Leif Tilden [Interview]

Hello Folks! Welcome to another Friday (it is Friday, btw). Today we have a wonderful interview with a legendary figure in the world of entertainment. It’s the great Leif Tilden, Everyone! Leif has done some incredible work in some pretty revolutionary costumes. And beyond the world of performances, he has also worked as a location scout on some of the biggest projects that you all know and love. On screen he has done some pretty amazing work in the world of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the cult classic series Dinosaurs. As a location scout, he brings some pretty wonderful insight into America with the beautiful film Selma, and so many more.
So Folks, please enjoy some wonderful words from the great Leif Tilden!
What inspired you to get into the world of entertainment? Was it something that you had yearned to do since your youth, or did you just happen to find yourself in this world one day?  
For the sake of transparency, I would say probably this desperate need to be seen. When I was seven years old I stood in the doorway of my mother’s room and watched her commit suicide with a gun to her face. This was a loss not only of my mother but also my best friend who used to rock me back to life after my father used to beat me senseless. Performing was not really the intention but I enjoyed the rehearsal process. The putting together the idea.  The exploration.  What was fascinating was the look inside because I had so much to give in this regard.
What was your first paid gig in the world of entertainment? And were there any sort of lessons learned from this experience that still affects your work to date?
My first paid gig was a play I did with Sam Shepard and Joseph Chaikin at the Magic Theatre in San Francisco.  We developed the play through improvisation.  I moved around the space while Sam played all different types of percussion instruments.  It was called, The Ways of Seeing, based on the book by the same name written by John Berger.
In 1990, you appeared in the absolutely incredible film, one that is beloved by our dear friend & colleague Bryan Bales from the Blue Tiger podcast, who is very curious to know, what is your fondest memory from working on this revolutionary project? When you look back on this experience from over 30 years ago now, what still makes you smile to think about from your work on this incredible film?
Hi Bryan…I wish we could step into a time machine together and I could show you around.  The first stop would be at the old Henson Creature Shop in London.  We would step into this larger warehouse where all these idiot servants who worked on films like The Dark Crystal and Never Ending Story would be hunkered down designing creature from clay while others would be designing how to move them.  I would tap you on the shoulder and point at Falcor’s head laying in the corner.   I would point to another corner and there would be Jim Henson playing with some strange object on his hand trying to give it life.
Bryan also would like to know…through the process of filming the 1990 TMNT, there were obviously a ton of props laying around. I am curious to know if you were able to take anything home with you? Anything special, in a physical sense, that you were able to take away from this project?
I grabbed a bunch of Bo staffs, some of which were made by the special effects guys and some that the chinese stuntmen made.  I also still have Donatello’s skateboard.
And while I am also a big TMNT fan, it would be remiss of me to not acknowledge that Donatello takes a back seat to my favorite reptilian character you have done. You also portrayed the wonderful Robbie in the cult classic favorite series Dinosaurs. There is not a week that goes by that I don’t think about that episode where they find vegetables in Robbie’s sock drawer, and don’t laugh either to myself, or to anyone who is willing to listen and is unaware. So, I am curious to know what it was like to work on this truly original project? Anything interesting that you would like to share with our readers?
Robbie was Gay.
In recent years, you have worked as a location scout on some pretty wonderful project, as have some of our other wonderful guests of the past. This seems like an incredibly rewarding profession that I am always curious about. From projects like the now classic Justified, to the recent wonder Cherish the Day, how has your work in this field been for you? And what are some of the most interesting locations you have helped to find for a project?
Location Scouting can be a very creative experience if the Director is actually creative himself/Herself. Justified was a nightmare.  A lot of egos battling for supremacy. Cherish the Day, on the other hand, is lead by Ava Du Vernay who is a very intense truth teller.  I love working for Ava because she takes no prisoners. When I worked with Ava on Selma it was like opening up this country with pliers to reveal just how fucking racist it still is.  The United States is not united.
What does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug to our readers?
Well at the moment my wife and I are inside our home getting fat.
What was the last thing that made you smile?
This interview.

About rontrembathiii
write. write. write.

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