Owen: I've gotta know. What is it
like to be so closely associated with a
catchphrase - yours was "Hi! Remember
Me?" in the late 70s. After a bit did
it make you crazy when people said it to
remember me?" That was a catch phrase from
the show "THE JEFFERSONS."
It was #1 on TV when I did all six episodes. Hugo
Mojelewski was the name of the character I
played. The part always got gut-wrenching laughs.
The catch phrase never stopped for years and
years. Black people all over America stop me and
ask, "Hi Remember me!"
Owen: You've had so many parts in movies and on
TV. Do people frequently recognize
recognize me from a host of different parts.
People to this day are always stopping me and
saying, "You were great in THE
PRIVATE EYES, or THE WARRIORS
all made in the 1970's. Wow! What a rush.
Which of your many roles do you consider the
quintessential Irwin Keyes role?
No doubt my part as Ravelli in HOUSE
OF 1000 CORPSES will always endear me
with horror fans. Just as my part as Wheezy Joe
in INTOLERABLE CRUELTY will
endear me with Coen Brothers fans. I guess just
the chance to act in what is next is my
quintessential role. Let the critics figure that
one out when I am dead.
Owen: How would
you describe the experience of working with Rob
Zombie in 'House of 1000 Corpses'?
Irwin: What was it
like to work with Rob Zombie? A blast! A party! A
game! Art! What Corpses has done is open a door
to fans that I never knew before. Who knew when
we were first making the film? It's what makes
Hollywood special from the ordinary films and the
Owen: Did he seek
you out for the role of Ravelli or was it an
Irwin: It was a
one time meeting with Rob and Casting. Not a
lot of Hollywood yadda callback stuff. Rob met me
and on the spot wanted to hire me! Casting
knew who I was and called me in.
I love your work as Bork in the
Full Moon flicks 'Oblivion'
(1994) and 'Oblivion 2: Backlash'
(1996). The cast includes Julie Newmar,
George Takei, Isaac Hayes, Meg Foster,
etc. With a cast like that it seems there
should be some cool on set story...is there?
Irwin: The OBLIVION films were shot entirely on location in Romania
in 1993. We were promised food and all
the amenities. Romania gave us 3 months on road
kill and canned tuna. Probably what the original
Hollywood pioneers had to deal with. It was rough
locations. The crew was tough; professional
actors. We gave them 2 films. It was an
experience that all actors should go through.
Life is tough far from tinsel town.
Owen: One of your
very early roles was a small part as a busboy in
the original 'Friday the 13th'
(1980). Did the success of that movie
heighten your determination to become
an actor and convince you of how
close success could be in smaller
Irwin: I had
actually done bigger parts in films by the time Friday
the 13th came around. I was already an
actor and just weeks away from my SAG (Screen
Actors Guild) card to prove it. Back in those
days you actually needed an acting job to get a
SAG Card. It was a small stepping-stone to
better acting roles.
Owen: You also
played The Monster in 'Frankenstein
General Hospital' (1988), what was the
key to filling in Karloff's big shoes?
Irwin: That movie
Frankenstein General Hospital was done
with little tribute to Boris Karloff. The tribute
was that I actually did my actors homework and
watched Karloff in films. I did the film with
Karloff in MY actors subtext.
Owen: I've got to
have an on set story from one of the classic
exploitation flicks of all time Paul Nicholas' 'Chained
Heat' (1983) with Linda Blair.
Irwin: I don't
remember "CHAINED HEAT."
Owen: What's the
craziest thing you were ever asked to do on the
set of a motion picture?
Irwin: No doubt
the craziest was in a Diesel Jean Commercial. I
played a gunslinger. I start in bed with ugliest
whore in the world. They couldn't find an ugly
enough woman in casting. So they hired the
ugliest guy they could find to play my whore. It
was a great laugh. The spot won a Palm D'or
How do you see Hollywood or casting or
the industry in general as changing in the
25 years since you first began acting in films
and on TV?
Irwin: Has Casting
changed in 25 years? You bet. TV and film is so
white-breaded and most of the material sucks.
Effects don't help boring casting. These stars
today are mice! Not real men like actors in the
past. We are at a bottom now in Hollywood
filmmaking. Safe casting is not great casting. It
will strangle the movie business. Films were once
an ensemble of different actors, all needing each
other and their contribution to the project.
Look at CASABLANCA for example.
Today it is big star making all the money and you
don't remember anyone else in the film. Character
acting is a dying art. Shame on Hollywood.
Owen: Any projects
pending in the near future?
Just played a seer type character fucking with
stupid kids in Mexico making a porn film. It is a
horror film called WRESTLE MANIAC.
Wait till they get their asses kicked all over
the insane asylum! [He also recently did a horror
film called Neighborhood Watch.]
Great Irwin, all the best and thanks again for