We recently spoke with Chop-Top Bill Moseley himself about Otis and his role in Rob Zombie’s new 3 from Hell out now! The movie follows nearly 15 years after the events of The Devil’s Rejects and House of 1000 Corpses. Through 18 September, 3 from Hell will be in theaters thanks to Fathom Events. Check out our interview with Bill and go see Rob Zombie’s newest film in theaters this week.
(some Spoilers ahead)
Andrew Hawkins: So how’s Otis these days?
Bill Moseley: Ah, Otis is happy. (laughs) Otis is happy to be one of the three. And Otis is happy to get out of hell, so… (laughs)
AH: Sure. Well, it’s a hell of a movie. It’s one that I think a lot of people are gonna really be into. How does it feel to be in this since it’s been almost 15 years since the last one?
BM: It feels good, man. It felt pretty easy to slip back into Otis once the director said action.
AH: Yeah. Well I wanted to ask you, what do you do to get into Otis’ head? How do you put yourself in that mindset?
BM: Well the first thing I did was it took me about 16 months to grow that darn beard. (laughs) So, every micromillimeter of that beard I think got me a little closer to Otis. And then also the general actor preparation, y’know usually read the script four or five times just to get my bearings. Not only with the story but also my character and fellow characters. Generally just kind of get there.
The hard part was just getting away from actor considerations like, “Which is my best side.” I’ve actually never really thought about that but, “What’s my next line?” y’know all that kind of actory stuff. I just get me and my insecurities out of the way and let Otis take over.
I think that happened on the first or second day of shooting where I really literally heard this voice saying, “Sit this one out Bill, I’ve got this.” And Otis just basically told me to take a break and enjoy a front-row seat. That really was all I needed, just to get out of there. It was kind of like an actor’s chiropractic of just getting adjusted, get out of the way and let Otis do his thing.
AH: Yeah, get right in the zone.
BM: Yeah, in the zone!
AH: What from your perspective would you say 3 from Hell is about, because we’ve got a whole new family with Sid Haig kind of passing the torch to Richard Brake. Where do you think this film is gonna wind up with fans of Rob Zombie and the series so far? What’s your take?
BM: You know, I think of it as just a natural next step. And I’m really glad that it kind of comes out of the story where basically we survive somehow that fusillade of Ruggsville Sherriff’s Department bullets. And judging from the Ruggsville Sherriff’s Department, I think if people say, “Wait a minute, how can you survive all those gunshots?” well, consider where they were coming from. They were coming from the Ruggsville Sherriff’s Department and a bunch of deputies and c’mon man; they don’t all shoot straight.
AH: Sure, it’s 20 shots each but they’re not all on point.
BM: (laughs) Exactly. Ah, but I think that was the best way to do it because what are you gonna do. Say it was all a dream? That’s the weeniest of all devices.
And we could have gone to Hell and then been spit back out by the devil, and that would then make us supernatural so that’s wrong. That doesn’t work. So the way it worked out I thought was pretty much the only way it could have and I appreciate Rob starting us off that way.
I think of the movie itself as a natural next step in the evolution of the Rejects. I think it makes perfect sense. I think it shows that we’re not supernatural, y’know that we can be killed and we can die. And I think that the same kind of comradery that we all enjoyed in The Devil’s Rejects and it absolutely carries on in 3 from Hell.
There are so many things to really tip the hat to Rob for, but I think the fact that the spirit and the comradery carrying on in spite of a big change; I think that really is probably Rob’s greatest accomplishment of the movie.
AH: Well talking about the comradery, you’ve got so many great scenes between you and Richard Brake as Wolfman. When Sheri Moon Zombie busts out. I talked to Richard Brake about that conversation about going off to Hollywood and making the film studio. It’s hilarious.
BM: Oh, yeah. (laughs)
AH: And then your work with Jeff Daniel Phillips is so good. Do you wanna talk about working with any of those guys?
BM: Y’know it’s the first time I’ve worked with either one, and I loved working with both of them. Actually all three characters, let’s not forget Pancho Moler who was a lot of fun to work with, those guys really were the standouts along with Sheri of course in 31. So I got to appreciate them by watching the movie. But I hadn’t worked with them before and they were all so fun.
I think it was a great testament to Rob’s good casting eye. Rob really has a keen eye for casting, and I go back to House of 1000 corpses with Rainn Wilson and Chris Hardwick. Y’know as the nerd kids and those guys have gone on to have huge careers.
So the fact that I got to work with Jeff Daniel Phillips, I had met him at a read-through at Rob’s. We also had kind of a dinner at Rob and Sheri’s place in Los Angeles just to kind of introduce the cast to one another. So those guys I liked.
Richard Brake I met actually on the set. I had heard a lot of good things about him and certainly seen him in 31, but I never met him before until we were actually shooting 3 from Hell. And he was so funny. Again our scene when Sheri’s gone off to “find her bliss,” and we’re alone playing fish in a hotel room and he’s got his plan for a movie studio (laughs) I mean that was so much fun.
Then of course in the woods when he’s surprised by the bounty hunters, what he starts saying is so funny. He delivers it in smooth a smooth, almost unctuous deadpan way. It is really a treat. So that was a big bonus, in addition to working the scenes with him. I mean what he brought with the improv of his character was just fantastic.
AH: Well to get wrapping up, I just wanted to say I’ve been a big fan going back to Texas Chainsaw 2, The Blob, your Cornbugs work and your stuff with ohGr and a lot of what you’ve done in the past. I’d like to ask if there’s anything you want to end on. Something about 3 from Hell or whatever you’re feeling, the floor is yours.
BM: Yes, I’m really glad it’s coming out finally. It has taken 14 years and it’s been a very slow journey with a few quick bursts of speed. But I’m really excited for it to come out cause I’m a horror fan through and through, and I like the gritty stuff and gratuitous violence — a lot of bloodshed and crazy stuff.
I’m so glad to be a part of this. I look at some of the horror movies of today that are making a lot of dough, but they don’t really deliver the goods. And I’m just really proud of Rob for figuring out how to do this and get the band back together.
I’m really excited that it’s going to horrify and disgust (laughs) and tickle the evil funny bone of a lot of horror fans across the globe. I guess that’s my big summation.
AH: Very cool. Thank you so much again, Bill Moseley. It’s been a great honor talking to you.
BM: Alright Andrew, thank you. Nice to talk to you.