Interviewer: Why did you want to do a series?
As I remember it, you were flying high in movies, coming off Blue Velvet and
all that. A lot of people in the business were surprised that an actor of you
stature would take any part in series television.
Dean Stockwell: I wasn't flying that
high. I was on an ascendant, there's no question, but I had spent virtually
countless years of anxiety wondering whether I was going to get another job
all the time, so I wanted a long run at something. I never thought there was
anything wrong with doing a television series. I thought it was a wonderful
thing to do, especially since this particular one had what I felt was so much
to offer in the way of quality, uniqueness and a wonderful part.
Interviewer: What did you bring to
Dean Stockwell: Well, I brought my
talent, whatever that is. I'm not going to describe that. That's what I
brought to it.
Interviewer: What about insights into
the character: Is the character as originally written who you're playing now,
or did you
bring in little bits of business,
little insights of your own?
Dean Stockwell: Both. It's a
combination of both. There was a very interesting character to start with. He
was, um, very colorful, and he was, um-how shall I put it? If anything he had
an expanded appreciation of the opposite gender. And there was humor in it. I
have expanded the humor and expanded the appreciation of the feminine gender,
and the writing has gone along with me. I've added a lot of little things and
schticks, mostly on the comedic side, the light side. The shows that have
dealt with more emotional things, I feel fortunate that they've been few and
far between, because I prefer doing the comedy. But those more serious shows
have been good ones and well-written, so I have been able to achieve a
balance in the performances.
Interviewer: Al seems to me to be a
man who's had a real hard life that's tempered him. Is that part of what you
Dean Stockwell: Oh, I wouldn't say
that. I don't know that my life has been as hard as his, or maybe it's been
more hard. I don't know. When the situation calls for serious drama...I draw
all these things from my imagination: I never research, I never search my
soul for experiences that I've had that fit the thing that I'm going to act
out. I don't work that way. I work mostly with my mind and then I'm able to
tap into emotions when I actually do it.
Interviewer: You were in the business
since you were a kid. You were in one of my favorite movies.
Dean Stockwell: Really? Which one is
Interviewer: The Boy With Green Hair.
Tell me, how has the business changed since then?
Dean Stockwell: It's truly the same
business. It's the business of entertainment; and hopefully at its best, a
provocative and stimulating business, above and beyond the basic
entertainment value. I think entertainment is essential to the human
condition, so it is an important endeavour. The studio system that existed
when I was a child fell apart; it doesn't exist anymore. That was a growth in
the business. I think independent filmmakers brought a great deal to the art
form and were freed of the fetters of studio control. More stimulating ideas
were brought to the screen. Fewer B-movies as a staple of the studios
(were† made). And (there was) just as
high a quality of stars. So you can't say that the studio system fostered all
these stars, and everything was better because of that. It just simply isn't
true. Television came into the picture. HA! That's funny! I like that. Get
it? Television came into the picture! That's become its own growth industry;
a wonderful thing for actors. Unfortunately, the quality across the board
isn't consistently very high; it's very commercial.
Interviewer: Do you have a favorite movie from
Dean Stockwell: Yeah, I have several.
Green hair is one of them; it still holds up as a very unique little classic.
It says something very important; it's an antiwar film. There was picture
called Down to the Sea in ships that I did with Richard Widmark and Lionel
Barrymore that, for performance, I felt very good about. A couple of comedies
that I did as a kid. Then, later on, Long Day's Journey Into Night, with Katharine
Hepburn, Ralph Richardson, and Jason Robards. And the film of Compulsion.
Then, later on, I would say Married To The Mob, I'd put that up as the
favorite part I've ever had.
Interviewer: You seem to like word
play. Do you write?
Dean Stockwell: No
Dean Stockwell: No. Well, I have. I
directed some little theater stuff.
Interviewer: No ambitions in those
Dean Stockwell: Uh-uh
Interviewer: If you had your choice,
is there a Quantum you'd like to do that you haven't done?
Dean Stockwell: I've been attempting,
over the three and a half years we've been doing this show, to get the
production office to do an environmental show. It hasn't happened. It seems a
natural, but...it's a very difficult show to write scripts for...it's tough
to do. No one yet has been able to come up with an environmental script that
works. I feel there is a definite perspective advantage that we have-because
we deal with times in the past-to show the origins of the environmental
mistakes that have been made and now to see the consequences.
Interviewer: You're a Married man
with kids. Is this kind of work pace brutal on a family life?
Dean Stockwell: It's a little tough.
I see them mostly on the weekends because they're not near and it's a long
working day minimum twelve-hour days, but when I'm there it's high quality
time. They come and visit the set from time to time. It's as good a situation
as you could have, given what I'm doing, and I'm doing what I'm doing to
provide for their future.
Interviewer: Do your children (aged six and
eight) watch the show?
Dean Stockwell: They don't watch it
live; it's too late (at night).† There
are some episodes that I'd rather they don't see, so we pick and choose the
Interviewer: What's it like for a
six-year old to see daddy on screen?
Dean Stockwell: They seem to accept
it very readily. They see films from when I was a kid, too. They get right
into the stories...That's the way pure minds work. They both adore Scott,
both personally and on the show.
Interviewer: What do you do between
calls on the set?
Dean Stockwell: Quite frequently I
have mundane matters to handle here in this dressing room, my motor home
here. Paperwork and stuff. I enjoy reading. I have a television (with a VCR)
here; I watch dailies-dailies, of course, are the rushes that were shot the
day before. I have some weights. something that I enjoy greatly is a chess
computer. I play chess against it. I like that a lot.
Interviewer: Someone said to me I
shouldn't leave without asking you about Golf.
Dean Stockwell: What about it?
Interviewer: Personally, I don't know
anything about it.
Dean Stockwell: Well, I am a Golfer.
I'm addicted to golf. I think it's the most difficult sport I've ever tried
to do. Itís the hardest to do but it's also the most addictive. It's
incredibly enjoyable and incredibly frustrating. I do want to say something
(on another topic).
Interviewer: Sure. What's that?
Dean Stockwell: I do want to say that
I want to do at least another season on the show, because-and I'm being very
honest here-I've been very deeply affected by what I've felt coming back to
me from the fans of this show. I've been very deeply affected by their
demeanor, their sincerity, the warmth and affection that they show to the
show and to Scott and me. It's real and I think it's very unique, and I've
never experienced that before in my life. I want them to have twenty-two or forty-four
Crew member: If you want to get on
Dean's good side, ask him about Golf. He's a golf maniac.