Monday, April 28, 2014

Cool...A Freak Show! Megan Ward talks '90s cult classic FREAKED

Actress Megan Ward talks with TV STORE ONLINE about the '90s cult classic FREAKED (1993) directed by Alex Winter and Tom Stern...

TV STORE ONLINE:  How did FREAKED (1993) come to you?

WARD: I got the script from my agent and I went in and auditioned.   I have to say...It wasn't the average script.   It was one of those scripts where you had to have a certain sense of humor to get it and appreciate it.   I had done a couple other screwball-y type of movies before FREAKED so when I read the script I thought that it was something that was right up my alley.

TV STORE ONLINE:  One of my favorite scenes in FREAKED is that bit where your character "Julie" and Michael Stoyanov's character "Ernie" are connected and each of you vomit....

WARD:   When we were shooting that scene there was a hose that ran up my leg and it came out and it was taped to the side of my mouth, and it came loose and that fake vomit went all over me. It was split pea soup and it got in my underwear and in my socks. It went everywhere.  I was so grossed out that still to this day I can't eat pea soup.  I kid you not when I tell you that the machine that was supposed to spray the pea soup was called "The Vomit-a-nator".

TV STORE ONLINE:  FREAKED was directed by Alex Winter and Tom Stern.  I was wondering if you could talk about working with two directors on one film?

WARD:  Well, it was nice because Alex had a lot of responsibility in performing the role, and he was in almost every scene and plus he had a ton of prosthesis make-up to put on every day.  Then he had these monster teeth that he wore and that made it difficult to understand what he was saying in many of those scenes, so he had to loop all of his dialogue on FREAKED. Alex and Tom worked so well together and they were a great team.  It was totally collaborative and they really spent their money wisely.  They built the entire production from the ground up.   They fabricated all of the sets.  All of the monsters were fabricated. There were three separate teams of guys who built the monsters and the freaks.  Different special effects houses had different responsibilities.    There was a amazing collaborative spirit behind it all.   Before we started shooting we had rehearsals.   We shot on one little mini-lot and we spent our days all together.  It was really like we created our own little mini-sideshow. There were a lot of long hours but we all had so much fun and it was a very creative environment. 

TV STORE ONLINE:  What was your inspiration for "Julie"?

WARD:   Julie was one of the more straightforward characters of the whole piece.  She's a liberal environmentalist and we had a fun time coming up with the t-shirt I would wear for my costume.  We wanted to come up with something that was just so ridiculous.  We came up with the burrowing sloth, which doesn't even exist.  She had on a "Save The Sloth" t-shirt and it was just so ridiculous.  The more difficult part of the character was how Michael Stoyanov and I had the running Three Stooges gag.  This is where the girl comes out....  Growing up I hadn't watched The Three Stooges so I had to be trained in the actual movement and sound effects and it takes rhythm and coordination to do that when you're playing a Siamese twin with another actor.  

There's that scene where we all have to crawl through that tunnel...I think by the time that we got to that we were maybe a little bit tired of each other because we had all worked such long hours and Michael and I were connected to each other.  He was tired and he was about to get married and he had just quit smoking so he was not having any of it.   In the scene I was supposed to poke Michael in the eye just like The Three Stooges had done to each other and when I went to do it I actually poked him in the eye.  I felt so awful about it.   But everyone thought it was kinda funny, so after that, when we would get together to watch the dailies, we would always watch that particular piece of film where my aim had been a little too accurate...laughing

TV STORE ONLINE:  Speaking of that tunnel scene....I would be remiss if I didn't ask you about working with Paul Lynde during the shooting of FREAKED?

WARD:  Paul Lynde was there the entire time on the set.  He sat in his chair and he kept quiet and he never made any crazy demands...laughing

TV STORE ONLINE:   Do people come up and talk about FREAKED with you?  Is it one of your favorite things that you've ever worked on?

WARD:   Personally, it's a very important film to me.  I'm very proud of that movie.  It was so creative.   We all committed ourselves to this sort of endurance test.   People don't ask me about it and what's so great is that it's a litmus test for sense of humor.    Either you get it or you don't.   It's such a off the wall film.  It's a very specific film too.   They really don't make movies like FREAKED anymore.  

TV STORE ONLINE:   What's your favorite line or scene in FREAKED?

WARD: I think my favorite line was, "Cool!  A freak show!"   There were scenes that didn't make it into the film that I thought were just hilarious.   The Wheel Of Fortune scene was hilarious. It's on the DVD in the extra features section today.  Then the transformation scene was fun as well.     My favorite moment in FREAKED is when the freaks are going around and telling their sad stories and it comes to the hammer...laughing   Then I love the bit with Mr. T and Randy [Quaid] where Randy says to Mr. T, "You know...You'd be better off without a dick!"   It's really hard to pick a favorite scene though because each scene tops the previous....

TV STORE ONLINE:  Last question...What exactly did Julie see in "Ortiz the Dog Boy" that she found attractive?

WARD:  Well...You know...He was a naughty boy.   There's a primal attraction that all women have to train and tame a wild beast...laughing     Keanu and I were supposed to kiss at one point in a scene and it was the weirdest thing ever to have to kiss him with that hair on his face...

Interview Conducted By: Justin Bozung