INT: Biehn/Fahey

Between Michael Biehn and Jeff Fahey, you have a great history of genre characters. With Michael, there is THE ABYSS, TERMINATOR, ALIENS and in the past few years, CHERRY FALLS . As for Mr. Fahey, you may remember him from BODY PARTS, PSYCHO 3 and of course, THE LAWNMOWER MAN. Throughout the years they have appeared in a number of films that seem to have mostly found home on the video store shelves but as always, Quentin Tarantino has a knack for putting the spotlight on guys who have disappeared from the limelight. And with GRINDHOUSE and Robert Rodriguez’s segment, PLANET TERROR, he may have revived these two genre favorites.

When they stopped by the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills to talk about GRINDHOUSE, there was a whole lot to be excited for. In the film, they play brothers separated by a high rent on a diner and the secret ingredient for B-B-Q Sauce. In the film, they are perfectly cast and share a wonderful chemistry together. Well, truth be told, the chemistry doesn’t stop there. Both actors shared their excitement of working with filmmakers “at the top of their game” and they both seemed genuinely proud to be back. Although Mr. Fahey’s life has changed considerably, he had for the most part, retired from the industry. But thankfully he came back and gives an awesome show as J.T…. the man with the sauce. It was nice to see a couple of dudes who, in my eyes, are two of the most underrated actors out there and here’s to GRINDHOUSE showing the world that more than your mother should love Michael Biehn… and Jeff Fahey too.

Michael Biehn Jeff Fahey

How did you both get involved with “Grindhouse”? Did you just get called and audition?

Jeff Fahey: I got a phone call. Mike, you wanna tell your story?

Michael Biehn: I got a call from my agent, he said Robert wanted to see me and have me read a couple of pages of dialogue. He didn’t have a script. He was interested in me for a role so I came here, the Four Seasons, he was casting out of here. So I read a couple of scenes and I had worked on them a little bit and I just didn’t get it very well. I finally got it where it was kind of okay. It was after like four or five different tries at it and I thought the wind had kinda gone out of the room at that point so I left.

I was disappointed, I didn’t think I had gotten it or he’d be interested. Then I heard he was… and actually, when I was on the set I asked Robert about it and he said that he asked the casting director – he was kind of looking for a kinder, gentler Mickey Rourke - then she mentioned me and he thought that was a good idea and he brought me in just to meet me. And I said, I didn’t think the readings had gone… and he was like, ‘Readings? No, dude, you had that role before you even walked in the door.’ I was like, ‘Oh, God, I wish I would have known that.’ [Laughing]

Quentin and Robert told us that they had always wanted to work with you guys.

JF: Thank God. [Laughing]

MB: Well it was great. What a great thing to have somebody like Quentin Tarantino say about you as an actor. You know, that’s just, Quentin and Robert, it’s really kind of a validation when the guys that are cool, like the “hip”, “cool” filmmakers think that like, you’re cool. They wanna work with you so… It’s been really…

Well you both have some great resumes. You’ve done great work throughout your careers. Do you find that Hollywood doesn’t recognize that all the time?

JF: They recognize it when you’re working. It’s job to job. It’s that old saying, when you’re hot, you’re hot, when you’re not, you’re not. You survive as best you can. I don’t wanna say “survive” as such a tragedy but you do what you can to move along.

Well a lot of people don’t have careers that get to last ten, twenty or thirty years…

JF: Absolutely, they’re no complaints comin’ from these two. I mean, it’s been great.

MB: It has been great.

JF: It really has been. And some are better than others, but we’ve been working.

MB: You know, I think the best think about working is the opportunity to work in a situation like the one we just did; which is like, with Quentin Tarantino or Robert Rodriguez or with Jim Cameron or with Billy Friedkin, or a Michael Bay. You’re around these guys and you’re around the process and you are watching guys who are really, really good and really at the top of their game. And to be able to give them something that they want or they need to make their movie… that to me is the most exciting thing and you don’t… I hadn’t had that opportunity in awhile.

JF: It is very easy when you walk into a situation like this with these two guys who are at the top of their game. And at this level, regardless of the film itself, you’re job is just very easy. You just show up and deliver and they are gonna take it somewhere else.

Is it fun or is it work?

MB: Oh, it’s fun.

JF: It’s work. [Laughing]

The chemistry on-screen between you guys is great but when you worked on set, did it take a while to get into that?

MB: You know what I like about what you just said though? Is that basically, Jeff and I have – and we are at each others throat throughout the movie until the last scene – [you said], and it’s kind of nice that you say we have a nice chemistry on-screen…

It’s true…

MB: Because it’s…

It’s like a real ‘brother’ relationship.

MB: It is like a real brother relationship. But we grew up and we’re about the same age…

Did you know each other before this at all?

MB: We met…

JF: Our paths have crossed a lot.

MB: Yeah. Growing up in this business at the same time, work with some of the same directors.

From the early Eighties?

MB: Late Seventies. For me…

JF: We auditioned for a lot of the same roles..

MB: Auditioned for the same roles, had mutual friends, directors. He’d gotten roles that I wanted… So when I met Jeff, I felt like I just knew him. I just thought he was me; he was another side of me because we’ve had our ups, we’ve had our downs, we’ve been in good movies, and we’ve been in not so good movies…

JF: And you know the other person can deliver. When we heard each others name it was like…

MB: Like putting on a really nice old pair of shoes.

JF: We haven’t seen the film yet but we know so much stuff that’s in it.

MB: We’re the only two people that haven’t.

You’re such a tough guy in it.

MB: Am I?

Jeff, you’ve been doing genre stuff forever now, has there ever been…

JF: Since “Birth of a Nation”.

Yeah… Has there been any other experience that has been on par with this one?

JF: Yeah, there has been a couple. One, right at the beginning, was “Silverado” with [Lawrence] Kasdan and the whole group. And then, in the following years, they were all like that, but it wasn’t all that high. And then, “Body Parts” was one. And then, the next was with Eastwood on “White Hunter, Black Heart”, and that was this whole other place, and then, the others outside the business, in theatre. Then, there were a couple that happened, the last high like this, on this level… Eastwood, and I think that was 89. So this has really been a wonderful experience.

But you’ve kept working haven’t you?

JF: There’s work. But there’s a number of things… but these guys [Tarantino and Rodriguez] are at the top of their game right now, it’s a good thing to be involved in just for the experience.

MB: Joan Rivers said, “I’m happy… I’m not HAPPY!” [Laughing]

Well you guys and Kurt Russell are about the only actors in the movie old enough to remember grindhouse movies.

MB: Yeah.

Did you see a lot of shit n’ schlock and whatnot?

MB: I was in Nebraska and we had Drive-in movies, not “grindhouse” movies. It was an expression I’d never heard before but I used to go to drive-in movies and watch. You know, a couple of the movies that Quentin screened at his house, I’d seen. One was “Pretty Maids all in a Row”. I was like thirteen at the time and I was like, “whoa man, this is interesting!” that was one that really affected me but, I just remember… I don’t remember the names; I just remember like the bikers and the horror movies and stuff like that.

There’s a scene in the Tarantino segment where Kurt Russell was sitting there and he’s talking at the bar about his past films [the character of Stuntman Mike] and these four young women haven’t heard of anything he has done. And they look at him like they’re looking at the wall being painted…

JF: We know what that looks like.

When you’ve been working for so many years do you find people know who you are?

MB: I was in the make-up trailer recently, at seven o’ clock in the morning, and I was doing a series. And I sit down in the trailer and there’s this like, pretty young girl. Twenty-one, twenty-two, blonde… really pretty, kind of half dressed, getting her make-up and stuff. And I hadn’t met her yet and she looked over and she smiled at me and I was like, ‘oh...’ I looked back and smiled and I was like, ‘dude… I still got it’ she must have recognized me from “Terminator” or something like that, and I could just feel the vibe. And finally she said, “Are you Michael Biehn?” I’m like... yeah. [A moment] “My mother just loves you.” [Laughing] You know, once you hear a few of those…

What was it like working with Savini?

MB: Well, Tom… He was always really good in the movie. You know, when I was working with him. I’d never really known him. I’d seen “From Dusk till Dawn” but I didn’t really know him as an actor. And when he came in, the very first thing he did with me was the thing with the finger.

For what happens with “the finger”, you’ll have to see the movie. Let me know what you think. Send questions and comments to [email protected].

Source: JoBlo.comAITH

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