There are actors who are cast as the boy who gets the girl. And there are actors who are cast as the boy who gets to put the girl’s head on a spike. Bill Moseley is very much in the latter category. The actor first caught the eye of horror fans with his unforgettable turn as the berserk Chop Top in Tobe Hooper’s 1986 sequel The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 and since then has gruesomely graced a raft of genre movies including 1990’s Night of the Living Dead remake, 1993’s Army of Darkness, and pretty much everything Rob Zombie has ever directed.
Moseley is now starring in The Tortured, which is currently available on VOD and debuts theatrically at New York’s IFC Center this Friday. The actor plays a convicted child killer named John Kozlowski who a pair of bereaved parents, played by Erika Chrstensen and Jesse Metcalfe, decide to kidnap and, yes, torture after he receives what they regard as a light sentence.
Below, the affable Moseley talks about The Tortured and a number of other upcoming projects, including the film which finds him returning to the franchise that launched his career: Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3-D.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What attracted you to the role of a child killer?
BILL MOSELEY: One of the producers, good old Carl Mazzocone, produced a movie I was doing called Repo! The Genetic Opera. Carl said, “Hey, I’ve got this script and I’d love to have you play a child killer.” I thought, “Well, jeez, thanks Carl.” It was an odd form of flattery. But I thought the script by Marek Posival was just fantastic and so it made me a little more inclined to play Kozlowski. If you don’t start with a good script, all bets are off. So that’s what gave me the incentive to throw in with Carl. Plus, there was a nice paycheck!
Your character is almost nonverbal. What was that like?
It was a difficult character. I do remember coming to work one day and the production staff and crew were very excited to show me where [my character] lived. The living room was stuffed with hobby horses and stuffed animals and clowns and all kinds of crazy stuff. I looked at it and said, “The only thing missing is the big neon sign over the front door saying CHILD KILLER LIVES HERE.” I said, “I need all of this gone. This should look completely normal, like it’s anybody’s house.” I said, “I don’t want any clichéd child killer stuff in this house. The only thing that I really want is a small cute little dog, like a little poodle or something like that, and I want it to have a leash made of plain twine and I want some newspapers down and some dried dog food randomly thrown on the newspaper. So you get the sense that here’s a cute little dog but it’s really not John Kozlowski’s little buddy, that it’s basically a prop that he would use to maybe go down to a playground, lure a kid into patting the dog.” In other words, some stuff that was subtle and down and dirty. And God bless them, the production actually went along with that, which made it a lot easier to play a character like that.
You’re also appearing in Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3-D, whose set I visited one very hot Louisiana night last year. What can you tell us about that?
I just did ADR for it a couple of weeks ago and I was told its release is now early January of 2013. The movie begins where the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre ends. I play “the Cook,” so I’m taking over for the dear departed Jim Siedow (with whom Moseley worked on Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2). The movie begins, as I say, right when the original ends and then there is a flash-forward eventually to modern times. That I can tell you. I was down there for a good week in Shreveport right in the middle of summer. I know what you’re talking about in terms of a hot set.
I was wearing, like, a fat shirt. It was basically a T-shirt stuffed with a bunch of cotton because they thought that the Cook, the Jim Siedow character, has a paunch. Which really I don’t think he did. I think he just had an awkward posture. Anyway, they had me wearing this T-shirt with a bunch of cotton padding in it and it really ended up kind of [soaking up] all my sweat. So by the end of the day my stuffed shirt weighed a good 20 pounds. [Laughs]
I asked the director, John Luessenhop, why they always seemed to make Texas Chainsaw Massacre movies at the hottest time of the year and he said he had no idea.
Yes. God bless him. I remember at one point looking fondly, longingly, at the chickens. Because in the original Chainsaw Massacre one of the iconic disturbing images is a big hen in a very small birdcage. So, of course, they wanted to re-create that. They had a chicken person on the set who brought not one but two chickens in these kind of air-conditioned cases and they would put one chicken in the cage — and the chicken I’m sure was on the clock — and the chicken would be taken out and put back in the cool traveling cage and then the other chicken would have to go to work. And I watched that going on. They also had an ASPCA officer on the set with a gold badge stuck on her belt and she was monitoring how they were treating the chickens. And I was sweating and nobody was even offering me a bottle of water. I was just looking, and thinking, “I’d be much better off if I was a chicken on this set!”
Another film of yours, Exit Humanity, is coming out on DVD next week. It’s a Civil War-set zombie movie?
I think somebody has called it Walking Dead-versus-Civil War. It was actually a lot of fun to shoot. I haven’t seen it yet but from what I gather it is beautiful in scope. Someone said that it’s kind of Days of Heaven as a zombie movie. I don’t know about that. [Laughs] But it’s epic, it’s got a great story and it’s been making friends at a lot of different film festivals. I play a Confederate general who ends up going a little crazy. There is a zombie outbreak, there’s no end to the zombies, and what I’m trying to do is figure out how to harness the zombies so that the South will rise again. Needless to say, I’ve gone a little crazy in my ambitions. That was another opportunity to play somebody who is unhinged. [Laughs]
Speaking of which, am I right in thinking you’ve just played Charles Manson?
I haven’t played him yet. Actually, I’ve played him in a trailer that we’ve done for Manson Girls, Susanna Lo’s movie. But we haven’t shot it yet. We have a trailer out for which I also recorded a version of the Doors’ song “Five to One” with Guy Allison of the Doobie Brothers and that’s the soundtrack of the trailer. I’m not sure if it’s a trailer that’s been put out for public consumption or if it’s part of a fund-raising package. I think they’re still looking to fully finance before they start shooting.
But you clearly haven’t tired of playing people with, to put it mildly, a dark side.
It’s a load of fun to do that. But I think there’s a pigeonholing. I don’t think I’m going to be the lead in any romantic comedies anytime soon. Although I’d certainly like to try.
I think you’d be very good at it, sir. I can totally see you and Kate Hudson on the screen together.
[Laughs] Alright! Well, from your lips to God’s ears.
You can see the trailers for both The Tortured and Exit Humanity below.
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