The colorful actors talks about the film.
Sam McMurray is an actor that's practically done it all in his career, which includes his stint on The Tracey Ullman Show, to Drop Dead Gorgeous and now with his latest, the DVD release of Lake Placid 2. I had the chance to chat with the actor over the phone, and he certainly had plenty to say.
We don't usually see you in horror fare like this. What first attracted you to this project?
Sam McMurray: That's interesting, because I did another interview with somebody that said the same thing. So I went over my Wikipedia resume and I thought, 'Well, I've done a few things,' but the truth is... yeah. What attracted me was the fact that they paid American money and I was also interested in going to Bulgaria. Also, quite honestly I thought I could have fun with the part. We just came back from Austin Texas, that Fangoria thing, and somebody walked right up to me, the first person I saw at the convention, and said, 'Hey. It's The Immortal from The Tick.' I also was in C.H.U.D., which is a seminal in the horror/sci-fi genre. I will confess that relative to the number of credits I've got, the horror/sci-fi genre has been poorly represented, but I'm willing to change that. I'd like to do more of this because there seems to be an ancilliary market in it.
Tell us about your character Struthers. Was he an easy character to portray?
Sam McMurray: Yeah. He's sort of this world-class asshole. He's got a lot of money, he thinks he's this big world game hunter and a pilot as well, and he's really unqualified for both of those things, but he has enough money so he can pretty much do as he likes. He has a manservant, a guy he rescued in Africa who essentially does all the hard work for him. The only thing was, I didn't want to do it as an American generic Donald Trump-type figure, so I came up with an Irish accent, for no particular reason. I just liked the idea of it. Maybe I've been watching too much golf, you know, David Fehrety, the golf commentator. (In Irish accent) 'Oh, you can take a great hackin' flight with this one.' I said, 'I wanna do that,' and they said, 'Fine, go with it.' They were terrificly open to us improvising. We did plenty.
Is it easier playing a comedic character or a more serious character?
Sam McMurray: It all depends on the writing. I was confessing down in Austin, when we did a Q&A there, that I did an episode of The Sopranos, that I felt, and, I've done a lot of television, was the best-written episode of television that I ever did. I had a really nice guest shot on it, and people came up to me and praised me to the skies for it. You know what? I didn't do anything except follow the material. The material was so good, that, by inferrence, you got the point. So, sometimes, the hardest acting is trying to overcome a script that is plagued with cliches and predictability. Either it's well-done or it's a struggle. There have been some sitcoms that I've done where I worked my ass off, quite honestly, because the jokes just weren't there, and they wanted it funny. What's the old expression? Dying is easy, comedy is hard? I think I can attest to that.
What was it like working with John Schnieder and Cloris Leachman? They're both making comebacks these days.
Sam McMurray: Yeah. Well, John is ridiculously young, for somebody who's been in the public eye for so long. I don't think he's even 50. Cloris is great. I grew up in the theater and my mother and Cloris were both in the theater at the same time, at the Actors Studio. So, Cloris comes from the method school of working, and she's terrifically inventive, and I should have her energy now, nevermind if I get to her age if I should live so long. Schneider I liked. He's a very loose guy and he and I were constantly playing the dozens on the set, and sometime in front of the camera. John is a man of many parts. He's also a filmmaker. We had a great cast. Joe Holt and Sarah Lafleur and all the others. It was interesting down in Bulgaria.
I was wondering what your thoughts are on the Gnawed Up version on the DVD?
Sam McMurray: I thought it was hysterical. I thought it was perfectly done. It literally fast-forwards any exposition with an occasional stop. Anything romantic, it skips right through, it gets right to the blood-letting and the killing and occasionally it stops for a funny moment. It really works, actually. It's very funny. I was watching it for the first time and I was thinking, 'Hey, you don't have to buy the movie now.'
Can you tell us anything about Robert Englund's Killer Pad that you're in?
Sam McMurray: Yeah. It's the rich brothers in the haunted house with boobs.
Sam McMurray: These three dorks rent this really cool haunted house in Hollywood and have this swinging bachelor party. I play the fire inspector who's this very lonely guy. I come with the pretense of inspecting the house, but really what I want to do is come to the party. Hilarity and idiocy ensues, and so forth, and some of it is quite scatelogical. I won't give it away, but we're hoping for a sequel that we would shoot in Italy called Killa Villa.
Lake Placid 2 can be found on the DVD shelves now.