The following is the transcript of the Hollywood Spotlight chat with:
Host: "Welcome to Hollywood Spotlight on Real Hollywood.com, my name is Celeste and I will be your host this evening. Joining me here at the iXL Live studios are the producers of the show, Peter & Mike and our incredible typist, Michelle. Now if you would just like to ask our guest a question this evening, it's very simple. Just type in / ask a space and then your question. However, if you're using "Excite's VP chat" you need only click the "something to say" icon at the bottom right corner of your screen. We are all very excited about our special guest this evening, actor PERRY KING, star of the Family Channel movie "The Cowboy and the Movie Star." Welcome to the show, Mr. King!"
Perry King: "Thank you! Glad to be here."
Host: "Tell us about the movie. What is it like to work with Sean Young?"
Perry King: "She's great! Beautiful, great actress and very funny. She has two beautiful kids that hung out with her. I have a grown daughter who's 28 and a little girl who's 6 1/2."
Host: "The 28 year old must have loved you on Melrose Place!"
Perry King: "No, she hated it. She watched it with her friends and then there was dad! All the fantasy was ruined if Dad showed up!"
The Octagon asks: "Mr. King - I have enjoyed a lot of work, and used to watch Riptide all the time. Did you enjoy working on that show?"
Perry King: "Yeah, I loved it and loved working with Joe Penny and Thom Bray. The only trouble was that it was so exhausting. We all had that problem. It's a single camera film show. To get it down in 7 days you work 14 hours a day and learn the lines and prep for the next day and hardly have time to sleep let alone eat, answer phone calls/mail. After a few years, we were exhausted all the time! Felt like we were run over by a Mack truck. I don't know how Joe Penny went on to do "Jake and the Fatman", I couldn't have done it. I don't know how Tom Selleck can do a show similar to that for 8-10 years."
The Octagon asks: "Would you own a helicopter like LouLou if one was given to you?"
Perry King: "I suppose she means the Screaming Mimi, the helicopter in Riptide. We pretended it was unstable but it was actually extremely dependable. It used to move huge air conditioning systems. We had to move a whole boat one day and the chopper picked up the mast and moved it several yards. It cost them $2,000 every time we fired up the motors."
"It's in the charges, to make it certifiable to run, the permits, the pilot, when it was all said and done, it was $2,000. One day we did a scene where we had to jump into it on top of a 20 story building. One of us hit the controls and all of a sudden the chopper made the sound it makes when it goes up. We were terrified! We screamed, didn't know what to do! From that point on in, we made the pilot... I did fly it once, once it was in the air, the pilot gave me controls and it was sensitive. You'd breathe on it and it'd veer left and veer right."
Host: "Nice. Doing your own stunts."
Guest12197 asks: "How'd you get started in acting?"
Perry King: "Yale and Juilliard. I always wanted to be an actor. My father gave me advice on my life, it was brilliant, he said, "Figure out something that you would do for free. Once you get that, figure out how to make a living at it." That's what I did. From that point on, I figured out making a living at it, which by the way principally to get trained and go to school... most people think you just need to be charming and come to Hollywood and wait until someone puts you in a movie. It's a craft and there's a lot of technique which you don't see and it's hard to work with someone who's not. Sean is very technically proficient, she'd almost never screw up a take or shot because of being on the wrong spot or mismatching...."
Host: "Interesting, I wouldn't suspect her of being that way."
Perry King: "It's a joy! You want to work with someone like that. Most actors, you spend a lot of time just getting them to be in focus. It's fun to work with someone who's up on the technical stuff. Takes time to be that good."
Host: "So you got your start..."
Perry King: "I was in New York in the 70's and did theater but not on Broadway. A lot of theater in New York. I was on Broadway in "A Few Good Men" about 8 years ago. I'm happy to say I got to do that. It's a problem for my personal life to be on stage, cause we live in a ranch on the Sierras - my wife and little girl - and when she grows up, I can be away, but right now, I don't want to miss that. It's so much fun! Particularly on this ranch... idyllic, she's growing up surrounded by cows, dogs, and dead chickens."
Host says "Chicken eaters!"
Perry King: "Yeah! We had a disaster where the wild cats that live here ate the chickens! But we can't get rid of them, 'cause they're useful. They keep rodents and insects away and things that snakes eat and so they keep snakes away. There are a lot of rattlesnakes here, so they keep them away. I've killed them on my property. If they get close, they can hurt my child or one of the dogs so you have to kill them."
Guest12201 asks: "Do you keep in touch with the people who you have worked with?"
Perry King: "I do. I don't often make of point of it. I just saw Joe Penny the other day. Priscilla Barnes and I who were in a play last summer. Sean and I talked today on the phone. It's a small, funny business, you run into people and work with them again. You don't have to stay in touch, it's a small, insulated business, everyone knows everyone. In some ways it's bad and some ways it's good."
Guest12198 asks: "If you could work with anyone who would it be?"
Perry King: "It's a tight little business. Sometimes you feel like running away from it. I usually don't think in those terms. I look forward to working with new people. If I had to pick an actor I admire more than anyone else these days, Robert Duvall. I saw "The Apostle". I thought he was the quintessential actor for decades... manages to hit the perfect balance between being a star... you get a choice in what you do then, it's useful."
"I don't get a choice so much in what I do. There's weight in his name but he doesn't pay the price the way some big stars do. Some of the most unhappy people I've ever known have been the biggest stars I've ever known. A double-edged sword. They're having those hearings in Washington on protecting stars from paparazzi. It's no joke. Some people think it's silly... Tom Cruise is so rich, successful, why should he mind? But, it's really terrifying! I'm not joking... I've never consciously tried to be a big star, but I'm not unhappy that I never became a big star, I don't want to pay that price."
"I can go where I want to go, my family is untroubled by attention. But, one of the reasons I moved is because I used to have people show up! They frightened my wife! They got my address somehow... people you wouldn't want showing up at your house. The earthquake didn't help either! She hated that, too!"
The Octagon asks: "You've mentioned Mr. Duvall before as an idol - but you never have worked with him yet?"
Perry King: "That's true. And chances are I won't!"
Guest12198 asks: "Who is your favorite actor that you have worked with?"
Perry King: "I'd love to but there's a lot of wonderful actors out there, more so than wonderful parts. Yeah. I think the most pleasure both professionally and in learning and personal pleasure was with James Mason in a film called "Mandingo" about 20 years ago. He was wonderful to me. I was mid-20's and he took me under his wing, treated me like a son and taught me wonderful things..."
"One of the best he said... we were discussing something and I asked his advice about how to play a scene and he said, "People make it too complicated, acting. Particularly the method form. What we're paid to do is to believe that what's happening is really happening and has never happened before. Not easy. But, never let it get too complicated.""
"In that film, I was finding myself having to compete... some actors are competitive... they try to take over every scene and I found myself doing that with someone in that film. I asked James what I should do. He said, "Don't compete. If your work is good, it will be good. You can have your back 20 feet away from the camera and it'll still be good. But, the other person will spend their energy on competing and their work will suffer." He was absolutely right. I've never been competitive since then. It's worked well, helped my acting, kept me sane. He was wonderful... a superb man."
Host: "Your first film was with Shirley MacLaine?"
Perry King: "Yes. She was also very generous with help and advice. That was the first thing I ever did. I talked to her about film and camera technique. And, as a result, I was wasting a ton of time, and rather than get angry with this, she sent everyone off for coffee... time on a film set is several hundreds of dollars a minute... and she sat me down and taught me a quick course in film technique."
"When I would do my best and screw up she never minded, was patient with me. On the other hand, there was another actor who was very good but not doing his best. One day, she tore him apart in front of everyone. The lesson I learned is if someone's doing the best they can... praise them for it. That's their best. But, everyone must always do their best, if they're doing less, they deserve to be shredded. She's tough, but wonderful. Very professional."
Guest12210 asks: "Is it hard working on a film or television show making friends then having to move on?"
Perry King: "Yeah, I do. Definitely. It's also not hard. Most actors like the gypsy way of life, you know? I love the fact that my life's constantly changing... I never know what will happen and I know that if nothing else whatever's happening will end fairly soon. When I was shooting Cowboy... I really hated to see it end. We had so much rain shooting it in winter... lush, green. We shot it in LA and it looked like Montana... where they shot Little House on the Prairie."
Host: "I didn't know that it was shot here? My fantasies of moving to that little town where they lived. Shot my whole childhood!"
Perry King: "I can show you. It's still sitting there. It's not a geographical place, more psychological."
Host: "The film..."
Perry King: "Yeah, a romantic comedy. But, sweet, quiet, gentle comedy. The old film we've seen many times before but so much fun. You watch two people stuck together who are completely different and we know they're perfect but they don't and we watch them finally figure it out."
"Hollywood's made this movie before many times, but it's always good. I've been trying to play a cowboy for 20 years. When I was younger, I was too pretty. But, I've finally gotten older and look more beat up. I look like I've stayed in the sun too long. But, the guy who makes these choices... he was a dream guy to me, what he said to me is, "What have you never done that you always wanted to do?" And I said, "Be a cowboy." And, within a few weeks, he sent me a cowboy script."
Host: "Oh! That's great."
Guest12219 asks: "What are some similarities and differences between yourself and your character in the movie?"
Perry King: "I feel very similar to the character, Clint Brannan. But, I doubt it's obvious to people. One of the things I like is that he has simple, old fashioned ideas about life. And, he's spent his whole life trying to live up to them. He's finding it hard to fit into the modern world and I often feel that way. I think I was born in the wrong century. I seem to be getting more that way as I get older. My wife tells me my ideas are probably right, but no one acts that way, so I drive myself crazy!"
"If I get a phone call, I return the call. Always! It seems wrong not to return it! No one in Hollywood does that. You're supposed to understand that if they don't call you back, they mean "No, thank you" and I don't buy that! I call them and say, "No, thank you" and make myself uncomfortable in the modern world. I hate lying. Show business operates on multi-tiered structure of lies."
"You know what I'm talking about... I don't mean to be derogatory toward show business, but there's a lot of lying. So, I related to the old fashioned ways of this character. He's getting divorced and his wife doesn't care that he's selling the ranch that's been in his family for 150 years."
Host: "How does he handle the divorce?"
Perry King: "He says, I'm gonna go on a cattle drive. He's baffled."
Host: "What's his feeling toward the movie star?"
Perry King: "None in the beginning, nor her to him. They just get stuck together and neither one wants anything to do with the other. Each seems irritating to the other, they have a lot to learn."
Host: "Opposites attract?"
Perry King: "Yeah, plus the differences between men and women are not as great as we tend to think. Underneath, there are areas where we can meet that are basic concepts of what's important and not important in life. That's where they finally end up meeting."
Guest12197 asks: "What's been your favorite project in your career so far?"
Perry King: "Oh, I have a lot that I've liked. If I had to pick a film that I liked, a movie called 'A Different Story.' Not a lot saw it... 1980 it came out. About two people, both gay, way ahead of it's time. And, they're best friends and they have no problem being gay but they end up married to each other, conveniently because he'll be thrown out if she doesn't marry him. He's an illegal alien. Then they find out they love each other. They have a love affair after they marry and it shocks them! The best things in life come out of left field! It's not about being straight or gay, but being true to yourself and recognizing the best things in life even when they surprise you."
Guest 12224 asks: "Do you have a fan club where I can send you something?"
Perry King: " I used to have one. No web sites. I'm completely computer illiterate. It fascinates me that I'm on one right now 'cause I don't know a thing. I don't have a site 'cause I wouldn't know what to do with it. I used to have a fan club, but the president disappeared one day and I have never heard from her again. I guess care of David Shapiro Associates. I don't know the address. Sherman Oaks, California. I'm sure he's listed in the phone book."
Guest12219 asks: "What do you enjoy watching on TV now?"
Perry King: "Well, with my little girl, the Family Channel. I like that you know it's okay to watch. I'm very happy to be on it. I haven't seen the film, I'm going to watch it with her, my wife and parents in law. Looking forward to it. She's only seen me in one other film and it was okay, but even so it involved some violence. A hijacked plane and I was the FBI agent who saved the plane. 'Daddy, you saved the plane!' I had to explain to her that I really didn't save the plane."
Host: "Would you encourage her to act?"
Perry King: "She can do anything she wants. But, you take an awful beating being an actor. Almost every day someone says, "We don't want you." Or, "We don't even want to meet you." You have to get a thick skin and survive it and eventually you get rewarded. The difficulty in acting is taking the pounding. I wouldn't want her to do that, but if she wants it, I'll support her.
Host: "What did your father do?"
Perry King: "He's a doctor. I think he gave me that advice because his father was a doctor and he had no choice. He would have chosen something else. His father informed him he was going to be a doctor. He didn't want to do that to his own kids."
The Octagon asks: "Where are you now? In a studio or at home?"
Perry King: "Yeah! Either my biggest fan or my only one! Yeah, at home."
Guest12198 asks: "What charity do you support most?"
Perry King: "Yes, I'm the national spokesperson for Olive Crest Homes For Abused Children. In Orange County, California... almost about to become a national organization, spread to Vegas and all of LA. Since 1973, we've taken care of almost 20,000 kids. About 1,500 each year. It has my whole commitment and heart, this place. Wonderful. I've gotten to know kids there that were from dysfunctional families and raised almost entirely by Olive Crest. I've watched them grow up and become adults and parents themselves. So, I've seen the results of what it does."
Host: "How did you get involved?"
Perry King: "About 20 years ago, they approached me for a fundraiser and at that moment in my life, I was looking for someplace to get committed to. I had one daughter at that time and didn't know anything about child abuse. I've since learned how prevalent it is. Ideally you want to reunite them with their parents but it's not safe."
"Olive Crest takes care of the most severely troubled/mistreated. We have a foster parent program and they don't take care of deeply troubled/traumatized kids. But, the best thing is, if you catch it soon enough in a child's life, you can help and erase the affects of it. They won't go on to abuse their own children. The terrible cycle of it. That's what they know! That's what they grew up with! They think this is loving as a child. If your parents fought, when you grow up, you'll fight. 714-543-5437 is the number for Olive Crest. Give them a call, they're wonderful people. Always willing and happy to talk about it. Financial help is needed and help with the kids, we always need help."
"A lot of people are emotionally frightened to get attached to one of the kids and come face to face with the affects of that abuse. But, some get involved in rebuilding a house that will be used for them and they're still helping them greatly."
Guest12224 asks: "Why do you think people in Hollywood are so self centered and don't give anything back to the community unlike yourself. It's great that you have helped so many kids. That must feel real good."
Perry King: "It does feel very good. I think that... I know a lot of people in Hollywood who do give back and it's one of the reasons I do it. I feel extremely lucky in my life... so lucky on so many levels so I want to return it, pass it along. I know a lot of people... Connie Selleca who I worked with does a lot of work for M.A.D.D. and I try to help her with that. But, there are those that give back for that reason."
"But, it's true in Hollywood, a lot of people are self-centered. The impulse to be a performer is a neurotic impulse, Robert Duvall has done brilliant wonderful things. But the impulse is neurotic, it means you want attention. Validation. Usually it means you can't get satisfied by getting it from one person or a few, you need it from millions! It's almost by definition a business made up of very neurotic people! I include myself!"
Host: "What about sports figures?"
Perry King: "I don't know about sports, the only thing I know are race car drivers, they are completely different from this. They are some of the sanest and most balanced people I've ever known."
Host: "You won the Long Beach Grand Prix?"
Perry King: "Yes, I did. I wouldn't have won it if Michael or Mario Andretti were in it!"
Guest12224 asks: "You were in the Bob Bondurant school of driving?"
Perry King: "I got into it through acting, a celebrity race and I started training and got hooked and started raising on an amateur level and turned pro for a while and felt that I had to make a decision: acting, or driving and decided on racing. I've gone to a dozen of them! Many thousands of dollars on racing! But, it's all been great. I loved it!"
Host: "You also restore old cars?"
Perry King: Old motorcycles. I have 3 with side cars. When I was in college, I didn't have money, so to have a car, I had to buy a junk and fix it and I got hooked on that, enjoyed it. So, every now and again, I fix one up and sell it if I want to. The truck on the ranch, I bought out of my neighbors field for $500 and got it running in a couple of hours and drove it home which made him pretty mad!"
Host: "You did it yourself?"
Perry King: "Yeah, I'm a good mechanic. I thought I could fall back on that if I could."
The Octagon asks: "For someone that says that about the modern world, you sure seem comfortable typing alot, ever do any of your own writing?"
Perry King: "And may have to, actually! I have done a lot of it, but don't think it's very good. Nothing I think is worth reading. My grandfather was Max Perkins, he first published Scott Fitzgerald, Hemmingway, Tom Wolf, James Johns. Some of the best writers of the first half of the century. My whole family are writers. My older sister is a wonderful writer and some day she'll be read. Her name is Ruth Porter and within a few years, she'll have her stuff published. She writes novels. But, what I've written thus far is not worth anything I don't think."
Guest12197 asks: "What do you think makes a good character and script?"
Perry King: "Well, the way I judge stuff when I read is, 'Do I want to live that person's life?' Not do I like/dislike him. A lot of actors think are they sympathetic. I never understood that. Years ago, I was in "The Choir Boys" with a lot of good people in it. I played a suicidal man the whole film and you didn't really know it until the end when he kills himself. But, I had to live with his suicidal thoughts for 3 months."
"I thought, I'll never, ever do that again - a character who's life I wouldn't want to live! You don't become the guy, but it's almost like you're rooming with him. You can't get away from him, you're focused on him. If you have a roommate you hate, life is awful!"
Host: "So, you would have played the Fear & Loathing part?"
Perry King: "I haven't seen it, but to work with Terry Gilliam would be a joy. I've played some awful people that were fascinating, so it's not a good analogy. The character in Melrose Place was despicable. They tried to clean him up, which I hated! I thought they were ruining him."
Guest12224 asks: "Your voice sounds very familiar. Do you do any voice over work?"
Perry King: "Not really. Radio. Star Wars on Public Radio, the Han Solo part on all three of the Star Wars radio shows. Not much voice over. A bit a year ago. But, she knows me from... I've been on a lot of shows for almost 30 years now. My older daughter was born in 1970 and I got my first job with Shirley MacLaine 3 weeks later."
Host: "And the Hemmingway sisters..."
Perry King: "Yeah Margeaux and Mariel. Margeaux was a perfect example of what a tough business it is. She was a sweet, gentle person. She never got credited for her talent. When I was young and worked with her, she was the hottest model there was and very beautiful and sophisticated. In fact, she was a big tall girl and very simple in her taste. Not stupid. When people saw her act, they realized she wasn't what they thought she was and therefore she was thought of as a bad actor and it broke her heart!"
Host: "That's awful!"
Perry King: "Yeah, it is awful! Show business can be so mean! I see meanness all the time."
Guest12199 asks: "What has been your most challenging role to date and why?"
Perry King: "Hmmm... let me think. Everything has it's own set of challenges and the more challenges the better..."
Host: "Theater? Film? Or television?"
Perry King: "I feel very at home in both of them, I enjoy both a lot. Different reasons, they're different. The hardest thing always to do is Shakespeare. Very hard but not in a negative way, in an exciting way! It's harder for a skier to ski down a tough slope but it makes your heart sing to do it! Tough to make all that stuff come alive."
Host: "Did you study any particular acting method?"
Perry King: "At Julliard, they taught an approach by a man called Michele Sandine. You follow Stanislavski and what he wrote was simple and logical but breakthrough in his day. He said, rather than pretending to feel it, really try to feel it and the audience will feel it because you're feeling it. Rather than pretend to die, imagine what it's like to die and the audience will go along with you. People didn't act that way back then."
"If you watch old films, you'll see that. They'd structure certain gestures with certain emotions, if you felt love, you'd clasp your heart under your left breast and you can see people in that posture often. It was stiff in stylish in that day."
"Stanislavski taught his actors in Russia to do it differently and it came here and took this place by storm. So, all these wonderful actors from the 20's and 30's, Cagney and people like that got a sense of what they could do to really excite people. I think some make it too complicated though. Doesn't have to be complicated to be good."
Host: "Last question..."
Guest12202 asks: "Do you ever wonder what it's like to not be an actor and just be a normal person. Is it hard to be famous?"
Perry King: "Not for me because I'm not particularly famous. Grateful for that, I get to do what I love to do but don't have to pay the price. To the little degree that I've had problems, I've learned how to hide... I'm an actor and I know how to be different. I can be in a crowd and be noticed or unnoticed. It's my choice. I've learned how to do that. My daughters know that. I'll get noticed more than usual 'cause people see me when I'm working. I wear a loud, ugly baseball cap with a lot of colors to it so that all you really see is the cap. You don't see the person."
Host: "Your wife doesn't get embarrassed?"
Perry King: "No, 'cause it's just disappearing a bit. In real life, I wear glasses. So you disappear... look different than you do and people don't put it together. I'm just not that high up on the ladder. If I was, I'd be frustrated. I'd hate to be Sly Stallone who can't go out of his door. It'd be a terrible loss. You wouldn't have gained something, you would have lost something! you can't just go sit in a cafe down the street and watch the world go by! People watching is fun, if you can't do that... I get to have a personal life."
Host: "The ranch sounds great! You just have to replace the chickens!"
Perry King: "Well, we'll give up on that. Just buy our eggs like everyone else! We didn't want to jail them, wanted to keep them free range, but unfortunately the cats just slaughtered them!"
Host: "A hanging!"
Perry King: "I wish it would have been that easy for them. They were nice chickens!"
Host: "We look forward to seeing you on "The Cowboy and the Movie Star", Mr. King!"
Perry King: "Thank you! Closest to a computer I've ever been! Bye, Octagon!"
Host: "Mr. King, thank you so much for joining us tonight. It was a real pleasure to have you on the show!"
"Thank you! It was great!"