If you are a fan of SyFy, they you must be a fan of their original movies. This summer, the month of June is packed with new great films. “Bigfoot”, Syfy’s Saturday original movie, premieres on Saturday, June 30 and easily is the best of the month. It stars two 70’s TV legends Barry Williams (“The Brady Bunch”) and Danny Bonaduce (“The Partridge Family”). Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Barry Williams and Danny Bonaduce about working together on the film and what we could expect with this fun film.
Mike Gencarelli: So can you guys talk about how you became involved with this show and what made you want to do it?
Barry Williams: It was really easy for me. They said that they were talking to Danny Bonaduce and they wanted me in the movie. And I said as long as I can beat him up I’ll do the movie.
Danny Bonaduce: Fair enough. I, interestingly enough and I hope this doesn’t make anybody look ill prepared because the movie went off like a hitch. It was perfect. Everybody worked really fast. But I was doing my radio show two years ago and heard that I was doing a movie about Bigfoot with Barry Williams. I called my agent who also has my name on Google Search and he said I just read that too. I said is there any truth to it? And he said I haven’t heard a word about it. And two years later we started production. It was really bizarre but it’s neat.
BW: I have to tell you too, I love doing a monster movie. It’s great fun to do because it’s only scary when you watch it and not so much when you do it. I’m always interested in something where I have a chance to save the world.
DB: God I’ve got to disagree with Barry vehemently. This is going to be a long phone call. Scary movies are not that scary when you watch them but it was terrifying to make. I even asked Barry, I said hey man, when that guy says look up here and scream because Bigfoot’s going to eat you and there’s no Bigfoot. You’re just staring off at a big stick with a piece of tape on it because we’re going to put in by magic – I’m sure there are some initials, that Bigfoot will be there later. Everybody screams. I said Barry, do you like feel really stupid when we do that? And Barry said no, I’m an actor. When he says Bigfoot’s right there I assume Bigfoot’s right there. And I went wow, I’m bad at acting because I feel really stupid.
BW: Well see, I paid a lot of money for acting lessons so I’ve spent my whole life trying to justify them.
DB: Hey don’t – I swear, I said – I was talking to a reporter. I said Barry Williams, I don’t know if you know this or not, but is a real live actor. To be honest with you and not just flattering to Barry. Honest to goodness, I have another occupation and this came along as a gift.
I didn’t have to audition, I didn’t have to jump through hoops and that’s what a lot of actors have to do and one of the reasons I don’t really do it anymore. So I was more than pleased to do it. But Barry, God bless him, not only takes it very seriously but made it kind of easier on me to do because he’s really, really good at it.
BW: Well Danny’s being very modest about his talents and what he brings to the table. But we did work together well. I’d do it again for sure.
DB: Yeah. Me too. I don’t know what happens to Bigfoot at the end of this but if he dies bring him back. If he has a cousin yeah, it was fun.
BW: We brought in the Air Force with like nuclear missiles. I think Bigfoot is going to bite the dust in this. DB: Well don’t give away the end man.
BW: Okay. Forget I said that.
MG: So Barry, you had done “Mega Piranha” a few years ago. Talk about how this was different, working on this creature feature than the other one. And did you kind of give Danny some tips on how to go about working on one of these?
BW: You know, the format for working on a movie is working on a movie. Danny has plenty of experience working on television and movies. So no on that. The difference with this and “Mega Piranha” was I was much more involved in the process. My role in Mega Piranha largely took place in offices and in cars. So I was kind of away from the cast through most of it. In this we were out working on location, we’re working with a green screen, we’re working in some pretty challenging circumstances because Seattle enjoyed the worst storm in 100 years through the time we were filming. And so it was very hands on and I had a lot more to do in it. So overall I it was a more satisfying experience if you could say.
MG: What’s your take on the legends of Bigfoot in general? Do you actually have any kind of belief in the Missing Link?
DB: I just moved about eight months ago and I do my new radio show – I guess I should publicize this as long as I have a chance on KZOK 102.5 in Seattle. Seattle, which I didn’t know because it was weird doing a Bigfoot movie that wasn’t about Seattle. I didn’t know this about Seattle either. Bigfoot is one of the main things about Seattle along with the rain and gray skies. In the airport is the Sasquatch Café. You can get your Bigfoot burgers and Bigfoot’s a thing up here that people talk about all the time. Now our Bigfoot in our movie is enormous. If there was something hiding that big I believe – and when I say this immediately all of the techno nerds are going to go hey, he’s one of us. It wouldgive up a heat signature and we would find it. Do I believe that there is something – I don’t know if it’s necessarily out in the woods or under the sea or in the sky but I believe for sure that there is something unlike us that has equal or superior intelligence. So whether it’s a Bigfoot or you’re using Bigfoot as an umbrella for aliens or not the Loch Ness Monster because that’s really an inlet and the Loch Ness Monster would starve. But do I believe in stuff like that? Yeah. Absolutely.
BW: Well I certainly believe the Bigfoot in this movie. If there is a real Bigfoot just whatever his size, I hope he’s not as angry as our guy because our guy is not having it. He pretty much is cutting a swath, right…
DB: And he’s really scary.
BW: …down the town. Yeah. He is scary. And I’m not sure – he’s as big as King Kong. I mean this thing is fast too. But I’m fascinated with theories and concepts. And like Danny was just saying, in Seattle it’s quite a big deal. The sitings, the trackings I enjoy kind of observing it. And you have to know that somewhere in there there’s got to be some type of missing link or something that’s bridging the gap through our own evolution. But it’s hard to imagine with GPS taking it down to inches of where you are that if we really wanted to find it, it would be pretty hard to hide.
MG: You are two of our pop culture icons and there is yet another pop culture icon of ours in this film, Alice Cooper. Can you tell us about working with him?
DB: I’ll start with this one. I know Alice a little bit. I’ve had the pleasure of talking to Alice a few times in the past but never working with him. And he really intimidated me. Not the crazy makeup and I’m so envious of that leather jacket. That leather jacket rules. But the director, Bruce at one point we had a real problem with continuity because as Barry said in the opening, we had a snowstorm that Seattle has not seen in at least 50 years if not 100. I mean everybody wasflipped out. Snow doesn’t stick to the ground here. That doesn’t happen. We are essentially snowed in and then it melted really fast. So we had to shoot things in a very – not quick as in haphazard but quick in as people had to think very quickly. And I’m sorry, what was your basic question again? I started to answer questions about the weather.
BW: Working with Alice.
DB: Oh, thank you. So we had to change things to match that the snow had melted and we had just shot the original master shot with no snow. So at this point he just looks at me and he says why don’t you and Alice just riff for a minute which means improv which on the radio is one thing. With people filming you and Alice Cooper standing there and Alice is really clever. I said to him – my line was – my one written line and then that’s where we were supposed to riff for almost two full minutes, I had said come on, you have to help me out Alice. We go way back. And he goes go way back? I’ve known you for two hours and I already hate you. And he hit me with a riding crop. And I thought this is a really – this is an interesting way to delve into the world of improvisation with Alice Cooper who insists on hitting me. But I mean it’s super neat.
BW: Absolutely. I was – I knew we needed a pop icon in the role and Alice was not yet cast when we started the movie. And when I found out he was coming out and going to join us I was absolutely beside myself. I’m a big fan both of him, Kiss and he came in full regalia with all the leathers, the riding crop and a very cool guy. And I was also, you know, hoping because I sing a song in this movie and I was kind of hoping maybe I get some props from the Man and that didn’t happen. I think he referred to it as – was he – he was asking Danny about whether…
DB: I just saw the clip.
BW: …this thing was a hootenanny.
DB: He looks at you. He looks at you singing and he says, what is this a hootenanny?
BW: Yeah, a hootenanny. Right. I didn’t quite get that little wish fulfilled. But he’s a very cool guy. He’s nice to have in the movie and a lot of people don’t know this about Alice but he is a scratch golfer. He’s a really good golfer. So there you go.
MG: So was this movie fun, grueling or both to shoot?
BW: I go crazy when I watch actors and actresses get on television and they go oh, it was so much fun to make. Making a movie is not what you’d call fun. You get good things that come out of it but it’s work. We had some extra challenges on this one because most of it was filmed outdoors and the weather was not cooperating. So we had that element to deal with – wind, snow, matching. We worked at night. We didn’t have heaters in a lot of places. So you just do what you need to do and keep your eye on the ball which is how it’s going to turn out. I wouldn’t say fun but I’m glad that I did it and I’m pleased with what I’ve seen that’s come out. But grueling, you know, it was a tough shoot. It was a tough shoot.
DB: I don’t mean to just say ditto because that would make me a poor interview. Barry has been overly kind but also rather insistent. And I thought that was nice too. On the set of the movie I would ask Barry’s advice a lot. I’m not shy. I have other talents. Barry’s really good at this so I would ask Barry how should I play this, how should I do that? But I got very nervous because I gave an interview about this movie and the first thing they said was so, how was it making this movie and I didn’t think about the all encompassing question. All I thought was knee deep in snow for four days straight and the outfit I had already worn so it was established which was not warm, when you go on the scale of hard I mean we weren’t, you know, soldiers in the deserts carrying an 80 pound rucksack. I’m a talk show host. I stand in front of a microphone and try to be amusing. That’s my real job. Out there acting beside a skilled actor like Barry Williams in the snow – it really did have its more difficult moments. But like I said, this was a big deal in my life. I don’t do this kind of stuff anymore. This was just handed to me. Do you want to be in a monster movie. Do you want to be in a monster movie with Barry Williams? And I thought who says no to such things? I was going to ask the same question about our celebrity boxing match. Somebody asked me why would you do that? And because I like to box I said somebody asked me if Iwanted to box Barry Williams. Who says no to things like – these opportunities do not come along every day. But hey, it was an arduous shoot at the very least.
BW: Yeah. And in addition to which Danny – we were actually filming around Danny’s radio schedule so he’s getting up at 4:00 in the morning, on the air at 6:00 all the way until 10:00 and then driving up an hour away to the film location and working into the night. So it was challenging as we say. And regarding the boxing thing I’m glad that I did it but save the tape because that is the last time you will see Barry Williams in a boxing ring.
DB: Smart call Mr. Williams. I’ve done it about 12 other times and every time you think it’s a good idea that I thought it was a good idea and then eight weeks out I start getting scared and is this going to hurt and by the way, it always does. So you’ve seen the last of me doing the same thing. I’m with you.
BW: Stuff happens in the boxing ring.
DB: Yes it does.
MG: Bruce Davison is the director and your characters kind of have an adversarial thing
going. Did he give you room to kind of play off each other and kind of come up with your own thing?
DB: Well he did, I believe, it will depend on the movie which I have not seen yet. I’ve seen some of the trailers. But Bruce said – he kept looking at me with this really intense face and I think not mocking in a bad sense or maybe I mean parroting, the expression that I had. And yes Barry Williams and I do have an adversarial relationship but we’re mad at each other. And like I said, Barry’s the trained actor between the two of us. The script says I think – Harley Henderson is my name. Harley’s really made and to the point of violence. Well all I can do is replicate what I’ve seen in my real life whether it was the way I was raised or whether it was the way I really used to get really angry and fight. But I’d grit my teeth and get ready to do my line and Bruce would say just bring it down Danny. Just bring it down. He said there is so much more power when you do – and it really – I must tell you I felt like he was mistaken. But he’s the boss. You do what the director says. I remember that much from the Partridge Family and the few shows I’ve done after. And on the good side see I remember doing the rage thing and then the clip that made it where it’s just – where I just throw it off cuff – I’m going to kill Bigfoot. His take on it was much smarter and he’s absolutely right. Sometimes replicating real life just the way it actually happens, at least in my head, is not as good as a delivery. And Bruce Davison gave me a lot of direction that was very helpful.
BW: I want to say and I think everyone at Syfy should know, that the hero of this movie is Bruce Davison.
DB: For sure. Good call.
BW: He had to change gears in the middle of the race. We had to edit and cut. We had to make things work because certain locations were not available. There were time constraints. There were all kinds of things that a less flexible director never would have been able to overcome. And so yes, he was leaning heavily on the actors and – both in being prepared and also making some of the carving out some of the characterizations as adjustments had to be made throughthe movie. And he never wavered. He was always organized. He always had good ideas and he would come to us when he wasn’t clear about those ideas. But by the time we got to the set we were ready to go. And he finished that film I think a week early. I don’t know another director that could have done it. And he’s an actor. So for Danny and for me, you know, the kinds of things that Danny was just talking about in terms of how to produce something to the greatest effect, he knows how to relate that to us and it made it a lot easier for us.
MG: So you guys battle it out, quite a bit on the film as we’ve discussed before. I’ve got to ask, the chemistry between you two was just great. Did you guys have any good outtakes during shooting and/or have a hard time keeping it serious?
DB: I had a hard time because I’m really out of my element, I had a hard time with some things. But you know what? Barry and I – see each other off and on maybe ten times, 15 times throughout the years. I’m realizing I’m throwing around these accolades and I don’t want you to think we’re best friends. It’s just that I had no problem keeping it serious because Mr. Williams, I just want to – I’m really prefacing this to make sure everybody knows, really keeps it serious. It’s off – when they say cut then he says Barry Williams, the guy that got there in the morning and the guy that’s going home in the van with me at night, so to speak, or back to the city anyway. But I mean Barry Williams is the consummate actor. I interview people that are like Barry Williams and like me in the sense that they got really famous for something and not that I’m not super grateful for Danny Partridge, I wouldn’t have half the stuff I have had I never been Danny Partridge. But you’re kind of stuck with it. And Barry’s done a more successful job than most at being able to branch out from that. And I think the reason that is, is because he takes his craft so seriously that when we’re shooting it’s work. And I remember distinctly he would take a pencil and paper along with the director – he wasn’t impolite or anything. But he would say things like this doesn’t make sense. I’d agree but I’ve got to tell you if we would take an extra five minutes I wouldn’t have mentioned it. Barry was looking out for the quality of this movie all the time.
BW: What I did want to say about what was cool was, you know, Danny does – four hours of talking every day. And it’s basically him and he’s really entertaining. The amazing thing is that doesn’t stop. He shows up on the set and he takes right off again. And it’s just as funny. It’s like being entertained between all the takes and the drives and the rides back and forth. So it was really fun because he’s funny. So there we go.
DB: Well thank you. To some people that sounds funny. Others, that’s my wife, would just say please stop. There are no microphones in our house. To which I just want to get microphones in my house.
MG: The creature features can range anywhere from really serious to really campy. How did you determine the right tone to play your characters?
BW: Good question.
DB: I do comedy if you will. There are no jokes. I’ve never written a joke in my entire life. But the flavor of my morning show which has been on the air for 25 years and done pretty well by the way.
DB: Most of the feeling for comedy is where to put your emphasis. And if the movie itself is supposed to be like tongue in cheek then the only way to make it more funny would be to play it as straight as possible. I know for myself and I think I can answer for Barry but since he’s right here I won’t. For me my answer was to play it as straight as possible. And I played mine like I wanted those trees out of there. Barry and I were at each other’s throats. I played my character like I wanted him dead. I played it as straight as I could play it. If it’s campy, that will add to the campiness. Plus like I saidBarry does much more of this than I do. But the fact of the matter is it’s written. The dialog is pretty serious at some point. So I thought – I think the premise probably puts the tongue in cheek. But at least on my place I play it as seriously as I can. Barry Williams: Yeah. That’s – and you’re exactly right. When you cast Danny Bonaduce and Barry Williams in the same movie – in a monster movie you know it’s going to have some degree of camp to it. That’s why we’re picked. And so it’s going to have that certain tone. But the only way to play the movie is to play it for real, for keeps and let the situations and the appearances – of Bigfoot and the circumstances, let them kind of play out. It’s all a little bit larger than life in that sense. I think this movie will be best enjoyed with a box of popcorn in your lap.
MG: What was your favorite monster movie growing up, both of you?
DB: I don’t know if you want to consider it a monster movie but this is with your, you know, as a disc jockey or a talk show host I’ve moved into half a dozen cities or more and there are some things that you can just count on. And one of them is so what’s the scariest movie that’s ever been made and your phone lines light up. Now I usually have a fight between the Exorcist and Jaws. And in my world Jaws wins out because it’s now been 35 years, something like that but I dive.And I will tell you there is not a time that I dive that at some point I don’t hear that (da da, da da) from Jaws. Jaws continues to scare me especially on night dives. So if you consider – and I don’t think there’s ever been a Great White shark that big ever caught so I’ll still make it a monster. My favorite monster movie therefore is Jaws.
BW: Growing up Frankenstein – the green one with the things coming out of his neck.
DB: The bolts. Yeah.
BW: That was the one it would just stay with me after the movie was over and I’d be looking under the bed kind of thing.
MG: After Debbie Gibson and Tiffany did “Mega Python vs. Gatoroid”, they went on tour together. Any chance you guys might do something?
DB: Wow. It’s a great question and probably a wonderful tour. It’s very funny. I know both of those young ladies rather well. The year I got into radio was the years they were the hottest. Now Deborah as she prefers to be called now, did you know she’s in the Guinness Book of World Records?
BW: For what?
DB: For the youngest person to ever write, produce and perform a million selling album. She wrote all the words, wrote all the music. Yeah, she’s in the Guinness Book of World Records. I saw her on Broadway. She’s just a really, really talented girl. Tiffany is a wonderful girl too. I’m not sure what I would do on a tour with Barry Williams because I’ve done stand up comedy for David Cassidy a couple of times when he’s been in the towns where I’m working. And Barry is a consummate performer. He’s got a song and dance show that he takes on the road. But comedy is so frightening. It’s hundreds of people daring you to laugh plus if Barry and I were to go and do something together they would want funny reflections from the Partridge Family. Well, it was a very long day and I was ten years old. I have a couple of funny stories but I don’t have a half an hour’s worth so I don’t know what I would do. But Barry’s got a show he takes on the road.
BW: Well I will travel but I’m stationed and living in Branson, Missouri where I’m doing – it’s called Lunch with the Brady Bunch. And so it’s a standing show here. I do it four days a week and it opened this year. And it will be here for the foreseeable future. And it’s a nostalgic ride in a very kind of on the nose way for people that watch – I watch 50 year old women become teenagers in the show because they’re back to 12, 11 years old when they were watching the Brady Bunch and it’s a lot of fun. So I do take that out as well. We don’t have plans to go out on the road everybody’s got a busy schedule. I’m in Branson. He’s in Seattle. He’s doing a radio show. I’m performing a show here. And you never know. The right thing could come along. We’ll get to spend some time together with all of you and maybe someone will come up with something that makes sense for us and we’ll show up and do it.
DB: Can I ask a question, what is – because I’ve seen your stage act. What is Lunch with the Brady Bunch?
BW: That’s the show that I’m doing.
DB: Are there other Bradys there?
BW: I have the new Brady Bunch kids with me. So they are all…
DB: Oh, very smart. BW: So I’ve got them in costume, original choreography. We’re doing all the music. It’s multimedia. It’s, you know, I’m using support clips and graphics and photos and stories.
DB: Oh, that sounds fun. I would totally come see that.
BW: It’s the whole ride. In fact at one point, there are a couple of things but one of the songs, I talk about how the Bradys became a concert – or recording act because I had gone to the producer and I said look, there are all of these families that are making records. And some of them are selling millions of records, why not the Brady Bunch kids? I mean look at the Jackson 5, look at the Osmond Brothers, the Archies and of course the Partridge Family. And then the Greg character that I – is in my show he comes out and sings with everybody, I Think I Love You.
DB: Oh, that’s hysterical.
BW: And a little bit of One Bad Apple and ABC and Sugar Sugar and like that.
Danny Bonaduce: Oh, that sounds like a great show.
BW: It’s a fun show. It is a fun show.