Exclusive Interview: Clancy Brown on Homefront
On paper, pitting Jason Statham against James Franco doesn’t seem like an even match. But in the Sylvester Stallone scripted Homefront, on DVD and Blu-ray March 11, the various components make it more complicated. Statham plays Phil Broker, a former DEA agent who moves to a small town with his daughter. When she gets into a schoolyard fight, the bully’s mother (Kate Bosworth) raises hell. When Broker beats up her husband it doesn’t make things any better. Plus, her brother is Gator (Franco), the local Walter White, so he sends his goons after Broker. Clancy Brown plays the sheriff just trying to keep the piece and we got to speak with the legendary actor for the Homefront home video release. Brown took time off from shooting the Warcraft movie to reflect on Homefront, the Highlander sequel he could have been in, and memories of the classic Shawshank Redemption.
CraveOnline: This sheriff is not an ally, he’s not a villain. Is he just an independent party really?
Clancy Brown: Yeah, I think that’s a valid observation. I don’t think he’s a good guy or a bad guy. I think he’s just kind of a guy that’s trying to deal with the situation as best he can.
The scariest character is the one Kate Bosworth plays, isn’t she?
Right, this little town was fine until Phil Broker arrived. It was managing, but then Broker arrives and everything gets thrown up in the air, gets put off kilter.
Was it always fine? I imagine he’s had to deal with her a lot.
Well, I would not say fine. I would say manageable. Like a lot of these small towns, people figure out how to get along. They reach a kind of understanding and they get along. I think the sheriff had a relationship with Gator and everybody was kind of in their box, everybody understood how to get along with each other and stay out of this business or that business or that neighborhood or that neighborhood, just like little towns do. Then all of a sudden you throw somebody into the mix that’s a little bit different and things blow up. What blew it all up was what happened with the kids. It was completely unpredictable and completely understandable. Then everybody reacts a bit too strongly I think. You’ve got the sheriff there just wishing that everybody would calm down.
Did you ever get to speak to Stallone?
I never met Sly. I was not there when he was in town and I just kind of got called to do it. [Director] Gary [Fleder] called me up because somebody fell out and asked me to do it, so I did it. I think Sly was off to a different project by then, but I would have loved to meet him. They were talking about Grudge Match at the time. I just love that idea because those are the two movies, Raging Bull and Rocky, that I grew up on.
I wouldn’t imagine the screenwriter would come to the set, but I didn’t know if when you were presented a script that said “by Sylvester Stallone,” if you’d get a chance to talk to him by phone at least?
No, I think he was involved early on. It’s his buddy Jason and I think they probably pow wowed about it. I’m certain that Gary and Sly had conversations. I’m sure he was involved early on but then like a good producer, a good screenwriter and a good actor, he just lets people go and do their job. I thought everybody did their job pretty well.
I noticed none of the deleted scenes on the Blu-ray and DVD feature you, so did they use all your scenes in the final cut?
I suppose so. [Laughs] I suppose they did. You know, it’s hard to get rid of those expositional characters because Keith carries a lot of the exposition. He carries a lot of the description of who the people are and what their motivations are, so on and so forth. It’s not overwrought which is really nice. I thought it fit in very naturally.
We’re excited you’re going to be in the Warcraft film. Given the genre and your history in those kind of movies, are they making you a villain in Warcraft?
I can’t tell you anything about what I’m doing in Warcraft yet. [Laughs] Just to say that I am in it and I’m enjoying it. I think it’s going to be an interesting effort. I think it’s going to be a great movie actually because everybody’s trying real hard but, you know, it’s making a movie from a video game so that’s always a hard mountain to climb and I think Duncan [Jones]’s doing a great job. We’re all trying to make a great movie, not necessarily service the game. We’re trying to make a great movie.
You’ve been in big movies before. How does Warcraft compare to movies like Cowboys & Aliens?
Well, Cowboys & Aliens was shot on film. It was very much an homage to westerns and sci-fi, and even that mashup because there’ve been mashups like that before. Warcraft is very different. There’s no precedent for what Warcraft is. We’re not trying to callback to The Searchers or Alien or anything like that. We’re making a whole new world. It’s quite bleeding edge stuff. It’s very cool.
Did I see they’re doing a Spongebob 2 also?
Yeah, Spongebob 2 is currently being drawn, I guess, or put together, assembled.
What’s new in the world under the sea?
Goodness, that one also the future of the free world hinges on what I have to say about it so I can’t really say much about it except that we’re all on an adventure this time, Squidward, Patrick, Mr. Krabs and Spongebob, Plankton and Sandy. We’re all in it together this time rather than just being a buddy movie like the first movie. It’s very funny I have to say.
Of course we always remember The Kurgan. You told me once that you were offered Highlander II and you turned it down. Do you remember how they were going to bring Kurgan back if you’d said yes?
Well, I never saw Highlander II. They were very cagey with me. They sent me the first 20 pages which was like a teaser and then wouldn’t send me the rest. I didn’t see the movie but there was some kind of contest, some kind of game going on, some kind of chase. Connor MacLeod was fighting bad guys and triumphing. Apparently Kurgan was one of those guys and I said, “This doesn’t make and frigging sense at all, and if you don’t give me the rest of it I can’t do it.” They said, “Well, we’re not going to give you the rest of it.” I said, “Okay, then pay me a lot of money and I’ll do it with this nonsense that you just showed me.” They said, “We’re not going to pay you any more money.” I don’t know why I would do this silly thing? I ran into Christopher [Lambert] later and told him. He said, “Why aren’t you doing it?” I said, “Chris, it seems stupid to me. It doesn’t seem like a good idea. They’re not going to pay me so I’m not going to do it.”
You didn’t tell him they wouldn’t show you the script either?
Yeah, they wouldn’t give me the script. It’s not really an interesting story. It’s very pedestrian.
It’s not like those movies made more and more sense as they went on.
And it was early on in that sequel thing. We had the Star Wars sequels to go by and boy, it sure wasn’t anything like that.
When you were making Shawshank Redemption, did you know that was a special one?
We all knew the script was special. The script was really great. Nobody really adapts Stephen King as well as Frank Darabont does. I think that’s proven. The script was really terrific. A lot of people were interested in it but you never know from the script. You never know what the movie’s going to be but it’s all you have to go on. So if the script is great and everybody’s in there trying to do their best then you have a good chance of being a great movie. They really put it together well with Roger Deakins shooting and Frank directing it. The designer was terrific too, Terry [Marsh]. It had all the elements but even so you never really know how it’s going to turn out and I think we were all pleasantly surprised and gratified that it was as good as it was.