Bill Duke is a legendary actor and filmmaker whose career spans over 40 years. Many will remember him from his films such as Car Wash and Predator. Aside from acting, Duke has done his share of directing both TV and movies, including A Rage in Harlem, Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit, and Not Easily Broken. Duke returns in front of the screens as Caruthers, a sympathetic man who helps Nicolas Cage in the horror film Mandy, coming to theaters, VOD, and Digital HD on September 14 from RLJE Films.
World Film Geek had the chance to talk to Duke about the film.
Thank you so much Bill for talking about Mandy. I couldn’t believe what I saw when seeing the film, but it ended up a terrifically visual film. Did you see the final film and what did you think?
I haven’t been able to see the film yet, but there will be a premiere coming up next week which I will be attending, so I’m looking forward to it.
What led you to take on the role of Caruthers?
It was actually the director who contacted me about the film. I read the script and really liked it. Plus, I wanted to work with Nicolas Cage.
While you only had one scene in the film, your character proves to be a reliable ally to someone who looked to have lost everything. How would you describe the character of Caruthers to those who plan to see the film?
He’s a survivalist who had known Nic’s character of Red. They served in the military together, so they have his brotherly bond. When Red comes to me for advice and as to what happen, I offer to help him. Red insists that he must do it himself, as Caruthers respects that.
You got to work with Nicolas Cage, who has his share of crazy roles with this being perhaps his most intense performance to date. What was it like working with him on the set?
Here’s the thing about Nicolas Cage. He’s a true artist. He is very focused. He came to the set in character. So he would sit there in between takes sitting in the chair in the corner. But, the good thing about him is that he is approachable at the same time. When someone would come up to him as he’s preparing, he will stop and talk to them before getting back in the role.
When we were shooting, he would get truly into character but when someone said they forgot their line, Nic would actually be nice to them and tell them, “hey don’t worry about it. Let’s do it again. You can do this.” I mean, he’s truly one of the best actors I’ve had the pleasure to work with. He’s both very focused on the role he does but will be there for you when needed.
The film was Panos Cosmatos’ second film and he is known to be a visual filmmaker with this and his previous film. What was he like on the set?
Well, Panos is very interesting. What’s great about him is that we would go to lunch and dinner together. We would ask him what we should do with our characters. He would actually ask us what we should do. He is one of those directors who will want input from his actors as opposed to a director who just barks orders and the just shoot. For me, that takes away a sense of bringing a visual aspect to the film. I think in a film, everyone should work together to bring these characters to life and Panos I feel is one of those guys who did a great job.
You’ve been in the industry for a long time and it is clear there are no signs of slowing down. Are there any upcoming projects that you are excited about?
Yes, actually. I have an autobiography coming out November 14, which is already available for pre-sale on Amazon. It’s called My 40-Year Career On Screen and Behind the Camera. It is about my life and well, how I got started as both actor and director.
I am also working on some new projects. I am doing a three-episode arc of the CW series Black Lightning and I’m doing a documentary on foster care children that I am very excited about.
Mandy is coming to theaters, VOD, and Digital on September 14. Anyone who loves a good grindhouse film with an arthouse flair to it will definitely want to look out for this film. Thank you again Bill for talking about the film. And you can bet I’ll definitely be getting your book.
Thank you so much. It’s been a pleasure to talk to you.
A special Thank You goes to Katrina Wan PR and Bill Duke for making this interview possible.