By our guest blogger, Joel Crabtree
Fans of actor-musician Billy Burke have a lot to be excited for in 2011, with “Drive Angry 3D” currently in theaters, and two more films -- Catherine Hardwicke’s “Red Riding Hood” set for March 11 and “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part One” set for Nov. 18 -- on the horizon.
Burke took some time out of his schedule filming “Breaking Dawn” in Vancouver to discuss his crazed (or inspired?) cult leader in “Drive Angry 3D,” as well as his reteaming with “Twilight” director Catherine Hardwicke for “Red Riding Hood” and what the future has in store for him.
Joel Crabtree: In your new movie “Drive Angry 3D,” you play a crazed cult leader and I was wondering how much fun you had with it?
Billy Burke: Whoa, whoa, wait a minute now. Crazed? That’s not the word that he would use. He would use inspired.
JC: OK, you play an inspired cult leader. How much fun did you have with it?
BB: More fun than should be allowed for actors. It was good times. It was a good time all around, couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to be making a movie with, and couldn't ask for a more boundary-less role to play with.
JC: How did you approach the role of Jonah?
BB: I followed my first instincts as soon as I got done reading the script--I started getting my ideas of what he might sort of look and sound like. I discussed those with Patrick [Lussier], the writer-director, to be on the same page, and we just sort of ran with it. [We ended up] with a lot of thoughts of Jim Jones, so I started looking toward that, and then I started looking toward some wannabe rock stars to get that sort of desperate, pay-attention-to-me swagger.
JC: It definitely shows. So, the whole movie is a mix of action and horror genres, and it’s a lot of fun. I was wondering what it was about the story and character that drew you to the project?
BB: It was mostly the nature of the picture in general. I hadn’t seen -- and I don’t go to see a lot of genre quote-unquote pictures, or whatever people are saying, grindhouse, that kind of thing. I’m not really familiar with what’s been put out there recently. When I read the script, I hadn’t seen a movie that was gonna be like this, I hadn’t seen one in a long time, maybe not since I was a kid. And there was a lot of stuff that was on the page in this that just smelled to me like, ‘Oh, they’re gonna make a movie with reckless abandon, and not really care about the ratings system and what’s gonna offend people or not. So, I was all about being involved in that.
JC: While filming, did you get to partake in any of the action or on-set gun play?
BB: Oh, yeah. The whole showdown sequence at the end, there’s a whole lot of gun play that I was involved in. I got to pull out a few gunslinger tricks here and there, that we implemented. I’ve been dying to do a real western my whole career, so I just sort of said, ‘Hey, well, this guy’s theoretically from the South and might fancy himself a bit of a gunslinger.’ So, I said, 'let’s implement a few of those things.’
JC: You also star in the upcoming movie "Red Riding Hood" -- you’re a very busy man recently. I was wondering what it was like to reteam with Catherine Hardwicke?
BB: Catherine and I have always had a very open and real working relationship. I have always had a big place in my heart for her, I think she’s a wonderful human being, and she’s just a very progressive and thoughtful artist. When she called me up and said, “Here’s what we’re doing,” I couldn’t help but say, “Yeah, I’m in.”
JC: Is there anything else in particular that drew you to that project?
BB: Yeah, I love exploring the dark side of things. And she was gonna take this timeless fairy tale and sort of look at what might be a darker version of it. And I’m all about that. I like that idea. Because those things that young girls were supposed to have learned from this fairy tale, you can take a lot of ways. And this story takes those and kicks them upside down a little bit, and turns them in different directions so maybe you think of a few other things than just not staying to the path and not talking to strangers.
|Burke in "Twilight"|
BB: I haven’t really thought about it much. We’re still in the throws of it, right here. I’m in Vancouver right now, and we just started this leg of the tour, so to speak. We started out in Baton Rouge, and now we’re up here, and the rest of it will be shot up here. As far as it coming to a close goes, I don’t know that I’ve really thought about those feelings very much. It’s been a great, great gig for me. And I like playing this guy.
JC: I was wondering if you’ve gotten a lot of recognition from the “Twilight” fans on the streets in your day-to-day life now that you’re Charlie Swan.
BB: Day-to-day life in L.A., you would never notice me walking down the street as Charlie Swan. It’s only when the mustache is back and that whole thing is basically a part of my life for the time that I’m working on these movies. It’s definitely there. Whenever people want to come up and say hi and take a picture or whatever, I’m totally fine with that.
JC: So, what other projects do you have on the horizon?
BB: Well, I’m sort of waiting to find out actually. I would love to stay busy. Right now, in my spare time, I’m working on my second record and just kind of concentrating on that while we figure out what to do with the on-screen stuff.
Below are the trailers for “Drive Angry 3D” and “Red Riding Hood.”