Interview: Brian Krause, Sleepwalkers

Brian Krause is known to most people today from his work on the television show “Charmed”. When calling in to the conference line to interview him, another interviewer gushed about how much her father loved “Charmed”, though they agreed it may have been for the female cast members. For me, it is “Sleepwalkers” that holds a special place in my heart.

On June 24th, 2011 I got to talk with Brian about his latest film, “Cyrus” (out now from Anchor Bay). But this didn’t stop me from throwing in a few questions about “Sleepwalkers”. I really wish we had more time, as I could have talked to him for an hour about that film. Some may call it a stinker, but I love it.

Without further ado, Brian Krause on “Sleepwalkers”, “Cyrus” and one special actor that horror and sci-fi fans love…

GS: You want to start us out by talking about “Sleepwalkers” director Mick Garris, who would refer to you as the Creature From the Blue Lagoon?

BK: Well, I was much younger then. What a ball of energy Mick is. I was a kid at the time, and he really took me under his wing and treated me with such great respect. I think since then, every director I’ve worked with — almost in any genre — I’ve had to compare to Mick Garris. The way he treated the crew, the actors, his vision… definitely one of the best. It was a real pleasure. So when I go out to do my thing, I have to pay homage to the things he did and the great vision that he had.

GS: And he brought in a lot of big names to do cameos (Tobe Hooper, Clive Barker, Joe Dante, John Landis). Did you get to interact with them at all?

BK: You know, I didn’t. I actually had to fly out to New York to do some press for “Blue Lagoon”. The weekend I was gone was the weekend they shot the graveyard scene where everyone showed up and did their thing. So I actually didn’t get to meet any of them.

GS: What can you tell me about the makeup process?

BK: Oh boy. There were different stages, as you can see in the film. There was full body makeup from my waist up over my head that would cover my whole torso. And that was probably a two to three hour deal with full prosthetic. We would come in at four or five in the morning and be ready to go by 8:00 or 9:00. There was also a mask I could wear when I was clothed, which was still a two-hour process. We’d put that on, add makeup and stuff. It was a big job, getting everything glued on. It was easier to take it off, but that could still take an hour or an hour and a half. I had never done anything like that before, ever. Once you get it on, I think what I liked about it is that you were this character. Just like putting o na cop’s uniform, or a doctor’s uniform, it would help me become what I was. I enjoyed it. It definitely helps you feel what you need to feel.

GS: Very cool. We can go on to “Cyrus” now…

BK: Are you sure?

GS: Brian, I could easily fill this time with “Sleepwalkers” questions, but that’s not why we’re here. With “Cyrus”, did you go through the normal casting process, or did Mark (Vadik) seek you out for the role?

BK: I had met Mark a year previous on a movie called “Desertion” that he had produced. We had talked about “Cyrus” a little bit then. It was a few months before he actually went into production that he called me and wanted me to do it. So we did some work together and researched serial killers online. (Gavin’s note: I found out elsewhere that Brian especially finds the BTK Killer interesting, and has met the nephew of the Green River Killer.) We spent hours on the phone talking about it.

GS: Were serial killers something you had a previous interest in, or was the research a part of immersing yourself in the project?

BK: I just threw myself into it, which is something I try to do with every role possible. The stuff wasn’t something that I had researched previous, though I do watch shows like “The Investigators” — crime show type stuff, which is always interesting to me. But I never approached the idea of playing one. The opportunity just never presented itself.

GS: You also did second-unit directing. What sort of scenes were yours?

BK: We had finished production, and there was still quite a bit of stuff to shoot. They had finished with me, but there were some things that needed finishing up. So Mark and I made a deal and I stayed on for an extra week or two. When you see the feet hit the floor after getting out of bed. There were a bunch of murder scenes. Chopping off legs, cutting out a tongue. Shots that we didn’t pick up on the main production. I think if you watch the DVD there’s a reel of extras with people getting killed. That’s all stuff I did — I basically spent a week murdering people. That is second unit. I did close-ups of the knife.

GS: And those are an important part of the film.

BK: Yeah. Some of them made the cut, and some of them didn’t really have anything to do with the story but we were thinking we could montage murders. A lot of it didn’t make it.

GS: Tell me about that dead baby, the corpse. Was it just a doll?

BK: It was a doll they had created. It was a pretty disturbing doll. Basically a dead baby doll. (laughs) It was disturbing, it was really gross. And poor Anne Leighton having to feed the baby. She did a great job just keeping it together.

GS: Exactly. I’ve seen over a thousand horror films, so an ax hitting someone is not a big deal to me. But when I see that, that’s what hits me.

BK: (laughs) Yeah. Feed the baby! Feed the dead baby! It was one of those moments, and kudos to Anne for being able to go there and not be grossed out. She did a great job. And while everyone around the set is grossed out, I have to make it look like I enjoy it.

GS: Let’s wrap this up with one question about neither “Sleepwalkers” or “Cyrus”… how awesome is Nathan Fillion?

BK: Oh man, he is a great, great guy! He is so much fun! I told many people after I finished working on “Castle” that he’s one of the good guys. You see different people getting shows, working, achieving success. He’s definitely one of the guys who deserves it. He’s great to everyone in the crew and the cast and anyone who comes on. I have great respect for his position. And he’s really funny.

GS: Very cool. Thanks for talking to me today, Brian. Wish we would have had more time.

BK: I appreciate it.

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