Exclusive: Interview with actor John Schneider, star of October Baby
To celebrate the release of his latest film OCTOBER BABY, actor John Schneider was kind enough to sit down and talk with Flix66.com about the film and other projects. OCTOBER BABY is now available on Blu-ray and DVD.
Flix66.com: OCTOBER BABY is another film (WHAT WOULD JESUS DO, YOUR LOVE NEVER FAILS, etc.) you’ve done recently that has an underlying, inspirational message. Do you seek out or find yourself drawn to these types of films?
John Schneider: I do find myself drawn to these types of scripts, though you never quite know what a film will look like when it’s done. The movies that you mention were all really, really good, but honestly I think OCTOBER BABY stands out as a crown jewel in there. I’m one of those people that believe people go to the movies for a couple reasons. They go to be scared, they go to solve a puzzle or they go to be inspired, and movies like OCTOBER BABY are very inspiring, so I like to do those when the script is good.
Flix66.com: Obviously, over the last 30+ years in show business, you’ve played just about every type of character. Is there a genre that you like more than others?
John Schneider: I think you’ll hear this from most people who are considered the good guy, what I enjoy playing more than anything is the bad guy. The devil on Touched By An Angel, a completely amoral, despicable man on Leverage, a producer of adult films in Nip/Tuck and a gay congressman who was really a manipulative bastard on a show that was short lived called Dirty Sexy Money. It’s easy to play the good guy, what I find funny is that people assume that I’m the good guy playing the bad guy, but that might not necessarily be the case.
Flix66.com: In the past few years, you’ve appeared in TV shows with your son (‘The Secret Life of the American Teenager’). Do you have any plans on reuniting with him on future projects?
John Schneider: I appeared in a show with my son only one of them, Chasen is an actor and he goes to LANDA in London, the London Academy of Dramatic Arts. I would love to have the Kirk Douglas/Michael Douglas professional relationship with Chasen. He’s terrific, he is an amazing singer and once he gets through with college, which will be a year from now, then maybe we’ll explore that. The big question is whether or not he would want to appear with me, because he is an actor and I’m a TV guy. (chuckles) Oh no, I’m sorry he would say, “Dad I’m an actor, you’re an icon. ” And I’m not sure which one of us is getting the dig when he says it that way. (chuckles again)
Flix66.com: Of all the people you’ve worked with over the years, who would you say you’ve had the most fun working with?
John Schneider: I really enjoyed working with John and Andy Erwin. You probably wanted me to say a celebrity-type name, but John and Andy Erwin were wonderful, they came to the set prepared, they directed OCTOBER BABY, came prepared and by prepared I mean not only did they know what they wanted, they also knew when they saw something that was better. One of the dangers of new directors is our job is to capture lightening in a bottle, and our real job is not to get in the way of that happening and they were excellent at that. They recognized when things were going better than they had hoped and they let them flow. That’s very enjoyable for me. Actor-wise, I really enjoyed and liked working with Timothy (Hutton) and Christian (Kane) and all the folks on Leverage. Timothy Hutton was a lot of fun to work with and an interesting, interesting guy. A lot going on behind those eyes.
Flix66.com: In OCTOBER BABY, most of the cast is relatively new. What advice did you offer your costars during the production?
John Schneider: I don’t offer advice very often, but I like to have people see what I do which is basically listen and pay attention. And again, like with the director not being in their own way, don’t be afraid to do something you were prepared to do, because that’s where reality lives, that’s where the magic happens and you have a reaction you weren’t expecting. Case in point, Shari Rigby in OCTOBER BABY, I don’t think she had any idea that she was going to break down like she did when she read the little note. And that is one of the shining moments in a very shining film, where she reads the note and crumbles down the door in OCTOBER BABY. A lesser actress would have tried to stop that from happening because it would have scared her, but Shari went with it and it’s absolutely beautiful.
Flix66.com: During the filming of OCTOBER BABY, was there ever a time you thought the message was coming off too strong or maybe not strong enough?
John Schneider: Well, see I’ve made movies for a long time and I know you can massage the message afterwards. It’s better to shoot too much message, then get rid of it in some of the editing process and there will be plenty of people that will tell you what needs to go away, so that’s not ever really a concern that you’re going overboard. And when you’re passionate about a particular perspective or particular point-of-view, then there’s very little danger of not having enough in there. So, no.
Flix66.com: Final question; what is your favorite movie of all time?
John Schneider: My favorite movie of all time…wow. I think it’s still BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID. Frame for frame, shot for shot, it’s beautiful. I love Westerns, it has some of the greatest Western imagery when Redford swings around and shoots the guys belt off and makes it dance across the floor, great when he shoots the little…I guess I like the shooting part…he shoots the cork on the ground. And as far as dialogue goes, there’s no better dialogue in any movie ever than BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID, as far as I’m concerned. So that’s still my favorite, that was Woody (William) Goldman who wrote that. Second would be another Woody Goldman script, which was THREE DAYS OF THE CONDOR, oddly enough Robert Redford in that one too. So yeah, that’s number one and number 2 and they’re old. So I guess I’m old. (laughs)
Flix66.com: Thank you, Mr. Schneider and we look forward to your next project.