Sam J. Jones is best known for the lead role in the 1980 cult classic “Flash Gordon”. Sam recently appeared in the the Seth MacFarlane directed live-action film “Ted”, as himself and stole the show. Sam took out some time to chat with Media Mikes about his work on “Flash Gordon”, “Ted”, plans for “Ted 2 and his work in the security business.
Mike Gencarelli: Can you reflect on the fandom that surrounds “Flash Gordon” over 30 years since its release?
Sam J. Jones: It has been wonderful and is such a blessing. We filmed it in 1979, so that is 34 years ago and was released in Christmas of 1980. We are talking about three different generations here. It is amazing. It has had a good run and it has opened a lot of doors for me. I have traveled all over the world. It has even continued in the film “Ted”.
MG: Queen’s score in the film is so iconic, how do you feel that it works in the film?
SJ: It really complemented the film well. Queen was huge, obviously but it also opened up doors for them as well at the time. Combine their amazing soundtrack with the great visuals and you have a winner. All that creativity came together and produced this unforgettable visual experience.
MG: How often are you approached with people screaming “FLASH!! AAA-AAAHHH!!” and how do you respond?
SJ: Well, I get real close to them…then I head butt them [laughs]. No, it is fun it really is. Sometimes people walk by me on the street and don’t even say anything just scream and continue walking. They don’t even wait for a reaction. That sort of thing happens a lot.
MG: I wanted to ask about about you being originally signed up for seven “Gordon” sequels. Is that true?
SJ: I think it was a couple sequels at the time, yeah! Like anything else they decided not to pursue it. It has been optioned a couple of different times over the years with various development deals for a sequel, so hopefully that will happen soon. I would love to be apart of it again.
MG: Also can you talk about how your voice being dubbed over in the film?
SJ: We filmed the entire project in London, England and one week in Scotland. After filming you always have to go back and do ADR to fix the vocals. So I didn’t head back, I was working on other projects at the time. So they went ahead and got another actor to try and match my voice. It is what it is. I am sure next time I would rather find a way to get back there and do it myself.
MG: Tell us about how your role in “Ted” came about?
SJ: It is pretty simple, Seth MacFarlane called me and said that when he was eight years old he saw “Flash Gordon” and it changed his life. He knew then that he wanted to be a creative guy in the business and that was his inspiration. So he called and said he had this script called “Ted” and if I would be interested and I said “Of course”. At first, he wanted me to play myself but it turned out to be a parody of myself.
MG: What was it like getting back into those tights again after all those years?
SJ: It was fun. It was great working with the cast with Mark Walhberg, Mila Kunis and Patrick Warburton. Actually Patrick and I used to be in acting classes together, so it was good to see him again. It was Seth’s first time directing live-action and he did a fantastic job. He was always very prepared each day.
MG: Going from film business to security business, tell us about your current work?
SJ: It has been natural transition for me. I was a marine before I was an actor, so the background was there before I was in the movie business. So I got married and started having our five children and things slowed down a bit since there is a lot of downtime in the film business. So I wanted to fill that void, so I talked to my wife and decided to do that I was already trained in. I went and took some additional specialized training, actually the same as the Secret Service and the State Department. I started working the Los Angeles area, then I worked in Katrina and excelled in security operations. From there I got an invitation to move to San Diego to help run the Cross-Border Security Operations into Mexico. So that is what I have been doing for the past eight years now. I love it because when a film project comes up, I am able to drop everything and do the film. So it works out.
MG: “Ted 2” is planned for release Passover 2015, any word of a return for you?
SJ: Yeah, of course. Seth already asked me to do it. He mentioned that they will be filming in the Spring of 2014. So I can’t wait for that!