Monday, February 22

An Interview with Ray Wise

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Ray Wise is an actor who has had great success in both film and television. Most famous for playing Leland Palmer in David Lynch’s Twin Peaks he most recently starred in monster movie Big Ass Spider.

Firstly, thank you for taking the time to talk to me. How are you?
Hi John, I’m well, thanks.

How did you come to be involved with Big Ass Spider and what drew you to the film?
I’d done a previous piece for Mike Mendez (writer and director) and he sent me an email asking me if I’d like to play a military role in this film he was making about a giant spider. I read the character description and the script and I thought it had real potential. I knew that with it being a low budget film it would be like guerrilla film-making but that was something I was keen to do. I also really liked the character. He’s a pretty hard edged special forces guy and I liked working within those parameters.

Have you always been a fan of monster movies?
Yes, always. I grew up in the 1950’s with all those movies around then. I particular liked Creature From The Black Lagoon and a film called Them about giant ants. One of my all time favourites was The Thing From Outer Space which had a marvellous group of actors. I love that ensemble acting where they’re up against a horrific force. Those 1950’s pictures really did it for me.

The film has scary moments but is genuinely witty and funny which is a difficult balance to strike. What do you think works so well in Big Ass Spider?
Firstly it’s well written and secondly there was Greg and Lombardo who are very funny actors. In scenes with me you can really see the difference with my character being very straight and them adding the comedy. It’s just a combination of great writing and great acting.

I read that you’re a big Dracula fan. With the recent Argento version and a new film being released this year what is it about Dracula that has such endearing appeal and have you ever come close to playing him?
No, I never have although it’s still one of my dreams. I was turned on to Dracula at a very young age. First of all I’m half Romanian so I have the heritage and I’ve been there many times. In around 2003 I was actually there making a film with Robert Englund and we went to the castle in the Carpathian Mountains which was a fun trip. I’m really into the whole mythology and I actually have a first edition of Bram Stoker’s Dracula which I got when I was about 10 years old. I’m a fan of some but not all of the movies but I still don’t feel that the definitive Dracula film has yet been made. Francis Ford Coppola came very close though but I was always hoping that I would be the one to do it.

I have to ask about Twin Peaks. It’s now over 20 years since it aired and I believe the reverence and respect in which it’s held is as high as it ever was. What are your
enduring memories of that time and the program?

I always felt it was the best of times. It was the greatest experience of my career even though I’ve done so many things since. Working with David (Lynch) and that cast was something really special and we’re all still so
close to this day. It was a moment in time that burned very brightly for a short period and its legacy is still being felt today.

To finish then what are your favourite horror films?
Well The Horror Of Dracula and Them as I’ve mentioned. I love The Exorcist and Rosemary’s Baby. I like an outright monster or a psychological horror like The Haunting Of Julia which is very special to me.

Thank you for your time today.
No problem at all, take care.

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

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