Who were your earliest performance
inspirations - Groucho Marx on the 'Tonight
Show' - Harrison Ford obliterating evil
Nazis in 'Raiders' - Nancy
Sinatra working her Go Go boots in 'Ghost
in the Invisible Bikini' - Others?
Wow.... that's a fun question.... you're talking
childhood. Any of the Disney villains were a big
impression-very intense. I also had a thing for
Christopher Lee as Dracula.... Frank Langella as
Dracula..... they were tall, dark heroes.... -
also beautiful and romantic.... and their beauty
was dangerous. Gene Wilder being absolutely
bonkers (".... and that's not
bad!.....") as Willy Wonka. And I gotta put
this out there: Elizabeth Montgomery as Samantha
Steven.... beautiful, smart, and funny.....very
Is there a specific technique you use to get into
each character you play or does it depend on the
Across the board, I would say
Stanislavski technique (the Method), but I also
like Laurence Olivier's habit of picturing the
character in your mind as well.... but every
actor is a unique personality.... you pick and
choose what works for you.
Is it always darkest before dawn as 'Black
Dawn's' slogan states? - Anyhow, it is
so cool that you rocked a Steven Seagal movie!
Did you get to hang with the man himself?
Derek: Nahhhh.... Mr Seagal had entourage on top of
entourage.... I got to do my first stunt with a
"Squib", though (wired explosive blood
pack), which was very cool.
Many customer reviews on Amazon bemoan the fact
that Seagal is no longer the action wielding,
swinging wild Aikido master in 'Black
Dawn'. I don't think many of them have
recovered as of yet. Have you?
Yeah.... what I saw on set was an actor who was
punching in/punching out for work.... he's not a
spring chicken.... and his time on set was
minimal.... but he still has this solid fan
base.... so you make your money till you can't
make it any more-
Can you tell us a little about 'Gay Bed
and Breakfast of Terror' and your role
Derek: 'The Gay
Bed and Breakfast of Terror' is a
cult-style horror flick about various types of
gay travelers enticed to a dilapidated gay
friendly bed and breakfast in the middle of
nowhere in the desert. What they think is quaint
turns into living hell. There's plenty of camp,
with a deep-seated jab at the Republican view of
I play Mike, one of the hapless travelers. He's
an uptight, upper crust preppie traveling with
his handsome, adulterous boyfriend and his
whining fag-hag girlfriend Mike's pretty much an
asshole, but there are moments when you see his
Your performance as Bill Matthews in 'Socket'
is amazingly intense. Congrats! How did you and
director Sean Abley work together to get such a
provocative presence onscreen?
Thank you.... that's so great to hear.... From
day one, Sean and I were in deep discussion about
who Bill is in the story....a man who starts out
one person, and comes out another person in the
end. Also-this is a fantastical plot, but it
needed to be grounded in the real situation of
addiction. Sean had a definite vision, and I had
the definite intention of making that happen. I'm
not one of those actors that have to contradict
the director to make my own statement.... if a
director has a specific vision; I'm there to
What was the best thing about working on 'Socket'
and what was the most difficult thing you had to
accomplish on the project?
The best thing was working with a cast and crew
who were clearly excited about making this story
happen.... who's heard of addiction to
electricity before? It was completely innovative,
and you could feel it on the set. The most
difficult thing was the process of putting me, as
an actor, into the mindset of a killer. There was
a particular night shoot where I had to kill 3
different characters. By the time we wrapped, I
was in a very dark place psychologically....
can't really describe it.... very futile.... took
a few hours-and a little bourbon- to snap out of
Your IMDB name counterpart's main credit is for
working on 'Best of British: Gotta Sing,
Gotta Dance' which sounds self
explanatory enough. What would happen to this
simple concept, do you suppose, if we threw
'Socket's' Bill Matthews into the works?
Yeah, I've seen my counterpart's credit....
That's hilarious.... I think it would be
'Socket: the Musical'..... Bill Matthews
would be a West Ender.... the electricity scenes
would be the music numbers.... very early MTV....
possibly Pet Shop Boys. Don't get me started....
Lastly, any future projects that you'd like to
tell us about or words of wisdom (IE: Don't
swallow fire while dancing with electrical
appliances) that you'd like to leave us with? And
- thanks so much for doing this! It's been a
shock (in a good way, though)!
Right now I'm in a production of 'Hamlet'
at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles www.shakespeareinthecemetery.com . Yes, you heard right,
it\rquote s being performed in a CEMETERY. I play
the ghost of Hamlet\rquote s father.... I get to
wear chain mail, and loom around real mausoleums!
- If there was a 'Socket' sequel, I wouldn't mind
revisiting Bill Matthews again.... he's a good
guy deep down.... and he's learned some
lessons.... I think his words of wisdom might be:
"Don't get struck by Lightning"....