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Kurly Tlapoyawa

Kurly: "Movies back then just had so much
more balls than they do now.".

Conducted by Phil Davies Brown
June 7th, 2005

I wanted to chat to this guy before anyone else, as I could tell when watching his latest movie that we're going to be seeing a lot more of him. Kurly Tlapoyawa is the new definition of cool. His performance in the new indie film 'The Stink of Flesh', sees him kick some ass and gets some ass without even breaking into much of a sweat. Read on for a chat with the man, the myth, the legend; Matool.

When did you first become interested in film?
Yesterday. No, Iím kidding. I have always been into movies! When I was a kid my mom bought me The Art of Star Wars. That was the first time I actually saw how it was all done - how a movie was made. What a script looked like, concept art, storyboards, models, etc. I used that book as a guide to get my own little projects going. Of course, back then my family couldnít afford a camera, so my friends and I would act everything out and record it all down on audio tape. Which probably made that life-sized Eiffel tower we built for ďA postcard for FrenchieĒ a huge waste of our time. Two summers! Two summers we wasted on that goddamned thing! I probably still have some of those tapes in a box somewhere.

What types of movies do you enjoy watching?
I watch everything. Japanese horror, sexploitation, dramas, kung fu, foreign classics, you name it. I own a cult/alternative/trash video store here in Albuquerque called Burning Paradise. I named it after a really kick ass Kung Fu flick that Tsui Hark and Ringo Lam made back in the day. We carry everything, and I watch everything we carry. Right now Iím big on 70ís films. Movies back then just had so much more balls than they do now.

Are you a fan of the horror genre?
I love horror films. I think Night of The Living Dead and Texas Chainsaw Massacre are two of the greatest movies ever made. Not just the best horror movies, but two of the best movies made - period.

How did you meet Scott Phillips?
Scott used to own a video store called Wavy Brain. This was several years ago. I think I was maybe 16 at the time. I would go hang out and talk about movies with him. I never had any money though, so I hardly ever rented anything. Iím sure it bugged the hell out of him. But I shoplifted a lot.

Kurly: "Man, every day was a blast".

How did you first hear about the Stink of Flesh and how did you manage to nab the lead role of Matool?
I got back in touch with Scott a few years ago. My family and I had just moved back from Texas where my wife was a reporter for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. I was working as a graphic designer at the same paper, so when we moved back I took a job as an artist at the local Albuquerque paper. It turned out that I was working with a friend of Scottís who told me that Scott was getting ready to make a short film called Science Bastard. I made it a point to go check out the premiere screening. Thatís when I hooked back up with Scott. We would go have lunch together every week or so, and he told me that he wanted to make a feature.

Did you have any prior acting experience?
Yeah, but nothing major. I have been doing theater since I was a kid.

You guys seem like you had a blast during the shoot, was it really as much fun on set as it looks on film?
Man, every day was a blast. It really felt like the cast and crew became tight with each other. And believe me, this helps when youíre shooting 18 hour days in the desert for no pay.

Scott has stated that he felt as though he hardly had to give any direction. What direction did Scott give you for the sex scenes, and did he manage to put you at ease?
Scott just told me to play the sex scenes like fight scenes. I didnít have any problem doing the sex scenes. Iím pretty comfortable with my body. In fact, Iím not wearing any pants right now. The only time I felt uncomfortable was at the premier, because my mom and my wifeís grandmother were in the audience. I tensed up a little during the sex scenes then.

What was going through your mind when you had to appear nude on set in front of the cast and crew?
Behold my manhood you bastards!

You choreographed a lot of the fight sequences and stunts. Have you done any actual training besides backyard brawls when you were a kid?
I train Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and MMA. Iím extremely proud of the way the fight scenes came out in Stink. In fact, Iíll even go so far as to say that we have the best fight scenes of ANY indie horror film made thus far. Thatís something that is usually missing from indie films in general - the fight scenes usually suck ass, and not in a good way. Our fights deliver.

Kurly: "I think it stands shoulder to
shoulder with the best of them ".

You also run your own video store. Can you tell us a little about that?
Burning Paradise Video is Albuquerqueís ONLY cult video store! So if you are a fan of pyschotronic, exploitation, sexploitation, greasers, bikers, beatniks, giant Japanese monsters, masked Mexican wrestlers, cult sci-fi and classic horror, we got you covered. You can hit us up on the web at burningparadise.net. In fact, you can buy autographed copies of Stink on the site. I also set up my own site; you can get there at islandofmatool.com.

What was the most valuable thing you learned about filmmaking during the shoot?
Never, EVER turn your back on Billy Garberina. Iíll just leave it at that.

Have you been surprised by the positive reaction that the film has received?
No, honestly. That probably sounds obnoxious, but Iím proud of the film we made. I think it stands shoulder to shoulder with the best of them.

Would you be up for a sequel?
Hell yes! Scott and I talk about a sequel all the time. Iím hoping I get to do some full frontal next time around.

Any more plans to appear on screen?
I have a small part in Billy Garberinaís new film Necroville. I will also be appearing in Laser Squad Action Force! by the good people at Blank Stare Pictures. Also, Richard Griffin mentioned he would like me to star in a future project he is developing. You canít get rid of me, man. Iíll be around for awhile.

"Thank you ever so much for taking part in this interview Kurly.
And we wish you the very best of luck in the future."

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