Barbara Bingham [Interview]

barbara-bingham-headshot

Sometimes I feel a genuine concern for certain folks in the film world when it feels like I have not watched them appear on screen in a number of years. I feel a strange bit of concern and fear that they are not doing well. But, usually I am overreacting, and they are doing well and doing exactly what they want to to do. Perhaps they have moved to Australia, began a successful corporate acting firm, and raised a family. Hell, maybe it turns out they weren’t actually in a movie you believed they were in!

Obviously I am getting quite specific here. I am indeed talking about the absolutely lovely actress Barbara Bingham, who appeared in great films like Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan and Beyond Darkness. I would also learn from Barbara that she was NOT in the 80’s sex comedy Splitz, no matter what those lying liars at IMDb would have me believe! Nonetheless, Barbara is an amazing actress with some amazing credits and has carved out a very successful life for herself over the years. And she may very well make her way back into the mainstream acting world very soon, which would be amazing for everyone. So let’s keep our fingers crossed for that one!

And with that, please enjoy some great words with the amazing actress, Barbara Bingham.

When did you first decide you wanted to join the world of acting? Was there a certain moment you can recall that had you making that final decision?

I was originally studying to be a dancer with my eye on doing musical theatre. After starring in my high school musicals at Punahou in Hawaii, I went to college in San Diego with a focus on jazz and tap dance and they kept putting me back in the chorus. I kept on thinking, “No! I belong out front and center!”

Well, apparently it was obvious I didn’t have the dancing chops.

I quit college after 6 months and moved back to Honolulu with the plan to continue my modeling career that I had started sophomore year in high school and booked quite a bit of work. I had only been home a couple weeks when I was cast in a commercial and the producer of that spot was very kind and thought I should meet the producers over at Hawaii 5-0. After the shoot he drove me over to meet the casting director, Margaret Doversola and I booked the role on the spot playing opposite John Hillerman. A few days later on set, James MacArthur, who played Danny Williams approached me and asked me if I was nervous, I nodded and he said, Just hit your marks and you’ll be fine.” I questioned, “Marks?” having no idea what he was talking about and he gave me a ten minute on-set master class on finding your key light and hitting your marks. He was my hero.

It was on the set that day when I realized this is what I wanted to be doing the rest of my life!

barbara-bingham-jason-takes-manhattan

In 1990, you had a great role in Rob Hedden’s addition to the Friday the 13th series with Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan. How was your experience in making this film? Where you a fan or knowledgeable of the series worked prior to taking on this role?

Shooting Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason takes Manhattan was one of my favorite shoots, mostly because Kane Hodder who played Jason was divine to work with. Rob Hedden was an incredibly insightful director and he hired terrific young actors like Kelly Hu, Scott Reeves and Jensen Daggett. I looked forward to getting on set every day and see who Kane/Jason was going to kill that night! I was familiar with the Friday the 13th series of movies and couldn’t believe they were actually making an 8th installment, I thought these fans are loyal!
What was it like to work with Italian directors?

I starred in a movie called Beyond Darkness with Italian director, Claudio Fragasso, directing. He spoke no English and used an Italian/English dictionary to search for what he was trying to say! One of my more challenging days was when Claudio needed more emotion from me as I was searching for my lost son (Michael Stephenson) and after a couple takes he is screaming in Italian for three minutes with his arms flailing and when he was done the cinematographer, Giancarlo Ferrando translates his rant to English with “Do again, with more!”  Michael Paul Stephenson did a terrific job as my son and he went on to do more work with Claudio on Trolls 2 and then he directed Best Worst Movie.

barbara-bingham-beyond-darkness

I have come to learn that you did some studying with legendary groups like Second City and the Groundlings Theater. What sort of techniques did you take away from these places that you may still use today? And do you remember who some of your cohorts were during these periods?

As much as I loved Second City and the Groundlings, it was actually in Stephen Book’s acting class where we studied Violin Spolin Improvisation Technique that I really flourished with improvisation. At the time, Grant Heslov, Tate Donovan and Marg Helgenberger were also in class and there were scenes that I watched with Grant and Tate that were comedy gold. Out of my acting tool kit, Violin Spolin techniques are the ones I continuously use.

As somebody far removed from the scene, what exactly is “corporate acting”, and how did you find yourself in this line of work? And what do you find most rewarding about it?

Corporate acting, role play and forum theater found me almost 15 years ago. My first job in Sydney was with KPMG and we role played with the senior managers being groomed for partner. We would have 30 minute meetings where I would play difficult, demanding clients and/or people in their team who were “off the boil” and not engaged with their work. After the meeting, we would discuss the conversation, what they did well and what they could improve.

I find that communication, emotional intelligence and cultural intelligence are becoming increasingly important tools in the corporate world. My work has expanded over the years and I actually started my own company with three other actors called Corporate Actors Australia. What I find most rewarding when working with a client, is when I see the “penny drop” and they understand how their current style of communicating may not be the most conducive to positive results.

barbara-bingham-corporate-actors

Was this what brought you out to reside in Australia? How do you like it out there? What is the acting life like in Sydney?

My husband, Bill and I wanted to live in a foreign country “for a couple years”. My son was 10 months old when we moved to Sydney and we planned to move back to Malibu in time for him to start preschool.
Needless to say, he just turned 21 and we are still here!

Sydney is a beautiful city and we are 5 minutes from the beach and we love it here. I’ve signed with a new agent, my son has gone off to college in CA and I am ready for this new chapter of my life. Stay tuned!

So what does the future hold for you? Anything you’d like to plug here?

I’d love to get back into shooting movies and television. It’s an exciting time for the industry with so many streaming services needing and producing content. I’m excited to see what “middle aged” roles I can sink my teeth into!

What was the last thing that made you smile?

Jumping in the ocean this morning and frolicking in the waves!

Advertisements

About rontrembathiii
write. write. write.

2 Responses to Barbara Bingham [Interview]

  1. Tim pharo says:

    Such a great person, always enthusiastic, a fabulous smile and humble about here achievements
    Great insight
    Thank for this

  2. pat brannon says:

    I agree with you, Tim. She is talented, professional, pro-active, beautiful, and has a wicked sense of humor. BBR has repped her for commercials in the U.S. for over 25 years. Come back to Los Angeles, Barb!!
    Great interview.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: