The Chico Movie Examiner recently conducted an over-the-phone interview with actress Beverly D’Angelo about the new futuristic action film, “Bounty Killer,” which releases to VOD and select theaters on Sept. 6. D’Angelo is most notably known for her roles as Ellen Griswold in the National Lampoon “Vacation” franchise and as Barbra Miller on HBO’s hit series, “Entourage.”
In “Bounty Killer,” corporate leaders have ruined the world, and it’s up to the bounty killers to take them out. Bounty killers compete for the amount of kills, while trying to rid the world of evildoers. The film’s main characters are Drifter (Matthew Marsden) and Mary Death (Christian Pitre). D’Angelo has a small role as Lucille, a bar owner who taught Mary Death how to fight.
Before we proceed with the interview, D’Angelo would like for people to check out the Juvenile Arthritis Association, a charity project in which she is involved. To learn more about the association and to make a donation, click here.
Check out the full interview below.
David Wangberg: What was it about your role in this film that made you want to be a part of it?
Beverly D’Angelo: [Director] Henry Saine was in the arts department on “Entourage,” and I saw a short that he did – based on this graphic novel – and then I met Henry and Christian Pitre, and I just fell in love with both of them. I was just glad that there was a role I could play in it; I just wanted to be in it. I would have done anybody’s role.
DW: And your role is really small – well, it’s not really small – but it’s –
BD: It is small. I’m not on screen that much at all, but we really had a bond, and we burden those scenes with as much as we possibly could.
DW: Yeah, and you said your screen time is really small, but your character is a pretty important one for Mary Death, too.
DW: Do you think – if this film does pick up a cult following – there might be a prequel or a spinoff to where it’s you and Mary Death?
BD: I’m praying for it. I say that to Henry and Christian all the time.
DW: Because, there’s a lot of talk about your character, but when we see you, it’s just for a couple of minutes.
BD: It’s good, isn’t it? It’s a good role.
DW: Yeah, it’s a good role, though.
BD: The movie’s good. Did you see the movie?
DW: Yes, I did.
BD: Did you see it on DVD, or did you see it on the big screen?
DW: Well, I haven’t seen it on the big screen. I live in a pretty small area.
BD: I’m telling you, it’s different on the big screen – I’ve seen it on both. It’s so big, and the sound is so important, but it’s big – those scenes are big, especially when they’re in the desert, and that trailer is being pulled by motorcycles. I mean, it’s huge – there are huge vistas, like “Mad Max” or something. It’s got a lot of impact on the big screen, too.
DW: Well, in Chico, we only have one first-run theater, and they get the bigger films – not really the little ones. But I’m hoping to find an area nearby – I’ll probably have to go to San Francisco if they’re playing it. You mentioned that this film is a grind house kind of film, and I know a lot of those films that have been coming out recently have been by Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez with their films [“Death Proof” and “Planet Terror,” respectively speaking], and then Rodriguez has the two “Machete” films. Do you think more directors are going to take on this genre? Because, it kind of seems to be picking up a little bit.
BD: I don’t know. I mean, with digital cameras and their availability, a lot of stuff can happen. I remember, somebody said it – I don’t remember if it was Martin Scorsese or Steven Spielberg – but someone said years and years ago that with the invention of 8MM cameras, everybody could become a filmmaker. You know – it’s like, at a certain time, everybody got an electric guitar. I mean, my kids make movies. And they understand film language – they know how to cut; edit; and all that kind of stuff. It’s a medium that can attract all kinds of talent.
DW: Yeah, and there’s a lot more availability and options for filmmaking than there were in the very, very early stages of it.
DW: And I saw that they are doing another National Lampoon “Vacation” film. I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about that.
BD: Well, they’ve been talking about that for a long time – for a few years – and I know that last June, Chevy [Chase] and I were both approached and given a script, and we went to do the negotiations, and they said, “Oh, we’re going to do some more rewrites.” So, it’s out there – we’ll see what happens.
DW: So, it’s still a work in progress?
DW: So, would this be a reboot or a complete remake of the first one or a sequel to the last one?
BD: They’re doing rewrites – I don’t know what it’s going to be.
DW: [laughs] OK. I know this is the 30th anniversary since the “Vacation” franchise started. What is it about the Ellen Griswold character that makes you want to come back and do it again?
BD: It’s funny. That character was based on my mom, who is now passed away, but what I love about Ellen is the most important thing in her life was her husband and her family, and she lived for that, and that’s an anomaly. Her devotion is to her family and her husband, and as time goes on, it becomes more and more unique. I love that.
DW: And you guys have done a lot of different vacations. There’s the “Christmas,” the “European” –
BD: We did four of them, and we did a couple other things as the Griswolds. We’ve done a few commercials and things like that, and Chevy and I are just great friends. We’re in constant contact. We want to work together – hopefully, this will be a way.
DW: If the project does get off the ground, where would you like to see the Griswolds end up next?
BD: Hard to say, the moon, maybe – space.
DW: [laughs] That’s what I was thinking, too, actually. They are taking some characters into space. I think Rodriguez was talking about making the third “Machete” film in space.
BD: Ah, yes – gotta go to space. Everybody’s gotta go to space.
DW: I know they have Ed Helms coming in for this one, instead of Anthony Michael Hall. Have you worked with Ed before, or would this be your first time?
BD: Never worked with him.
DW: How do you feel about working with him?
BD: Well, as I said, it’s all up in the air, and we’ll see what happens. I hope that, by the time they get it together, he’s still there. I think he’s hilarious and brilliant.
DW: Aside from the possibility of the new “Vacation” film, what other projects are you doing?
BD: I just finished a Lifetime movie called “The Michaels,” where I worked with Elliott Gould, which was nice to have a little reunion with him, because we haven’t worked together since “American History X.” I’m not sure when that comes out. And then “Bounty Hunter” comes out – “Bounty Killer” comes out Sept. 6.
DW: Yeah, and I think a lot of people are going to keep on confusing that title, because there’s “The Bounty Hunter,” that Gerard Butler film, and now there’s “Bounty Killer,” and it’s just –
BD: “Bounty Killer,” “Bounty Killer” – post-apocalyptic.
DW: And they’re two completely separate films, too. One’s a comedy; this one’s a bloody, off-the-wall, grindhouse kind of movie.
BD: Yeah, but this is funny.
DW: Oh, yeah, this is funny, too. I was laughing during the entire film.
BD: Me, too. And it’s so weird. After I saw the screening, I said, “I can’t believe I watched that many people get blown away, and I feel great. It’s like the goriest, feel-good movie I’ve ever seen.
DW: [laughs] It is, and they [the studio] sent me a link to it, and I see people getting their heads chopped off. I remember Katrina Wan saying, “This is actually a pretty badass film.” And I was like, “OK, I’ve never heard any PR person say that [about a film] before, so I’ll give it a shot.”
BD: It’s true.
DW: Oh, yeah. She was telling the honest-to-God truth.
BD: We’ve become kind of a family, so we’re all hoping that everybody likes it as much as we did.
DW: Were you a fan of the grind house projects before this film, or was this your first experience with the genre?
BD: It’s my first toe in the water.
This concludes the interview, but the Chico Movie Examiner would like to thank Beverly for taking the time to speak about “Bounty Killer.”