Whoosh! Issue 102 - 1st Quarter 2006

By August Krickel
Content © 2006 held by author
WHOOSH! edition © 2006 held by Whoosh!
7514 words

The Interview


Author's Note:
This interview was conducted in March of 2005. Since that time, Jonas Talkington spent ten weeks working behind the camera as a director's assistant on Behind Enemy Lines 2, in which he also plays a radar operator. He also appears as "Mouth" in the Sci-Fi Channel original film Manticore, which premiered in the US on Saturday Nov. 26th, 2005.


KRICKEL: Thanks so much for your willingness to fill us in on Alien Apocalypse and on your career. Where and when were you born?

TALKINGTON: I was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, on November 7th, 1976, which makes me a Scorpio, and born in the Chinese Year of the Dragon.

KRICKEL: Tell us about your family. Did you have a (relatively) normal childhood?

TALKINGTON: I am an only child, though I have many aunts and uncles. I have been married to Galina Ivanova Talkington (Galya for short) since July 3rd, 2004. I don't have any children, and don't have plans for any anytime soon. I had an exceptional childhood, if I can say so. My parents sacrificed so I could go to the best of schools and so that I could have the chance to experience many great things. I had the chance to do almost anything I wanted, in terms of life experiences.

KRICKEL: Did you have an early interest in acting, i.e., school plays and the like?

TALKINGTON: I did have an early interest in acting. I acted in plays when I was very young for an acting company in Indianapolis. My choice, of course (see the normal childhood question) and I found I liked it very much.

KRICKEL: What about science fiction?

TALKINGTON: I didn't develop an interest in science fiction until around 13, but when I did… BAM, it got me.

KRICKEL: Were you previously familiar with Bruce Campbell? With Renee O'Connor? With Josh Becker? Or any of their film or TV work?

TALKINGTON: Yes, actually, I was familiar with all three. I had come across Beckerfilms.com (Josh's site) before, and read some of the things on there. I knew Renee O'Connor from the same place that most people know her, I think, which is Xena (although I didn't get a chance to watch a lot of it. ) But Bruce Campbell? Count me as a HUGE lifelong fan. I had seen most of his films, and regularly used to quote Bruce-isms (especially from the Evil Dead series) in high school like a lot of other young male sci-fi fans. Heck, let's be honest, I still quote those sometimes!

KRICKEL: What sort of training in acting, if any, did you have?

TALKINGTON: I was in the acting school I mentioned when I was young (actually it was an after-school activity.) I acted in high school musicals -- I was in choir for 18 years -- and after that I kind of let it slide as I prepared to make it into the "real" world. I think my favorite stage role was Louie, in Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up? The character was a class clown, jokester, and generally good-natured.

KRICKEL: Have you always worked as an actor?

TALKINGTON: I was a Peace Corps volunteer pretty much less than a year out of college, and I graduated in Biology, so no, I haven't always worked as an actor. (laughs)

KRICKEL: The Peace Corps? That sounds like quite a story! What led to the career change?

TALKINGTON: I came to Bulgaria (where I now live) as a Peace Corps volunteer one year after I graduated college. After doing the first two years as an ecological management and training volunteer, I extended my stay for a third year and helped to pilot the youth development program for PC Bulgaria. Right at the beginning of that year, one of my friends, Ben, got a day player one liner part in one of the movies they were filming here. The guy that got him the part called him a few weeks later and said "Do you know anybody who looks like a nice guy, but could rip someone's arm off if necessary?" Ben just handed me his phone, and just like that, I got my first part. The movie was called Air Marshall, starring Dean Cochran, and directed by Alain Jakubowicz. Dean is one of the nicest guys you could meet, and helped me immensely to learn the ropes on my first movie set. Alan was very patient and exact, and was a great first director to work for. Also very helpful was Joel Morales, the first AD. He and I became such friends (we have worked together on many movies since) that he and his wife were my wife and my best man and maid of honor at my wedding!

KRICKEL: I see at the IMDB that you've had roles in 17 films since 2003? That's a pretty impressive debut into the movie business!

TALKINGTON: Actually, it has been 20 films, and I am filming another now. I had no stage work (professionally), commercials, or movie roles before that movie. Although I will say that the first day I stepped on the movie set, I was hooked. A lot of people search for their dream jobs and never find it. I have DEFINITELY found mine.

KRICKEL: Did you immediately get an agent? Or try to get a SAG card?

TALKINGTON: To be honest with you, I don't have a SAG card, and I don't have an agent. The casting agents here (in Bulgaria, that is) all know about the actors available, and call us when we should come and try out for a part. To have a SAG card right now, would be detrimental to me, as one of my good points is that I will work for a local rate, which is fine for me, but is much lower than a SAG rate.

KRICKEL: So it's more word-of-mouth? And have you worked primarily for the same producers?

TALKINGTON: Once people found out that an American who can act was living in Bulgaria, I started to get calls. The more work I did, the more work I got, as experience. I would like to think that has made me a better actor. They were not all for the same production company, but rather five different companies. Two companies, though, Nu Image and UFO, have been my main employers. They are both great places and have been very good in calling me for castings. Also worthy of a VERY honorable mention is Seven Hills, which is a newcomer, half-the-year-in-Bulgaria company. The one who shot the movie we are talking about, Alien Apocalypse. I really enjoy working with them!

KRICKEL: Any advice to aspiring actors, or lessons you learned in your first years out?

TALKINGTON: ANYBODY can be an actor. You can learn it, or you can have it naturally. You can have the raw talent, or can develop the talent, but pay attention to everybody when you get on set. Don't hang out in your room or trailer, or wherever. You would be amazed how much a 15-minute conversation with the camera operator or the sound guy can give you a MUCH better understanding of how the camera works or when you need to speak, timing-wise. I have met some actors who came from a four-year acting school that knew next to nothing about the technical aspects of things, just how to act. That is fine, but people appreciate you taking the time to learn their jobs.

The sum of all this? Ask questions. And pay attention to the answers.

KRICKEL: Who are some favorite actors you've worked with thus far?

TALKINGTON: Well, not to be too cliché, I really enjoyed working with Bruce. He is a great guy, and very funny. Josh is a trip, as well, and his opinions on things are very straightforward and often outside the norm. The two of them make for a never dull day.

I also liked working with Ray Liotta. What a trip! That guy is very intense, and very interesting. Completely believable that he is his character, even when it's only a 30-second take. It's wild.

Also, other actors I enjoyed working with Dean Cochran, Corin Nemec, and many of my local friends, such as Nikolai Sotirov, Velizar Binev, and Antanas Srebrev. I would say that they are six true men, both professional and good-natured. I genuinely like all of them as actors and as people.

KRICKEL: What about directors?

TALKINGTON: I liked a lot of them, but I am still really appreciative to Alain Jakubowicz, who gave me my first break.

KRICKEL: So how did you get cast in Alien Apocalypse? Did you read for a specific part?

TALKINGTON: Joel, my first A.D. friend, who was working on Alien Apocalypse, suggested to Josh that I would be good for the part. I then got a call to come in, I went, he said, "My name's Josh Becker, and you speak English, that's GREAT!" or something to that effect. He found out that I had experience after we talked for a while. I then read for the part with him (here in Bulgaria) and lo and behold, I became Bounty Hunter #3 (aka "Scumbag").

KRICKEL: What sort of arrangements are made for you while filming?

TALKINGTON: No arrangements are made for me. I live in the center of Sofia (the capital). I have been renting an apartment with my wife (who is Bulgarian, but you wouldn't know it, because her English is as good as ours!) for almost two years, have a car which I use to drive to work half the time, and I never need a plane ticket.

KRICKEL: As a stranger in a strange country, did you ever experience any culture shock?

TALKINGTON: Sure, when I first got here. By the time I started acting, I had long passed that. You have to remember, though, I came in as a Peace Corps volunteer. My group went to a little town, stayed with Bulgarian families, and trained for three months in language, culture, and our respective volunteer programs. Then? We were sent out to our towns (in my case, village!) and made our own way. I was one of five people in my town (for a period of two years) that spoke English well. One was a elementary school English teacher whom I saw little, another was a friend, another was an eventual friend of mine who spent nine months out of the year at college, a high school kid who was very cool, my cat, and me. I got used to the culture shock pretty quick. Sink or swim, right?

KRICKEL: Renee O'Connor mentioned in an interview that the Bulgarian communication style can be rather vocal and volatile, and that she had thought someone was angry with her, when in actuality he was simply being expressive. Did you experience any of that?

TALKINGTON: As I speak Bulgarian, I can say that it is absolutely true. Bulgarian, as a rule, sounds very loud, rude and aggressive to English speakers. It's not, though. The sounds are made from the throat rather than the tongue, and it leads to a harsher sound. (I am also a dialect coach for Bulgarian actors here, so that they can learn a better American accent; believe me, I know all about it!) Be careful if you come here. You may think someone is being rude, but the might just be complimenting you on how you look today! The problem is when someone has good technical English, but not as good cultural English. They can put the words in the right order, but still use Bulgarian tonality. It makes for very rude-sounding English, although they are (with exceptions) being as nice as can be. So yes, I have experienced all ranges of that!

KRICKEL: Josh Becker has mentioned that the quality of life seems to be very pleasant there, and that the women are all beautiful. Comments?

TALKINGTON: Quality of life is very pleasant if you have a little bit of money. There is a hidden, and large, lesser quality of life outside of Sofia. If there wasn't, the Peace Corps wouldn't still be here. Overall, though, the chance to make it is out there in Bulgaria.

The women? Manoman! Every red-blooded American male (and other nationalities for that matter!) that has been here I think would agree with me. Bulgarian women REALLY lucked out in the genetic lottery. I crave summertime in Bulgaria, because people are VERY into walking and sitting at cafes here. They also wear much less.

In all honesty though, I think I can answer this question with a much shorter answer. I married one, didn't I?

KRICKEL: That pretty much sums it up! So tell us about your character - "Bounty Hunter # 3." Also known as "Scumbag," at least in the preview commercials. Does he have any particular backstory?

TALKINGTON: "Bounty Hunter #3" is the type of person that I truly don't like, which in an odd sort of way made it easy to play him. I kind of imagined him as a cross between Yosemite Sam and the Kurgan from Highlander. He is a really nasty guy who is not incredibly smart, but cunning, and has WAY too much angst and facial hair. The backstory (at least what I was told) is that he decided that he would be a step above the other human slaves, and have a little bit of power and freedom, although it cost him his basic dignity and humanity.

KRICKEL: Does he have a name?

TALKINGTON: No, he doesn't and that was kind of the point. I asked the same question, and we mulled it over a little bit. In the end, though, we all just kind of decided that he didn't deserve one. "Bounty Hunter #3" is the epitome of all that is bad and self-serving about mankind. An icon, if you will, of just how low people will go given the chance to rise above other people into a position of power, no matter who they have to trod on to do it. That is why he doesn't have a name. He is every nasty mean spirited person you have ever met that is out to get ahead of you no matter what the cost. But he was fun to play! What a scumbag!

KRICKEL: Describe the world in which Alien Apocalypse is set, and where your character fits into it.

TALKINGTON: It is a futuristic world in which aliens, who eat wood, control everything. They use humans for slave labor, to create the wood food and stores they need (although they don't seem particularly bothered by human flesh) and use other, unscrupulous humans to catch and control the slaves, in return for a marginally better life. My character is basically at the top of the food chain as far as humans go, but still lower than any alien could ever be. I guess you would characterize him as the main human villain in this show (the other villain was an alien prop reinforced by CGI).

KRICKEL: Speaking of those aliens…. how were the alien effects were done? Were the "practical" aliens manipulated like marionettes? Did actors or production assistants stand in for them at times?

TALKINGTON: Gary Jones took care of a lot of that, working with two special effects specialists. The practical aliens were manipulated, yes, but MUCH more convincing than any marionette. All three of them worked with the puppet, and danged if you didn't almost forget it was real. If there had been a speaker in it with its lines coming from it, it would have been REALLY convincing!

KRICKEL: What would happen then in the action sequences?

TALKINGTON: In the action sequences, sometimes people stood in for them, but mostly there were two CGI guys on set to advice what to do at any particular time.

KRICKEL: How easy or difficult was it working with a largely Bulgarian crew? Did most of them speak English, or were there translators?

TALKINGTON: For me, it is VERY easy to work with the Bulgarian crew. Some of them speak English, many don't (or not much) there were translators on set, and when I was on set, I was nominally one of them. (laughs) It was extremely funny (to me) when Josh or Joel would say "Jonas, get over here and explain this to them!"

KRICKEL: Had you worked with a good many of them previously?

TALKINGTON: I have worked with almost everyone there before, and like just about everybody that worked on that film. It's a pretty small world for the movie industry in Bulgaria, so it helps to know people.

KRICKEL: I gather that a number of the Bulgarian actors who have lines, end up getting dubbed by other actors. Do they actually speak English, or have they learned their lines phonetically?

TALKINGTON: Both, to be honest with you. Some people know a little English, or a lot, but their accent is bad, and others learn it phonetically.

KRICKEL: How surreal is that whole experience?

TALKINGTON: I guess since I began my acting career on a Bulgarian set, it seemed absolutely normal to me from the beginning. I also, though, began working with one of the companies here, Nu Image, to provide free dialect coaching for Bulgarian actors who need it. I have also worked on some of their films as an on-set dialect coach. I have seen definite improvement in a lot of Bulgarian actors in the last year. On the flip side, I have been the one who has dubbed over a number of Bulgarians (though not my students), and I do the voiceovers for a lot of EPK packages.


TALKINGTON: Electronic Press Kit. I usually dub for Bulgarians in those because I both speak English (obviously) and I speak Bulgarian, so it is no trouble for me to translate it and dub it on the spot. One movie that I did a voice over for was Fire over Afghanistan. I did the Mexican chopper pilot and the radio tower in that movie. At one point I was talking to myself (on film of course, as two different people) and I couldn't stop laughing when I heard that! I also am the voice for a number of promotional travel materials for Bulgaria that are sent abroad to travel agencies and the Travel Channel, plus I periodically do one-liners for films. I couldn't begin to tell you which ones, as it is not an uncommon thing. (You would be surprised at how many producers, workers and local actors are in films voice-wise that you would never know about. If they need a voice for something, and you are on set and willing to do it, then away you go!)

KRICKEL: Now were the film's scenes shot in order? And how fast a shoot was it, and how did that compare to other films you've worked on? For example, how many takes were there usually for each scene?

TALKINGTON: No, the film's scenes were not shot in order. They rarely are, to be honest with you. It all depends on the schedule of when and where they can get the sets. It's all about organization and making it happen in a timely manner. The shoot on this one was, I believe 18 days, which is VERY normal for here. It is a fast working environment, and the actors need to be on top of their game, as well. Josh took as many takes as were necessary for each scene, but many times two-four were all it took.

KRICKEL: So what was Josh Becker like, both on and off the set? And how does he compare to others you've worked with?

TALKINGTON: As a director? Very demanding, very professional, and very open. He knew what he wanted, and he knew how to get it. He had an exact idea in his head on how things were going to go, and if it didn't work out, he had a just-as-good backup plan. It was a pleasure to work with him in that respect, because I have worked with a few directors that are slightly, ummm, whimsical you might say. Josh was also very approachable. If you needed to ask him something, then ask away. He is a funny guy, with a very dry sense of humor. Off set, he can tell some GREAT stories!

KRICKEL: It seems to have been a very experienced crew -- both stars have directed for television, and the DP David Worth and the 2nd unit director Gary Jones have both directed features. Can't be too many made-for-cable films where there are five experienced directors all on set at the same time! Tell us about both Gary and David.

TALKINGTON: Gary Jones is a heck of a guy. Plays pool like a pro, always willing to listen to you and has good advice, and is generally a man's man. I REALLY enjoyed my time around him. At work? Easygoing, but firm when necessary. He gets the job done with panache. I enjoyed it. I hope I get to work under him some day when he is a director. David Worth is a master. He knows more than any other five DP's I have worked under about camera positioning and lighting, and can get things done in an amazingly short time. He has been a lot of places, and done a lot of things, and generally has an enormous store of knowledge to draw from. I think I pestered him a little bit at first, because I wanted to learn as much from him as I could, but he wasn't fazed a bit, not only answering my every question, but adding more than I asked for each time I questioned something. It was truly a pleasure working with him, and again, I say like I said for Gary, I hope I get a chance to work under him. Having five experienced directors on set, while it may seem like a nightmare to some, was actually wonderful. It gave Josh a little bit of breathing space to be able to focus on creativity, and they shared the load a little bit. They all worked together, rather than at odds with one another, and the result at the end of the day was, in my opinion, MUCH better for it.

KRICKEL: What about Bruce Campbell? Your character spends most of your time onscreen with him. Any funny or memorable stories?

TALKINGTON: Bruce Campbell. Possibly my favorite movie actor of all time. It was a dream for me to work with him (and to be the bad guy that he kills, COOL!) and there are too many memorable and funny stories to retell here! Possibly the best times were sitting around between shots, just listening to him tell stories. It was a trip. Also, after the movie, he stayed around to direct and star in The Man with the Screaming Brain, in which I played the character Larry the Swinger. Between the two movies, I got married. I invited Bruce (and everyone else) to my house for an open house the next day, and lo and behold, he came. It was very cool for me and my wife!

KRICKEL: Do you realize your final scene with him may feature the next "classic" Bruce-ism? As I write this, part of it is being featured in the preview commercials for the film -- the part where he says "Hey scumbag!" The follow-up to that line, where he refers to you as "Terminally stupid" -- has the potential to go down in history along with "Groovy," "Gimme some sugar baby," and "Hail to the king baby."

TALKINGTON: IF, and I say IF, the "terminally stupid" line goes down as a classic Bruce-ism, which I think it might, you can't imagine how gratifying it will be for me. It was cool having him say it to me in person, though!

KRICKEL: And then what about Renee O'Connor? She has a reputation as being very serious about acting, as far as getting into character, character analysis, etc. Any comments/observations?

TALKINGTON: Renee is an extremely nice, caring person. She will talk to anybody, and is genuinely interested in what they have to say. She is very serious about her acting, and it is nice to work with her. She goes over the scenes with you, and works through everything with you. One scene, another bounty hunter and I have to carry her trussed up hanging from a pole and throw her into a pit in the ground, and it was really a pit in the ground! There were no special effects there, just a pad on the bottom. I was worried about it, because a few inches either way and she could have gotten hurt. It was even worse when she came out to the set with full makeup on and looked like she had been terribly beaten. It made me feel bad, even though I knew it was makeup! But she was a champ about it, and was very good about everything. We ended up dropping her with no injury, and the scene turned out great. What a professional!

KRICKEL: Did you get to socialize much with any of them?

TALKINGTON: We all went out to dinner a few times. Because the days were so intense (18 days to shoot a movie makes for good intensity!) most people just wanted to go home and sleep. But we did make it out for dinner some nights, and on the weekends some of us went out to clubs for a while. I happened to be working on another movie at the same time, so the days off on one movie I was working on another one! One day, both movie companies even agreed to tweak their schedules a little bit so that I could work at one set, and then be driven to the other set to work the other half of the day! I am still appreciative to both places for that! (It was amusing as well, since I went from being the character in Alien Apocalypse in the morning to Dr. Jonas the scientist in Raging Sharks in the afternoon! *laugh*)

KRICKEL: I gather Bruce's wife was able to visit the set? Was she there for the whole time?

TALKINGTON: Yes, Bruce's wife was able to visit. She wasn't there for the whole movie, but I believe she used Bulgaria as a jump point to tour Europe a little bit. I saw her a number of times, though, and she is a very nice and high-spirited woman. I really liked her, as did my wife. She was very down to earth. I hope someday that I can see the area around where Bruce and his wife live. Their descriptions of it are beautiful.

KRICKEL: Did any of Renee's family get a chance to come over as well?

TALKINGTON: I honestly don't know. I don't think they were able to make it over, and I know she missed them, but I am really not sure about whether they came or not.

KRICKEL: There's much debate, at least in the online Xena fan-world, as to how significant XWP was in the careers of its stars and staff. Was there much talk about that show among Bruce, Josh and Renee? (As in "Remember the time we filmed the episode where ...." or "Gee, wouldn't it be great if Lucy were here.....")

TALKINGTON: Yes, there was some talk about those things. I don't remember anything very specific, just the general flow of conversation sometimes turned that way. It was very interesting listening to some of the behind the scenes anecdotes (although now I would be hard pressed to remember any, sigh…).

KRICKEL: Was there much reminiscing between Bruce and Josh on their early years as kids in Detroit? Or were they all so busy working that they didn't even have time for any of that?

TALKINGTON: Josh and Bruce did talk about the old days in Detroit some. I could connect a little since I am a Midwesterner myself. They worked hard, but always found a little time to be real people

KRICKEL: Who else should we be looking for in the cast, who may be particularly good or memorable?

TALKINGTON: Remy Franklin was a very good guy and a good actor. I liked him quite a bit. Also, a guy named Vladimir Kolev is an actor you will see more and more. (After that movie and The Man with the Screaming Brain, in which he was Yegor, he started dialect classes with me and has since improved his English significantly. He is also a very good actor!)

KRICKEL: Michael Cory Davis plays one of the astronauts in this film, and you've been in several other films with him too (Alien Siege, Raptor Island). Tell us a bit about him.

TALKINGTON: I like Michael. He is a good guy, works well, is always there when you need him, and serious about his career. I spent some time with him off set since he stuck around Bulgaria for a while, and he really makes an effort to be a honest and helpful person. What more can I say?

KRICKEL: Do you have a favorite moment or scene from the film?

TALKINGTON: Not really. I liked almost all of it. Maybe riding the horse down the hill was the most fun.

KRICKEL: And you mentioned that you are also going to appear in Bruce Campbell's feature-directing/writing debut, The Man With the Screaming Brain. This is a project that he's been kicking around for over a decade now, and one he dedicated a chapter to in his book. Did he mention any of its lengthy on-again, off-again history?

TALKINGTON: Actually, I didn't get to talk with him much about it. He was very focused on what he was doing when I was around him, since he was doing so many different things at one time. Then again, I knew he had been working on it a long time, but not ten years!

KRICKEL: How is Bruce the director different from Bruce the actor, and from Bruce the producer? (I gather he co-produced this as well.)

TALKINGTON: Bruce the director is still the great funny guy, but, when it is time to work, he is serious and dedicated. He confers with his team, and he is very particular that everything is going to go the way he (or someone with a good suggestion) envisions. Speaking from an actor's standpoint, he was a great pleasure to work for, because he told me exactly what he wanted, listened to my ideas on it, and we discussed together how to make it better. How he did all of it at the same time? I will never know. I do know that he worked very hard and deserves and ENORMOUS amount of credit for this film.

KRICKEL: Josh Becker has said that Alien Apocalypse is a straightforward sci-fi/action tale, but one replete with irony. It seems to have quite a few moments of subtle wit as well. Is this true of Screaming Brain also, or is it more of a straight thriller?

TALKINGTON: I think Screaming Brain has a lot of subtle wit and irony built into it. My role, when described to me, was to be a hilariously sleazy swinger. I had a lot of fun with it. It is on my Top Three list of my favorite roles ever!

KRICKEL: So tell us about your character -- "Larry the Swinger." What a name!

TALKINGTON: Larry the Swinger. Heh. Bruce called me up, right after Alien Apocalypse, and said "Hey guy, I want you to play this part. It's not huge, but it's one of my favorites!" Needless to say, I was honored. When I read the part, and Bruce told me how to play it, I couldn't stop laughing. Ever play Leisure Suit Larry? Then cross him with an 80's yuppie that is trying WAY too hard. The result, pencil-thin moustache, toupee and all is a trip!

KRICKEL: Bruce once did a Xena episode where he played a man with two consciousnesses inside his head - his own, and Xena's. Is that essentially the idea for this film? Bruce has a bad guy's brain fused with his own?

TALKINGTON: Tough question, as I, I am sorry to say, did not see that particular episode, but yeah, that is essentially the idea. I am actually good friends with the guy who played Yegor, and helped him with his English pronunciation (he is very good, and is getting better all the time. If you check my imdb page, you will see that I am also a dialog coach here, both on and off set.) Half of Bruce's brain was replaced with Yegor's, a Bulgarian taxi driver's brain. It was interesting to watch the progression through the script of what goes on between the two.

KRICKEL: Also in this film are Tamara Gorski and Ted Raimi. Tamara Gorski appeared on several Hercules episodes, including one with Bruce. What sort of character does she play in this? And what is she like to work with?

TALKINGTON: Tamara plays a lovesick, then scorned, woman. Her character is eerie. She is very nice and sweet on the surface, and then… BAM flips out. To work with her was also a pleasure. She is a very nice person and very professional. She was also very intense. When she looked at me as if she was going to kill me (which she is supposed to do) it chilled me to the core, and I of all people knew she was acting. Like I said, eerie!

KRICKEL: And Ted Raimi -- he's infamous for ad-libbing, and for being a card on and off the set. How was he to work with? And I gather that inside the clown is a very serious actor who's very into his craft?

TALKINGTON: Ted is an absolute trip to be around. He is fun, funny, and yes, you are right, very into his craft. He takes acting to the level of true art, and yes, from what I heard around the set, ad-libbed a little, but only insofar as to make his character more believable and to add to the story. He was always in a good mood, and let me say that Bruce and Ted together is a combination that will leave your sides hurting from laughing! Unfortunately, I didn't get to spend as much time around him as I would have liked, as my part was not very large, and I wasn't on set for any considerable amount of time. But what time I was around him was always fun!

KRICKEL: As you know, this is running in an online fanzine. Science fiction and fantasy seems to attract more hardcore fans than most genres. As an actor, how do you view the notion of fans? Do you make a distinction between the typical viewer, who silently watches something, and the fan who may memorize dialogue or facts, overanalyze plot minutiae, buy merchandise, attend conventions, etc.?

TALKINGTON: Of course there is a distinction, but not a bad one. Everyone has passions, and I think that being a big fan of a show is fine! What is the difference than being a big fan of an author, or of cars, etc.? If you like something, that is your prerogative! If you just like to watch it, that's good, too. I happen to be a big sci-fi/fantasy fan myself, and have a personal library of over 3000 books. Some people would say that is excessive, others impressive. It all depends on your tastes. Of course, when the lines of reality and fantasy become blurred for people, I think that they should step back a little and reevaluate their positions, but that is not just for television show or movie fans, that is for any situation in which that happens.

KRICKEL: Do you think an actor such as Bruce or Renee, who have cult followings, feel any differently about a fan's level of interest/fanaticism? Or are they appreciative of any/all interest? Do you think an actor has any obligation to his/her fans? For example, presumably Bruce's hard-core fans might be eager to see him in horror/fantasy, but maybe not so much so on "Dawson's Creek" or something similar. Do you feel an actor should be sensitive to this?

TALKINGTON: I think they might a little. I have heard some stories from actors that have cult followings that are a little scary. I think a little moderation might be in order for some. I think that Bruce and Renee really appreciate each and every one of their fans, because they are what keeps them working actors. They really do (I asked them!) BUT, I think it makes them frustrated (along with the other actors with cult followings that I have worked with) when people try to invade their privacy to an extreme degree, try to intrude on their personal lives on some level or threaten them or their families based on a character they play in a production. No one deserves that. I don't care who you are.

I do think that an actor has an obligation to their fans, but I also think that the fans should realize that while acting is a love of many (mine definitely), it is also a job. I think that taking varied roles also helps you grow as an actor, and all the experience you get helps you, if only a little bit. For example, Bruce's fans should appreciate it, in my opinion, if he plays a role outside of horror and fantasy. He is a guy with a job and a house and bills like everybody else. No one tells you what job to work at, or not to try something. Let Bruce and others like him try and do what they wish. They wouldn't be doing it if it didn't interest them!

KRICKEL: What about negative feedback? How does a working actor deal with or feel about that? Are you ever concerned about what Silent Bob director Kevin Smith has referred to as "Some teenager named 'wampa_13' in a chat room," who might say an actor or director's work sucks?

TALKINGTON: Negative feedback? It hurts and helps at the same time. Of course no one likes to hear that their work isn't good. That is no different from any other job. If it is constructive, then it can be used to better yourself as an actor, and to try to correct your mistakes next time. It is very hard to see yourself on film and to say what you did wrong, because it is exciting to see yourself!

But, if, as Kevin Smith puts it, have some person just blithely put down your work, but has no good reason for it, you have to let it roll off you like water off of a ducks back. You can't let it be important enough to affect you, if there is nothing useful in it. And, there is nothing, and I mean NOTHING in the entire universe that everyone can agree on. There is always going to be two sides to each situation. Contrast leads to better understanding, in my opinion.

KRICKEL: What about working in genre films and lower-budget movies? If you have, say, a nice supporting role with 20 lines opposite B-movie icon Bruce Campbell, in a made-for-cable sci-fi film shot in Bulgaria..... and someone else makes twice as much for a similar-sized role, but opposite Jude Law in Cold Mountain over in Romania..... is there any difference to the actor? Are you working just as hard as the guy in the $100 million dollar film? And same for people like Renee, Bruce and Josh -- is there any difference between them and Nicole Kidman, Jude Law and Anthony Minghella (the Cold Mountain people?)

TALKINGTON: I don't think there is much of a difference, to be honest with you. Everyone still has to go to work, know their lines, be able to be completely flexible, and to be ready to flip personalities like a switch in a heartbeat if that is what the director wants. We all work really hard at what we do, or we wouldn't be working. The biggest two differences (and just about only) that I can think of are one: that the lower budget films are on a tighter schedule, so everyone on those films has to be more focused and efficient to produce a good film in the time allotted, and two: the more famous actors have problems to deal with that aren't a part of the smaller film genre, for example, having a quiet dinner in a restaurant, or going to a movie. It must be much more stressful for them day to day. They also have reputations to keep up. So I guess there are trade offs and pros and cons for each. The money doesn't matter in terms of quality of work. I (and others I have talked to) have worked for different sums and put our best into it each and every time. It's a matter of professional pride.

KRICKEL: You have quite a few appearances coming up. Alien Blood (which premiered a few weeks ago under the title Alien Siege in the US) and then Mansquito (with "Amphipolis Under Siege" guest star Musetta Vander) a few weeks after that - where can we look for you in these?

TALKINGTON: Alien Blood and Mansquito were one-day parts for me. I was a SCIT Gate Guard in Alien Blood, and in Mansquito, I am the police officer that pulls up to the hospital in the police car and runs up to the door, grabs a distraught woman, and asks her what is going on. It is a small bit part, but I never turn down an opportunity. Every part has to be played by someone, and each part is important in its own way.

KRICKEL: So you have no problem going from a featured supporting character, like "Bounty Hunter #3" to a bit part, then?

TALKINGTON: I get some big roles, some medium roles, and small roles, too. I take all of them that I am offered, because I love to act. I don't differentiate between them much, because without the smaller parts, there still is no movie. I think I have this attitude partially from Peace Corps, and partially from finding my true calling. My first four movies, I had to donate everything I made to local charities, because I was in the Peace Corps, and you are not allowed to make money as a volunteer. I think that set me on the right track to look on it as a wonderful experience, rather than a job!

KRICKEL: And you were also in the recent Phantom Force with Richard Grieco?

TALKINGTON: I was the "Sonar Technician" sitting in one of the subs, calling out directions and how close the ghost sub was, including basically telling everyone that we are hosed due to the fact that the other sub had shot torpedoes at us. It was fun. I was also shaved bald for that part, which may be why it's hard to spot me! {Note: In Alien Siege, Talkington is the guard who gives star Brad Johnson a hard time as he tries to get into the gated research facility. He can also be seen in Raptor Island as "Radar Technician" in scenes with fellow Alien Apocalypse cast member Peter Jason as they try to track down the SEAL team, which includes Michael Cory Davis, another AA cast member.}

KRICKEL: What sort of projects do you have lined up after this?

TALKINGTON: I am working in a movie right now called The Citadel, for a local company (UFO). I have also tried out for a small part in a Brian De Palma film which will be filmed here, but we will see. I plan to, if time permits, travel around Europe a little bit this summer and hand my resume and head shots to casting agencies around Europe. I think that now I might have enough experience to make it worth both our times.

KRICKEL: What long-range career goals do you have, either in acting, or in general?

TALKINGTON: I would like to stay a working, professional actor. I have changed gears and I am doing everything possible to make it happen. My wife fully supports me in this, and my family as well. I someday would like to "make it" as an actor and have the chance to see the world, traveling and working at the profession I love… acting.

KRICKEL: We're all looking forward to seeing where your career goes. Thanks again for giving us an insider's look at the Bulgarian filmmaking world, and let's hope Alien Apocalypse is a smash!


august krickel August Krickel is his real name; it's German, and refers to Caesar, Augustus Caesar, not to the month. August is a native South Carolinian, and a fan of mythology since reading a comic book version of The Iliad as a little boy. This led him to study Classics at Vanderbilt University, the University of Georgia, and the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies in Rome. He currently works in university administration. Over the past 20 years, however, he has had a sideline career as free-lance actor, director, and drama critic. This double interest in myth and drama has made XWP his favorite show.

Favorite episode: THE PRICE (44/220), A GOOD DAY (73/405)
Favorite line: Joxer: "Ok, then its settled. We're a team. Joxer the Mighty, and his mighty band of mighty men. Girls. Joxer the Mighty and his fighting mighty women fighters. Fighting." IN SICKNESS AND IN HELL (72/404)
First episode seen: THE TITANS (07/107)
Least favorite episode: LITTLE PROBLEMS (98/508), KING CON (61/315)



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