1920, it was radio and in 2020 it is social media like Facebook. It was also the year we had our first woman president, Mrs Woodrow Wilson who ran the country for a year and a half when her husband had a stroke.

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I understand The Book of Leah is almost finished as well. Why did you decide to work on that particular film at this time?

I was blessed to be hired to direct the film by its Producer and Writer Leslie Neilan. She wrote a beautiful story about a young woman’s coming of age that is extraordinarily sensitive and intelligent. Usually, the assignments that I get offered as a director are not of a high standard, but this was truly a gift and I am grateful to have had the opportunity. I got to work with amazing actors like Armand, Brianna Chomer, Kate Linder, Melanie Neilan, Morgan Lindholm, Gigi Freedman,  Ornella Thelmudottir, Ty Olowin, Jimmy Van Patten and Freddie Cole, who is a jazz legend. I could listen to that man sing all day.

I also got to work with many nice crew people including the producers Ken Achity, Alan Gibson, Ellison Miller, Mark and Arlene Fromer and, for the 5th time, with my favorite DP and mentor John Connor.

Do you still work with the Maria Gruber Foundation? Can you tell us more about what it is they do there?

The Maria Gruber Foundation was started by my friend Simona Fusco. I was Simona’s first boyfriend and I’ve been bragging about it ever since. She named it after her beautiful mother who passed away from cancer but whose beautiful spirit lives on in Simona and her daughter Amber. Our government really needs to spend more on cancer research, because it kills a lot of its citizens.

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Do you think it is important that those in a position to help others who are in need do so whatever way they can?

I sure do. Otherwise, really, what is the point of it all? I know certain people have really helped me through the years, and I’d be a disaster without them.

What projects do you hope to bring into existence in the years ahead?

My favorite project is Bodyguard of Lies which is the most amazing true story you have never heard of. It is about Juan Pujol, a failed chicken farmer who saved at least 14 million lives in the Second World War. You know, a good chicken farmer will do that for you.

Is there anything you’d like to say before you go?

Just that it is a pleasure to re-connect with you after several years. Thank you for remembering me and for your kindness and graciousness.