Fan-favorite horror actor Bill Moseley joined us earlier this week to talk about The Tortured, which opens today in select theaters across the United States and is also available on demand.
During our interview, he discussed tackling the tough subject matter and shared a great story about working with child actors. I also made sure to follow up him on The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D and learned why he's playing Drayton Sawyer and not Chop Top.
Many of our readers are big fans of your work and I'm excited to talk to you today about The Tortured. With all the genre projects you're approached to appear in, what made this one stand out?
Bill Moseley: Originally, I heard about this when I was working on Repo! The Genetic Opera. Carl Mazzocone, the producer, came up to me and said that he wanted me to play the part of a child killer... [Laughing] I said, "thanks, that's great praise Carl..."
Carl is a great guy, so I certainly agreed to read the script. It was really fabulous, even though the subject matter was horrifying, especially to a parent, which I am twice over with girls. The script itself was so good, that it got us talking and before long, I was set to play John Kozlowski.
The movie brings up a number of moral questions, but I like that it doesn't necessarily take a hard stance on a particular point of view or pass judgment. Was this something that stood out on paper or did it evolve over time?
Bill Moseley: There is a scene in the beginning that was cut down from what you see in the final movie. In the court scene, they go over a laundry list of things that happened to the child while the parents are there listening. It shows there is specifically an eye for an eye response from the parents. When you take that out of the movie, it becomes harder for the audience to identify with the parents, because you might think they are making up random horrible acts. There was a moral compass that makes sense up to a point, until the parents begin to question what they are doing. It brings up a lot of interesting questions and points. I want to give a shout out to Jesse and Erika. I thought that she especially did an amazing job in this movie.
How was your experience working with them on the set? With the tough subject matter, was it relaxed between shooting or were they tense because they needed to see you as this child killer during filming?
Bill Moseley: It felt like it was a little more tense with Jesse than with Erika. Every actor takes a different approach, but with Jesse there was more of a sense that I am the bad guy, even off the set. He was certainly cordial and civil, but we didn't have a warm and friendly relationship until after we finished shooting. I've played a bunch of bad guys over the years and I've certainly had that reaction before, so I'm cool with it. I don't work harder to be a nicer guy, because that doesn't help the other actors.
That's especially important with kids, because if you're too nice to kids and they are asked to be afraid of you, that gets difficult. On the set of The Tortured, there is a scene where I come in to do something horrible to the little boy I captured. I open the door and the camera is over my shoulder looking at him. I try to look scary, but he knows me and he's not registering that fear needed for the scene to work. The boy's mother is on the set, so they take her aside and mention that we're having trouble with him being scared and asked for suggestions. She said that her son was afraid of Chucky from Child's Play, and the art director just happens to have a big cutout of a Chucky face. So here I am with the camera over my shoulder and the door flies open. I stand in and the kid's eyes go wide. The reason is because, unseen by the camera, they have pinned the big Chucky face to my chest. Chucky saved the day in The Tortured.
Our readers will kill me if I don't get an update from you on this, so before we wrap-up, I have to ask about The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D. Are you appearing in just a cameo role or something a bit more substantial?
Bill Moseley: I can't say, but I will tell you that I play Drayton Sawyer. I don't come back as Chop Top, but the cook. The only reason for that is that The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D is based on the original movie and Chop Top only appears in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, which is owned by a separate company.
When I was first approached by Carl Mazzocone, who is my good buddy and keeps me working, he said they wanted me to play the cook. It felt like asking Curly to play Moe in a remake of The Three Stooges, and it was a daunting part because I was personal friends with the late and great Jim Siedow. It was my own personal mission to protect his legacy. As someone who knew Jim and is a part of the "Chainsaw" family, it was really an honor to be asked to play his character. Jim is a hard act to follow, because of the crazy posture and quirky movements. In terms of me trying to act like the cook, we'll see what you think when the movie comes out in 2013.
We've include the official trailer for The Tortured below. The film was released to theaters today and is available nationwide over IFC Midnight Cable VOD and Digital Outlets (SundanceNOW, iTunes, Amazon Streaming, XBOX Zune, Playstation Unlimited).