Caffeinated Clint Greats : Interview Series

What is Caffeinated Clint’s Greats?
I’ve had plenty of emails from you guys asking such questions as “Who were your favourite actors growing up?”, “Do you have a favourite movie?”, “You’re producing films now, any particular film that inspired you to take that road?” and “Hey man, Got Kristen Stewart’s phone number?”, and it gave my an idea – why not profile some of my favourite films? (It saves me from flaming a pimply, unintelligent publicist or another fresh-from-junior-high exec over some harebrained remake he’s just greenlit for a couple of weeks, after all) and in doing so, why not make contact with some of the people from these films?

Today’s Favourite Film Profiled :

Title : Young Guns
Year : 1988
Director : Christopher Cain
Starring : Emilio Estevez, Lou Diamond Phillips, Dermot Mulroney, Charlie Sheen, Kiefer Sutherland, Casey Siemaszko, Terrence Stamp, Terry O’Quinn, Jack Palance

If “The Lost Boys” is the MTV version of a vampire movie, then “Young Guns” is the MTV version of a western – in this case, the Billy the Kid story. And I love it. Be it the cool cast (Estevez is terrific as the devilish William H.Bonney, Sutherland perfect as the kindly Doc, Lou Diamond Phillips aptly cast as Chavez Chavez, Casey Siemaszko brilliant as cheeky gunslinger Charley Bowdre, and the late, great Jack Palance, then the go-to guy for ‘blockbuster baddies’, never better, as the malevolent Murphy), the slick direction (Christopher Cain should really have a better career than he does), or the hip n’ hot score (by Brian Banks) – “Young Guns” is a rollicking good time. I loved the bigger-budget, studio-driven sequel (1990′s “Young Guns II”) too, but the first is just a more organic, somewhat more engrossing experience – in the same way the original “Terminator” is to its pricier, more popular sequels. I don’t think I’ll ever tire of “Young Guns” – I’ve likely seen it about fifty times since that initial viewing at the Drive-In Cinema in 1988…and it’s still packin’ heat.

Q&A with Casey Siemaszko

Siemaszko was terrific as Charley Bowdre (“Regulators, we regulate any stealing of his property and we damn good too. But you can’t be any geek off the street, gotta be handy with the steel if you know what I mean, earn your keep!”) in “Young Guns”, but no surprise, the Chicago-born actor is always friggin’ terrific! From his role as ’3D’ in “Back to the Future” to Billy Tessio in Rob Reiner’s “Stand By Me”, bullied Jerry Mitchell in cult classic “Three O’Clock High” and Curley in Gary Sinise’s remake of “Of Mice and Men”, Casey Siemaszko is undoubtedly one of the most impressive performers of the ’80s and ’90s. In more recent years, Siemaszko has appeared on one of his TVs finest dramas, “Damages” and in films like Michael Mann’s “Public Enemies” and “The Boy Who Cried Bitch : The Adolescent Years” – and not unexpectedly, he’s great in those too.

Caffeinated Clint : How ya shootin’ Casey?!

Casey Siemaszko : Hey man. Cool site. I’ve been to your lovely country – to shoot films and to enjoy scuba-diving. Must come to visit again. Also a big fan of Aussie rules football!

Caffeinated Clint : You shot the talking-dog movie “Napoleon” down here didn’t you? Did you meet the film’s lead? He’s a good mate of mine, Jamie Croft.

Casey Siemaszko : No, sadly I didn’t meet any of the other cast members and I believe I was asked to simply show up and do the gig. I do quite a lot of Voice Over’s for advertising and video games and the like, so I am in the mix in that world. Frankly, I am curious myself how jobs come my way. I was definitely jazzed about doing Napoleon though, because I loved Milo and Otis, which was produced by the same folks.

Caffeinated Clint : So it was! Now one of my favourite performances of yours is as Charley Bowdre in “Young Guns”, but let’s start back at the beginning… “Class”! How did that come about?

Casey Siemaszko : Well, the process of getting work is pretty much standard for me. I have a booking agent who sends me on meetings with casting directors and, even better, directly with producers. That was the case with Class.

Caffeinated Clint : “Class” was your first movie, right?

Casey Siemaszko : It was my first film and I was fresh out of acting school. I studied at the Goodman School of Drama in Chicago. I showed up, prepared and on time and did my thing and was fortunate enough to be what they were looking for. It was a gas and a great learning experience. Getting work now is similar, although frequently I am asked to come in to audition or meet. Also, if I have established work relationships, I don’t hesitate to show up and offer my acting services.

Caffeinated Clint : You were also one of Biff’s guys (’3D’) in “Back to the Future”. Did you ever expect it to be as big a success as it was?!

Casey Siemaszko : I pretty much knew, when we were working on it, that it was a very exceptional show. I hadn’t worked THAT much in film prior to that, but had worked on successful stage productions and knew that ‘feeling’ of being part of something special. Everyone worked hard, but it was fun. It was all so exciting and I was very green, I recall.

Caffeinated Clint : You, Green? Surely not!?

Casey Siemaszko : Yep. During the car chase-skateboard sequence around the town square, I asked a man who was resetting the foliage what his official movie title was and he said “Oh, I’m Neil Canton-Producer, we met at the audition” – heh…what did I know!

Caffeinated Clint : You mustn’t have embarrassed yourself too much, you were asked to come back for the sequel!

Casey Siemaszko : Yeah, and I did get to work with all of them on other projects later on in my career too – although I am not sure why I wasn’t in Back to the Future Part III. I think, maybe, it was because Biff’s droogies were simply different in the Western Sequence?

Caffeinated Clint : Marc McClure recalled shooting a fair bit of “Back to the Future” with my friend Eric Stoltz before Stoltz was fired (and consequently replaced with original choice Michael J.Fox) – did you get to work with Eric, too?

Casey Siemaszko : Yeah, it sucked when Eric was replaced. He is a nice guy. I didn’t get it at the time. Of course, what did I know? I did indeed work with him on a number of sequences that we had to reshoot. Very weird. I always seem to run into him in very random, odd places over the years- a phone booth, a random NY street, an odd little restaurant in Torornto…..and now through you!

Caffeinated Clint : You’ve done so many cool movies, man. Is there a favourite?

Casey Siemaszko : Can’t say I have one in particular. I feel very fortunate to work at all! I mean, I know have some skills and have been given some talent that I haven’t squandered and I know how to show up, but that doesn’t guarantee a thing. As far as work challenge goes Three O’Clock High was a great work out. Was in every scene and worked every day. You get into a rhythm that’s unmistakable and hard to beat. It’s a work challenge you dream about. Young Guns was a hoot. Great location and we were outdoors most of the time. I LOVE being outside and on horsies to boot! Can’t beat it. Fun cast too. Of Mice & Men was very challenging work. Gary Sinise is a demanding/smart director and I was inspired to work hard. I trained a lot to look like a boxer, even though it wasn’t really required. I actually had the grips set up an outdoor training gym with heavy bag, speed bag and plywood platform ‘ring’ where i could shadow box and skip rope. I called it the Under the Oak Tree Gym and trained almost everyday. Gary allowed me to hit the speed bag in one of the scenes – which was not scripted, by the way – and I was so grateful he saw how much I put into the role.

Caffeinated Clint : Can we chat a little about “Young Guns”?

Casey Siemaszko : Sure. Good times. Lots of fun with my fellow cast members. Late nights at the bar, skiing on the off days and lots of guitar playing.

Caffeinated Clint : But before shooting, did you research your role?

Casey Siemaszko : I did some reading about Charlie Bowdre prior to working on the show, but was able to get any info I needed from John Fusco, the writer and producer, who was always close at hand.

Caffeinated Clint : Something you can’t research – I assume? – is how to effectively die on screen. How was it filming Charley’s death scene?

Casey Siemaszko : A dynamic death scene is always a ton of fun, but next time, I would have lobbied to die in the sequel. Ha! What did I know?

Caffeinated Clint : You hadn’t done any movies for a while when we spotted you in last year’s “Public Enemies”.

Casey Siemaszko : Just want to say, Michael Mann in a genius, and I would work for him anytime, anywhere. Just listen to his commentary on any special edition DVD of any of his films and his genius comes through. I actually met him on Ali and was in the mix for one of the roles. Auditioning for him is a real workout, one which I truly appreciate. He’s so well researched and focused, you HAVE to deliver. I was in the mix for various other roles in Public Enemies and was asked to play Berman. I didn’t hesitate.

Caffeinated Clint : You seem to be doing an awful lot of TV work these days – and some great stuff, too!

Casey Siemaszko : My schedule is typically quite busy. I was on Damages for the first season. I do the Law and Order series when asked. Also shot a pilot this year called the Event which promises to be pretty good and I do my voice overs. My personal passion is athletics. I am involved in league soccer and I do Olympic Distance Triathlons with a team here in New York. Planning on 3 events this year. I also have some side businesses which keep me quite busy. Never a dull moment!