Raymond J. Barry has not only appeared over 50 film but also more than 75 plays. He is known most for his role as Ron Kovic’s father in the “Born on the Fourth of July” and for playing Pa Cox in “Walk Hard”, and its well known quote from the film, “The wrong kid died!” Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Raymond about his role in this years film festival favorite “Hamill” and his current play in New York.
Mike Gencarelli: Tell us how you became involved with the film “Hamill”?
Raymond J. Barry: I was asked to do the project by my agent. She showed me the script. I read it and that is how it happened. I like what I read and decided to do it. There was another factor involved though…my son was being recruiting for basketball by the University of Rochester. We shot in that area and I wanted to go check out the college [laughs].
MG: Where you familiar with the UFC fighter, Matt Hamill prior to coming on board?
RB: No I wasn’t. I don’t watch that stuff is it too violent. Mind you, I am not a pussy [laughs] but I don’t just like it. I find professionally wrestling boring. I don’t mean to be a snooty guy, but I like college wrestling though. Professional wrestling looks fake to me, even though I know they get hurt…but it just looks fake.
MG: How was it working with Russell Harvard in the film?
RB: It was great working with him because he is absolutely and totally 100% real. When you are working with somebody with a handicap, they can’t fake it. There is something amazing with the behavior and the means of communication. I really liked working with him, it was great.
RB: What did you think about me in the wrestling outfit?
MG: [laughs] Listen you pulled it off and you got him pinned in that scene [laughs].
RB: You know when I was in high school I wrestled, so I knew a little about it. I thought that was a really funny shot.
MG: Your work has ranged from comedies like “Walk Hard” to dramas like “Born on the 4th of July”, any genre you enjoy to work in more?
RB: It doesn’t matter to me. I can work in either one but actually comedy does come easier for me. I am a lot funnier than people think. I am usually hired to be a tragic figure or a hard guy, something like that. I am pretty funny though [laughs]. People always come up to me in the shopping malls and say “The wrong kid died” [laughs] from “Walk Hard”. It has become a memorable line.
MG: Tell us about working on the hit show “Justified” and tell us about your character?
RB: It is a great character. He is a little crazy, if he is pissed off he will hit you over the head with a baseball bat. He is also charming and people seem to like him. I did a movie up in Spokane, WA and a woman came up to me and said “Are you my favorite father?” I wondered who the hell she was talking about. She said “I watch “Justified” all the time”. So I guess people really like him. I have been shot twice and I had a heart attack and I am still alive. They keep shooting me but they don’t kill me.
MG: You are a stage veteran, tell us about your new show “Awake in a World that Encourages Sleep”?
RB: I also wrote that play. I am doing it at the Theater for the New City in Manhattan. The play was promopted by a book I read called ‘Confessions of an Economic Hit Man’ by John Perkins. Specifically what that book is about is a guy who worked for an organization connected with the CIA. What they do is they engaged in lending, where they will give large sums of money to a country like Panama or Ecuador. They will build a dam and demand it is built by American companies, so money does back into the American economy. The guy in the book got sick of it, quite his job and he wrote this book and. I read it and it just blew my mind. So I pretended I was him walking through a park on the day he quit his job. He comes upon a woman, turns out she works for a corporation. Then the husband comes, who turns out to be his boss. Meanwhile the woman is attracted to me. You have this threesome going with a backdrop of politics. I think I have gotten something really good. I am doing it in NY until April 24th at which then I will bring it back to Los Angeles.
MG: Anything else you want to throw in?
RB: I got a two year old, a eleven year old, a nineteen year old and a thirty nine year old. I was the New York State High Jumping Champion in 1957 and I am 72. Those are the interesting facts of my life [laughs].