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In the second part of my interview with out actor Jeremy
Owen (see the first one here),
we talk about working with the original Leatherface, finally playing gay on
FANGORIA: In GIMME SKELTER, you actually had a celebrity in
the flick! At least, a celebrity to us.
JEREMY OWEN: Yes, Gunnar Hansen, the original Leatherface.
FANG: He’s pretty decent in the film. I think this may have
been the first time I’d seen him speak.
OWEN: He was a cool guy, laid-back. He had as f**ked-up a
sense of humor as any of us did, so he fit right in. His niece, Kristin Hansen,
was in a lot of these movies and has been friends with Scott Phillips for many
years. And we finally got work with, as she called him, “Ugh” [for] “Uncle
FANG: I have to tell you, that film looks really good,
especially for the tiny amount of money.
OWEN: Not that I was the writer or director, but I’m
personally really proud of that movie. Again, anything I could do…I had the
role of Stu, and I was the behind-the-scenes documentarian, and wherever else I
could help out. That movie had a really tight schedule; it was another 16 days
or something like that. So I remember it being very fast-paced and tight, but
it wasn’t super-stressful. I don’t remember it being really tense except for
one point when we were shooting at the gas station, and somebody over the fence
didn’t like our lights and tried to shoot one of them out [laughs].
FANG: Next up was PORNOGRAPHY: A THRILLER (see review here),
which I produced and brought you onto as the key grip. You ended up playing the
masked killer in it as well. That was a SAG film, so I think that makes me the
person responsible for giving you your first paid acting gig, right?
OWEN: On film, yes!
FANG: Look at that! I win!
OWEN: I got paid $300 for a summer stock gig on stage once,
but for actually acting in a film, yes, you are responsible for that.
FANG: What’s it like to play a role like The Figure? You’re
sort of more an image than a character.
OWEN: It was kind of difficult at first. I talked with Dave
[Kittredge, PORNOGRAPHY writer/director] about who this guy was—was he a
person? And Dave said he was more an embodiment, or a symbol of the bad juju
going on in the movie. So I didn’t want to be human, I didn’t want to be full
of rage or angry or anything. And at the same time I didn’t want to be Jason,
because Kane Hodder nailed that. I didn’t want to copy Michael Myers either, because
that would just be stupid. It was kind of difficult to find it at first, but it
was very fun to just be…I don’t know, it sounds kind of corny, but kind of
elemental in a way? Be a force, rather than a person. That’s kind of how I
approached it. I was an entity, I was a force rather than a thing. I was there
to bring about this negative energy.
FANG: It must have been really difficult, because you were
also the key grip on the film. Having to move things, run around and get stuff
together on set, and then jump in front of the camera. I can’t imagine how you
could have any concentration working like that.
OWEN: Well, I guess I’m kind of used to it. On these
no-budget movies, especially on the first few… On STINK OF FLESH, that was
Scott’s first movie and we had a crew of maybe seven people—and not all at the
same time; everybody was kind of everything. There was no art department, there
was no grip department, there was no anything. So being able to just be a grip
and act was actually pared down from what I’m used to doing [laughs]. I’ve
always been able to turn a character on pretty easily from a technique I
learned in college called “Physical Gesture.” It’s basically, come up with the
physicality of a character, and when I do that motion or create that physicality,
the character comes with it.
FANG: I saw DOZERS when I was helping program a film
festival. That was shot in LA, right?
OWEN: That was shot everywhere [laughs]. It was primarily in
LA, but [writer/director] Don Adams did some of it up in, I believe, Milwaukee,
and then some down here in Albuquerque. They did the bulk of it in LA, but they
needed some more carnage scenes, and he knew he could get a bunch of people out
here to act crazy for no money. I got to bash up a Lincoln Continental with a sledgehammer.
It was a lot of fun!
FANG: Then you took a huge jump up in budget and snagged a
role in PAUL, starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.
OWEN: I play a vendor at Comic-Con. I have a small scene in
the first 10 minutes of the movie where I try to sell Nick Frost a sword that’s
basically a ripoff of the BLADE sword. They called it “The Black Vampire”
because Marvel didn’t want them to use the actual BLADE sword.
FANG: And then ROTGUT! I love the
OWEN: I’m super-stoked for ROTGUT to come out. It’s about a
bar that a bunch of people get trapped in. I play Leon, the bartender. There’s
this brand of mezcal where the worm in the bottom is demon mutant evil spawn.
When it gets inside of you, it multiplies and starts to control you and make
you do super-violent things before spewing forth from your bloated body.
FANG: Good times! And your next film, by the same writer,
Devin O’Leary, was I <3 U, with your frequent co-star Billy Garberina, who
also directed. Serial killers in love, yes?
OWEN: Yes, kind of like MR. AND MRS. SMITH, but instead of
superspies, they’re serial killers. And they have a little bit of a rivalry
from what they hear about each other in the media. When they eventually figure
this out, it actually brings them closer together and fixes their terribly
failing marriage. I play the gay best friend of the female lead [Raine Brown],
which is cool because it’s the first time I’ve been able to play a gay
character in a film, even though they wanted me to be a little more flamboyant
than I am in real life. They wanted me to flame it up a little bit. It was fun
to kind of let go and play a gay role like that. It’s funny; in the movie my
character gets married, and we’re the most stable relationship in the film. All
the straight people have screwed-up marriages or are cheating on their wives,
and we’re the actual stable ones.
FANG: I notice this has a bunch of the East Coast kids in
it—Raine, Alan Rowe Kelly, who I’ve interviewed before, Joe Zaso and our own
Michael Gingold. Did you shoot this on the East Coast?
OWEN: We shot most of it in Albuquerque. Raine and Billy met
each other when Billy was on the East Coast shooting something. Raine had the
idea for this movie and got the money, so she was producer and gave it to Billy
to direct. She came out and we shot most of it here, but I know they did some
other scenes out on the East Coast. I didn’t get to meet any of those other
people except Raine.
FANG: I had no idea you were a comics artist and writer
until I stumbled across BURLY (pictured below left).
OWEN: That’s a pin-up book I released last year. I wanted to
do a pin-up book, but I didn’t want to do the usual cowboy, cop, the stuff that
Tom of Finland already did and did well. But I did want to do a book full of
bearish guys. So I went far left of [the Tom of Finland] stuff with it. I went
as geeky with it as possible. I did a bunch of sci-fi geek stuff. There’s
horror stuff in there, too.
And then this year I released a narrative comic book called
BLUDGEON (above right), which is about a guy named Mike who is a superhero. He
has recently figured out himself as a gay man—it’s only been a couple of years
since he made that realization. He has the ability to use light to create basic
melee weapons and small shields and stuff. Without giving away too much of what
some of the backstory is going to be, he basically used to be part of a
supergroup that nobody wants to be associated with anymore, and he decided to
try and figure out where his powers came from… I’m going to have a heavy horror
element to this comic book—creepy-crawlies, cryptozoology, mythos from various
things. I’m hoping to put in some Lovecraft stuff if I can figure out how to do
FANG: What’s coming up for you?
OWEN: I don’t know what it is, but Devin [O’Leary] and Billy
[Garberina] and Craig [Butler] are planning something for this winter. They
don’t know what it is either, but most likely it’s going to be horror-related,
because that’s what we do. They haven’t told me too many details, but that’s
coming up. I’m hoping to have another issue of BLUDGEON out before the end of
the year, and possibly another issue of BURLY before the end of the year, and
if not then the beginning of next year. And anything else I can get in here in
Also, the group I have worked with doing audiobooks—voice
work and some editing—should be starting to release a serialized zombie story
in the near future, too. The working title is HIGH SCHOOL SWEETHEARTS—because
it centers on a high school while Z-Day breaks out—but that will probably
change. They should be starting to release those by the end of the year. The
website for that company is sirenaudiostudios.com.
FANG: Are you dating anybody right now?
OWEN: No, I am not seeing anybody at the moment.
FANG: So if there are any horror-geek bears out there who
would like to apply to be Jeremy Owen’s boyfriend, they should contact you via
OWEN: [Laughs] Yes!
For more info on Jeremy, check out his webpage and Facebook.
To order BURLY or BLUDGEON, go to the Burly Press webpage.
Join the Gay of the Dead Twitter melee here and the Facebook massacre here.
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