Exclusive Interview: Clancy Brown Talks THE MORTUARY COLLECTION and Possible Return to THE MANDALORIAN
Has Clancy Brown really ever been in anything you didn’t like? From his most memorable performances in Highlander, Shawshank, and Starship Troopers, Brown has also amassed an incredible resumé as a voice actor over the years in Disney’s Gargoyles and the current comic book series Invincible from Robert Kirkman. With his recent turn as Surtur in Thor: Ragnarok and the Devaronian alien Burg in The Mandalorian, Brown keeps adding to his list of iconic roles.
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In our interview below, we talk about his turn as the spooky mortician Montgomery Dark in Ryan Spindell’s fantastic anthology The Mortuary Collection. Additionally, we had to ask if he’s heard about the live action version of Gargoyles that’s in development, whether or not he would return to the galaxy of Star Wars and if he’s allowed to say anything about his new villainous character Kurt Caldwell in the upcoming ninth season of Dexter.
Synopsis: Set in the phantasmagorical town of Raven’s End, nothing is as it seems…. In The Mortuary Collection a misguided young girl takes refuge in a decrepit old mortuary. There she meets Montgomery Dark, an eccentric undertaker with more than a few skeletons in his closet. Montgomery chronicles the strange history of the town through a series of twisted tales, each more terrifying than the last, but the young girl’s world is unhinged when she discovers that the final story…is her own.
Dread Central: I first saw The Mortuary Collection during Fantasia Fest and loved it. It really started to get a following there. It feels like a children’s fairy tale or something like R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps just with a lot more edge. It’s a great gateway horror anthology. Do you think it’s okay for kids to watch this or does it just depend on how cool your parents are?
Clancy Brown: (laughs) I don’t know, man. I wouldn’t want to be the parent deciding that. Jake Elordi’s segment…there might be too much to explain as a parent.
DC: The film has this real sense of nostalgia. It really feels like a warm blanket.
CB: Yeah, I think that’s exactly what Ryan [Spindell] was going for. That it’s familiar enough that it sort of lulls you into something familiar and then it kind of blows your mind with how far it goes. It goes a bit too far at times.
DC: It was great to see it on so many Top 10 horror lists for 2020. I think that really surprised Ryan Spindell. I wanted to talk about your makeup work as the mortician, Montgomery Dark. It was originally supposed to be much more involved, wasn’t it? Weren’t you supposed to have monstrous hands and a look that made you seem a little more like a creature?
CB: Yeah, when you do stuff like that…Ryan and ADI [Amalgamated Dynamics, Inc] had their conversations and did their artwork and so you do the whole schmeer, right? You don’t really know what you’re gonna get or what it’s going to look like. We stuck it all on and went and did the makeup test and put everything on. At that point, Ryan was brave enough and secure enough to say okay, let’s take that out. Let’s get rid of that, let’s take that. I was talking about the hands because I’ve had to deal with hands before. To me, they never look right on screen. They were extending the fingers and if they can’t articulate well enough, you know what I mean? To me, they just look like somebody wearing finger extensions and they look dumb.
DC: That can be a little distracting.
CB: So, I said is there a way we can do this just in the way we draw on the hands. And of course the makeup artist, Mo Meinhart, said oh yeah, we can make your hands look longer than they are. What I need was my son’s hands. My son has these big, massive fingers. He’s a piano player and has these great hands.
DC: It’s great that the makeup effects were from Amalgamated Dynamics. Tom Woodruff and Alec Gillis are real legends. I think they even worked on Starship Troopers.
CB: Yeah, they did. It was fun to see them again. And they did a great job but they also…they’re pros and they agreed with Ryan. They got a really good makeup artist, Mo Meinhart, she ran the whole show for them. And they didn’t make a lot of money. There wasn’t a lot of money. They just believed in Ryan and the script so that’s another reason to give them kudos.
DC: Another crazy makeup job you went through recently was as the Devaronian in The Mandalorian. That must’ve been some of the most makeup you’ve ever been under.
CB: Yeah, that was legendary. I think we were nominated for an Emmy for that one. Did not win. They won instead for some other show that wasn’t as good, I think.
DC: I hope we see your character Burg a lot more in the future. It was great to see you as a species that was only seen in A New Hope. I assume you’re on a mining planet somewhere in shackles.
CB: Okay, well, I don’t think you’ll see me again on that one! (laughs) I’m not anxious to put that stuff back on.
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DC: Just to talk about your voice work a little bit, you also did a voice in Star Wars: Bounty Hunter in the early 2000s.
CB: Oh, that was a long time ago, yeah. Long long time ago.
DC: It must be nice as an actor to have the option of going back into voice acting. I was talking to Xander Berkeley actually about Gargoyles sometime ago and how that series has really been getting a new audience on Disney Plus.
CB: Yeah, that was a good little series. That was a time when Disney was saying we don’t want the regular, you know, the usual suspects so they kind of branched out and opened up to live action actors that were interested in pursuing it. They had a good team together to direct them and write and everything. That was a lot of fun.
DC: It sounds like you wouldn’t be into doing the makeup but have you heard anything about the new potential live action version of Gargoyles?
CB: That’s the first time I’ve heard of it. I’ve never heard of it. Wow. That would be interesting. There’s nothing they can’t do now with CG and everything. It’s kind of amazing. Whatever you want to do, I guess you can do.
DC: One of the reasons Mortuary Collection is getting the attention it has is because most anthologies feel a little pieced together because of multiple directors that are all doing something a little different visually. With one director in Ryan this is so much more streamlined.
CB: He’s a terrific writer and he’s done a number of shorts, so he knows that format pretty well. When I first read it, there was a story in it that was just too ambitious so they replaced it with the medicine cabinet one which was a little bit less expensive to produce. He really knows how to tell a story economically: beginning, middle and end. How he wrapped it around I thought was very clever and how he got in and out of the stories was very clever. And how it finally paid off was also very clever.
He says he wrote The Mortuary Collection as a feature first which I have no reason to disbelieve him. But if he did, I bet people are kicking their butts for not producing it sooner because I think it’s really well done and I’m happy to be part of it. He’s a real talent, Ryan. He’s someone to watch. He’ll be getting big budgets and lots of money to do whatever he wants to do next.
DC: Hopefully you guys will work together again. I know it’s a little under wraps so I don’t want to get you in trouble but you’re also playing what looks to be the main baddie in the new comeback season of Dexter. Is there anything you can reveal about your character Kurt Caldwell and how he’ll fit into the story?
CB: Um, nothing that…I can’t reveal anything that I haven’t seen already. I haven’t really, I just kind of got here and got started with it and haven’t done that much. So I haven’t seen many scripts so I don’t really know. I wish I could tell ya but I don’t really know much. What I could tell you, I’m not allowed to tell you. But it’s not that interesting. What I know is not that interesting to tell, it’s just that I can’t tell you because that’s part of it.
DC: Of course. It sounds like you might be a trucker or something so hopefully we’ll get to see you drive a big rig.
Clancy Brown: Ooh, that’d be fun. That’d be fun! I haven’t seen that script yet.
Are you also a big fan of Clancy Brown? Well, The Mortuary Collection with Clancy Brown is now available on VOD, Digital HD, DVD & Blu-ray. Have you snagged your copy yet? Let us know in the comments or on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!