Barry Bostwick is a man you may have seen before but couldn’t quite remember his name. He is a self-proclaimed “THAT guy” whose breadth of work would overwhelm you. Rocky Horror Picture Show fans will know him as Brad (or “Oh Brad” if you’re nasty), but many others will remember his hilarious role as The Mayor in the sitcom Spin City starring Michael J. Fox. At Wizard World Chicago, we were able to talk to Barry Bostwick about his career and his part in the upcoming anthology horror film, Tales of Halloween.
Jon Espino: Hi, I’m Jon from The Young Folks. It’s an absolute pleasure to meet you.
Barry Bostwick: Hi, I’m Barry from anything I can get on.
JE: So how prolific was the role of Brad in Rocky Horror to your career? I know it was considered a very fringe film when it originally came out, but has since become a cult sensation with tons of midnight screenings.
BB: I think, probably, it’s gotten me two or three jobs this year alone. That’s because a generation of film makers were so influenced by that movie. A guy named Darren Bousman, who I did “The Night Billy Raised Hell” in Tales of Halloween, was such a fan of Rocky Horror, and I’ve done three roles for him this year. I did Slay Belles, which will be out this Christmas. I also did Alleluia! The Devil’s Carnival which is coming out now, and now this film [Tales of Halloween] coming out around Halloween. All of that was thanks to Darren being such a huge fan of Rocky Horror. The whole style of the movie and the color and the fit I think really changed his life.
JE: Most importantly, are you singing and dancing in any of them?
BB: In Tales I don’t sing, but I do in some of the others.
JE: You play the Devil, right? Missed opportunity I guess.
BB: Well the thing I love about my character, the Devil, is that he is so enthusiastic about his meanness.
JE: I mean, he’s the Devil. What else is he going to do?
BB: But he does it with such glee in his eye that I’m looking forward to seeing if the audience really gets it.
JE: I’ve seen stills from the film and your character looks awesome. It’s coming out really soon, isn’t it?
BB: Yeah, it was A LOT of make up. It comes October 16th, but it’s also playing here at the Bruce Campbell film festival.
JE: What else can you tell us about the film?
BB: It’s ten films in one. It’s an anthology about Halloween. It takes place on one night and in one town, and all the stories touch each other and interweave. One of the best parts is that the ten filmmakers have totally different styles and that’s what’s so interesting about it. But I don’t sing it.
JE: So when you’re on the street, do people recognize as Brad from Rocky Horror, or the Mayor from Spin City, or some other role?
BB: Honestly, it matters how I look that day. I have sort of a goatee now, so what could they know me from? I had a Hallmark movie on Sunday night [Love Under the Stars] and I look like this so I’ve been recognized a few times from that. You know, it’s sort of a wash. I think I’ve been doing this so long that people just think they know me.
JE: You’re that face that everyone finds familiar.
BB: Or that voice. It’s amazing, I have a lot of people who hear my voice and recognize me that way. I’m just like, “Geez, really? It’s that distinctive?” I never thought it was, but so long as they recognize I don’t care how.
JE: I noticed that many of your most recent roles have been in the horror genre. Was that seed planted with Rocky Horror Picture Show or something that just developed on its own?
BB: It’s because the filmmakers I work with are very interesting to me. They’re young and some of them are right out of school. They’re offering me parts that are different than what I would get on television. And I think a lot of them have futures on the big screen. They are also clever and I want to work with them. If I can do anything to help them out, I am more than happy to do it.
JE: Do you have more fun on these sets than the ones for television?
BB: Oh yeah. Without a doubt. First of all, there’s no money in these things so they have to shoot the movies very, very quickly. I did a movie called Helen Keller vs. Nightwolves and we shot it all in 6 days. That’s the kind of thing where you’re in and you’re out, and you have to bring your own wardrobe.
JE: With all the horror film franchises and horror genre television shows, do you currently have a favorite?
BB: Oh god, that’s a hard one. There are so many out there. I’m really more into thrillers than just horror. I’m not into the blood and guts and the gore. I like to think a little bit more, but serious horror films don’t really interest me. The sort of goofy ones and the ones that are cheaply made are the ones I enjoy.
JE: Most of the time you can tell everyone is having fun making it and it becomes infections. They also seem to have more spirit than the ones that just churn out sequel after sequel.
BB: Exactly! Those are the ones I like.
JE: Are there any passion projects in your future? Any character, historical or otherwise, that you would love to play?
BB: There is one. Gandhi.
JE: Mahatma Gandhi?
BB: Yes. We’re talking about doing Gandhi versus zombies, from the same people who did Helen Keller vs, Nightwolves.
JE: So you would play Gandhi?
BB: I would play FDR [Franklin Delano Roosevelt] and Gandhi. It would be a my character from FDR: American Badass!. It was a film that was very popular amongst the stoner crowd. That’s my new audience. The geeks and stoners. I love them!
JE: That’s probably the best audience for anyone to have.
At Wizard World, after the interview, I was able to see Tales of Halloween. It has a lot of very good segments in it, including the one Barry was in. You’ll have as much fun seeing it as Barry obviously had playing in it. There were a ton of other great horror films at the festival as well, so when you didn’t want to stay for a panel, you could just walk over to the theater and see what horror film was playing.