Bruce Davison is one of Hollywood’s best character actors in the business. He earned an Academy Award nomination for his work on “Longtime Companion”. He is also known for his his role as Senator Robert Kelly in the “X-Men”. movie franchise. He recently directed Barry Williams & Danny Bonaduce in the Syfy creature feature “Bigfoot” and also recently worked with Rob Zombie’s on “The Lords of Salem”. Bruce can also be seen weekly on ABC’s new hit series “Last Resort”. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Bruce about his busy year and also what else he has planned.
Mike Gencarelli: How did you get involved directing the creature feature “Bigfoot”?
Bruce Davison: Well, I had done some directing before for Showtime and few others. But I had done a few projects with David Latt at Asylum, like “Mega Fault”. I told him if he had any directing gigs come up to throw me a bone and that I would love to direct. I missed my chance with (Roger) Corman, back in the days. He calls me up one day and says “I am not giving you a gift, I am giving you a nightmare”. I went to Washington to shoot and I think we had a 14 day shoot that ended up being only 9 days. It was sort of like being the General at Dunkirk, I was trying to run two armies at the same time, shooting whatever footage we could and trying to juggle jello, basically.
MG: Tell us working with the duo of Barry Williams & Danny Bonaduce?
BD: I had the best time working with the two of them. I would just let them riff lots of time. I tried to get Florence Henderson and Shirley Jones to make an appearance at the end but it didn’t work out. They were wonderful and the best. The hours were impossible. The shooting schedule was insane. Danny was doing a radio show every day, getting up at 4am and then coming to shoot. But he was still so professional every moment. I feel that they pulled a lot of stuff together [laughs] out of their butts. We really had to. There was a lot of improvisation. And also at the same time, we were trying to create a Bigfoot. We had one difficulty after another; we had to shoot a raft scene in an afternoon, when we weren’t allowed to shoot in the water [laughs]. It was one thing after another. It was so difficult, it was laughable. If we didn’t have a scene of humor about it we would have probably killed each other. But we ended up having fun.
MG: It is funny how you directed “Bigfoot” and your first job directing was on the “Harry and the Hendersons” TV series.
BD: [laughs] I didn’t think twice. I figured that “Bigfoot” would be like “Mighty Joe Young” and “King Kong”, just another big behemoth monster that goes around biting the heads off pretty girls. We had all that going for us and it was completely different from “Harry”. People have said to be over the years “Wasn’t doing “Long Time Companion” difficult and emotional draining?” I have said “No, “Harry and the Hendersons” was”. Trying to get the Bigfoot on the van was much more difficult than playing something that was so close to the heart.
MG: You are co-starring in the new TV series “Last Resort”; tell us about your role?
BD: Pretty much, what you can expect you will have to wait and see. Admiral Arthur Shepard is the character I play. He is the father to Lieutenant Grace Shepard, the third-in-command on main submarine. He is a character that you don’t quite figure out where he is coming from for a while but things will evolve. He is an intriguing and interesting character and he has been a pleasure to play so far.
MG: How was it working with Rob Zombie on his film, “The Lords of Salem”?
BD: I am so looking forward to that film. I had the best time of my life working with Rob. I just adore him. I think the three girls playing the witches just go through the roof. I think he has a new franchise with them, since they are just outrageous. Dee Wallace, Patricia Quinn and Judy Geeson are great. I have a scene with them and I just chuckle every time I think about it. His wife Sheri Moon Zombie is just a dear. I am hearing that it is quite controversial and going to stir up the pot. I look forward to it. He is just brilliantly talented.
MG: Can you tell us about your role in film?
BD: I play an author named, Francis Matthias. I work at historical tourist traps in Salem, MA. I am like the investigator and trying to solve the mystery of what is going on. It is sort of like Martin Balsam in “Psycho”. It is a wonderful character. Maria Conchita Alonso plays my wife. I try and track down what is going on and well…get more than I bargain for [laughs].
MG: Lastly, tell us about your work the unofficial sequel To Martin Scorsese’s Film “Raging Bull”, “The Bronx Bull”?
BD: It is a whole other cup of tea and is told from a completely different angle. William Forsythe is going to really surprise a lot of people with this. He is a wonderful actor and is so close to Jake LaMotta in character in his later years. It is not so much connected to Martin Scorsese but it is a chapter two in the life of Jack LaMotta.