Skip to main content

CASTING MY CHILDHOOD HERO - RODDY PIPER

[Special article submission to Spartantown by Peter Simeti, publisher of Alterna Comics, author of The Chair graphic novel and the upcoming film adaptation release.]

by Peter Simeti

Even if you don't like horror thrillers, comic books, supporting indie creators, or all of the above - get a ticket to see The CHAIR because Roddy Piper was freaking brilliant in it and the performance deserves to be seen.

Let me take a step back a bit and explain that, for the sake of full disclosure, The CHAIR is based on a comic book I wrote back in 2006 to 2008. But don't see it because I wrote it. After all, who even cares about who the hell I am? I'm just another comic creator working a 16 hour day - who I am hardly matters at all to the point of this story.  I was fortunate enough to be able to cast the film and I immediately knew that I wanted to cast the actors that I loved as a kid.

Of course, I started out the traditional way - by sending letters and emails to agents.

Well, that got nowhere fast. 

After being tired of playing the waiting game, I took matters into my own hands and contacted people on facebook and twitter. Some responded, some didn't, some said yes, and some said no.  Some of the rejections were from ridiculously nice folks like Tony Todd, Doug Jones, Mark Hamill, Viggo Mortensen, Brian Thompson, Loren Lester, Phil Lamarr, Kevin Conroy, Lew Temple, Clint Howard, Billy Drago - the list goes on and on. Everyone that responded was kind and courteous and every rejection blew my mind because these were all people I loved when I was growing up.  The people that said yes, though - the ones that actually are IN the film - that's the special stuff.



Reaching out on social media, I managed to contact Zach Galligan (of Gremlins and Waxwork fame, someone that I had on a lunchbox when I was in kindergarten), Noah Hathaway (who doesn't love Atreyu??), Naomi Grossman (as a big fan of her work on American Horror Story, this one was just so very cool), Susan Eisenberg (the voice of Wonder Woman from the Justice League Unlimited series and just such a truly WONDERful person), Kin Shriner (another voice actor from Justice League Unlimited, this time Green Arrow, just a funny funny guy), Joe Laurinaitis (Animal from the Road Warriors tag team in the WWF days of the WWE), Joe Pilato (Captain Rhodes from Day of the Dead), and of course, the legendary Roddy Piper (does Roddy really need any explanation? if so, just put on the glasses 'cuz I'm all out of bubblegum).

Now, everyone did a fantastic job on this film, there are strong performances all around especially given the deep, thought-provoking, and disturbing high tension subject matter in this old-school style horror film. It's not a torture porn film - there isn't gore for the sake of shock value here. Deaths of characters MATTER to the plot and characters aren't just complete throwaways that are fodder for cheap scares. The reason I mention Roddy - is because this was the last feature film he did before he unexpectedly passed away.



When I first spoke with Roddy, he had already read the script and loved it. He loved the nastiness of the character of Murphy, the complexity, the nuance of the desensitized nature of a death row guard that's seen it all and done it all - he was just so thrilled to be a part of it.  As a child, I had Roddy Piper bed sheets, Roddy Piper wrestling figures, and I even dressed up as Roddy the wrestler and Roddy as Nada from the creepily relevant classic "They Live".  So to hear a childhood hero speak with such enthusiasm over something that I created... well I just couldn't believe it. 

Roddy cared so much about this role and we had multiple phone calls going over the character as he took notes and offered his own spin on things as well. But the absolute best part about those calls was the fact that they'd turn into longer talks about family and life and our experiences working against the odds and following a dream. He was a great guy and due to an awful snowstorm in Boston at the time, I wasn't able to fly out during filming and shake his hand and thank him for his time and friendship. Texts and phone calls, as great as they were, just aren't the same thing. It's something I'll always regret. 

As a child I loved Roddy's energy and his larger than life presence, he was a hero of mine even when he was a villain. As an adult, I loved how humble and approachable he was and how he made you feel like he knew you his whole life.  You don't often get to meet your childhood heroes and sometimes when you do, you wish you hadn't - but Roddy went above and beyond expectations.
Just like he always did.



Please check out The Chair's trailer at http://www.thechairhorror.com and if you're interested, you can order tickets on there as well. We have special screenings playing in 28 cities and tickets are only available to order for the next 4 to 5 days.  If you see the film, I hope you enjoy it - it's a perfect viewing for this Halloween season, and if you do watch it and you see Roddy being the nastiest villain you've ever seen him play, take solace in the fact that he was really one of the nicest and most caring people to ever walk this earth.




Comments

Popular posts from this blog

NYCC: Dynamite's Next 25-Cent Revival is 'Dejah Thoris' with Amy Chu

The Princess of Mars is set to return to her throne this January, as Dynamite Entertainment announces the relaunch of one of their most beloved characters, Dejah Thoris. Writer Amy Chu (Poison Ivy, Red Sonja, KISS) will bring the strong, iconic character back to the comics in the debut issue Dejah Thoris #0, which will retail for 25 cents and allow fans to join the adventure at this introductory price.


This replicates the outstanding debut of Sheena #0, which broke 120,000 sales. Retailers can confidently stock their shelves with extra copies of this red-hot new series.

This exciting prequel to Edgar Rice Burroughs' beloved book, A Princess of Mars, will delve into the untold story of the classic Red Martian princess!  After learning of the legendary Gardens of Mars from her grandfather, Dejah Thoris, Princess of Helium, sets off on a dangerous scientific expedition to save her dying planet. But things don't go the way she planned when she encounters a mysterious Green Martian…

PREVIEW: 'Sovereigns' #5 by Ray Fawkes and Dylan Burnett

This is it!  All your questions will be answered, all the mysteries revealed!  What has obliterated humanity?  What the hell happened to the moon?  What is the true nature of the Hidden Jungle?  Why do the heroes you know and love—Turok, Magnus and Doctor Spektor—seem like completely different people?  And perhaps most importantly, how will the world be saved, and at what cost?



DOCTOR SPEKTOR PART 6: The story of the all-new master (and we use the term lightly) sorcerer continues... when Doc gets drunk & summons a demon – and good decision-making ensues!
Sovereigns #5
writers: Ray Fawkes (main),        Aubrey Sitterson (Doctor Spektor) artists: Johnny Desjardins (main),              Dylan Burnett (Doctor Spektor) covers: Stephen Segovia (A)               Johnny Desjardins (B)               Fred Hembeck (C)               Kenan Yarar (D)               Stephen Segovia (RI-B/W) FC  •  32 pages  •  $3.99  •  Teen +











WONDER WOMAN OF THE DAY: Fitness Model Gia Macool Embodies the Amazon Princess

The closest we'll ever get, probably, to superheroes in real life is through the great work of cosplayers. You see them at every pop culture convention from the very basic to extremely elaborate costume design. However, you don't have to be a cosplayer to enjoy dressing up as your favorite superhero from time to time. Take fitness model and entrepreneur Gia Macool for example. An accomplished fitness competitor and model, Macool is also a big fan of DC Comics' Wonder Woman. She shows her love of the iconic Amazon Princess in her fitness wear, meal prep accessories and even a full blown photo shoot in a Wonder Woman costume. 

For decades comics have featured very muscular superheroes, male and female, epitomizing the human form at its strongest. So when bodybuilders and fitness pros decide to suit up as these costumed heroes, they are the embodiment of those fictional characters in the flesh. Macool looks like she stepped out of the pages of a Wonder Woman comic with a suit …

REVIEW: 'Betty and Veronica: Vixens' #1 by Jamie L Rotante, Eva Cabrera, and Elaina Unger

Archie Comics is not afraid to spice things up with non-continuity books featuring the Riverdale gang in alternate realities. Whether it's a zombie horror book (Afterlife with Archie), a fledgling rock band (The Archies), or crossing over with other characters (KISS, Ramones, Predator, Punisher), Archie and the gang have been through a lot of fun adventures. None have been more fun or as liberating as this new series, Betty and Veronica: Vixens.


BETTY AND VERONICA: VIXENS #1
Writer: Jamie L Rotante Artist: Eva Cabrera Colors: Elaina Unger Letters: Rachel Deering Publisher: Archie Comics Release Date: November 15, 2017 Cover Price: $3.99
Score: ★★★★☆ (4/5)
From the opening splash page of a girl biker gang rolling down the highway clad in black leather you
can almost hear "Born to be Wild" playing in your head, Jamie Rotante sets the tone as they circle a trailer of Southside Serpents. These badass bikers mean business and aren't to be trifled with. The shocking part is…

NEW COMIC BOOK DAY: Notable New Releases 11/15/17

Another great week of comics is upon us with some big-name talent attached. Mike Mignola delivers Jenny Finn #1, Gail Simone and Darick Robertson bring Conan/Wonder Woman #3,  James Tynion IV pens a 'Dark Nights Metal Tie-In' The Batman Who Laughs, and Christos Gage offers the action-packed Ninja-K #1.


NEW COMIC BOOK DAY 11/15/17 by Slidely Slideshow
Music by Melkbelly

There's so much more this week too. Bryan Hill and Isaac Goodhart bring the climatic issue of Postal #24, Matthew Rosenberg does double duty this week with Secret Warriors #8 and Punisher #8, James Asmus, Joe Keatinge, Christopher Sebela, Joshua Williamson, and Joe Infurnari debut with Evolution #1, Margarite Bennett drops Sheena: Queen of the Jungle #3, and Vault Comics has two highly anticipated titles this week Alien Bounty Hunter #2 and Zojaqan  #2. All-ages books are well represented with Kid Sherlock trade paperback, Princeless Raven Year 2 #1, and The Legend of Wonder Woman trade paperback. Happy read…