Karen Grassle can be considered a legend for her iconic role as Caroline Ingalls on the popular series Little House on the Prairie, which ran from 1974 to 1982. Retiring in the mid-1990s, she has been making a comeback over the past few years. She is part of an ensemble cast as a feisty senior who will join in the fight against some killer cowboys in the horror film Lasso, coming to VOD platforms on November 13 from Dread Central Presents.
World Film Geek had the pleasure to talk to Grassle about her role in the film.
Karen, I consider you a legend and I’m honored to be talking with you about Lasso. I was excited when I saw the film and you gave a great performance in the film.
Thank you very much, it was a wonderful experience.
What interested you in taking the role of Lillian in Lasso?
Well, as you know, from Little House on the Prairie, I’m more known for playing the good woman in roles. When I was younger, I’ve always played more innocent type character. Every once in a while, I get my teeth into something different, so I was very attracted to Lillian because I thought it was such a great character. She has such a big ego, thought highly of herself. And I thought, I could really have fun with her. Plus, I like the fact that she got to be really tough.
For those who have yet to see the film, how would you describe Lillian in your own words?
I think she grew up from a very strong family, with a very strong father who she was crazy about and he was crazy about her. They might have lived on a ranch with horses. She thinks she knows everything about horses and rodeos. And to the rest of the people in her life, they don’t know anything (laughs).
You spend much of the film with the likes of Lindsey Morgan and the other actors playing the senior group. Were you able to be on the set during some of the scenes you weren’t involved in?
Yes! On the first day, there was this big scene there was Sean Patrick Flanery, playing a one-armed rider, and had to do a trick with a horse. The horse was supposed to be very clever and be able to do the trick. But the horse wouldn’t do it. They kept going over and over again with this animal who just didn’t want to go on and on.
So, there were us, the senior citizens, all dressed up in our outfits and makeup for our day of the rodeo. The crew said ok, go out to the set, where there was this trailer where they did the make-up. We get out there and there was nothing. I mean, no place to sit, no chairs. So, one of the guys recently had knee surgery and I talked to one of the prop guys and asked if we can get some chairs (laughs).
The next night, we had chairs, shade, few things that we needed, we had pants (laughs). They realized, “we have to take care of these people” (laughs).
What was it like working with director Evan Cecil and the cast?
Evan is definitely one of the greatest people I’ve had the pleasure to work with. I mean, nothing rattled him. No matter what happened, he kept his eye on the ball. It was quite inspiring to watch him and he had quite a sense of humor, so I’m quite fond of him. The rest of the cast really pulled their weight and the crew couldn’t have been lovelier. This shoot was the hardest shoot I’ve ever done in my life, and I’ve been on some. This one was very enduring with it being cold and outside, and everybody just in. I said something to the camera guy and he said it was also the toughest one he’s ever done. (laughs) And he’s a young man.
What would you consider your favorite thing about shooting the film?
My favorite thing would have to be just going for it. I mean getting a chance to do some horrendously violent stunts, like sawing a guy in half. I mean, it was so insane. But, I signed for it and so Lindsey Morgan and I just grabbed it and just went for it!
I will say, during my writing career, I became acquainted with some of the stunt performers in the film, such as Morgan Benoit (left, who plays killer cowboy Prodder) and Melissa Tracy (right, who plays Tina Churner), the latter I was surprised she was even in the film but boy, did she make an impact as a victim of the killer cowboys.
They were amazing! I took my cowboy hat off to them (laughs). Morgan is so highly trained with his background in martial arts. He’s a master and he did an amazing job and Melissa, was great as well. And that girl who played the victim, when she screamed I mean you felt it!
Would you consider doing another horror film?
I always like a challenge. I’ve always been a fool that way. I would get into the situation and question myself. But, I do like a challenge. Actors like to work, that’s our thing. So when something comes along, it’s very tempting. In this case, the character really appealed to me. I thought I can really have some fun with this. It was really fun to play Lillian.
Finally, are there any more projects you are planning to appear in?
I am currently working on my memoir, which I started when I moved to the Bay area. I’m hoping to find a publisher and go from there.
I’ll be in line to buy that when it comes out. Lasso is coming On Demand on November 13. Those who want to experience a new kind of rodeo and love horror will definitely want to see this. In addition, they will definitely want to see Karen bring out a great and strong performance in this film. Thank you again Karen for taking the time to talk about the film.
Thank you so much! It was a pleasure talking to you!
A special Thank You goes to Epic Pictures, EMR Media, and Karen Grassle for making this interview possible.