~Question and Answer Time With Perry~

    I met with Perry late March, 2004 to discuss the web site.  After a wonderful afternoon filled with lunch, a personal tour around Santa Monica (all completely unexpected) and LOTS of smiles and laughs, one of topics discussed included a question/answer section.  Perry was instantly all for it and looking forward to them.  I asked for questions to be sent to the site, I forwarded them onto Perry and here are his answers.  THANK YOU to each and every one of you for your questions -- they are asked in the order received.  Enjoy!


1.  Do you have a favorite episode of Riptide?  Would you tell us which one, and why?

    P:    I think my favorite episode was the pilot -- it seemed so fresh, and the writing was never better.  I always enjoyed the shows the most when we were going for comedy.

2.  What guest star[s] did you especially enjoy working with on Riptide?

    P:      The one who comes to mind is Geena Davis -- I never figured out why she did a guest spot like that.

3.  I love the episode "Echoes" and think you did a great job directing it.  Would you have wanted to direct more episodes if Riptide had continued on to a fourth season?

    P:    Yes -- I had planned to direct a few more the next season, if there was one.  The feeling was that I had done well enough to earn the right to do more.  That was the biggest disappointment in not coming back for another season.

4.  Would you consider directing again if you had the chance , or do you prefer acting?

    P:    I would like to direct again, but it's very tough work -- acting is easy by comparison.  It requires a number of conflicting qualities to do it well -- and I'm speaking as an actor who has observed this.  One must be very tough and driven, and absolutely confident -- and yet willing to listen, to change, to accept the ideas and contributions of others.  In the end, I may simply be too lazy to ever try it again.

5.  When you were racing, did you ever compete at Watkins Glen, NY?  If you did, what class/series did you race?  Did you win? And, are you planning a return to the Glen any time soon, like for the Vintage Cup in Sept. '04?

    P:    I never got to the Glen, but I raced most of the other great road courses in the U.S.  My favorite was the old Riverside in southern California -- every turn was memorable.  There was one -- turn 9 -- that was a classic "Pucker" corner -- scariest corner in racing: there were about 6 ways in, and only one way out.  Everybody I knew who had a few years racing had crashed there at least once.

6.  Hello Mr. King -- I wanted to ask you a question about horses.  I wanted to know:  How much should I save money on getting one.  This is my first time buying one and want to know:  Should I research on how to buy and pick a horse that is right for me, if so, could you please tell me how?  I live in Burnaby British Columbia on a vegetable farm.  I have been looking around, I just don't know how to select one.

    P:    That's a tough question -- like saying how does one pick a husband or a wife! First of all, the price is secondary -- getting a horse you spark to, one you can trust and predict, is worth so much.  And the expense of a horse is in the owning -- not the buying.  I have two Premarin foals -- rescue horses -- and I have probably spent 10,000 dollars on them in the first four years of their life -- way, way more than they're worth.  Of course, I don't care at all -- that's not why I adopted them.  I made a personal commitment to them -- and three others as well -- and that's that.  I love those horses with all my heart.  But I tell you this just to explain how financially brutal doing right by a horse can be -- in my experience only boats are comparable for simply draining you financially.

7.  One of your most recognizable roles was as Cody Allen in the series Riptide.  What made that show magical was the incredible friendship between Cody, Nick and Boz -- three very distinct personalities.  What about each of you do you feel is most similar the characters, and what would surprise us the most?

    P:    What might surprise you, and please you, is that the three of us have a very real friendship -- we just had lunch together in Burbank the other day, although Thom was only there by phone.  We're like an old three-way married couple -- we know each other very well -- our oddities rub the others raw -- and we will, I believe, always be there for the other two, despite the rubbing.  The rubbing is like a familiar pleasure -- I'm sure all of you out there reading this know well what I mean.  We think we should do a reunion movie -- anyone who agrees please write the studios and tell them you want to see it.  We're all a little long in the tooth and it might be a tough sell.

8.  Would you consider speaking on the phone to an autistic boy who loves you so he can "say" a few words to you?

    P:    Sure -- I'd love to.  Just let me know when -- I wouldn't want to let him down, even by accident.

9.  Where were you and how did you first hear about 9-11?  It's a universally shared experience, and we all have stories about those moments.

    P:  Like all of us, I'll never forget it -- Hannah and I were getting her ready for school, and watching the news.  I remember telling her what all we adults knew:  "The world will never be the same again."

10.  If you had an opportunity to sit and chat with a historical figure (whether political, in the entertainment field, sports field, etc.,) who would it be and why?

    P:    Napoleon.  My grandfather taught me to have a fascination with him.  When Napoleon escaped and returned to France from exile, he was met on the Southern coast by several regiments of regular army.  In those days, if you disobeyed an order, it was death.  The soldiers were given the order to fire on him, and not one disobeyed.  He went on to retake France.  Imagine how much his men adored him.  Then compare him to the insipid leaders we have today.

11.  Is there an acting role (tv/movie/theater) that you've always wanted to play but haven't yet?

    P:    Petrucio in Taming of the Shrew.

12.  What's been your favorite acting role you have played so far?

    P:    I think I feel it is the cowboy in "Cowboy and the Movie Star".  I seem to have adopted his life since I made that movie.

13.  Did you have as much fun in "Cowboy" as it looks?  That was an excellent movie.

    P:    I had been waiting all my life to play a cowboy -- I think I became an actor largely because of the old Westerns I watched as a boy.  It was more than fun -- it felt like [I] had been allowed to take a deep breath for the first time in years.

14.  What makes you mad or upset?

    P:    Fewer and fewer things.  As I get older I'm wising up.  But these days, the daily death toll in Iraq still makes me feel like yelling at our "leaders".

15.  A relaxed evening -- could you please describe what that would be?

    P:    Sitting on the porch in the mountains, looking at the sunset or the moon -- or, looking at either from the desert in Death Valley, sitting on the doorstep of one of the abandoned miner's cabins I've discovered there.

16.  What was your most challenging role to play in your career?

    P:    Chico in The Lords of Flatbush.  He changed me forever -- made me much tougher and street-wise.

17.  Would you like to do another TV series or do you now prefer doing character parts for movies, both TV and for film?

    P:     I'd be very happy to do another series if I could do an ensemble show, where my character only worked part of the time.  Three years of eighteen-hour days was enough of that for me.

18.  What are some of your favorite movies you have seen?  What kind of movies interest you most?

    P:     A couple in the last few years are BILLY ELIOT and DIRTY PRETTY THINGS.  Both of those are English but that's not why I love them, it's because they're emotionally rich movies about the drama of ordinary life -- that's the subject I always enjoy, both as an actor and as an audience.  I hate what computers are doing to movies -- they're taking the people out of them, and that's what I want to watch, stories about people.  So many modern movies are just violent cartoons.

19.  Who are some of your favorite male and female actors and why?

    P:    Morgan Freeman is my hero these days -- no one is more skillful than him, I believe.  Mary Louise Parker is the actress I look for the most -- she's under-appreciated, but her work always rings with great truth and clarity.

20.  How many horses do you have at your ranch?  Do you have any other animals?

    P:    Right now I have four horses (two Premarin foals of about for years, and two quarter horses, both ten and working horses).  There's a couple goats, some cats, a bunch of chickens, two burro adopted out of Death Valley, a pet rat -- all of our dogs finally got too old -- we just put the last guy down at age 17.  I think we still miss them (there were three) too much to consider adopting some more (they're always rescue dogs), but that will happen soon, I'm sure.

21.  What do you like about your life right now?

    P:    Igmar Bergman said, "Getting older is like climbing a mountain -- it gets harder and harder, and harder -- but the view gets so much better!"  What I like most about my life these days is that I've wised up a lot -- I know so much better what counts, and what doesn't.

22.  What is your favorite kind of food to eat?

    P:    Peanut butter.

23.  What holiday do you love the most?

    P:    Memorial day -- my dad was born on that day, and it makes me feel close to him.  He died a few years ago, and I miss him all the time.

24.  Do you do a lot of your work shooting scenes in LA or do you travel around extensively from location to location?

    P:    Sadly, you almost always have to travel to shoot film -- it's always cheaper somewhere other than L.A.  And that's so hard on your life -- that's the main reason I don't work much these days -- I just refuse to be away from my younger daughter while she's still a kid.

25.  Where did you film your part in the movie "The Day After Tomorrow"?  How many days of filming was involved for you in that movie?

    P:    "The Day After Tomorrow", or at least my little part, was shot on sound stages in Montreal, which is a GREAT city -- but still not home, so it was a pleasure that I could do it all in only two weeks or so.  It was fun to be in a hit!

26.  Have you done stage work and is this something you would like to do?

    P:    I've done a lot of stage work, probably 50 plays or more, mostly in New York.  I was on Broadway in "A Few Good Men", for example, playing the part Jack Nicholson played in the movie.

27.  When you take a vacation, what do you like to do and where do you love to go if you have a favorite spot?

    P:    Death Valley -- it's my favorite place on the planet, and I've seen a lot of the planet.  I think it's because Death Valley -- the parts of it I go to, which are in the surrounding mountains and hours from pavement -- are so excruciatingly empty and lonely, and dangerous (you can get into real trouble quickly if you're not prepared and knowledgeable).  I come back to the world refreshed and ready to go again.  Sometimes I think I'll end up there, one of the crazy, scraggily old coots you run into out there.

Thanks for listening,