Belinda Balaski is a classic character actor that has appeared in such classic TV shows as “Force Five, S.W.A.T, Charlie’s Angels” and many others. She also has appeared in such classic films as “Gremlins 1 & 2” and “The Howling.” MovieMikes’ recently spoke with Belinda about her extensive career and her upcoming project “Hallow Pointe”.
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Adam Lawton: You have quite a career in the way of television appearances, is there one that sticks out in your mind as a favorite?
Belinda Balaski: Yes, actually, but no one has ever asked me that question (laughs). “Are You My Mother”, which was an ABC after school special I did with Michael York. I was actually nominated for an Emmy for that role. I played a woman who after giving birth, ends up on the streets due to the hormonal imbalance of physical and psychological changes in her body. Years later, the daughter, who was told originally that her mother had died, discovers her while working for her father during summer vacation. I thought it was a really incredible after school special and I got to play a character that had true emotional depth, along with suffering from the controversial postpartum condition many women go through after childbirth.
AL: What was it like working with Michael York?
BB: He’s so wonderful. I have such respect for him as an actor. The thing about Michael is that he has a very thick English accent, and he made it his goal to sound as American as possible for this character.
AL: You also were nominated for an Emmy for your work on “Proud Men” with Charleton Heston?
BB: Yes, my part on that one kept increasing as we worked. The first day after I worked, a bunch of new pages appeared right after that. It seemed as I worked, more and more pages were added. They were very happy with me. I have been very fortunate to work with some really great people. Working with Charleton Heston and Peter Strauss was a joy.
AL: You have appeared in a few horror classics, such as “Piranha” and “The Howling” to name a couple. Are you a fan of the horror genre?
BB: I am a fan of Joe Dante, who is a genre unto himself. He’s not like the other horror film directors as far as I am concerned. He separates himself with his political views, film buff antics, and his humor. I’m a great fan of Joe Dante films, but not necessarily of horror films; my personal faves being psychological thrillers….
AL: You got a chance to be in “Gremlins 1 and 2” correct?
BB: That was really fun. I remember the night before I was supposed to shoot my scenes for “Gremlins”, I hadn’t gotten a script. So I called Joe and said it’s like 8:30pm and I’m supposed to work tomorrow morning and no one has delivered a script. Joe said “What script? I haven’t gotten one either. We’re just going to ad lib and I was like “Oh my God” I had no idea what a gremlin was or what one looked like! I don’t even think the people shooting the film knew either, so it was a lot of guess work. It was the same when we shot “The Howling” no one knew what the werewolves were going to look like until after we were done. For “Gremlins 2” I played a totally different character. Joe’s idea from the start was to have a small company where he would use the same group of actors in each of his films. I was lucky enough to be cast in his first film as he was editing “Hollywood Boulevard” while Tina Hirsch was editing “Bobby Jo and the Outlaw” sitting next to each other at New World. He saw me in that film and brought me in for Piranha, and then The Howling, Gremlins, Amazon Women on the Moon, Voice of female alien in Explorers, etc. The rest is I guess as they say~ history!
AL: You have a movie coming out soon entitled “Hallow Pointe” can you tell us a little about that?
BB: It’s going to be done by Bobby Ray Akers Jr., and I am very excited about it. But I can’t tell you to much more than that, as I signed a confidentiality contract. But I can tell you that by going to conventions and meeting with young film makers and fans, I have had the opportunity to be approached by a few young directors who have asked me to be in their movies. That is what happened with Bobby Ray and “Hallow Pointe”
AL: Do you have any other projects in the works that you can tell us about?
BB: I have about seven scripts sitting in front of me right now. To name a few, there’s a movie in the works with Parish Randall titled “Untold in West Texas” that I’m very excited about, an awesome project in Australia with Kerri Hill-Grisham called “The Dark Things”, and “The Underground Railroad” with David Boorboor which is wonderfully brilliant! There is a lot of quiet activity going on, which is seriously exciting. I am also wrapping up a novel that I’ve been working on for the past 3 1/2 years with my writing partner, Bahram Rabii, which is quite political and hopefully a bridge to Iran through the eyes of a young coming of age teen, named “Shadooneh.”
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