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

REVIEW: 'Cyber Force' #1 by Matt Hawkins, Bryan Hill, and Atilio Rojo

Cyber Force is back! A reimagining from Matt Hawkins and Bryan Hill introduce a new beginning for the classic series.


CYBER FORCE #1
Writer: Matt Hawkins, Bryan Hill Artist: Atilio Rojo
Letterer: Troy Peteri Publisher: Image Comics Release Date: March 28, 2018 Cover Price: $3.99
Score: ★★★★☆ (4/5)
You don't have to be familiar with the original series to enjoy this new iteration. In fact, 'Cyber Force' #1 is your prototypical origin story where the players are introduced including a devastatingly lethal villain.  It opens with said villain striking a huge terrorist strike brought vividly to life by Atilio Rojo. Humanity has become too dependent on technology and this act of terrorism is supposed to be the first wave of resistance, a preventive measure to keep humans from destroying themselves. In the aftermath of the attack of one of the world's biggest technology companies, one man survives, Morgan Stryker, maimed and severely wounded, unknowingly undergoes a transform…

REVIEW: 'Slots' #1 by Dan Panosian

Created, written, and drawn by Dan Panosian, 'Slots' #1 is his baby and he has a story to tell at his own damn pace. This beautifully illustrated story is centered squarely on former boxer Stanley Dance and his attempt to find redemption despite being someone without many redeeming qualities.


SLOTS #1 
Writer: Dan Panosian Artist: Dan Panosian Publisher: Image Comics Release Date: October 4, 2017 Cover Price: $3.99
Score: ★★★★☆ (4/5)
'Slots' is more of a character study than a rip-roaring crime caper but Panosian's protagonist is a charming cad, full of confidence, capable of swindling you out of a restaurant bill with a devilish grin on his face. He's headed back to Vegas to fulfill a favor he owes. He returns to his old haunts where everyone knows him and knows he must be playing some kind of angle. 'Slots' succeeds because Stanley is so magnetic even when he's a jerk he's interesting. So following him around town meeting up with old friends is…

Fred Van Lente & CAFU Decode ARMSTRONG AND THE VAULT OF SPIRITS #1

Valiant announces ARMSTRONG AND THE VAULT OF SPIRITS #1 – a hard-charging, standalone special coming this winter from New York Times best-selling writer Fred Van Lente (ARCHER & ARMSTRONG, Incredible Hercules) and red-hot rising star CAFU (RAPTURE)! On February 7th, join in a riotous celebration for the ages as Armstrong, for the very first time, uncorks the ancient mysteries of his centuries past – and dares his closest comrades into the adventure of several lifetimes!

Deep beneath New York City’s seediest dive bar, Armstrong – the hard-hitting, harder-partying immortal veteran of history’s greatest escapades – is hosting an invitation-only affair for his most beloved friends and allies! Archer… Ivar, Timewalker… Faith… Quantum and Woody… And special guests from across the Valiant Universe… All have been offered a seat at the table for a personally guided tour of Armstrong’s most valuable and tightly guarded treasure… From the Great Flood to ancient Greece to the height of the C…

PREVIEW: 'The Shadow / Batman' HC by Steve Orlando and Giovanni Timpano

The World’s Greatest Mystery. The World’s Greatest Detective. They can barely stand each other, so how will they possibly deal with the World’s Greatest Evil? What legacy can two of the world’s most enduring icons of justice leave once they discover an ancient evil has been living inside the world they protect for centuries? Can Batman and the Shadow save the world without destroying it in the process?


Writer Steve Orlando (Batman/The Shadow, Justice League of America) and artist by Giovanni Timpano (The Shadow, Transformers) unite to tell an instantly classic tale of noir, mortality and generational heroes and villains.
The Shadow / Batman HC
writer: Steve Orlando artist: Giovanni Timpano cover: Alex Ross

In Stores 04/25/2018
FC  |  160 pages  |  $24.99  |   Teen +
COLLECTING ISSUES 1-6 + BONUS CONTENT













PREVIEW: 'John Wick' #2 by Greg Pak and Giovanni Valleta

John Wick's origin story continues! In the underworld of El Paso, Texas, a familiar face introduces an ex-con named John Wick to the local branch of the mysterious Continental Hotel, a neutral zone where professional killers spend their downtime. But can John adhere to the rules of the Continental? Or will his search for vengeance destroy his chances for a peaceful life? Also... does John Wick actually have...a cat?


John Wick #2

writer: Greg Pak
artist: Giovanni Valleta
cover: Giovanni Valleta (A)
            Jock (B)
            Photo cover (C)

In Stores 04/18/2018

FC  |  32 pages  |  $3.99  |   Teen +