Interview: 'Lake Effects' Fishing Father Jeff Fahey Talks Playing Dead, Body Parts And Machete 2
One of the most underrated performers of his generation, actor Jeff Fahey has made a long career out of playing some seriously cool movie characters. From his turn as the slimy Duane Duke in the third Psycho outing to the dim turned deviant Jobe Smith in "The Lawnmower Man," Fahey has proven that you can’t keep a great character actor down. (Just see him take on "Machete" with a wink and a smile!) His latest project title "Lake Effects" (out now on DVD from Anchor Bay Home Entertainment) has Fahey playing a loving father and husband with a small problem – he’s dead. Filled with both humor and family drama and told with a light-hearted touch, the film is a passion project for the actor. Fahey took time to sit down with Starpulse to talk one-on-one about playing a man who has passed on and working in lush Smith Mountain Lake, plus we also chatted up some past work for fans too! (Would you expect anything less?!) Get out your fishing rod and cast out because we’ve hooked interview time with the amazing...
How do you get into a character that dies before the movie even begins – what did you do to prepare?
Jeff Fahey: This is one of those films where when you’re working with such a great group of actors like Jane Seymour, Madeline Zima and Scottie Thompson and the producer Sara and director Michael McKay and you’re shooting on location it wasn’t difficult at all actually. It was great to be up there in Smith Mountain Lake because there’s an energy about that community that is comfortable and laid back and its part of that I applied to the character. I’m so excited and proud to be part of something like this – this is one of the gems.
The scenes between father and daughter Ray and Sara in "Lake Efects" are heartbreakingly poignant – since the scenes could very well be inside her imagination, how did you approach them as an actor?
JF: I approach them as real – as they’re actually happening. Playing those given scenes as though they’re really happening. I remember those scenes with Scottie and the whole idea is you have a daughter that has an anger because she thinks the father is someone else and that there are elements of his character that he has been hiding. I loved the way they handled that, the way it was written and I loved the relationship between father and daughter where he had the patience with the daughter for her to have her own discovery.
What was it like shooting on location in Smith Mountain Lake and did it add something for you in terms of your character?
JF: First off, I remember arriving there early evening and they had donated space where we could stay. We were in these condos by the lake and I remember getting there in the early evening just around sunset and opening the patio door to this place. Looking out at the last flat calm lake and with the sunset it seemed amazingly poetically beautiful and I thought I’m just gonna take this right into the film. So starting the next day that feeling and that calmness I put a certain element of that element into the character.
Past work – you got to work with the legendary Anthony Perkins on "Psycho 3" as both an actor and director, what was that experience like?
JF: That was pretty wild to be shooting at Universal Studios. It was my second film and to be on the backlot at night with the fake rain and lightning and you look up and there’s the Bates Motel house and all of a sudden Anthony is talking to you, man. There I am with a crew of one hundred and fifty people around, but you’re in between this little space called action and cut talking to Norman Bates – I mean my God! (Laughs) You know what I mean? It’s been a wild ride.
Genre fans, an myself, all loved you in the grisly "Body Parts" – what was your reason for taking that film?
JF: Well, there’s a time in the early stage in your career where you’re climbing the ladder and you’re taking certain genre films and big studios films that you get offered, so there’s a number of reasons. It was a great push at the time from Paramount and Frank Mancuso Jr. was producing and I met with Eric Red and he was great. It was just part of the career and it’s all been part of a great arc that I’ve enjoyed.
"The Lawnmower Man" seemed to be right on the cusp of a major breakthrough in Virtual Reality in real life that somehow just faded – did you think that Virtual Reality would have become bigger?
JF: Well, maybe it is out there – maybe we’re just not aware. But you’re absolutely right because we felt like we were on the cusp of something but more in the world of visual effects for us inside the movie. Pierce and myself and the others working on it we had no idea it would go as big as it did.
The "Machete" trailer for "Grindhouse" – how much fun was it to make really and did you ever think that it would become so huge and spawn an actual feature length film?
JF: Oh my gosh – no. Robert Rodriguez has always got something up his sleeve and when they made those fake trailers they were hoping that if the whole concept did take off they were considering making movies of those little trailers. He came to me a couple years later – we stayed in touch all along – and said I gotta make the movie before "Sin City 2" because the trailer got so much feedback over the following year or so that he said it was the most famous movie he hadn’t made. So we all got together and made that and he also just finished "Machete 2." I was just there in Austin at the wrap party because I was in Austin for about a week visiting, so they just finished up the sequel. And I’ll work with Robert again, but it was amazing wasn’t it to see a fake trailer turn into a real film and not only that but a cult film.
"LAKE EFFECTS" IS AVAILABLE NOW ON DVD FROM ANCHOR BAY ENTERTAINMENT.
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