Duane Whitaker [Interview]

 

Holy Smokes, Folks! We have an absolutely incredible interview for you all here today! Today’s guest is a writer and performer that I have wanted to have on the site since jump! It’s Duane Whitaker, Everyone! If you are a horror fan, you absolutely know and love this man. And if you are a 30 something film nerd who started watching indie film in the mid to late 90’s, it’s quite possible you would definitely tell somebody at a party that Pulp Fiction is your all time favorite film, and in that case, you know Duane as well!

Duane Whitaker has been working in the world of film and television for about as long as I have been alive. He is more than a character actor, he is an actor with character. Whenever this guy shows up on the screen, which is often, you just know that the story you are seeing told out on the screen will be either amplified or improved, depending on how things are going. He is a man of brilliance, and as you will learn from his words below, a hell of a nice guy.

So Folks, please enjoy some incredible words from the absolutely brilliant Duane Whitaker!

 

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What inspired you to get into the world of entertainment? Was it something you have aspired to do since your youth? Or did you happen to find yourself in this world one day?

I kind of decided to be an actor when I was in high school. I got some encouragement from a couple of people and really went at it shortly after that. Did theater there in my hometown of Lubbock Texas there for about three years and then moved to LA.

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 professional acting job I guess would be there at the Hayloft Dinner theater. I was a “Haymaker.” We did a preshow thing and waited on tables in between acts. You also played smaller parts in the main show. It was an interesting gig…

You have done some amazing work in the one of our favorite genre of film here at TWS, and that genre is horror. From working alongside dear friends of ours such as Leslie Easterbrook, Sid Haig (RIP), & Daniel Roebuck in films directed by Rob Zombie, to action-horror classics like From Dusk Till Dawn 2, which happens to be co-written and directed by our old pal Scott Spiegel…you’ve done it all! So I am curious to know what it is that you enjoy about the world of horror? What do you believe sets it apart from other genres?

As far as doing so much work in the horror genre, it wasn’t planed or anything. I think I’ve been a part of something like 7 different horror franchises. I used to say I was in the horror genre but not of the genre. I know less about it than you might think but I enjoy working in it. I’ve got to play some interesting characters. I worked really early on with Jeff Burr in some horror stuff and got known a little within that world. I’m an actor and I like to work. The genre has giving me some opportunities to do that. The fan base is really loyal. I do Conventons sometimes and it’s interesting to talk to the fans about the stuff I’ve been involved in.

 

 

In 1992, you wrote and starred in the title role of the indie gem of a film Eddie Presley is one of the most unique sounding films that I sadly have not had the chance to see. But, I promise you I will! Either way, can you tell our readers a bit about the film? Where did the idea for this incredible original story come from?

Eddie Presley was a movie I wrote and started  in which started as a one man play I did. It was an idea that I’d been kicking around for years and something just clicked and I sat down and wrote the play in one night. Jeff Burr directed it and we had an amazing cast. I’ve been kind of critical of the movie through the years but I’m very proud of it. The people who like it, like it a lot. It seems to mean something to them. It was a pretty great opportunity for me and I’m proud of the work. Lawrence Tyranny said we should have called the movie Eddie Depressly.

 

And it would behoove me to ask about your absolutely legendary performance in one of the most renowned films of all time, Pulp Fiction. And of all the moments in the film that are memorable, I would make a strong argument that your scene with Peter Greene, Ving Rhames, Bruce Willis & our old pal Stephen Hibbert is by far the most intense and shocking. So how was your experience working on this film? And even further, how do make something that is so damn dark, an enjoyable experience to create? Were there any ways of taking the tension away during filming?

Yeah, Pulp Fiction was a pretty amazing experience. Quentin had played a small part in Eddie Presley  and I ran into him while he was casting it. I read it, thought it was a great script. We shot for about a week. I felt like it was something special and the part was pretty damn interesting but I don’t think any of us knew it was going to explode like it did.  Pretty damn happy to be in that one. I don’t remember a lot of tension at least on my part. I was a little shocked at how bizarre the sequence was when I saw it the first time cut together.

 

 

With a career that is entering it’s 5th decade, and having worked on so many incredible projects in all of them, I am curious to know how you feel the world of acting has changed over the years? With all of the advancements in technology over the years, what do you believe is the biggest difference from when you started? Also, at its core, what do you believe to be the same?

As far as things changing through the years, the technology has jumped. When I started it was a lot more difficult and expensive to make a movie. Now anybody with a phone can do it. There are a lot of things that have changed on the technical side but the actual work from my perspective is the same. A very smart person once said, “Acting is being truthful in imaginary circumstances.” That’s what I’ve always tried to do. The part of this business I really enjoy is the space between action and cut. All the other stuff? Not so much.

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

As far as what I’m up to at the moment, obviously it’s a bit slow right now. I’m set to do a couple of things soon including a horror thing but we shall see. I’ve have some films sitting and waiting at the moment. A film called Edge Of Town which we shot in Georgia a while back. A film I just did recently called Lucky Louie which was shot in Pennsylvania and directed by my friend Dan Roebuck and his daughter.  I’ve probably worked with Danny more than anyone else at this point. We met as extras on General Hospital so you can imagine how long ago that was. Just shot [a film for] kids called Sally Floss: Digital Detective.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

The last thing that made me smile was watching my dog do something stupid.

 

About rontrembathiii
write. write. write.

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