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INT: Muse Watson

08.01.2000by: The Arrow

The Arrow interviews Muse Watson

The man showed up in Assassins, From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Blood Money, Rosewood and Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (as that Klu Klux clan dude on the Springer show). He used to be that guy…you knew his face…but not his name. Now, thanks to the “I Know What You Did Last Summer” flicks, we all know him as the man behind that big hook with a grudge against Jennifer Love Hewitt. Muse Watson is here and this is what he has to say:

1- What's your favorite horror movie?

One of my favorites is "Monster on the Campus". It is the first one I ever saw as a kid , and I still remember a lot of it.

2- Before becoming the "hook man" you did lots of theater. How challenging was it to play the part of all parts: Hamlet?

I really enjoyed playing Hamlet. Anytime an actor gets to play something that is well written with characters so vivid, it is a pleasure.

In a television interview during rehearsal for Hamlet, I was asked if I intended to play Hamlet as insane. I said I intended to play him as a young man who returns from college to find his mother sleeping with his uncle...and then later that night his dad appears to him as a ghost and tells him that his uncle is the one who killed him...... the boy is as disturbed as any one of us would be. I have always tried to play my characters with as few generalizations as possible. Each person has their own way of reacting to what life hands them, and their reactions to situations make up what we think they are, but their thought processes through which they arrive at their reactions are the meat of the performance.

3- You played in The Birds 2. Do you think it does Hitchcock’s classic justice? What's your take on the sequel?

Because of a post production error, someone else's name appears in the credits next to the character I played. I can't say I am unhappy about it. I am told that the director chose not to put his name on the picture either.

4- Ben Willis, your claim to fame. What was the audition like for that part (did they make u play with a hook)? What kind of preparations as an actor did you do to get a handle on "Willis"?

I was told that the production company was already on location. I was asked to go to the casting director's office in Santa Monica and read. From the small piece of the script that I had read, I understood this man to be a doting father who lost a daughter in a car wreck. Her date, who was driving, was a punk who was drunk. Overcome with grief, I found the boy as he sat on his 'pity pot' near the ocean, and I whacked him. On my way back to my truck, four kids driving drunk hit me in the road. They decide to dump me in the ocean and leave me for dead. Well, the irresponsibility of this whole group was like the punk who caused my daughter's death. I was so pissed.

I thought it was very important to show him as a loving father who became obsessed with what he thought was discipline for an irresponsible bunch of kids (This transition became less important on location). My tape was sent overnight to the director and producers on location and within a week, I was on my way to the location. I spent hours on the beach practicing with the hook Ben was a fisherman. He was very comfortable with tools. I got where I could flip the hook in the air spinning and catch it with either hand and reverse my hand positions. His backhand was as smooth as any professional tennis player's. I could take every leaf off of a bush one by one and never disturb the one next to it. He had to be accurate. A tool like that hook would never cleanly enter a body without being thrust in the exact spot it had to be.

Once I figured out how he was able to make bodies seem to disappear and how he could enter someone's house and cut their hair and then leave without being noticed, I began to feel close enough to him to portray him. This man was intelligent, stealthy, and resourceful.

5- The big question...we all know there will be another "Summer" sequel...but will you be in it? Or is Ben Willis dead for good?

I personally don't think you can have a sequel without 'Ben Willis'. In Love's words on the set of "I Still Know"… "We would not have a sequel without you". If you want to make a movie called "He Knew, but now he's dead" or "He told us before he died" or "We all knew, but weren't telling", then you are on your own. There are three production companies and umpteen actor's agents and managers involved in the decision to make a sequel. I personally doubt if any one person can definitely tell you anything about the sequel. I have created 23 characters for feature films. Some have died. I would entertain bringing any one of them back, because my manager has a boy to put thru college. LOL

6- Do you have any funny set stories from the "Summer" movies you can share with us?

Well, of course there is the story that Love told on talk shows about the "beetles" in the mango forest of "I Still Know", but I am sure everyone has heard that. I do remember on "I Know" being let down out of the rig that swung me across the stern of the boat and approaching Love and her saying, "oh my God, call the medic, you are one scary looking guy." Seems as though as I was swinging upside down, I busted all the blood vessels in my eyeballs and it looked hideous. It was not particularly painful, but it looked horrible. LOL

7- What are the main differences between acting for the stage and acting for the screen? Which one rewards you the most as a human being?

They are as different as snow skiing and water skiing. Theater is more of an 'actor's' medium than film, where you research and build a character over time and express his feelings broadly. Film is a director's medium where the character is expressed with more technical concerns and in bits and pieces. The theater performance is on your shoulders, the film performance can be unrecognizable to you after editing.

They are both rewarding. One has the audience there that you can "feel", the other has the aspect of being recorded for all time.

8- Have you ever been recognized on the streets due to your "Ben Willis" part? How do people react when they meet the hook man in the flesh?

I have been recognized some. Most folks are immediately fearful.

9- Acting is a very hard profession, what prompted you to hop on that train?

You know I really had to weigh what I thought I was supposed to do with the prospect of being incredibly poor for the rest of my life. I have been very fortunate to make a nice living pursuing my dream. I am very grateful.

10- Your opinion: Which one is superior, I Know What You Did Last Summer or its sequel? Why?

I thought they were both decent films. I guess I had problems with the first one because I didn't get to show Ben's love for his daughter as much as I wanted. In the second one, I had problems with the unnecessary background information that was written about Ben. To me it did not fit the character I had developed in the first one.

Thanks a bundle Muse, hook ya later. To know more about the man with the hook check out his site or his Yahoo club…Do it or he’ll kill ya!!!!!!

For credits, bio and photos: www.musewatson.com.
Or Join:
http://clubs.yahoo.com/clubs/justinsmusewatsonclub.

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