I recently met up with Corbin Bernsen who is currently starring in USA Network’s “Psych” and known for roles in “L.A. Law”, “Major League” series and “The Dentist”. I had the opportunity to ask him some questions about his career and what is in store for the future.
Michael Gencarelli: You are currently starring in the USA Network television show “Psych”. As you are approaching your fifth season this summer, what can we expect from the show and your character, Henry Spencer?
Corbin Bernsen: Truthfully, I have no idea where they go, first day out of the picture, I wait to get the scripts and go “Ok that’s what you want me to do”. Everyone keeps saying they are going to add more Henry, but they’ve been saying that for three years. I just sit back and take it as it comes and everyone always asks me to do a TV series. But the trust is, in a TV series you do not change much. It is usually more of the same, that’s kind of what the nature of a TV series is but when you change drastically you’re not doing the series you did when it was successful. I think you’ll see more, maybe a little bit more of Henry, maybe. Maybe going back a little bit the root of the relationship with Shawn.
Michael Gencarelli: You’ve worked on a few daytime soap operas, such as “General Hospital” and currently “The Young and the Restless”. How do you like working on soaps? Do they differ much from other television shows and movies? Your mom, Jeanne Cooper, has worked on “The Young and the Restless” for 35 years, how is it working with her on the show?
Corbin Bernsen: It’s great, I love working with her. I feel like I still haven’t done the thing I want to do with her. She is an incredible actress and thank God, she has her home there on the “The Young and the Restless” but I still think that she should be doing like “What Happened to Baby Jane”. She should be doing one of these crazy shows (referring to Monster Mania convention) and one these crazy movies. Maybe put her with Malcolm McDowell in a movie, that would be great. For me acting is always acting, you know I don’t care if it’s soaps, commercial, whatever. There are a few technique differences, at the end of the day it is about character, story and I just try and keep as in the moment as anyone possibly can. I mean it is no big difference, I mean it is not working with you know refined dialogue, necessarily its more about emotion in soaps. We don’t walk around constantly emoting in life but soaps tend to emote a lot. It doesn’t allow the moment to moment sorta human shit that we all do and experience, so that would be the biggest difference.
Michael Gencarelli: Any plans for the return of Dr. Alan Feinstone of horror movie franchise “The Dentist”?
Corbin Bernsen: No, I would like to, I have been talking to Brian Yuzna, the guy who directed it and really going back because when we did it, it was really a small little movie but it has got a pretty big following. The truth is then and now it could have gone theatrical for a short period of time. He and I were saying “Wouldn’t it be fun to do The Dentist in 3-D”. So yeah, we’re talking about that, but the problem is the rights to that have been sold a couple of times to companies that have acquired companies and we’re actually talking to Lionsgates right now but they do not know about all the stuff that they acquired so you have to convince them that that should be the thing to make right now. If you start a writing campaign to Lionsgate, tell them you want to get this movie going.
MG: You took on quite a few roles for your new film “Dead Air” such as director, producer, actor and production design. Did you find it hard to juggle all those various tasks?
CB: No I love all that, I am doing another movie in two weeks in Akron, Ohio, called “25 Hill”, about a soap box derby and my son is going to be a production designer but we are going to work very closely, and I enjoy it. I raise the money, write the script, act, I do everything you know. I’d barbecue the lunch if I could get a grill.
MG: I read you have one of the world’s largest collection of snow globes, over 7000? Do you have a favorite?
CB: Yeah, 7000. Well I have been collecting for 20 years. I am sort of fascinated by them. I was thinking here (referring to Monster Mania Convention in Cherry Hill, NJ) that like I wish I had more for the different great horror movies. I got one from “Halloween”, “Fargo’s” got a good one, not a horror movie though. Actually there’s a “Friday the 13th”, I am actually have some horror but they’re the little plastic ones. Yeah, It is actually funny, in the vain of where we are here, well I actually have a couple of favorites but there is this one that came out Halloween in the 70’s or 60’s. It’s a grim reaper with skull and crossbones in the belly, these figures sometimes have like a glass belly and from what I understand there is only one of these.
CB: My favorite moment working on Major League was following around Charlie Sheen to the clubs at night. You know that term chick magnet, he was like chick super government magnet. He would walk in a place hang out for 10 minutes and like the Pied Piper, the most beautiful women in the world would literally follow Charlie out.
MG: Working on “L.A. Law” from ’86 to ’94, you were nominated for 2 Golden Globes and 2 Emmys and the show was nominated for over 100 awards and won many of them. How did it feel to be have been on such a highly acclaimed show?
CB: Well that was a great thing, it gave me my career, gave me the key to the kingdom. I tell that to Stephen Bochco. It also left me for years with two things. One is that, I went from like zero to 60 overnight and there is a resentment and there is a certain part of the business, the industry part that doesn’t respect that, because they don’t assume you put the time in, which was false. The other one was that I played this character that everyone assumed I was and for years, I really didn’t get the kinds of roles I wished I’d done. Even following out of L.A. Law some of the movies I did playing the same role as you’ve seen in Major League. I loved it. It’s a great movie, but I played the pompous sort of prissy boy and when you do that you get as you get older, you sorta become, not really typecast, but what are you. As opposed to Bruce Willis out of “Moonlighting” does “Die Hard” and he is an action hero till this day.
MG: Was there ever any roles that you wished you had done?
CB: There was a role I probably should have done. Joel Schumacher was doing a movie called “Cousins” which was a remake of a french film called “Cousin, cousine” and I met him and at the same time I was being wooed by Disney to do this movie called “Hello, Again” with Shelly Long, same kind of role but much more visibility and all the people around me said “Oh you gotta do that”. Jeffrey Katzenberg who was a wonder kin at Disney, was sending me stuff in the mail saying “Please come and be in our movie, forever we will be grateful”, so I went and did that and it turned into being a pitiful fucking movie and meanwhile William Peterson went on to do “Cousins” and we both ended up doing alright but I could have had some more interesting roles.
MG: What projects do you have planned for the future?
CB: I am sort of deep in the indie world, you’ll see a lot of little films that I am involved with. Generally I’ll go in for a couple of days, make a few bucks, its not about money, its meeting all these young filmmakers. I am really involved not in the indie world but the true indie world. I just did a movie here yesterday in Philadelphia, called “Calender Girl”. I am more involved in the films that I am making as writing, producing, directing. Just did a movie up in Canada, sort of a family movie, called “Rust” that Sony just picked up, that will be out next year. I’m doing a movie in three weeks set in Akron, “25 Hill” about a soap box derby. I have another pretty good idea for a movie I am doing in Canada, tentatively titled” Meteor Man”, about a mentally challenged guy that insists that he comes out of a meteor shower. The town doesn’t believe him and it poses sort of the question if you can believe in God, why can’t we believe in something paranormal or stuff that we can’t see like our faith teachings. It’s that or a story about a guy that comes up to teach, this is just wacky and I did not do drugs to get to it, an ex NHL hockey player and gets asked to come to a small town to coach kids in playing hockey only to find that it is twelve chimpanzees, who are refugees from a Russian ice show, they got stranded in the town. The town has purchased them and he has to go coach twelve chimpanzees.