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Out of the Shadows: An Interview with Ron Perlman

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Out of the Shadows: An Interview with Ron Perlman

In the new issue of Shock Cinema, House contributor Jeremiah Kipp interviews unconventional leading man Ron Perlman. Topics include Perlman’s collaborations with Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro (City of Lost Children), Guillermo del Toro (Cronos, Hellboy) and Larry Fessenden (Wendigo); his experience playing a romantic lead under heavy makeup in CBS’ Beauty and the Beast; his decision to go on the lam to avoid $5000 in parking tickets, and his strange interlude working with Marlon Brando on The Island of Dr. Moreau:

You ever watch The Honeymooners? You ever see Ralph Kramden when he gets into a situation where he’s a little over his head. ’Hummana-hummana-hummana-hummana!’ And every moment I was in Brando’s presence it was like that. I know there’s a lot of people like me who have an unhealthy fascination with Brando, and I say unhealthy because it’s completely over the top, it dwarfs all rationality. The fact that I was just going to be in his presence meant so much to me. What he was able to achieve as an actor during those certain parts of his career where he decided to apply himself—which was only three performances, really, as far as I’m concerned—he accomplished things that no one else will ever be able to touch, unquestionably. To me, he’s a God. What do you do when you get near a God? You just watch them. I spent so much time observing Marlon on that movie that I kept missing my own lines. I would hear him say (Brando imitation), “It’s your line.” And I said, “I wonder who he’s talking to.” Then he’d say, “Hey you, the blind guy, it’s your line.” I went, “Oh shit, it’s me!”...

Best of all is Perlman’s workaday summing-up of Preston Sturges’ Sullivan’s Travels:

You and I wouldn’t be having this conversation if cinema wasn’t as important as it is. We go to these movies and learn about whatever’s inside of us: the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful. Whoever invented this art form should be canonized. When I get off the phone with you, I’m gonna go watch Sullivan’s Travels and cry at the scene where he’s amidst all these homeless guys and a cartoon comes on and they’re laughing. And he has this epiphany that he’s been running away from being a comedy director. It’s the greatest contribution he could make in this piece of shit fucked up world—if you can laugh five or ten minutes a day that’s reason to go on until tomorrow.

The entire article isn’t available online—Shock Cinema is an old-fashioned print mag—but for info on how to find it, click here.