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Robert J. Olin: Tales of the Frying Pan PDF Print E-mail
Written by Written by Claude Blackwell   
Aug 13, 2005 at 02:00 AM
A veteran of countless stage plays, an avid civil war re-enactment enthusiast and one hell of an actor, Robert J. Olin has brought intensity and depth to a number of microcinema efforts. Whether a thriller, monster movie or wacked-out comedy, any movie gains when it has Robert in it's cast. Robert recently took time away from performing in Annie Get Your Gun to answer a few questions for DARK GALLERY.

DG: Previous to your work in such movies as THE SEEKERS and BLOODSUCKING REDNECK VAMPIRES, you'd been involved in a lot of stage work - had you done any other work on film or video?

Robert: I had worked a little with a fledgling company called Camelot Entertainment on a short video, and have since done a couple more video pieces with them. The only film work I'd done was as an extra in "The Postman" with Kevin Costner, although I did get to use the porta-john right after K.C., but that's another story. As you mentioned, I had done an extensive body of work onstage, both acting and directing. Between 1982 and now over 75 shows ranging from Musical comedy, to serious drama to subtle comedy. I'd always wanted to break into film or video but for one reason or another it just never worked out. So I was very pleased when things started rolling along with John and Joe and company.

DG: As I understand it, Rob Merickel (BLOODSUCKING REDNECK VAMPIRES' own Lil Junior) introduced you to directors John Bowker and Joe Sherlock at the premiere of Bowker's The Evilmaker and that lead to your being cast in THE SEEKERS, correct?

Robert: Yeah, Rob was working as the makeup artist on a stage play that I was in and we just kind of hit it off. Maybe it was the fact that we both got the obscure jokes being thrown about, I dont know. Whatever it was, we hit it off and when the premiere came up he threw an invite my way. I got there and knew immediately this was my kind o' folks. I got introduced to John and Joe, threw out a couple of not so subtle hints that I'd love to be involved. Joe mentioned that he was working on a Zombie project which still for some reason isn't finished and they asked me if I 'd like to play a Zombie rapist. Well, who could turn down a role like that, I mean really. We had a great time on set and a few weeks later I got a call from John asking if I'd like to read a script he'd been working on about this demonic tape called THE SEEKERS. I read it, liked it and said yes immediately.

DG: Your character goes through a wide range of emotions in THE SEEKERS - how did you prepare for and pull off those intense scenes?

Robert: Well, I guess I relied on my theater training to find the "moment" for the character. I really like to get things in as few takes as possible, it just helps me to to not lose the edge the character needs at those critical times, and allows me to give the best to the camera and my fellow actors. On days that we were going to shoot the more intense stuff I'd just kind of slip away and immerse myself in thought. I'd utilize a mirror and just run my lines to myself each time finding more of the scene and just let it flow. I'd then find my mark and we'd do the scenes.

DG: What was perhaps your favorite behind-the-scenes story from THE SEEKERS?

Robert: Hands friggin down!!! The frying pan... For some reason John and Joe love hitting me in the head with metal objects. Hey maybe that's where my hairline went. Anyway, I read the script and it calls for my character Chris, to chase his wife into the kitchen and she stops him with a shot to the cranium. We talked about a few ways to shoot around it and cheat the shot, and I said "hell no, just hit me with the damn thing, let's do it right." So I went out the next day to 3 or 4 secondhand stores and spent the better part of the day standing in public hitting myself in the head to get just the right tone and feel for the skillet. Well, I found the perfect one, and I remember everybody cringing on set as I demonstrated it. But it worked great because we got it in one take, and I think it really helped the opening of the film to have a little more intensity. I love it because it's just a fun story to be able to tell. . . as long as I can remember it.

DG: After working with Joe Sherlock on his erotic thriller Underbelly, you next played Billy Joe Barney Bob in his BLOODSUCKING REDNECK VAMPIRES movie. What did you think when you first heard that title?!

Robert: Sign me the hell up....NOW!! I mean with a title like that how can you really say no. I loved it from the moment I read it and couldn't wait to see what they were going to do with it. Everyone that I talk to has the same reaction, you name the film and they stop, look at you kind of funny and repeat it back as if they'd heard you wrong, but with a slightly wicked grin. That in itself tells them what they're in for in just a small way.

DG: Sherlock has said that you really brought a lot of charm to Billy Joe Barney Bob. What did you do to get ready for that role?

Robert: I appreciate Joe's kind words, and hope that I did the role justice not just for him but for the viewer as well. I just kind of let him take me over. I wore the costume and wig as much as possible on set to help me stay where I needed to be. B.J. is the first character from Backwash that we meet so he has alot on his shoulders, you have to let the audience know just how redneck these people are without looking TOO silly. Now don't get me wrong I know alot of rednecks and I have to say they are the best folks on the planet. Most of them will give you the shirt of their back without next asking you to shave it,. . . and the guys are great too. Sorry, I just had to get one joke in. Anyway back to the question. Joe and Mike gave me alot of leadway with the opening dialogue and just let me go on and on about nothing at all which makes you sympathetic to him when Catherine finally puts the bite on him. I really liked this character, and wanted him to be someone the audience liked to see, from his funky hair to his old shirt with the price tag still attached to his everyman feel on the screen.

What was the best part of shooting BLOODSUCKING REDNECK VAMPIRES?

Robert: That is a really difficult question, because it was just a blast all around. Oh, wait I know.......... BEEER! ! ! ! ! My God I've never seen so much beer in one place without the words..wet T - Shirt contest along with it. Really though it was just a great time all around, although I will never forget in my life the sight of that dog licking up the brain mix after take 1 of "Lurlene smashes Earls head like a melon". TOO... DAMN.... FUNNY, and personally even though I wasn't on set for this shot, every time I see Lil Junior let go with a 20 foot stream I just lose it. I don't know why I do, but we're dealing with that during my next therapy session, so no worries.

OK, What was the worst part of shooting BLOODSUCKING REDNECK VAMPIRES

Robert: I cant really think of one (DOOOOING). . . Oh wait, it would have to be the 17 freakin takes getting hit with that damn pan at 2:30 AM. She actually broke it over my head on the last take. See I told you there was a pattern here. I agree it was my idea to do it, but my god 17, yes 17 takes? Actually it wasn't that bad and when you watch it all cut together in the behind the scenes footage it's pretty damn funny so I guess it was all worth it. A little sacrifice for the art right? I'm sorry what was the next question I have a little ringing in my ears.

Do you have plans for more movie acting in the future? What can we look forward to soon?

Robert: Well I'm kind of on the market, so to speak. Right now I'm just finishing another stage production and in October I'll start directing a production of a hilarious farce called "Bullshot Crummond". I have been in contact with Joe about working on a project of his called "Deadly Premonitions" and hopefully that will work out. He and I have also talked about another project or two that are still in the early stages. I actually spoke with a producer last night about doing a 15th century England period piece in the next year or so. I cant release the title yet because it's too early but I can tell you it's a spy piece. Of course since B.J. survived the massacre in Backwash I'd love to see if we can come up with something where we can see him and his interesting take on the world, of course as a vampire.

Well, who knows what the future might hold! Any parting words?

Robert: First, thanks for asking me to be a part of this interview I had a great time. Of course if I don't plug my other films I'll never hear the end of it from my producers. So if you'd like to see more of my work, check out, "Werewolf Tales", "Underbelly", and "Alien Conspiracy: Beyond the Lost World" Of course if you're a producer or director anywhere in the country I'd love to be a part of your project. Please dont hesitate to get in touch with me. Thanks, Bob.

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