Lew Temple is often described as a chameleon by those in the entertainment industry due to his ability to play a variety of roles. Lew has appeared everything from commercials, television shows and large screen films. Movie Mikes had a chance recently to speak with Lew about his leap from professional baseball to acting, as well as his upcoming movie with Johnny Depp in “Rango.”
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Adam Lawton: How did you go from a pro baseball career to a career in acting?
Lew Temple: That’s a great story. I had been playing baseball in the minor leagues and a lot of the guys I was playing on teams with were from the west coast. A few of my team mate’s fathers were in the entertainment industry. They would come to the games and got to know everybody and they started to say to me that I should really be in the entertainment industry. I took that as I wasn’t a really good baseball player. (Laughs) I always kept that thought in the back of my mind. After I had finished playing I was working for the Houston Astros in a bunch of different capacities. I was developing into an executive type. I still had that little thought of trying acting in the back of my mind. One day I followed a girl into an acting class in hopes of getting a date. I didn’t get the girl but I did get a career! (Laughs) I started to do Community Theater and after awhile I moved up to regional theater plays which were great. I wasn’t your typical mid west commercial guy that was popular at that time. I was always taking theater roles. This proved really helpful and I learned a lot from those early theater roles. Eventually I got cast in a commercial, which then led to me auditioning for “Walker Texas Ranger.” The producers liked me and gave me a recurring role on the show. After my role ended on that show, I would take parts here and there in films based in the Austin, Texas area. A few producers saw me in those films and they said I should make the move to Los Angeles and pursue acting full time.
AL: How was it working with Tony Scott and Denzel Washington on “Unstoppable”?
LT: “Unstoppable” was my third film with Tony Scott and I really hope there are more opportunities for me to work with him in the future. I like to compare working with Tony to what it would be like working for Willy Wonka. Tony is a very infectious person and that tends to rub off on you when you’re working with him. It’s really a lot of fun. You do have to be ready though when you’re working with him because it’s going to be a full on 12 cameras rolling with all sorts of stuff going on type of situation. Tony really knows what he wants. Working with Denzel was really great. I think this movie has brought him back. Denzel has the ability to convey so much by doing so little. He just has this uncanny ability to know when and where to really turn it on or to lay back. I have learned a lot in the two times I have worked with him. Denzel is a real class act.
AL: Can you tell us about your upcoming film “Rango”?
LT: This movie is going to be great! I had a lot of fun doing that film. I got to make some really great sounds! (Laughs) They brought me and I tried out for bunch of different roles and I ultimately ended up with the role of a sage hen named Mr. Fergus who acts as the voice of reason. Johnny Depp is going to be really great in this film as well. The film has lots of humor for both adults and children. It’s has a great cast and it’s visually amazing as well! Another great thing about this film is its message to follow your destiny and also to have the courage to show up in life. I think it’s going to be a big hit!
AL: How was working with Rob Zombie on “Devil’s Rejects” and “Halloween”
LT: Working with Rob is very similar to working with Tony Scott. He has great ideas and knows what he wants. There were some tense moments at times but we had a lot of great moments. From the very first table read I thought to myself wow I better be really good! (Laughs) Rob has a really great ensemble group. He knows that each person in that group is going to bring something to the party. When I first got the role in “Devil’s Rejects” I wasn’t sure what to think. I knew White Zombie but I didn’t know Rob. I called a friend of mine that worked on Rob’s previous film and he told me to do myself a favor and take the role. It turned out great and I gained a friend for life.
AL: Has there been any talk of you appearing in Rob’s next movie “The Lords of Salem”
LT: I am hopeful. He and I had dinner recently when he was in town on tour with Alice Copper. We talked about it some and it sounds really cool! Rob hasn’t wrote the script yet due to being out on tour. I think around February or March things will start to get rolling. I really hope to be attached. I enjoy working with Rob and if he was to call tomorrow and needed me…I would be there.
AL: Do you have a film that sticks out for you as a favorite?
LT: For me every film has been great in its own way. I think you always get something good out of each movie. There have been of course a few that maybe I didn’t get as much out off but I always try to take something away no matter what. “Waitress” is a film that has a special place in my heart. It was a really small production but that allowed everyone to become very close. I also think “Devil’s Rejects” was a really great experience and I feel that film is a genre all by itself. I think that movie is an immediate classic in the horror genre.
AL: Can you tell us about any of your other upcoming projects?
LT: I have a film that I have been attached to called “Stingy Jack” that I think is going to be great. The film is going to feature a really high caliber cast. I am actually slated to play Kane Hodder’s brother! I have a film called “Montana Amazon” set for release in the coming months as well as one called “Curve of Earth” which also stars William Forsythe and another called “We Are Family” which is a Tyler Perry film. Lastly, I have a film that will start shooting in March called “Zombex”. The film is written by Jesse Dayton, who funny enough I wrote the Banjo and Sullivan songs with on “Devil’s Rejects.” Jesse was also in “Halloween II” as Captain Clegg.
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