Lew Temple interview

AJ Friar: Hello?

Lew Temple: Oh, Sorry. AJ, this is Lew Temple. I was giving you a call?

AJ Friar: Yeah, hey, Lew. How are you doing?

Lew Temple: I’m doing great, thanks a lot. Sorry, might be a couple minutes early, but I thought I’d catch you.

AJ Friar: That’s perfect, being a couple of minutes early.

Lew Temple: Great, great. Hey, where are you? Where is 9-8-0, interestingly?

AJ Friar: It’s in [Charlotte 00:00:34] , North Carolina.

Lew Temple: Oh great, okay. Good to know. What town?

AJ Friar: I’m in [Mathews 00:00:44] and it’s a small town in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Lew Temple: Okay.

AJ Friar: So, thank you for joining us tonight, Lew. Let’s talk about how you got involved in Limbo because it’s such a great horror comedy and it’s kind of a fresh take on the whole purgatory thing.

Lew Temple: Well, thank you. I feel like it’s its own special… It is its own special hybrid. First of all, I have a close friendship, a working relationship and a friendship with the director/writer, Mark Young. He and I has done, sheesh, four films together, The Killing Jar, Wicked Blood, Feral, and then now this one, the fourth being Limbo. So I’m always interested in what he’s doing specifically, and kindly, he’s now always rather interested in inviting me to be part of what he’s doing. So this was a movie that he had been percolating. He’s a very veracious writer. He writes all the time. [crosstalk 00:02:11].

AJ Friar: [crosstalk 00:02:13] very witty, it was just quick and it stung like a bee at sometimes too. It was just so quick and ferocious in that way.

Lew Temple: Yeah, yeah. He is. He’s quite gifted like that. And then in this particular project, there were a lot of challenges, obviously, because we were playing in two different worlds, the ether world, purgatory or limbo, and then taking it out on the street into our reality which, I think, kind of gives it a nice juxtaposition and gives us a chance to breathe. And then also come back into the confinements of that interrogation that we’re in. So yeah, he invited me and my first read I was thinking, well, geez, I’d like to do Balthazar. He said, “Yeah, you’d be great as Balthazar, but I’m kind of thinking about spinning that and going with a younger guy, who’s going to wear all these years on him, but have a certain amount of teen angst, so to speak.”
I think that works really well with Lucian Collier. I think that that was a really smart choice and I’m very happy. And he said, “I was always thinking about you doing Jimmy.” And I was like, “Well, Jimmy’s great. Sure, I’d be honored. That’d be awesome.” And so we took off that way. We had also talked about Richard Riehle maybe, about doing Balthazar, but again, getting back to what Mark was wanting to spin, flip the script a little bit. He just stuck with his guns, which I think was a great choice. I can’t say that enough. And so I was really excited. I love the idea of a courtroom drama being built around the judgment of your soul and the 12 angry men going to heaven or hell, which is that’s the elevator pitch. And then for it to have the spin, the kind of the reveal, the twist at the end, I thought was just delicious, right?

AJ Friar: Yeah. It was really interesting how it all, the end game of it was. I mean, we won’t tell people what it is yet, but I mean, it kind of surprised me because I was just expecting a run of the mill kind of plot line, but he really took you for a spin at the end of this film that most people may not expect.

Lew Temple: I would hope that’s the case. I love the psychological drama of it. And I’m a big fan of that type of movie that challenges you a little bit intellectually. I always relate it to sort of a basic human instinct of hide and go seek or a little fishing. You know, it’s called fishing. It’s not called catching. We love the chase. So I think that this plays into that really effectively. So as you mentioned the writing was on point then he ensembles a great cast of really wonderful performances. And then I think it also lands quite nicely. It’s got a certain texture to it and a feel of a different time and place. And so I think it all comes together really nicely and I’m really excited for people to get a chance to see it. And I hope as many people get to see it as possible and it gets out there in the market on the 4th of August, I believe.

AJ Friar: Right. And let’s talk about how great the cast chemistry is in this because you have a great mix of young actors and you have Richard and you also have James Purefoy making a knockout cameo. It must have been so much fun working with those two.

Lew Temple: It is, it’s really lovely to get the opportunity to work, really with anybody, but there are people that show up that you’re like, “Aw, man, I love this guy, or I love this lady.” That was the case almost every day. The challenge with this, AJ, was we didn’t have a lot of opportunity or time for rehearsal. So Mark was really keen on inviting people to come in that would be prepared, and were going to bring something to the game that wasn’t necessarily something that we were going to get to spend a lot of time in rehearsal with. So, each person was kind of selected on their background and a background check through the tasking office through Shannon Makhanian who cast. So for instance, we knew Veronica Cartwright, who’s absolutely-

AJ Friar: Oh, she’s one of the best.

Lew Temple: She’s a professional, she’s great. She’s so solid. We knew she was going to come in and just bring in [solids 00:08:11] . And that was a real delight for me to get the opportunity to work with her [inaudible 00:08:17] and so specific. And she was so much fun. She really enjoys working and she brings a lot of joy to her work. And then you mentioned Richard. Well, Richard’s done so much in his career and he’s been so great in everything he’s done, and he has this personality that goes with his face. He’s very, very likable. And he’s very endearing, so even as a demon in these confines, he’s just, he’s lovely. And so the speech that we have together, it’s very moving and he’s able to kind of get through to my character and move my character a little bit just with his hope. He has hope and he hasn’t seen so much, he has no reason to have hope and Richard’s very much this way in his person as well.
And then Scottie Thompson who played Cassiel, the angelic, beautiful… She’s kind of cold and disconnected and putting on a good facade, but not sure of what she’s doing. She has all those qualities and was really well prepared to deliver that. And it was so great. And then you spoke about Purefoy, where he comes in and offers kind of this George W. Bush menace, with the fun-loving character that he-

AJ Friar: You know, I didn’t pick up on that when I first watched it, but now that you said that I could totally see that George W. Bush kind of take.

Lew Temple: Yeah, and we had a lot of fun with that. And then he opted not to make his Satan over the top in the scene because when he needed to do menacing, then he could drop right in, which is great. Then, he has a second in command, that’s Peter Jacobson that plays Belial. He can be really hard and speak really fast and make everything very poignant that needs that. And so all of these things kind of mixed to a perfect blend. The gentlemen, Andrew Miller, that plays my father, he’s able to come in and do this delivery of this really irredeemable person as well. And that works. And then Lauryn plays a spicy young girl, the call girl with a heart of gold. She wants to be a poet. She has a certain innocence to her, that’s really great.
All of it was a challenge, but made easier because of everybody’s preparation and their performance. A guy like, like Chad Lindberg that played Frank, he was so menacing in that meeting and it was great. Because you really feel like this is going to be a dog fight between the two of us. And yet there’s just this ratcheted tension that has nowhere to go. And that was an important scene because my character sits in that limbo area basically as a violent person, but I’m able to be violent in that interrogation room. So all of it seemed to work pretty good. I’m very pleased with it.

AJ Friar: And I like to look at people’s career, even if they have some stuff before they got into film. And one of my buddies on Facebook told me that you used to play baseball back in the day. If you can talk a little bit about that.

Lew Temple: Yeah, prior to being an actor, I was a baseball player. That was my passion, even still to this day, I would say baseball is my first passion. And I played all the way through the Little Leagues and into high school. And then I got a scholarship to go play down [inaudible 00:12:33] college in Florida and was drafted and signed by the Seattle Mariners to be a minor league baseball player where I ended up finishing up playing with the Houston Astros and then went on to become a coach and scout and a front office executive for the Houston Astros prior to my acting career. So I had this amazing career and I followed a girl into an acting class one day to inquire as to a date and I saw what they were doing-

AJ Friar: That’s how it always begins.

Lew Temple: Yeah, it’s always about a girl, isn’t it? Right. So then I essentially walked away from a beautiful baseball career to just take a fly and just take a risk at this acting career. So I’ve been very fortunate to have had two really wonderful careers that anyone would love to participate in.

AJ Friar: Well, Lew, I got one final question, if I can get one more question in.

Lew Temple: Great, yeah. Anything you need. I’ve got time. I don’t have another one till five, so don’t feel rushed.

AJ Friar: All right. So you’ve been in a lot throughout your career. You’ve been in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, recently. And you’ve been in Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning and also Rob Zombie’s Halloween. How was it working with all three of those actors or directors, excuse me, from Tarantino to Rob Zombie, and of course, Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning.

Lew Temple: Well, they’re all three artists, obviously, and they’re storytellers at the fore. Starting with Rob, Rob Zombie is a guy that, he likes stories. He likes telling stories and he likes listening to stories. And he’s very good at what he does, in telling the story, finds the authenticity of his story. So it’s amazing. I always say about Rob is that he knows what he wants and he wants what he knows. And that would go the same for Mr. Tarantino, Quentin. Quinton’s just a natural storyteller, as well. And he is in command of his set and he’s amazing to watch, because his energy is so infectious that you tend to try to just match it. He’s great, and he gets a lot out. You have to be on your toes because he could write a monologue for you in the moment and ask you to do it. So you do have to be really ready for him. And it’s really great to watch how he works with all these incredible talents.
You mentioned Texas Chainsaw Massacre, that director is Jonathan Liebesman, and he’s very easy going and he has a good sense of what he’s looking for, but he also likes to see what happens. And so he doesn’t mind improvising quite a bit and trying to find some lightning in a bottle and Rob Zombie’s that way too. So, they’re all three a credit to their craft, obviously, and Tarantino and Zombie are at the top of their game, and I feel very grateful to work with all of them.
Even, just continue with those types of guys, but a guy like Tony Scott for Unstoppable, he’s like working for Willy Wonka, just crazy, amazing opportunity to do things that you just didn’t think you could, or a guy like Gore Verbinski who I did Rango and The Lone Ranger with, that also directed the Pirates of the Caribbean series. Those guys are what… There the lions, maybe the last of their kind, making big, big movies, big, big sets. And they’re fantastic. Or to work with really young guys that are on the move, like Justin Benson and, and Erin Moorhead in something like The Endless, which I think they’re excellent in the world of HP Lovecraft and psychological care and suspense. Yeah, I’ve had a great opportunity to work with some amazing directors, no doubt.

AJ Friar: Well, Lew, thank you so much for joining me tonight. It’s been really fun.

Lew Temple: I appreciate it, AJ, and thanks for having me on [00:17:52]. Good luck with you. Stay safe and sane and keep doing what you’re doing. We appreciate all your work and appreciate all your support.

AJ Friar: All right. You too, Lew. Stay safe.

Lew Temple: Okay. Thank you friend. Bye. Bye.

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