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

DC Comics March Movie Poster Variant Covers are Fantastic

DC Comics may have outdone themselves with their running themed variant covers for the month of March 2015. After some fun and gorgeous variants in 2014 like Darwin Cooke (December), LEGO (November), and Bombshells (June) to name a few DC Comics is continuing to bring some creative covers in 2015. January will feature Flash throughout the company line in celebration of his 75th Anniversary, February will bring everyone’s favorite wild card, Harley Quinn, on DC covers, and perhaps the best mash-ups of comics and famous movie posters will arrive in March.

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 …

Chuck Palahniuk and Cameron Stewart Return for FIGHT CLUB 3

FIGHT CLUB 3 asks, “What's the first rule of fatherhood?”


Bestselling novelist Chuck Palahniuk, Eisner Award-winning artist Cameron Stewart, letterer Nate Piekos of Blambot, colorist Dave McCaig and acclaimed cover artist David Mack will collaborate on the follow-up to the NEW YORK TIMES bestselling graphic novel FIGHT CLUB 2. In the 12 part monthly comic book maxi-series FIGHT CLUB 3, Marla Singer is about to deliver her second child, but the daddy isn’t her husband—it's Tyler Durden, who’s very invested in his heir, and the world he’ll inherit.


Marla, her first son, and her husband—the unnamed narrator in the novel, who now goes by Balthazar—live in a run-down motel in a sketchy neighborhood. In the FIGHT CLUB 2 graphic novel Tyler transformed Project Mayhem into Rize or Die. Now, a new group has implemented a ruthless and deviant plan to fine-tune mankind, leading Balthazar to forge an unlikely alliance … with Tyler Durden.


“FIGHT CLUB 3 is about what happens when you need …

REVIEW: 'Death or Glory' #2 by Rick Remender and Bengal

After a raucous debut, 'Death and Glory' takes a weird turn. Like a really weird turn. Imagine David Lynch and Quentin Tarantino had a baby and out came out issue two of this new series from Rick Remender and Bengal. The question is is that a good or bad thing?


DEATH OR GLORY #2  
Writer: Rick Remender Artist: Bengal Publisher: Image Comics Release Date: June 6, 2018 Cover Price: $3.99
Score: ★★★★☆ (4/5)
With a botched heist job, a bullet in her side, and all her money gone, Glory wrestles with what to do next. The cargo her ex-husband was trafficking wasn't drugs but people and after putting them all safely on a bus to Arizona, she's broke and being attended to by one of the Brazilians that stayed behind. Her scheme was pretty straight-forward - rob the money that the dirty sheriff was going to transport and use it for her dad's surgery. Easy peasy. Then it all went to hell as the sheriff recognized her, she dropped the money, and now no one is happy, not the sheri…

The Feminist Vigilantes of MTV's 'Sweet/Vicious' Come to Comics at Black Mask Studios

Women Vigilantes Get Justice For Sexual Assault Survivors In Upcoming Comic Book That Continues The Edgy MTV Series


Premiering one-week after the 2016 Presidential Election, SWEET/VICIOUS was one of the first new TV shows of the Trump Era: an edgy and provocative tale of two young women becoming vigilantes to combat sexual assaults on their college campus. As grimly relevant today as it was two years ago, SWEET/VICIOUS will continue the story of feminist vigilantes Jules and Ophelia with a comic book series written by show-creator Jennifer Kaytin Robinson, coming in 2019 from Black Mask Studios. 

The SWEET/VICIOUS comic will be a continuation of the story started in season one of the series. After Jules was raped and her University did nothing to help her, she takes matters into her own hands becoming a vigilante who seeks justice for survivors of sexual assault and other abuse at her school. When the campus weed dealer and all-around troublemaker Ophelia Mayer finds out about Jules&#…