Dan Yeager [Interview]

Hello Folks! Welcome to the 2020 edition of our Month of Horror. It’s almost humorous that we are showcasing the motion pictured displays of horror when it seems as though we simply have to look around us to see the natural horror that is enveloping our daily lives. But nevertheless, a quick escape from the surrealism of our daily lives is often appreciated. In this vein, we honor these wonderful folks who seek to only entertain us with a good scare and a break from the actual horror that is all around us. We have assembled a wonderful batch of actors, writers, directors & beyond, who have worked on so many different projects that you know and love. I am beyond excited to share them with you all throughout the month of October. Enjoy!

Today’s guest is the wonderful actor Dan Yeagar. Dan infamously portrayed the legendary character Leatherface in 2013’s Texas Chainsaw. He is also a brilliant writer and director with projects slated for release in the near future when the world comes back together. His other work includes roles in Sharknado: The 4th Awakens and A Wakefield Project.

So please enjoy some words from the great Dan Yeagar!

******

What inspired you to get into the world of entertainment? Was it an early aspiration you can always remember having since your youth, or did you just find yourself in this world one day?

I started in infancy. I was born two feet tall, pushing twelve pounds, and a full head of curly blonde hair, so I was always used to a lot of attention. I had a Superman costume at three years old, but through the creativity of a dedicated older brother was often transformed into hideous monsters regardless of the season. My mother claimed she always knew I was an actor, primarily based on my school-avoidance deathbed plays performed almost every morning of the school year.

What was your first paid gig in the world of entertainment? And were there any kind of lessons learned from this project that still affect your work today?

I was an extra in a movie in 1984 starring Christopher Lee and a bunch of non-horror non-icons. I never mention the title out of respect for His Majesty as I’m sure he did it just because we all got bills to pay. It was a terrible film, but like every project before or since, I learned a lot and it made me want to do more.

In your own personal opinion, what do you believe it is that makes the horror genre special? What sets it apart from other genres you have worked in?

Horror is the only truly universal genre. Our fears are what unite us as Humans. I used to do British Pantomime on stage, which is where I really honed the craft of working in a mask. I always played the monster there, too.

You stepped into the shoes of a very renowned character in the world of horror known as Leatherface in the 2013 addition to the Texas Chainsaw legacy, the hit film Texas Chainsaw. I am curious to know what drew you to Leatherface? What made you want to hop into this role?

I first saw Leatherface at a drive-in in Las Vegas, Nevada, in 1981. I never dreamed as I leaned back on the windshield of my buddy’s car that hot Summer Night watching the original TCM in a re-release that Leatherface was a ‘character’ that someone (forget about me) could ‘play.’ I wasn’t really thinking about acting at that point, but rather learning architectural drafting at the local vocational high school. I was trying to be a serious person, but when my Mom later bought a VCR, I went out and bought two videotapes that made up my entire film library for at least a year: Eraserhead and Texas Chain Saw Massacre.

It was later observed, after I had begun pursuing acting, by none other than Count Yorga himself, Robert Quarry, that I’d make a living playing monsters. He was right. And while I’d love to play Frankenstein’s Monster one day, I don’t think I am physically suited to any monster in the Horror Pantheon better than Leatherface.

Texas Chainsaw – Poster: ‘Leatherface” (Dan Yeager) ©2013 Lionsgate

What is your favorite scary movie?

The Shining, Psycho, The Wizard of Oz, or The Exorcist, depending on the season, weather, and time of day or night… There is also a short Yugoslavian film from 1975 called The Mallet that scared me so well it made me want to be a filmmaker.

I know this year may be a bit different, but I am curious to know if you have any sort of Halloween traditions? Anything you would normally do each year?

I grew up in Ohio where Halloween is better celebrated than Christmas, so I’m a devout traditionalist. Before I was always traveling for Halloween, I used to love creating Halloween themes to give the local children and their parents pause and question whether they should pass by my house on their trick-or-treat excursion. One year I carved a dozen pumpkins to represent the severed heads of my enemies and placed them on pikes along either side of the walk to my porch. Another time I sat motionless as a Leatherface-like figure on the darkened porch with a tempting bowl of big chocolate bars in my lap. Everyone discovered their limits of bravery that night.

One year I took a reciprocating saw and wired it inside a large pet carrier and placed it on the porch with a sign that said ‘Beware of Dog.’ I added sound effects and a strobe light and hooked it all to a switch. The one flaw in that plan was the peep-hole in the door was so high, I didn’t see this one kid had his three-year-old brother with him, and I flipped the switch. I know I scarred the little fella for life.

My greatest triumph was probably the year I created a porch tableau featuring the shredded costumes and blood-spattered trick-or-treat plastic candy pumpkins and their spilled contents from some beast that grabbed victims and dragged them into the bushes. I also created a little candlelight memorial for one victim, a little boy in a dollar store picture frame, including his little blood-stained teddy bear. It was particularly gratifying when I could hear the mothers with their young children express their reflexive sympathy and then realize what they were seeing and dragged their children away from the madhouse. I love giving candy to the kids, but it was strangely satisfying to know I offended the sensibilities of their parents to such a degree. The kids just thought it was cool and creepy. It was.

This year I will be at a film festival in Scranton, PA, at the Circle Drive-in, and on the Halloween Train in Stourbridge. I hope I can make it back to my lair in New York in time to at least disembowel a pumpkin or two and give out some candy.

What does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug to our readers?

I’m always working on getting movies made. We have two scripts ready for funding and two more completed waiting their turn, and a dozen more projects in various stages of development.

I mentioned the Halloween Weekend festivities above. I don’t have links to those events yet, but I’m sure they’ll be listed on numerous NEPA websites.

I also have been working on my own line of coffee. You can check that out at killerschoice.com.

What was the last thing that scared the hell out of you?

I haven’t been really scared in a long time, but I live in an old Baptist church built in the mid-1850s. It is full of ghosts. Really… While they don’t seem to try to scare me, they do catch me off guard occasionally, and it can be disconcerting. I want to have a séance, but my wife is scared. I’m looking for local volunteers to participate.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

I watched City of Lost Children the other night. It is such a sweet story, but not cloyingly so, all about those things that connect us, sometimes in such unexpected ways. No! Actually, Adam Marcus, Debra Sullivan, and I did a live-stream commentary on Texas Chainsaw last week. During the Q&A afterward, Adam gushed a little over my performance as Leatherface and made me blush. I smiled at that and remembering the good times we had making that movie, and remembering the friends I made because of it, especially those who are no longer with us.

About rontrembathiii
write. write. write.

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 )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google 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 )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: