1. Supernova (2009) /The Land That Time Forgot (2009) /Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus (2009) /The Terminators (2009) /”PG Porn” …. PigPen / … (3 episodes, 2008-2009)
/Death Racers (2008) /100 Million BC (2008) /666: The Beast (2007)/First Landing (2007)/”Passions” …. Swiss Guard (3 episodes, 2006)/Welcome to Purgatory /Big Apple(3 episodes,2001)/The Ghouls /Retro Puppet Master (1999) /Blast from the Past (1999)/Rush Hour (1998) /Lethal Weapon 4 /Rockabilly Vampire (1996)/Tromeo and Juliet (1996)
1) Stephen, you’ve worked for FULL MOON, TROMA and now THE ASYLUM…Differences in studios?
Well, while to an outsider they may all simply look like companies that make B-movies, they’re very different from each other. They make entirely different sorts of films. The films that Troma makes themselves (versus the ones they just distribute) are really a sort of Art Film. It might not be in everyone’s taste, but art is like that. They’re rebellious, anti-everything, goofy, post-post-modern manifestos.
Full Moon was more about making films as sort of dark comic books. They had lots of different franchises of films going all the time. The Trancers films, the Puppet Master series, etc. Each film was like a new issue; a new chapter in an ongoing tale. They were great at telling those creepy stories.
The Asylum gets a lot of crap for making “mockbusters”, or films that piggy-back on the publicity of the big Hollywood pictures, and I think a lot of the criticism is unfair. It’s incredibly tough for an indie film outfit to stay in business these days, and I think they’ve got a pretty ingenious business model. They take the tone and (something like the) title of whatever insipid Event Movie that the studios are forcing down the public’s throat this month, and tell their own original story inside of that.
2) See you have done Soap Operas. Is this better work – Harder to do, or what?
Soaps. Yeah, I’ve done them here and there. Listen, as bad as the economy has been, you don’t turn your nose up at anything. I think it’s harder to do a good job in them, but maybe that’s just me. Maybe if I did them more often, I could find a way to do well in that medium. I just really don’t understand them, I guess.
3) ‘Rush Hour’ and ‘Lethal Weapon 4’ had different budgets than the norm. Does this make a difference ?
Absolutely! Having lots of takes to do a scene the right way, versus one or maybe two on an indie? It makes all the difference to the acting. Some actors give their best take the first time, and get a little muddier as the instinct fades. Other actors, like me, benefit greatly by being allowed to try different things, and sort of warm up into it. Then there’s the fact that the sets and most everything else in the big-budget films are real, or pretty close facsimiles, instead of flimsy stuff you can afford on indies. And, for the most part, the directors, the crew and cast are much more experienced on the big films, and I’d say definitely a big YES. It’s WAY easier to do a good job in a big-budget project. Actors dream of the cushy jobs like that for that reason, never mind the pay.
But for me, I can either do those teeny tiny roles in big films or perform in smaller ones where I get to play larger roles and grow as an actor. I get to do things they’d never let me do in the big leagues. Plus, working for folks like Asylum, I feel a little bit like I’m part of a troupe or a family, instead of just being a cog in the big corporate Hollywood machine.
4) BEST of “Corazon Negro ” On/Off set ?
I think the thing people appreciate the most is preparation and attitude. It helps that I’ve worked a lot on both sides of the camera, and that gives you a great perspective on what the scene needs, and gives you an idea of how complex even the smallest films are to shoot. You learn that it’s not really all about you, and you learn to manage yourself and appreciate every minute of every job you get.
5) WORST of “C’N” ?
That’s not easy to answer, because in this town people don’t tell you that you’re bugging them. They just don’t hire you again.
From my perpective, a bad day is usually one where people don’t care about making something of quality. Those days, you just feel like a talking piece of meat…like you’re just wasting your time. Or when people don’t honor their word. That gets me, big time.
6) One Sentence Descriptions-
Charles Band = Never met him.
David Latt = Great guy, and film-business genius.
James Gunn = My best friend
Lloyd Kaufman = The ultimate survivor, the raging artist, Uncle Lloydie
Anthony Fankhauser = Fantastic person and director, who’s finally getting his chance.
7) Ever want to write or Direct ?
Sure. I’ve written many scripts, and done pretty well in competitions, but haven’t done much to get many of them out there for others to make. That said, I’m putting a project together now, which I wrote, that I hope to direct sometime in the next year.
8) Your name, has it been lucky or disturbing?
Probably it pigeonholes me a bit as a villain to people in the biz who don’t know me, but I’d say it’s been pretty lucky for me so far.
9) What is it gonna take to be a ‘leading man’?
Well, I used to be a leading man when I worked in theatre in New York and London for many years. I guess I come across differently to people in Los Angeles. I was at a meeting at NBC recently, and an executive there told me, “I hope you’re not offended by this, but…you’re kinda creepy. Wonderfully creepy, if you know what I mean.” Honestly, I don’t know what that means at all, other than maybe that the typical Leading Man roles might not be in my Hollywood future.
10) Famous Last Words, to those of us who will listen?
Never, never, never, never give up. Never surrender. Never quit.