Richard Brake has done a lot in his relatively short time in cinema; he got his start in the low-budget sci-fi/horror hybrid Death Machine and has gone on to work alongside Christian Bale and The Rock and work for directors like Brian DePalma. Not a bad resume at all!
His latest role is as the titular Ronald Perkins in Craig Singer’s “>Perkins’ 14, one of the films selected by After Dark to be a part of this years 8 Films to Die For. We got a chance to throw some questions at Mr. Brake via e-mail in support of the movie, and the results follow!
Johnny Butane: Tell us how you first got involved with Perkins 14
Richard Brake: I got my agent to fight for a meeting with Craig. The casting director thought I was too psychotic looking for the part. Plus, I got a pretty solid history of playing those kinds of roles. So even though Ronald Perkins is the darkest, nastiest guy I’ve played, he’s meant to look like a mild mannered pharmacist. The audience and the hero can’t realize right away he’s a psycho. So when I finally got the meeting with Craig, I put on a pair of polyester slacks, a white button down, parted my hair in some nerdy style and went in…I had everything but the slide ruler in my pocket. Luckily it worked, cause I loved the part.
JB: Since Perkins’ 14 was the first film to be cast online, did you feel especially honored to be chosen by the online community?
RB: Actually the online community only cast four of the younger actors. The rest of us got cast the old fashioned way. But it’s still very cool to be a part of the project. The story and artwork were also selected online.
JB: How would you describe your role as Ronald Perkins?
RB: I’ve played some very bad people. Hell, I’ve even eaten children and raped Natalie Portman (almost) but Ronald Perkins is truly the nastiest character I’ve played to date. Yet he’s lived in his community unnoticed for years. Personally, people that can be so evil and yet appear so normal fascinate me.
JB: How was working with Craig Singer?
RB: He’s very cool and very good. It’s tough shooting a film on this kind of budget and it’s even tougher to shoot it well, and he did that without freaking out or compromising. Personally, he gave me a lot of space to create Ronald. I couldn’t ask for more from a director.
JB: Did you have any screen time with Michale Graves? If so how would you deem his acting chops?
RB: I didn’t have any scenes with Michale, but I met him off set and he’s very cool (as you’d expect). From what I’ve seen and from the word on set, his acting chops kick serious ass.
JB: Moving on to other roles; did you relish the chance to play the man who killed the Wayne’s in Batman Begins?
RB: I loved Batman as a kid, so I was in heaven from the moment I was cast. Not only is it amazing to be a part of the whole Batman history, but also it’s an honor to be a part of Christopher Nolan’s incredible resurrection of the franchise. I watched The Dark Knight the other day and kept thinking to myself, “I killed his parents…how cool is that?
JB: Tell me about your role in Outpost…
RB: I play a hard ass redneck mercenary trying to survive an onslaught of Nazi Zombies. I get to be very cool and shoot a lot of big fucking guns.
JB: How do you feel about how the film has been treated? Seems like it’s been knocked around for quite a while, now it’s only getting a limited theatrical release.
I didn’t know it was getting a theatrical release! It got a theatrical release in the UK last summer and has been out on DVD in the US and the UK for a while…
It has a pretty good cult following. And strangely, it has some of the best reviews of any of my films. In the UK, it was a top ten DVD for several weeks. Not bad for a low budget horror film! Go figure.
JB: Considering your background, do you prefer the stage or film?
RB: I’ve had such great experiences doing both it’s like trying to choose which of my sons I like more. On stage, I get the buzz of performing a character from beginning to end in front of a live audience, but in film I get to blow topless mutants away with sub atomic machine guns (Doom). I couldn’t live with out either!
JB: Finally, what’s next for you? Any possibility of a Perkins’ follow-up?
RB: Sadly Perkins doesn’t make it to the end. In fact, I’ve never played a character that lives to the end. Once I was heading out the door to an audition and my wife asked me if the character lived until the end. When I said “yes”, she told me I might as well stay at home; I wasn’t going to get the part anyway. She was right…I didn’t.
Thanks to Mr. Brake for taking the time to respond to our inquires! Perkins’ 14 is in theaters now as part of the 3rd annual After Dark Horrorfest, so get out there and lend your support!