Richard Brake recently spoke with us about his role in the 3 from Hell. The film is out tomorrow September 16 and will be in theaters for a special Fathom Events screening through the 18th. Here’s what he had to say about his part in Rob Zombie’s newest.
Andrew Hawkins: First off I’d like to ask you, how does it feel to now be part of the family that Rob Zombie built with House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects? How do you feel about being one of the three?
Richard Brake: Oh, from the moment he told me it was just a huge honor. It’s one of the highlights of my years being an actor. It’s just a buzz.
I think they had to scrape me off the ceiling when I spoke to Rob and he gave me an idea of the storyline. I was so excited to be a part of one of horror’s greatest trilogies now. It’s just a real, real thrill and I’m honored to be a part of it.
AH: Well I love that you’re now right there with Sheri Moon Zombie and Bill Moseley and I wanna ask you if you could summarize the movie and your character the Wolfman.
RB: (laughs) Yeah, the Wolfman. He’s like, crazy. He’s just another crazy, crazy beast of madness.
RB: Definitely, definitely. And I would say that to summarize it, what I love about this film is it just continues the mad adventures of this world. It’s even more insane and brutal and unexpected than before. You do not know where it’s going and it’s just madness.
What I also love is the kind of vibe between the three of them, which I really dig. It was great to be a part of that family to work with Bill and Sheri and to kick off of them because they are just so good in the roles they’ve been playing for a couple of films now.
AH: Yeah, I think you’re a great addition to the group. I gotta tell you some of my favorite parts of the movie are the scenes where you and Bill are just riffing off of each other. Especially in the hotel room and the dialogue that you guys are having.
I wanted to ask you how much of that was scripted and how much room did Rob Zombie give you have fun and improv.
RB: Yeah, it’s fun because with 31 and Doom-Head I did very little improvisation. Rob’s very open to improvisation but Doom-Head was really very specifically written in such a way that there was not any room to.
So, I came into this one and Rob was a lot freer with that. And Foxy’s a very different character from Doom-Head which is what I love. He’s a whole different sort of madness and craziness.
So, we improvised a fair bit but with Rob you always shoot what’s on the script initially. We definitely have that. What I love is that Rob will come up and go, “Y’know man, why don’t you go over and tell Otis this.” And he’ll give you some ideas.
He’s literally like a creative force and he’ll come up with all this stuff, and then he’ll go behind the camera and say action and you’ve got like about five seconds to get it together and then you’ve gotta go for it. So we did that quite a lot.
Once the actual script itself was in the can we definitely had some fun improvising all kinds of mad stuff. It’s just great. It’s an amazing experience, again. It’s brilliant, as before with 31, but totally different in many ways.
AH: Yeah, the tones of the films are completely different. Like you were talking about Doom-Head seems much more mechanical and focused, and Foxy seems a lot looser and fun.
AH: Some of my favorite laughs were when you were doing your Cagney and Bogart impressions and talking about going to Hollywood and starting the film company.
RB: (laughs) Yeah, Foxy’s a man with a vision. He’s a man with a vision. (laughs)
AH: Well I wanted to ask you, what kind of challenges you had making this movie because you have some really intense scenes especially when it gets down to the grit and the violence. Even your dialogue too, you go pretty hard here.
RB: The funny thing is there was no point where I found it was difficult or, “Oh god, that was a hard day.” And I don’t know whether that’s because it was so much fun making these films or whether you’re just so wired with creativity because of Rob. Everybody on the set whether it’s a runner who's doing his first job working on a film set or an old-time producer, everybody just has this creative energy to do their best.
There was no bit that was difficult or hard. When I look back again I might think, “Oh yeah that was a tough shoot.” but there was nothing that was tricky. Honestly, you spend most of the time laughing in-between takes because we were just having such a blast.
Again, I think that’s probably partly because he uses a lot of the same actors and a lot of the same crew. When we all get together it’s this feeling of a family making something that we’re all proud of and something we hope people enjoy.
AH: How was your time shooting with Clint Howard?
RB: Hah! Yeah. So funny, he’s great. That’s why I love working with Rob too cause he gets all these great character actors. You go in and it’s gonna be Richard Edson one day and I’m a big Jim Jarmusch fan and I love his work in the past.
Working with Clint, he just brings so much to that character. It was a lot of fun. That whole sequence with him was fun to shoot although it’s a very brutal sequence. And I love working with Jeff Daniel Phillips. He’s a great actor and good friend of mine so any time I get to be in a scene with Jeff, it’s nothing but fun.
AH: Well talking about your career, you’ve been working for over three decades now and a lot of people know you as a genre icon. They know you from this, 31, Halloween II; what’s is like to be in this part of your career right now where people know you from these awesome genre movies?
RB: It’s really fantastic. And again, I’m very blessed Rob is giving me such great opportunities with Halloween II even! He’s only in it for a short bit, but that’s such a great scene in the truck when I was sittin’ around talking about shagging corpses. And then you know, to go out and get to play Doom-Head; he’s one of my all-time favorite characters.
Then to follow that up with Foxy, I’m just very very lucky. It’s nothing I’ve ever planned, it’s just the way it works. I’m just very grateful to make these films, and I’m also really grateful too that I’ve got to work with such not just great filmmakers and creative people but just really decent human beings. Really decent human beings, really great people cause Rob is such a lovely guy.
And then of course there was another movie I did called Mandy with the director Panos Cosmatos which was really fantastic. That was just a mad film. So, I’m just really lucky to have this opportunity where people ask me to come in and do some crazy madness and mayhem. Especially Rob. (laughs)
AH: Well I even knew you as a memorable character from the film Death Machine years ago.
RB: Oh, yeah!
AH: Yeah, I wanted to ask you if you have any memories or stories of working opposite Brad Dourif.
RB: Oh man, what a great guy. I got to do that again twenty years later on Halloween II. I’m in the background of a scene, so it was lovely to see him and have dinner with him twenty years later.
Death Machine was my first film. I was very anxious as you would be as a young man on your first film. He was such a generous actor, really. I think I learned a lot from just watching how focused he was and how professional he was. It really has been something I’ve always tried to do myself, and there was no attitude.
He was the only big name in that entire film. He was incredibly generous to all us young actors in that film. It was mostly young British actors in that film at the time, and he was incredibly professional and just focused. He was making this relative B-movie in Britain for whatever the budget was, and you would think he was making One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest with that amount of commitment that he brought to that movie.
I think that’s been with me forever. You gotta be professional. You bring it 100% to everything you do. He was like that. He’s a great artist and a lovely guy.
AH: Well thank you so much for speaking with us today. Do you have anything you’d like to end on?
RB: Brilliant. No, I just think we all wanted this to be Rob’s masterpiece. We really felt that from the moment we read it and we still felt that when we wrapped. I really feel that everybody put their heart and soul into this thing and it’s gonna kick some fucking ass when everybody gets a chance to see it.
I’m looking forward to everybody out there taking a look at it and blowing their minds.