Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Dick Warlock talks about Halloween 3: Season Of The Witch

Legendary Stunt Man Dick Warlock talks with TV STORE ONLINE about his role in HALLOWEEN 3: SEASON OF THE WITCH (1983)

TV STORE ONLINE:  You had worked on ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK (1981) and HALLOWEEN II (1981) with Debra Hill and John Carpenter....

WARLOCK:  Right, and they asked me to be the Stunt Coordinator on HALLOWEEN II and then I was asked by John to play Michael Myers and one of the cops.  When it came time to shoot HALLOWEEN III they invited me back to work with them again.

TV STORE ONLINE:  Right, and in HALLOWEEN III you have a more prominent role as an actor...

WARLOCK:   That's right.  I play the "Assassin" in the film...

TV STORE ONLINE:   Had [Director] Tommy Lee Wallace had you mind for that role in the film or did you play that part just because they needed someone for it...

WARLOCK:  You know, I'm not sure. I'll have to ask Tommy that the next time I see him.   It was probably because I was there and they needed someone for that role...Tommy and Debra had both expressed to me how happy they were with the work that I had done for them, so it probably just came out of that.

TV STORE ONLINE:  Going in to HALLOWEEN 3....Did you get to read the script prior to shooting?

WARLOCK:  Yes, I did.   I worked on the film as the Stunt Coordinator.  Not every stunt guy that works on a picture gets to read the script before hand though.   It was important for me to read it because we had to break it down.  You have to work with the prop department so you can put together the things you need, and then you take a look and see where a double may be needed as well.

TV STORE ONLINE:   The Assassin is such a memorable character in H3....Did you put any thought into playing him past what Tommy Lee Wallace might have given you direction wise?

WARLOCK: Well, it wasn't method acting...laughing    People will ask me often how I came up with the way that Michael Myers walks in HALLOWEEN 2, and that came about because I had remembered how Nick Castle had gotten up in that scene in HALLOWEEN (1978) where he was laying down by the side of the bed...Do you remember that scene?

TV STORE ONLINE:  Of course...

WARLOCK:   That was really mechanical of Nick.   So when I played Michael Myers in HALLOWEEN 2 I just tried to carry on what Nick had done in the first film.  When George Wilbur played Michael Myers later one in the franchise...I asked him, "Didn't you see Part 1 or Part 2?"  He said, "I don't care how you guys played him in those..." As for the Assassin, I didn't know that was what the character was called as we were shooting the film.    I just knew that he was a robot, and I just considered him to be a sort of Michael Myers without the mask on.

TV STORE ONLINE:  When the Assassin dies in HALLOWEEN 3 he has a strange orange liquid come out of his mouth...

WARLOCK:  Oh, that's a  secret!  I can't tell you what that was...


WARLOCK:  No, I'm only joking.  I tell that to kids that come up to me at these horror conventions who want to talk about H3 with me....I ask these kids at these conventions if they can guess what that liquid was, and only one person has ever guessed right!  Can you guess what it was?

TV STORE ONLINE:  I've always wondered if it was Tang or something like that?

WARLOCK:  That's very close.  What it was...It was frozen Orange Juice Concentrate.   Right before we started rolling someone opened up a can of frozen concentrate and I put it in my mouth and then I spit it back out!

TV STORE ONLINE:   Playing the Assassin in Halloween 3....Did it give you the acting bug?  You'd done so much stunt work up to that point, but getting a chance to bring a character to life...Does it give you a desire to do more acting?

WARLOCK:  Over the years I've done bit parts in all kinds of things...Initially I think that I would've liked to done more of that, but over the years I've come to realize that I suck as an actor.  I just don't think I'm believable as an actor...laughing

TV STORE ONLINE:  You've worked on so many incredible films as a stunt man....Hollywood doesn't seem to give the stunt man as much respect or acknowledgement as he deserves... Do you agree?

WARLOCK:  I don't know...When I first started in the business, it was very hush-hush.  Actors would go on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson to talk about their movies and if someone would point out a stunt they'd take credit for it as if they did it.  We accepted that.  We never tried to upstage the actor.   That changed when Hal Needham made HOOPER (1978).   Before HOOPER, Hal had been the loudest voice about not wanting the tricks of the trade to be known, but when he made that film he really put all of that out in front for everyone to see.  I don't really feed on praise if that is what you're asking, but it is nice sometimes to be recognized for your work.

TV STORE ONLINE:  Speaking of Hal Needham....He branched out to direct a film, and so did stuntman Chuck Bail...Did you ever want to branch out and try your hand at directing?

WARLOCK:  Not really.  I didn't really have a desire to do that.   I've done a bit of Second Unit directing on a few things under the table, but that's enough for me.   I don't really have the ego that one needs to be a director.

For more with Dick Warlock please visit his official website HERE:

Friday, March 21, 2014

INTERVIEW: Catherine Hicks Continued: FEVER PITCH (1985)

 A little left overs?   On the heels of our interview with actress Catherine Hicks about the 1980 telefilm MARILYN: THE UNTOLD STORY we had a bit extra left over with Hicks talking about the 1985 unjustly maligned final film of the great director, Richard Brooks.
TV STORE ONLINE:   FEVER PITCH...Was that something you had to audition for?

HICKS:   That was my brush with old Hollywood actually.   The famed Producer Freddie Fields had seen me in GARBO TALKS (1984) and he had told Richard Brooks about me and I got the job based on that recommendation.

TV STORE ONLINE:   So who was this character "Flo"  character to you?   How did you find her?

HICKS:   Well,  she was in the similar vain of the lonely blond character that I play sometimes.  That character got her start in a television movie I did with Annette O'Toole and Lisa Eilbacher called LOVE FOR RENT (1979).  I played a little polka-dotted blond that takes her own life... I was thinking about the film PICNIC (1955) when I was doing FEVER PITCH.  I kept thinking of the theme song from that film "Moonglow".  We shot FEVER PITCH in Las Vegas, and that piece of music seemed to fit the loneliness of Vegas with its trains in the background.  I think I was trying to capture that feeling with that character in FEVER PITCH that you felt in that theme music from PICNIC.  I also thought about Marlene Dietrich too, because I wanted Flo to have that sort of tough edge to her.   What's funny about it....Everytime I see ELMER GANTRY (1960), I'm reminded of working with Richard Brooks on FEVER PITCH.  He helped with that character too.  He would tell me that she was just like Shirley Jones in ELMER GANTRY, and he would give me little things to do like how I wore my shawl in the film...

TV STORE ONLINE:  Right, I was going to ask you about that shawl  scene in the film...

HICKS:  That was something that just happened unintentionally.

  FEVER PITCH was such a labor of love for Richard Brooks...

HICKS:   I don't know, and to be honest, I didn't think that it was a very good film.  I just wanted to work with Richard Brooks and Ryan O'Neal.   I think Richard had been alone a lot by that point, and as he had gotten older I think he gave in to entropy a bit.   I just thought that the entire film was run over by its simplicity in message.

TV STORE ONLINE: I'm a huge admirer of FEVER PITCH...For me it feels like a film out of the '40s...But the film is cut so fast. It has this hectic pace about it, where it makes you lose your breath when you're watching it...

HICKS:  That's interesting. I guess you could say that it adheres to modern conventions with it's editing style then.

TV STORE ONLINE:    And FEVER PITCH is so wonderfully surreal....I love that sequence with Ryan O'Neal where he starts to attack those guys with that telephone as if it were a lasso...

HICKS:  Yeah, it's kind of like an acid trip.  

TV STORE ONLINE:   What do you remember about shooting that sequence in the dressing room with Ryan O'Neal?   I love that sequence because it just goes on and on and Brooks shoots the entire thing in a mirror...

HICKS:   What I remember about shooting that scene was that I stayed up all night going into it.   I wanted her to feel exhausted when she had to deal with Ryan O'Neal's character. One thing I remember about working with Richard Brooks on FEVER PITCH was that he used to always yell at the extras.  He used to say, "These young people...They don't listen!"   It was interesting because it was like he had picked up on the start of the techno age and how technology has changed our culture today. There were some hairy moments on the set of FEVER PITCH, but he liked me and he like Ryan O'Neal.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

INTEVIEW: Joan Benedict Steiger talks with TV STORE ONLINE

TV STORE ONLINE:  I'm really dying to ask you about working on the original Steve Allen Show in the '50s...

STEIGER:  It was wonderful.   I first started out on the show as the spokeswomen for Hazel Bishop cosmetics.  I was on the Sunday night show live for about a year, and then I went on to work in the sketches on the show too.

TV STORE ONLINE:   What kind of a guy was Steve Allen?

STEIGER:  He was a wonderful man.  He had such a terrific sense of humor.  People don't realize just how many songs he wrote too.   He was so brilliant.

TV STORE ONLINE:   Then you had some involvement in the making of BUTTERFIELD 8 (1960) as well, no?

STEIGER:  Yes, I did.  I was living in New York City at the time.  I used to bother the MGM Casting Director in New York.    Back then, everything was so free and open.  There was one person that handled everything then and it wasn't like today where you have someone and their ten assistants.  I went in to see him one day and he said, "Joan, I have something for you.  Daniel [Mann] is going to do BUTTERFIELD 8 with Elizabeth Taylor.   Daniel wants to do a lot of rehearsing and Elizabeth doesn't want to".  MGM  had told Elizabeth Taylor that if she didn't do BUTTERFIELD 8 she couldn't do CLEOPATRA (1963).  So Daniel was looking for an actress that would work as a stand-in for her.  So I auditioned and I got the job.   I worked on the picture for almost a year.  I rehearsed with Laurence Harvey and Eddie Fisher.   I was in the movie too.  I played the secretary of Elizabeth Taylor's psychiatricist and I have one line. I take Elizabeth Taylor into a room and say, "She's here, Doctor." 

TV STORE ONLINE:  You've done so much work on the stage...I was wondering if we could talk about your portrayal of the "Queen Of Mean" Leona Helmsley?

STEIGER:  Well, that was the best role I've ever done.  I did that here in Hollywood at The Matrix Theater.   I was on a stage for an hour and ten minutes.  We would do the whole thing without taking a intermission.    I spent six months learning the role.    When we did it, Leona was in jail in Connecticut.  What happened to her...A lot of her anxieties and that short fuse came from the loss of her child.  She and her son worked together in real estate in New York City.   The son had wanted to take a vacation, but Leona had asked him to close up some business in Florida before he left on vacation and something happened and his heart literally exploded and he died.   She was never the same after that. 

TV STORE ONLINE:  Did you ever hear from her while you were playing her?  Had she heard about the play while she was in prison?

STEIGER:  The play was based on published materials.  So there wasn't anything that wasn't already known by those that were following her in the press.    With that being said, we all thought that she had representatives in the audience and if we would've done something crazy about her she probably would've had us shut down.

TV STORE ONLINE:   I'm a huge fan of Don Knotts and I love your character in one of his later films THE PRIZE FIGHTER (1979)...

STEIGER:  I had known Don for years before that.  I had first met him when I was on The Steve Allen Show.  He was friends with my first husband and we worked together on the stage in The Mind with the Dirty Man.  

TV STORE ONLINE:  You were also on Days Of Our Lives in the '80s, right?

STEIGER:  I was on that for over a year.  I was on General Hospital for three years. I played "Edith Fairchild".  It was a great experience for an actor.   Its  very wonderful and difficult for actors that are just starting out.   You have to be a quick study to be on a soap opera because there are so many lines, and you memorize them and then when you come in the next morning to work all the lines have been changed.

TV STORE ONLINE:  You were on those shows when they were at their campiest.

STEIGER:  They were a lot of fun.   I was always amazed at what we could get away on television during the mid '80s. 

TV STORE ONLINE:  What are you working on now?

STEIGER:   I'm working on my memoirs now.  I'm also working on a film and I may be working on a television series soon as well.  I can't say too much about those now though.  You'll have to follow my website for more on those...laughing

TV STORE ONLINE:  Thanks Joan.

STEIGER:  You're welcome. Anytime.

For more with Joan Benedict Steiger please visit her official website HERE: