Interview with Tom Towles

Tom Towles is know for his role in “Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer” and the 1990 remake of “Night of the Living Dead”.  Tom has also worked with Rob Zombie on “House of 1,000 Corpses”, “The Devil Rejects” & “Halloween”.  Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Tom about his films as well as his upcoming novel.

Mike Gencarelli: Can you tell us about your work on “Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer”?
Tom Towles: That film was one of the first for a majority of the cast. It was essentially mine and Michael Rooker’s first full length feature. We didn’t really know what couldn’t be done so we just did it. It was a lot of work but it was fun and really cool. We had no idea the movie was going to what it did! It’s one of those joyful surprises that life can hand you as opposed to fucking you in the ass. (Laughs)

MG: What was it like working with Tom Savini on the original remake of “Night of the Living Dead”?
TT: That was pretty crazy. It was Tom’s first film directing and also at the time Tom had a lot of personal chaos going on around him. I think he did a stunning job. Tom is one of the greatest guys I know. I wish he would direct more films however I don’t think he had as much fun as we did acting in the film. Tom is a multi-talented guy so he has lots of choices he can make. That project was well worth it and Tom is truly one of my all time favorites!

MG: You have worked with Bill Mosely on six films now what is it like working with him from film to film?
TT: The first film we did was the “Night of the Living Dead” remake. A few years after that we met on the set of a project called “Lansky.” I think at that time Bill was still trying to decide what he wanted to do with his career and really just putting the pieces together. Once Bill made his decision everything really started to move forward for him. I think Bill’s big break in his career finally came with his interpretation of Otis in Rob Zombies “House of 1,000 Corpses” and “The Devil’s Rejects” Bill is a really sweet and generous human being. I love him to death.

MG: How is it working with Rob Zombie?
TT: Rob is great. He just handles everything with such ease. I asked him one time how he does and he told me that he’s used to moving a Rock and Roll show around the world and that directing is easy compared to that Circus. You have an incredible sense of freedom working with Rob. He allows you to add your own ideas and will never discredit them until they absolutely fuck something up! (Laughs) It’s always an open ended process. It really is one of the best sets to be on. Rob just loves the process so much and loves everyone he works with so much that it makes working with him really enjoyable. Rob’s pretty cool.

MG: Do you have one role that you have done that sticks out as a favorite?
TT: That’s hard to say. Playing Otis in the Henry film is definitely up there but I really can’t say. Film is what I consider a transient medium for an actor. You go in and work for a certain amount of days and then you leave. Once you’re done with a role it becomes separate from you. I really don’t like to watch my movie after they are made. However favorites? Any time you employ me and I’m working I am happy. Working with Rob is great as well as John McNaughton who I have been friends with for a really long time. He’s my homie! We work really well together. I have been really lucky in films. My real love is theater. I just loved it because it was very in the now and you really were able sculpt and mold your character.

MG: Would you ever go back to doing theater?
TT: I think I am way too lazy now. Doing film and television really spoils you. Theater is a lot of work. Movies are some work but a lot more money. I don’t know if I could really go back to theater. It really is a lot of work and I’m old and decrepit now so I’m not sure I want to work that hard again. I am really into writing now. I have a heart stopping romance with writing these days. It’s something very different for me. I think it’s kind of an extension of acting. Writing is kind of what I do now as I am still emotionally unsuited for standard forms of employment. It was either institutional care or the entertainment industry.

MG: Do you have any upcoming projects you can tell us about?
TT: I just finished writing a fictional crime novel based in Chicago which should be out soon. I also have written a few short stories as well that I hope to put.

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