TM:I read that you were roommates with Viggo Mortensen for close to 5 years. You also worked with him on Leatherface Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3 and Black Velvet Pants Suit, which I can not seem to find anywhere. Do you still talk to him and is there any chance that the
Aragorn as your roomate! How cool is that??
two of you will collaborate on a film project in the future?
WB: I was, Black Velvet Pants suit was a short film that I directed along time ago, its been retired because my friend who was the star of it died of cancer and its an uncomfortable situation for me, so one of these days when I am ready I'll pull it out.....I'll save it for the Willam Butler retrospect.
TM: How did you meet Viggo?
WB: I was working on a film called PRISON, which is like FURNACE....The first day I met him I was eating lunch in a Wyoming Holiday Inn and he was walking through the restaurant with no shoes on and I thought he was a complete Jackass. So there was no place else to sit and he sat at my table and we became friends instantly! Viggo is a really funny guy, very few people know that but he was cracking me up so we started hanging out, drinking together, talking about acting, I met his fiance which turned out to be his wife after the shoot and I thought he was one of the most exemplary, awesome, creative people that I have ever met.....he's really amazing.
TM: Do you still keep in contact with him?
WB: Not so much anymore cause you know Viggo is like hugely famous now, I work everyday I get up at 6:00 write till 11:00 and then work until like 9:00. Our lives just changed, we were both struggling at a certain point and now we have our own lives. You know that doesn't mean that we aren't friends and I still speak to him but not nearly as much as I would like to he is a great guy and I really enjoy him!
TM: What do you think his best role is?
WB: You know its funny I just watched A History of Violence and I think that's the best thing he did.
TM: What about the Lord of the Rings Trilogy? Do you think he was pretty good in it?
WB: I'm not a big LOTR fan, I have a short attention span, any movie over 2 hours I'm lost. I think Viggo was really good in it, but I do not do well in battle scenes. I think they are beautiful films and Peter Jackson is like the most amazing director ever, but I don't know if its Viggo's best work.......I think its Viggo's most famous
Not as bad as it could be !!
TM:So what your saying is that if I made you watch the 4 disc DVD of LOTR that you would probably shoot yourself ?
WB: I would happily sit with you and watch it and make the popcorn.
TM:You co-wrote both Return of the living dead part 4 and 5, were these written at the same time? Why do you think that the "living dead" films are so popular?
WB: I really wouldn't know after those 2 horrible films.....Here is what I want to say about those two films. Number one those are not the scripts that I wrote, the finished product was not what I wrote. Those scripts were written 5 years before they were in production and they left my hands 2 years before they were shot. So they had 2 years worth of polishing from production executives, development people, the director, and even special effects people. They started out as like 10 million dollar movies but by the time they shot them they were closer to 5 million. So they had to cut a lot of stuff out that they just didn't have the budget for. We had cameos lined up with the original cast in Part 4 and they just did not have the money to do it.
Some people who did not even understand the rules of the franchise worked on it like for instance in the Living Dead films you can not kill those zombies with a bullet in the head but somehow in the 2 years of them bouncing around someone added that in there. The unfortunate part is that the writers names stay on the scripts no matter what unless we choose to take our names off. I did not realize that these films were in the condition that they were in until I saw them. It's a hard thing for me, I loved the people that produced them, they are very creative and talented but the movies were envisioned one way and turned out another.....and I think a lot of that lies on the directors....it really is the directors responsibility to know the rules of a franchise.
I cant tell you how different the screenplays were from what was actually produced. I will gladly tell you that I am very proud of everything I have done, I have no shame in what I have written so its not me being defensive when I say that the movies turned out differently as a result of the filmmaking process. It makes me sad because I catch a lot of shit from my own peeps, you know I'm a film geek like everyone reading this interview so its really hard to explain how a movie gets put together without you actually working on one. You can take a stack
of 15 DVD's , watch them and say this one sucks, that one sucked, etc...But until you actually work on a movie you just don't know that its really almost a miracle that any movie ever gets made, its so hard to get everything to come together. If there is ever another "Living Dead" sequel then it will definitely go back to basics, which is what I had intended to begin with.
Vogue......Strike a pose!
TM: I read that you were raised on the Carnical Circuit, how did you get into that profession and what was your job?
WB: My mother and father actually owned an amusement company, my job was to drive the golf cart and pick up the money from the vendors, and also deliver ice and other supplies. Sometimes I sold hotdog's and concessions walking around with the thing around my neck, HAHAHA I hated it at the time but now I look back and it wasn't so bad.
TM: The Carnival Circuit is a different form of entertainment, what age were you when you became interested in film and what was the wake-up call to you....was it a certain film that you saw that made you think hey this is what I would like to do .....what actually made you get into the industry?
WB: These are VERY GOOD questions by the way, these are not questions that I get all the time.
TM: "Patting myself on the back right now"
WB: Yes I wanted to work in show business and did work in show business like school plays and things around the age of 7. As I got older I did local theater. A huge turning point for me was when I was little and went to see the original Poseidon Adventure film , I remember getting really freaked out by it that the boat was turning upside down and people were dying. My parents explained to me that these people were pretending that it was not really happening. I was like you have got to be kidding me and I became obsessed with filmmaking. Between 6th grade and high school I made close to 30 films, I got into video production, story boarding, animation, sculpting and I became a hard core fan. I would write fake notes from my parents to the movie theaters so that I could get in to see rated R horror films. It really just took off from there.
TM: The next interview is the last one with William Butler. Part 4 discusses The Garbage Pail Kids Movie, Working with Tony Todd and Lance Henriksen, a meeting with Mel Brooks, and future film projects. Dont miss out for the ending of this great life story of 25 years in the entertainment business!!
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Every other Sunday
This column explores every aspect of the film industry from a true fanboy's perspective.
Tim Malcolm got his first job at a movie theater in 1996 working as a projectionist. He quickly learned that there was no better job then getting paid to watch movies. Since then he has been an advid film watcher, collector, critic and writer.|
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