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INT: Colm Feore

06.09.2004

This week, the many hardcore fans of PITCH BLACK finally get their wish as the film’s long-awaited sequel, THE CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK, opens in theaters. It’s been four long years since PITCH BLACK became a cult sensation (making Vin Diesel a household name in the process) and folks are eager to see where writer/director David Twohy takes the popular Riddick character.

With CHRONICLES, Twohy expands on the PITCH BLACK universe, creating a diverse cast of characters to complement Riddick. In the role of Riddick’s main adversary, the sinister Lord Marshal, is veteran character actor Colm Feore (first name pronounced "column"). An acclaimed stage actor, Feore made the leap to film world in 1993, playing an eccentric Canadian pianist in the quirky 32 SHORT FILMS ABOUT GLENN GOULD. Since then he’s appeared in many a film, with memorable performances in films like PAYCHECK and PEARL HARBOR. Oh, and he makes a great villain. There’s just something about the guy that says, “evil.”  At least that’s what I thought before I met him. Turns out he’s actually pretty funny and more than a little eccentric. Here’s what he had to say about making THE CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK.

COLM FEORE

How does such a funny guy end up playing such an evil character?

Well, you’ve got to have a sense of humor to be the bad guy. We’re much more paradoxical, much more interesting.

How do you approach playing an antagonist in a movie like this?

I’ve played princes and kings before. I thought, “Well, he’s just another prince. A prince of a darker world, perhaps, but he’s a prince.” So, let’s see if I can’t fill the costume. Make it look like these were my choices, after shaving and underpants – which are, of course, made of titanium – these were my choices today from the closet. This is my wardrobe choice, theses are my clothes. I wear this shit every day. I mean, sometimes I have the daytime shoulder pads on, sometimes other shoulder pads on. A steel cap – I have a couple of different ones. The titanium cowl. The metal gloves.

Obviously we have different choices, but I needed to believe that these were my choices. And if that were the case, I had to say, “Well, as an actor, what kind of a guy is it who makes the choice to wear these things? How elevated is he?” And I have to say I think I just managed that. I don’t think we went over the top. When he gets a little madder and he gets a little bigger, we know there’s a reason.  We know he’s now afraid. He’s now scared. He’s running from something, we don’t necessarily know what it is. But I felt, you know, we struck the right balance.

What sort of backstory did David Twohy give you?

He gave us a lot. He also allowed us to be enormously helpful in fleshing that out. He sat myself and Karl Urban and Linus Roach, Thandie Newton down and said, “Look. You guys have a kind of peculiar responsibility in that the Necromonger world is going to be the hardest sell. Vin, the tough guy thing, all that, Alexa, on their own, fine. You guys, we’re gonna trust to bring this rather peculiar world that is a recognizable but still rather far-fetched, to life. Any thoughts?”

And he basically opened the floor to us. And I don’t know that he actually cared what we had to say, nor do I know whether or not he blended into what we did, but he created the illusion that our input was important and that he would listen on the day or before, whenever it was that an idea occurred to us, he was prepared to entertain it, which is an enormously courageous thing for a director to do and I think a very smart thing. Because we feel like he’s available, he’s going to listen. And occasionally he’d go, “That’s good. I like that. Hang on...” And he’d write something. And he’d be writing something in the car on the way to work every morning and just say, “I have some new things for you, based on some of what we talked about,” and you just yield to it, go with the flow.

What was it like working in that armor?

The armor was very cool. I’m fundamentally of the belief it’s not how you feel, but how you look. And if you look cool, everything else doesn’t matter. But, it sucked. It was pinching me here, it was knocking me out, it was metal, titanium. The gloves were unbelievable. The craftsmanship in this outfit was fabulous. But it doesn’t do you any good when somebody says, “And we made this specially for you,” as they hammer it on to your head. You go, “You know what? I’m not feeling the love here. It’s still metal and it still hurts, so could you go a little bit easier on me?”

Did you get to keep it?

No. I did not get to keep it. And frankly, what would I do with it?

You could put it in your house.

And you know what’s gonna happen? Three years from now, some kid’s gonna come to the door dressed as Lord Marshall on Halloween. He’s gonna go, “I wanted to be Riddick but they were all out. I got this stupid Lord Marshall outfit.” (laughter) And I’ll say, “You want stupid, kid? You want scary? Get in here and I’ll show you the tatters of my career. And I’ll scare you. You ever seen Stephen King, kid? I was in that too – look, here’s the cane.” Bottom line, I leave them at the gate.

You seem to have a healthy sense of humor regarding your career.

God forbid, I could have a real job. This is fun. I’ve been doing this now for at least 25 years. I’ve been very lucky. I started in the theatre – the classical theatre, I was in that for 14 years at least. I had that as a foundation. It was my apprenticeship, if you will, but at the same time a very rigorous training ground where we’d do, you know, four or five plays a year. And there was just no getting of the train. Once you were there, you were there. I did that for a long time and then gently segued into television and film. I started with a little art film called 32 SHORT FILMS ABOUT GLENN GOULD, about a nutty piano player from Canada. That started me and then it just sort of flowed from there.  It was kind of an organic thing and I though, “If you take this too seriously, you’re doomed.”

Is it just a coincidence that you’ve been in a lot of science fiction/fantasy films?

I don’t think it’s a coincidence at all. I think that I got Stephen King’s strange STORM OF THE CENTURY because of GLENN GOULD, which was a very weird thing. But I think part of it is the classical education. The classical training comes enormously handy when a producer says, “Look, we’ve got some plot issues here. We need people to explain what’s going on before the kissing and the exploding.” So we need guys like me – “plot guys,” I call us – to show up and, as I did in PEARL HARBOR, point to it, so that people know where PEARL HARBOR actually is. (laughter) I wish I were kidding, you know? And I have to find a sage bit of acting and a good facial to go, “I’m pointing at the blue thing with little boats and a sign that says, ‘PEARL HARBOR.’ Do you think that will help our audience? I suppose it will.”

Was it like that with Riddick?

No. Riddick was different, because Riddick was a whole fantasy world at once removed from our world and yet deeply influenced by our world. So you should recognize all the illusions, we should see the humanity in each and every one of the characters. They behave like selfish, self-centered assholes, just as we’d like to but can’t because we’re decent people. But it’s why we love them. I like Vin’s character and I root for Vin’s character because he’s how I wish I was: strong enough to stand up to everything and smart enough to know a good deal when I saw it.

What do you know about your character that we can’t see on film?

Can you say sequel? I’m not telling you. (laughs) What do I know about my character that we can’t see on film? Well, there’s a lot of stuff. I think that where David and I happily met was in the...there’s a depth to the Lord Marshall. He’s clearly, and Thandie and Karl have scene saying, “You know, maybe he’s too artistic. Maybe he’s this, maybe he’s that. Maybe he’s not strong enough.” Well, obviously, he’s thinking of something else. There’s something else going on in his life.

Judy let’s us know there’s something in his past, and if you’re paying attention, you understand that Vin is my destiny. There’s something that happened with us in the past that needs to be balanced in my future. So, there’s all that – that we don’t fully reveal, we peel a few layers of onion skin away – and I think that’s all we need to do. But for me, I was allowed to investigate it more deeply. And so there’s a lot of acting I’ve got left and I’m prepared to put it in a sequel.

What are the Necromongers all about?

What is the Necromonger selling? We’ll take away your pain. The pain of choices of living, of getting up every day and saying, “What am I worth? What’s my point, what’s my purpose?” I say to you, “Forget all that. Join the holy half-dead and I’ll give you a purpose.  You’re working for me now.”

Do you actually take the pain away or learn to live with it?

No, no. Linus Roach, the Purifier is very clear. Not only is he a brilliant actor, he was very clear: we’ll take away your pain. Join my cult, believe in what I believe in and trust me. And he’s a conflicted soul, old Linus. His Purifier is essentially someone else. “We all started as something else,” he says. And of course that’s all true.  We’re born of parents we had no choice to be born. We make something of ourselves and each choice is a step towards death. Each choice, every day, is one more bit of our life ebbing away. Are these good choices? Are they bad choices? Where is the beauty in life? Where is the pain? Stop the pain, give me the scotch, I feel good.

All right, how do I join?

I think that’s where, suddenly, this isn’t just a sci-fi possibility, it’s a distillation of a very good idea, and catapulted 500 years in the future to something we can go, “Ok, I can guy this, I can believe in this.  I can go with this story for two hours, ‘cause I know I’m not those people, I get it, I’ll go on the ride. I’ll take the ride with you.” Ok, let’s say I did the take-away-my-pain thing, what happens then? Well, I hang you in a closet with things in your neck, and after a few months, you’re done. It’s like a good Chardonnay: you just leave it alone for a while, then you can uncork it and it works. And you can see the Underverse, which is like the Oververse – heaven and hell are flipped, so St. Peter becomes St. Paul, “Hello, how you doin’ under there?”  Definitely hell for the company. You go down and you see the future.  And the future is a beautiful things. It’s even less pain. It’s exalted.  It’s living on a different plain altogether. And that is the promise.

Are you hoping to be cast in the sequel?

I’m not hoping for anything. I’m happy that we got this movie made and that it is as good as it is, that I enjoyed it as much as I did.  Fundamentally, actors show up hoping it doesn’t suck, and when it doesn’t suck, you’re so immensely relieved you’re prepared to kiss the ground on which the thing is made. But, I’ll do what makes sense. I mean, if there’s a use for me and it makes organic sense in David’s evolution of the story and the Riddick story, ‘cause that’s where we’re at, uh, sure.

What’s it like having your own action figure?

I think it means you’ve arrived. That my fifteen year-old said: “Dad, I saw this thing on MTV and one of the girls in, like, Famous Cribs, she said, ‘Look, I’ve got an action figure. I’ve made it.’ I think you’ve made it, Dad.”  I don’t know where, I don’t know what, but good. Well done.

Did you bring your kids to the premiere?

No. I left all of my kids at home because they’re in school, they have soccer and they have projects due. They came to PAYCHECK, the last one and enjoyed that, but this one was a little bit...I thought it’d be a little harder hitting and a bit too gritty and I also want to bump the first weekend’s sales, so I’m taking my eldest son and ten of his friends.

Source: JoBlo.com

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