It's been more than fifteen years since Dick Durock put on the makeup and costume of DC Comic's "muck-encrusted mockery of a man" for the televisions series Swamp Thing. Durock played the titular monster throughout the series as well as two films. Now, with Swamp Thing coming to DVD, he has reflected on the role in an interview with Comics2Film.
Durock, a stuntman by trade, underwent a massive transformation to play the creature. "The costume of course was zip-on and zip-off, but all the appliances and the makeup had to stay on. In the first feature it took close to four hours. In the second feature it took close to two hours. By the time we did the series, which ironically was by far the best makeup and costume, we had it down to about 45 minutes," the actor says. "But it was still tough. At the end of the day you're wearing eighty pounds of wet latex, plus all the chemicals on your face. It sure isn't sunglasses and autographs, I'll tell ya."
And not only was the suit difficult to wear, but Durock was called upon to wear the suit an awful lot. "I don't think this has ever been done before in the history of Hollywood where a guy wore a costume for that amount of time. Usually it's a case of, 'OK, bring on the monster.' You work for a scene or two and it's, 'OK, go sit down. This was twelve hours a day, six days a week, with it on."
Ironically, the physical demands of wearing the Swamp Thing costume wasn't what Durock had the most difficulty with. He was, after all, a stuntman. But he lacked training as an actor. "I had no experience as an actor at all, other than playing on Rockford files and a zillion other shows, but not as an 'actor' actor per se. As the stunt guy, you go in there, do your thing and then go back and sit in the dressing room until you're on again," Durock says. "On the series, we were doing two shows a week, three days each show, ten pages of dialogue a day. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and at the end of the day they hand you another thirty pages. My appreciation for series actors went up a thousand-fold."
When it was mentioned that Joel Silver has acquired the rights to the character, and had commissioned Len Wein (co-creator of the Swamp Thing comic) to write a new screenplay, Durock was asked if he would be willing to reprise the role. "That's beyond me now, so good luck with it. I'm sure they'd do it computer graphics now," the actor said. "I wouldn't mind being involved playing a bartender or a little cameo or something. Sure, that'd be fun."
Swamp Thing: Complete First Season is being released to DVD by Shout! Factory on January 22, 2008.