Horror News Network’s Sr. Editor, Christine Caprilozzi, recently chatted with Bill Moseley about revisiting his “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” roots, as well as his prolific career in horror.
Horror News Network: First off, let’s talk a bit about the upcoming “Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D.” Since you are part of the rich Texas Chainsaw legacy with your role in TCM 2 in 1986, what was it like revisiting this storyline & the “family”?
Bill Moseley: It was great to be a part of “Chainsaw,” I had worked with the producer Carl Mazzocone on both “Repo the Genetic Opera,” and on the “Tortured.” When I found out he was going to be doing a reboot of the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” I asked if I could join in on the story pitch. I went in with an outline and a treatment and pitched it to Lionsgate. It was very well received, but was second choice. I told Carl I’d still like to participate, one way or another. Due to licensing issues, there wasn’t an option to put “ChopTop” in the script, only characters from the original. Due to the death of the great Jim Siedow, who played “Drayton,” the cook in 1 and 2, they were looking for someone to fill that role and Carl offered it to me. I just jumped at it.
Horror News Network: I was actually going to ask about that, and how it came about. How was playing “Drayton” compared to “Chop Top?” I mean “Drayton” was the brother cooking up the dinner.
Bill Moseley: That is correct. There are many theories about this. Many people thought “Drayton” was the father. In my humble, yet experienced opinion, “Drayton” was the oldest brother. The way the family shapes up is there are grandma and grandpa, no parents. Then there’s the twins “ChopTop” and “the Hitchhiker.” The baby of course was “Leatherface.”
Playing Drayton was very interesting because what they wanted me to do was imitate Jim Siedow, his look and mannerisms. I not only had a chance to work with Jim Siedow, but we were great pals over the years. I just loved Jim. So the idea of playing him was exciting to me, not just in terms of playing a “part,” but also to sort of honor his legacy. The hard part was trying to imitate Jim. He carries himself differently and has some quirks and moves in a quirky way. I did the best I could to honor Jim, and I certainly hope I didn’t embarrass him.
Horror News Network: This is 26 years after playing “ChopTop” in “Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2.” How do you feel this reboot compares to the rest in the Texas Chainsaw franchise? What can horror fans expect, especially since there are so many people from the original “Chainsaw” family involved in the production?
Bill Moseley: Well we’ll have to see what John Luessonhop has cooked up. Obviously, the use of the “3D” process is tip of the hat to modern times and what’s going on in filmmaking right now. When I first got down to Bossier City, Louisiana, which is where we shot the movie, I saw Carl (Mazzacone) had ordered an exact replica of the original Sawyer family house. When I first saw it, it was really amazing to see the Sawyer house so painstakingly accurate. I did have a moment in between shots, where I was lying on the floor just inside the front door by the stairs. It was 104 degrees, 90% humidity, and I was covered in sweat, blood and feathers. I remember looking down towards the sliding steel doors. I just remember lying there in the crew’s way, just having this moment thinking “holy shit, this is really happening.” It was really amazing to me that after 26 years I was back. It has a special meaning for me because this is where my career began. I was thinking really how “ChopTop and the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” totally transformed my life. I guess it was like one of those outer body experiences.
Horror News Network: Speaking of your career, you really seem to be one of the hardest working men in horror. You’ve been in numerous movies, as well as a recurring role on “Holliston.” What keeps drawing you back in to the horror genre?
Bill Moseley: Well, I think it was a self-fulfilling prophecy. Once I played “ChopTop and made a splash with that character, that got the attention of the horror fans and the horror community. The next big job I got was through Tom Savini, who was tapped to directed remake of “Night of the Living Dead” by George Romero. I was one of the first people he called on, since we worked together on “Texas Chainsaw 2.” I picked the part of Johnnie, really because really it had more lines. I’ve been worked outside the genre like in “Pink Cadillac with Clint Eastwood, and a Disney film called “White Fang.” But I have a lot of fun with horror and grew up a horror fan. I think it just comes naturally to me because I really enjoy it.
Horror News Network: Over the years, you’ve have a wide range of roles. As you know the horror community is such a hardcore group of people and you’ve played some very memorable characters like “ChopTop”, “Otis,” and even Luigi in “Repo!The Genetic Opera.”
Bill Moseley: Yeah, I’ve done a lot of horror and it is a very unique group that is attracted to the horror genre. Some people used to make them because they thought that was the easiest film to make. Just go out there get some ketchup and get some screaming girls, and it used to be a great place for a filmmaker to start. But there’s also that cynical perspective where some producers have the mindset of “who cares, as long as it’s scary, kids will eat it up.” If you get through all the cynicism and capitalism, the talented people do rise to the top like George Romero, John Carpenter, Rob Zombie, Darren Bousman, Guillermo Del Toro, and Eli Roth. These are people who have created these very cool personalities and characters who are very dark and interesting.
Horror News Network: You really have become a horror icon with these roles. How do you feel when people refer to you as a “horror icon”?
Bill Moseley: I certainly think of it as a compliment, but I take it with a grain of salt because I see an “icon” as something with spiritual power. The fact that I’ve gotten to play some great characters has been great. As an actor, I didn’t write the scripts, I didn’t direct it, or edit it.
Horror News Network: Sure, but your delivery and what you’ve brought to these characters is what sticks in people’s minds.
Bill Moseley: I just try to stay out of the way. I play my part and the hard part is just getting out of the way, and not being self conscious, and not bringing in all your own personal crap. Just to go out there and be like “ChopTop” is just so much fun. A character I always come back to since it was the first time I thought “my God, this is awesome.”
Horror News Network: Who or what actually scares Bill Moseley?
Bill Moseley: There”˜s a lot of scary stuff out there. I was actually visiting my daughter in upstate New York, and she wanted to see “Paranormal Activity 4.” That didn’t really scare me all that much. Afterwards though, we went back and I went out to look for kindling in the wooded area to make a fire. I got far enough from the house with just a flashlight in the dark wooded area, and I got scared. Especially with the wind blowing, the shadows, was there some animal or person lurking. I’m always prepared to be scared out of my boots.
Horror News Network:I know “Devil’s Carnival” also just came out on DVD, so we can give a little “shout out” to Darren Bousman right now.
Bill Moseley: Yeah check it out. Darren’s a great guy, great to work with too. Its’ very colorful and the music is awesome.
Horror News Network: Well the one great thing about Darren is that he obviously is not afraid to take chances and push boundaries. That’s really admirable since a lot of people just like to play it safe.
Bill Moseley: That’s what I think Darren and Rob Zombie have in common. They’re not afraid to take on the “suits.” They actually enjoy it, and enjoy pushing the boundaries.
Horror News Network: We’re all looking forward to “Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D” Thanks so much for your time Bill! You can check out more from Bill at http://www.choptopsbbq.com
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