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INT: Craig Bierko

04.13.2006
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As long as Hollywood keeps churning out bad horror films (and they will ALWAYS churn out bad horror films), the Scary Movie franchise will be there to poke fun at them. The latest installment of the series, SCARY MOVIE 4, trains it satirical eye on Saw II, The Grudge, War of the Worlds and others. Easy targets, to be sure, but also rich sources for the kind of raunchy parody that made the first three films so successful.

The fourth chapter features newcomer Craig Bierko (last seen as Max Baer in Cinderella Man) alongside Scary Movie veteran Anna Faris. Bierko stopped by the Four Seasons last week to talk about tackling the role of the bumbling leading man charged with the task of saving the world in Scary Movie 4, opening this week.

Craig Bierko

You’re new to the franchise. Had you seen the other Scary Movie films?

I saw 3…I got a call and they said they were interested in me for 3 and I wasn’t familiar with it. And so I watched 3 because that was the only other one that David Zucker directed. And I thought, this is as funny as any of those other movies that he’s done. It’s really funny. And I have to say I didn’t expect it. I didn’t know because I was unfamiliar with those movies. And I just wanted in.

There was no trepidation about joining a successful franchise?

You mean some fear of success or being recognized as an actor? Maybe getting work after this? [laughs] Yeah, big problems with that. No, the only trepidation was…it wasn’t trepidation, but whenever you jump onto a moving train, you kinda hope well, the people already know what they’re doing, they have their thing down. Hopefully they’re nice and they’ll be supportive, because I don’t want to be out there on my own. It’ll just be less pleasant. And to my happy surprise, everybody down the line – the crew, the cast, David, Anna, Regina – everybody was incredibly kind, supportive and…it’s a different acting style, so I wasn’t afraid to ask questions or look like an idiot asking questions. Everybody was great with giving me answers, so I felt comfortable right from the beginning.

It seemed like there wasn’t a lot of improv in the movie.

Because the script is…I read the script and it’s laugh out loud funny. These guys know what they’re doing. You read the script and it actually reads the way the movie looks, with all the sound effects and everything. And I’m such a fan of those movies anyway, that I can actually picture it. There wasn’t anything to improve upon, and even the improvised stuff, it was just because there were mostly actions and he said mostly, “Try something here,” or “go crazy with this. We’ll just keep the camera running.” And then he’ll just use whatever it is he likes. The Oprah thing, I mean there’s probably a version that’s four and a half hours (long). We just went nuts.

Any hesitation about making fun of Tom Cruise in the Oprah scene?

I saw the Oprah thing at the end (of the script) and my one hesitation was I wanted to make sure that we weren’t going to be parodying anybody’s beliefs or personal life or that there wasn’t going to be any nasty speculations or anything like that. As long as it was making fun of something that happened in a public forum, I was fine with that. I feel like that’s the area for parody, but anything beyond that is not correct for me.

There’s nobody in the world who looks less like Tom Cruise than me. Nobody. And so I didn’t think they hired me to do Tom Cruise. They didn’t. It’s basically a movie hero guy who’s in that situation. But I didn’t have any interest, nor did they, of doing an imitation of Tom Cruise.

If you run into Tom Cruise on the street, who owes who an apology?

First of all, if I run into Tom Cruise on the street, nobody’s gonna be more surprised than me. When have you ever run into Tom on the street? Because he beat us to the parody by doing it on Jay Leno, I think he owes me an apology, actually. He did him better than I did and I’m very upset about it. He beat us to the punch.

What were some of your favorite scenes in the movie, as a viewer?

The Brokeback stuff really made me laugh, and that was really funny because I thought, this is something that’s gonna get parodied – and is parodied so much – but it’s uniquely Scary Movie to have those two guys do that. Just the idea of having those two guys was funny. And I like…my favorite stuff is, the bigger laughs are always funny but I love the little stuff, like the locks, the guy trying to get in and not being able to time the locks, because that always happens and I’ve never seen anybody do that before. That alone is funny, but the fact that there’s spaceships…it’s so annoying that it’s more annoying than the spaceships outside. That I loved. There’s a version of it that’s three times as long, but they wanted…it was making the movie too long.

Having played a boxer, did you give Anna Faris any advice for her boxing scenes?

That would have been a great way to start: “I’m Craig Bierko. Listen…some notes…” [laughs] No, no. I wasn’t around. But I actually…the guy who trained her was a kickboxer and has the fastest recorded knockout I think in boxing history. It was something like two seconds. The guy came out of the corner and the guy went, “I’m gonna…” and boom!!! And the guy went down. And I wanted to train with him. He was gonna be on the set for a couple of weeks and I wanted to train with him. But I didn’t have the time, unfortunately.

Is Anna a good sport? What’s she like to work with?

Yeah, oh god. It’s very nice to go to a set and somebody who’s…she’s the one who’s been in all these movies. She could ask for a lot more than she asked for and get it. And she’s really just a team player. Doesn’t want to be the president. Just wants to have fun. She’s there to have fun. And I get it. She’s also doing a lot of other work that requires different parts of her. I think these are things that are really fun for her and I really appreciate being part of something like that. There’s just a lot of goodwill there.

Does you stage experience come into play here at all? Does it help you in a movie like this at all?

Well, I discovered I don’t have to talk nearly as loud, because I got a microphone right there. They’ll hear me. No. Only in a sense that in both places, they’re both ridiculous situations. In one, you’re standing on an elevated platform while 1300 people are staring at you during an intimate, pretend moment. And the other is, there’s a camera right here while you’re trying to have a personal conversation. Ignore the fact that there’s a giant machine on your head. They’re both ridiculous. It’s a ridiculous situation to be in. It’s insane, and I think that that’s the only thing for me that they really have in common, is that you’re trying to pretend to do something very personal in an extraordinarily stupid situation, while ignoring that it’s happening.

Having done this for so long, what do you do now to keep yourself from getting bored with the whole acting process?

Well, I draw. That’s what I was doing while you guys were paying attention in school. If I have a long plane trip or something, my girlfriend calls them my coloring books. I just draw. And I lose a bunch of time. I can sit there all day. I’m disappointed now when the plane lands, because I want to finish this thing. So that’s primarily what I do; I come in with all my pencils and books and put them down on my chair. And in between shots I just sit there and I draw.

In the scene where your character shoots himself twice, did you think it was about time someone did that?

That’s the thing that is genius about David Zucker, is that you see that and you go, “Yeah, why hasn’t anybody done that?” The other one that absolutely killed me, because I forgot about it, was pulling the girls into the bushes, you hear somebody getting beaten up, and then the girls who were pulled into the bushes walk out like that. That, to me, was like, why didn’t anyone…nobody thought of that. That’s so obvious. To me, that was classic. That was like Marx Brothers funny, to me. That was great.

You have a diverse resume. What do you get recognized most for?

No, I’m that level of fame where they go, it’s either “Weren’t you with the wedding, Joyce and Glenn?” And I’m like, “No, no. I’m not.” And the other one is, “What did I just see you in?” And I’m like, “I don’t know.” “Well, list the things that you have been in.” And I’m just like, “No. Why should this be an exercise in humiliation?” Because I’m gonna go, “Sex and the City?” “No, I don’t watch television. What else?” “Scary Movie 4?” “No, I don’t go to see scary movies. What else?” There was this one time I almost said, but I didn’t because it just would have been too mean, because it’s kind of humiliating, it’s just, “Do a little chicken dance for me so I can figure out where I’ve seen you before.” And I almost said something like, “I’ll do that,” because this woman was with her husband, “but you have to mention every time that you’ve had sex with somebody before you got married.” That’s basically what this feels like. So I’ll do that, and you have to say, “Earl.” But I didn’t go there.

There’s not one project that people would guess more than others?

Right now, I think it’s Cinderella Man, because I think people are discovering that on DVD and…what is it when you dial up? I was born in 1964. These kids with their machines. What is it when you…video on demand? You don’t know either?

Pay per view?

Pay per view. There it is. That’s ridiculous that I don’t know that. What is it with the wood, when you make it hot? Fire?

I’m not sure if you have children…

I’m not sure either. I’m pretty certain I don’t, but you know how it is. The ‘80s.

Do you like children?

I do. The character in the movie doesn’t. It’s hilarious. One of the funniest…I think the funniest guy ever in movies was W.C. Fields, and he actually kicked children. He looks around, he goes like this and he kicks a kid in the ass. The kid flies out of the room. You can’t do that in a movie nowadays. Of course, nobody thought, “You can’t show that. Now people are going to be kicking children out of rooms.” I think in this movie it’s funny because I haven’t seen that in a movie. There’s a little girl who just keeps getting the crap knocked out of her, and it’s funny. I don’t think anybody’s gonna go, “You’re advocating violence. Now people are going to be filling suitcases up and hitting children because of you.”

Questions? Comments? Manifestos? Send them to me at thomasleupp@joblo.com.

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Source: JoBlo.com

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2:30AM on 04/13/2006
It must be really depressing for Craig Bierko to have to accept the fact that he has to act in shitty, indefensible abortions like this one, and actually go out there and have to fucking sell his soul by plugging this product. At least he admits he didn't even see Scary Movie 2, the worst movie of the decade.
It must be really depressing for Craig Bierko to have to accept the fact that he has to act in shitty, indefensible abortions like this one, and actually go out there and have to fucking sell his soul by plugging this product. At least he admits he didn't even see Scary Movie 2, the worst movie of the decade.
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