ROBERT ENGLUND INTERVIEW
Interview conducted by Joel Harley
Joel Harley: What can you tell us about Inkubus?
Robert Englund: I was going through this stack of scripts and I picked up Inkubus. I was taken with how original it was. I was intrigued with the character. There was this timeless quality; I felt I could pepper his vocabulary with some anachronistic stuff. I liked that part of it — an evil entity hosting in a body that he'd taken over 100 years ago. Maybe he'd been whispering in the ears of serial killers over the last several decades and influencing them; Son of Sam or Jeffery Dahlmer or whoever. I liked that. It was very original. It has a compact, claustrophobic quality to it, like that great John Carpenter classic, Assault on Precinct 13.
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JH: What attracted you to the project?
RE: The real drawing card was that I was going to get to work with William Forsythe, the great character actor. I've been a fan of Bill's for years. We almost butted heads years ago. I was up for the skinny version of one of the two brothers in Raising Arizona. I was looking forward to having William Forysthe playing the nemesis of Inkubus. And I think it's a very original story. It's very nasty, in the best sense of the word. I put my stamp of approval on it. It's down and dirty and nasty.
JH: It's an old-fashioned movie that I think horror fans will really respond to...
RE: There's very little CGI, it's all practical special effects. It's made on a low budget. We locked ourselves up in an abandoned police station for a couple of weeks and shot all day and all night. you can almost smell the atmosphere. You can almost sense the perspiration on the underarms. And the terrible green fluorescent lighting, the filth on the walls. I kinda liked that.
JH: I really liked your wardrobe in the film. Did you have any input into how Inkubus looks/what was the thinking behind his wardrobe?
RE: The last couple of years, since the success of Guy Ritchie's first Sherlock Holmes, I noticed the new wonderful new fan affection for a steampunk look. When I was putting together my wardrobe for Inkubus, I realised that this is an embodiment of the physicality of Inkubus. I'm someone from somewhere between 1895 and 1925, and he's taken this host body over. He's passed through the 20th Century and kept records of his vocabulary and his clothes. I kept the coat that I bought; it was made of silk. I put underneath it — like a vest, a waistcoat — a rubber jacket from the '70s. I cut the arms off. I figured that maybe Inkubus was in the Son of Sam, whispering in his ear, he took one of his old New York Serpico black leather jackets and cut the sleeves off. And a scarf around his neck that might have been from the turn of the century. Combining all of those, I came up with the look. It turned out to be kind of steampunk in a way that I thought might also appeal to the fans. Almost like a bride — something borrowed, something blue.
JH: The story is very ambitious. It has a lot of scope. Do you think there would be room for sequels?
RE: I think perhaps there's a great potential, because the Inkubus fans lend themselves a low budget thing, we have this strong character and this great nemesis in William Forsythe. There's a lot of potential, even direct to DVD or direct to cable; the character is interesting enough. There's room with the niche audience for horror films for this kind of story.
JH: It seems like a while since we've seen you play a properly villainous character. Is this something you've actively tried to avoid?
RE: Coming out of the make-up at my age, after 20 years of Freddy, Phantom of the Opera and my Stephen King films, I was older and my face was starting to change. I went in a boy and came out a man! By the time I was done with Freddy, I looked like Trevor Howard — a little bit of Klaus Klinski. It's natural for me, once or twice a year, to do a Vincent Price or Klaus Klinski role. Because I'm paid better for genre films. It's the natural way for me to go. Occasionally I'll have some fun doing a horror comedy, like Strippers vs Werewolves, 2001 Maniacs, things like that. I've been doing traditional acting too; I worked with Brian Cox on a film called Red.
JH: I really enjoyed seeing you pop up in Red. It's a great film.
RE: I would do anything to work with Brian Cox because I'm such a fan of his. That's a great little slow-burn movie. There's this real Don Siegel/Sam Peckinpah thing to it. And I'm hoping to work down the line with Lucky McKee again. There's a lot of controversy about it here in the states, but I thought it was a great film — his new movie, The Woman. It's really terrific.
JH: Despite being very well known as Freddy Krueger, I think you've largely managed to avoid being typecast. Did you have to work hard to avoid typecasting?
RE: You go through different phases. I was typecast as the Southerner. Probably the way I looked or something. Then I started playing more best friends and sidekicks. Then I did V and I was the new Doctor Spock for a while. The gentle, benign creature for peace, love and cosmic understanding. Everyone's favourite good alien. Then I did Nightmare on Elm Street and I became this international horror actor overnight. That lasted for a while and I had to rightfully exploit that. Now I'm on the other end of that, I still respond to the genre because it's been so good to me. Now I'm back to being Robert Englund, character actor again. I can do the occasional genre film, because I do have some cache within the horror world. And I get a better salary than when I'm working as Robert Englund, character actor guest starring on Hawaii 5.0 or Chuck. It's fun to go back and forth now.
JH: What are you up to next?
RE: I'm hopefully going to do the franchise Fear Clinic. That's what to tell the fans to look for. You can see me on Hawaii 5.0 and Chuck, and catch me on Supernatural. And Strippers vs Werewolves!
JH: Thank you! It's been a pleasure.
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