You just had a grandchild. Congratulations. Are you making any of this a family business?
My daughter’s interested in cosmetology. My son’s not. He’s in the Navy. He’s a career Navy man. Who knows? (My grandson) is only a year and a half. I’ve got to start brainwashing him. Teach him CGI first. And how to edit on a computer.

One last thing. Let’s talk about your inspirations. Both as special effects and as an actor.
Well, that’s like saying, “What’s your favorite movie?” You can’t even think of your favorite ten movies, let alone your favorite movie. But inspirations are always the same. Dick Smith of course, and before him Jack Pierce, and Rick Baker. I’ll see anything from Rick. You know what it is. Go see the latest exhibit of your favorite artist and that’s what the effects movies are to me anymore. Rob Bottin for sure. He created the masterpiece of splatter. If I’m the King of splatter, he’s the new King, because “The Thing” – “The Thing” was the masterpiece of splatter. That was incredible. And as an actor, Hoffman, Pacino, Christopher Walken, Olivier. I mean it’s like the list it’s just too big anymore, you know. They’re all inspirations. Just watch any “Inside the Actor’s Studio.” Except for Kevin Costner. He was a blithering idiot on that show. Did you see that?

I actually did not see that.
The best guy was Robin Williams. Did you see Robin Williams on “Inside the Actor’s Studio”? It’s like a nightclub act. James Lipton couldn’t say three words. Robin Williams would just take off. I bet it’s five hours long and they just edited what they could to get Lipton in there every now and then. He was totally insane and it was just brilliant. But it was perfect to be on “Inside the Actors Studio” because every time Williams took off he was just improvising. It’s incredible what he draws from. It’s almost like he’s been around for a thousand years, the things he knows.

One final question. Compare doing more serious work, both special effects and acting, versus something more comical, like “Sex Machine.”
Well, that was a big budget movie, “From Dusk Till Dawn.” That was made to look like a drive-in movie. But look at the cast. George Clooney, Harvey Keitel, Juliette Lewis, Quentin Tarantino. It was funny all the time. Did you see the outtakes?

: I saw the documentary, “Full Tilt Boogie.”
Throw that away. I don’t know why they bothered making it. They sent me the movie with the release to sign. So I watched it, then I watched it again. And I called him and said, “Why do you want me to sign a release? I’m not in this thing!” They said, “You’re not in it?” I said, “You made it, you don’t know I’m not in it?” Harvey Keitel’s not in it. Salma Hayek’s not in it. They were interviewing the crew in the jacuzzi instead of sitting with Clooney! Rodriguez would have been brilliant. But the outtakes. It was a lot of fun. A lot of comedy. Serious horror movies? Was “Dawn of the Dead” a serious horror movie? I guess it was at some point.

It was sort of both.
Yeah. So, what serious ones have I done? Well, there have been a lot of efforts to make serious ones. You just never know. Like “Children of the Living Dead.” Just throw it away. If you see it at the video store, hide it in the documentaries. Set fire to it and throw it outside. That was supposed to be serious. You just never know when you’re working on a movie how it’s going to turn out. We thought it was going to be brilliant, but now? What a piece of shit. You really never know.

But the difference is, even the serious ones, that (in “Death4Told”) was a serious scene. Between takes we’re joking we’re carrying on. It’s almost like, to counter, to diffuse the seriousness of it, you sort of between takes have to have a sense of humor.

But Juliette Lewis said something in “From Dusk Till Dawn”. She saw an actor, I think she was dating Brad Pitt, and he told her, between takes, don’t mingle with people. Go to your trailer immediately. Always stay in character. Because then you’re at a point, a high point you can go from as a performance. If you’re always joking around and hanging out with the crew between takes, then you’re back down to this level. He says always be in character. And on the set, she was always this 17-year-old naïve little girl. And this was right after “Natural Born Killers.” I was intimidated by her because she kicked ass in that movie. She was tough. But in this movie, she was this 17-year-old kid at all times. Even with the crew she was always in character. So she always had this level to proceed from.

The other side of the coin is Lawrence Olivier saying to Dustin Hoffman on “Marathon Man”, you know, Hoffman is staying up for like three days trying to look tired, and Olivier said, “Just try acting my dear boy.” This is Olivier, so that’s the word of God.

Visit Tom at his official website.

Posted on July 29, 2003 in Interviews by

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