Laurene Landon: An Exclusive Interview With Jimmy Star
I am so excited to do an interview with the amazingly talented and beautiful Laurene Landon. She has been a guest on The Jimmy Star Show with Ron Russell many times, and has become an amazing friend, part of my Hollywood family, and she is one of the most genuine souls on planet earth.
She has worked with the who’s who of Hollywood, in many classic and cult classic films. With an impressive career spanning almost 40 years, she is a force to be reckoned with, and you can see her in several films coming out this year…
Jimmy Star: Congratulations on your incredibly stellar career. You are one of my favorite people in the world…. Incredibly beautiful and talented with a heart of gold. What is your favorite thing about being a well-known working actress in Hollywood?
Laurene Landon: Thank you very much for the kind words. You and Ron aren’t one in a million but two in a lifetime. Never considered myself beautiful. I’m going to donate my body to science-fiction. When I was a kid—before your parents were born---a boy in the park ran a nail down my forehead, right between my eyes. It left a terrible scar so noticeable that many wonderful kids in grade and middle school called me “Frankenstein” -- and those were the teachers! Joking. Many students called me that. In high school the guy I wanted so much to go to the prom with told a friend that I looked like “Cyclops.” Also, since my parents were fighting like cats and dogs and mom was always stealing dad’s money, the cops spent more time at our house than they did at Yum-Yum donuts. Needless to say, I was not a very popular shy girl in school. I stayed after school playing classical piano as my parents bought me one from a thrift store. In retrospect, the scar between my eyes was a blessing. It could have been my EYE that was ripped out and I wouldn’t be able to type and misspell these questions, but thank you for saying that. You made my day! I think I shall put my razor blades back in the bathroom closet. I don’t consider myself a well-known actress. Well-known actresses are bankable. They have private gates surrounding them. However, I DO have a dilapidated wood fence to keep the lunatics - - inside.
Jimmy Star: You have worked in so many different genres of film, including action, thriller, comedies and horror movies, do you have a favorite?
Laurene Landon: My favorite is comedy, because I am a sardonic wiseacre at heart once I know someone. Normally, I shy away from people. As an actress, I can hide behind a hopefully three-dimensional character. If one person laughs in a comedy I am in, mission accomplished. My favorite comedian is Judy Tenuta. Google her Boodle. She is the funniest damn human in the universe and I get to work with her in an upcoming series. I cannot believe how lucky to be her fan since the 80’s and now work with her. My second favorite genre is drama, since I can cry on cue --- thinking of my love life.
Jimmy Star: Many of your roles are in films that are now considered cult classics…Maniac Cop 1 & 2 come to mind. Were you aware that these films would become so popular when you were shooting them?
Laurene Landon: Never did one think Maniac Cop 1 or 2 would become cult classics. Cannot believe the mail I receive from fans of the movie. Especially at autograph shows! I was at an autograph signing the other day and a man was shaking talking to me. He had a Maniac Cop poster with him. He stuttered severely and I felt really sorry for this gentleman. I gave him three free pictures. He then said, “I’ve been in love with you for 25 years! I was always terrified to meet you. Maniac Cop is my favorite movie and I’ve seen it at least 40 times and Hundra 75 times. I can’t stop thinking of you and now, I finally get to meet you! I love you, Miss Landon.” I am flattered but honestly, bewildered. It’s so odd that the depth of ones love is measured by the amount of their suffering – especially for a serial slob from Canada whom they don’t even know. I am nobody special. My sister Charmaine Andersen has more talent in her right pinkie. She has been an amazing artist since she was five years old. Charmaine is the gifted Coughlin in our family. Please check out her website at https://www.realartstudios.com . You will be awe-struck. I am so very proud of Charmaine. She should be the one doing this interview.
Jimmy Star: You have had the wonderful fortune to work with many actors that are popular right now in the present, like Norman Reedus, Diane Kruger and Lena Dunham, all huge stars in their own right, but you have also worked with legendary actors like Lloyd Bridges, Raymond Burr, and Bette Davis. As an actress how has the industry changed from when you started, and how was it working with Bette Davis?
Laurene Landon: I loved working with Diane Kruger in Sky. She was very dedicated and kept telling me that I was brilliant and forced her to “bring her game up.” I was even more stunned when The Hollywood Reporter said “Landon makes you wish the entire film were about her.” Most grateful for these kind words. I have worked opposite Peter Falk in All the Marbles, Armand Assante in I, The Jury, Robert Davi in Maniac Cop, the wonderful Michael Moriarty in Island of the Alive, and recently, two time academy nominee Bruce Dern. One of the greatest opportunities was to read with Bette Davis for the wicked stepmother! I read with her for a part that was already cast but the director wanted to see us read together. It was an honor and privilege to say the least. Ms. Davis was very frail and couldn’t read her lines. I felt ostensively that she was very ill. The director told me after I had left that Ms. Davis said, “That girl wasn’t bad. That girl was fabulous.” To this day in my reverie I am so very humbled by this legend.
Jimmy Star: You have two new movies coming out this year that I am really excited about. The first one is “Nation’s Fire” written and directed by Thomas J. Churchill, where you play the wife of Two-Time Oscar and Three-Time Golden Globe nominee Bruce Dern. Nation’s Fire has an amazing talented cast starring Krista Grotte (who also executive produced the film with Robert Ori and Jerry Roberts from Teknocentric), Lou Ferrigno Jr, Gil Bellows, Kristen Renton, Tom Proctor, Wyatt Walter, Chuck Lidell, Ken Sagoes, Barry Papick and many more really talented actors. Tell us a little about your role in the film, working with Thomas J. Churchill and playing the wife of such an iconic Hollywood legend.
Laurene Landon: Playing the wife of iconic legend, Thomas J Churchill was amazing. HA! Oh, you mean Bruce Dern. Sir Thomas Churchill approached me for the role playing a drunken, psychotic, tortured and sloppy woman who is out of control and down for the count. I loved playing Myra. Sir Thomas Churchill wrote a sensational role for me. It is one of the three most challenging roles in my career. I went places in my mind and soul to humanize Myra’s suffering. I endeavored to make her empathetic and humorous to combat the tragic Soul she is. Sir Thomas is my hero. He is a luminous, eclectic, cutting edge director who spent a lot of time with the actors to help narrate his vision. He has an innate understanding of visual literacy and was truly the creative leader of the entire production. What most people don’t know about Sir Thomas Churchill is that he is a brilliant actor as well. We did a film together entitled, Syndicate Smasher and he stole every scene in the film. I told him so after the premiere. Thomas is the real deal in this town. He has character. He is a man who says the words he feels and not the words of a man who kneels. He possesses a scintillating and coruscating wit that is matched by only my best friend, Larry Cohen. I hope to meet Thomas someday in person. HA!! I adore this man. He has character. He is never lured by false promises or “You give me this and I’ll get you that.” Sir Thomas is authentic.
After Bruce Dern and I finished wrapping Nation's Fire for the day he hugged me tightly and said in front of the entire cast and crew, “Laurene, I have worked with the best of the best actors in this industry in my life. There is only one actress I have ever worked opposite in your age range that is better than you — and that would be my daughter. If there is anything I can ever do for you, please do not hesitate to ask.” This was as remarkable to me as the note from the Hollywood Reporter regarding my performance in SKY.
Jimmy Star: You also have an amazing new horror film “Agramon’s Gate” written and directed by the incredibly talented Harley Wallen. What can you tell us about the film?
Laurene Landon: I play Sharon Stann, the mother of a son who murdered my husband many years prior for attempting to kill me. I have been in a mental institution for many years. Hell, sounds like my real life! HA! Anyhow, in the beginning of the film, there is a seance that goes south and the demon AGRAMON is raised. Agramon, the Demon of Fear. I loved this challenge because Harley Wallen is a master of social commentary and dealt with something we all encounter in our journey - and that is fear. I went insane in this movie, went places in my heart that have been under lock and key since the death of my father - which I have never recovered. It stars Harley Wallen, his beautiful wife, Kaiti Wallen, Calhoun Koenig, the illustrious Yan Birch and Kris Reilly who plays my son. There are so many luminous actors in this movie it would take an entire page to name them all.
Agramon’s Gate Official Trailer: https://youtu.be/qtDYHkBJi5k
Jimmy Star: Tell us a fun story about something that happened on the set of one of your movies that no one knows about….you can pick the film, whichever one you like.
Laurene Landon: When I first met my now best friend of 40 years, Larry Cohen, I was in awe of how incredibly funny and handsome he was. The first day I was sent to the set of Full Moon High, he fired the lead actress and read me for the role. He said I was wonderful. I had a massive panic attack and told him I couldn’t star in the film because “I had an audition” to go to. Like, right now. I was terrified of him. He said I was crazy to go for a stinking audition when he was offering me the lead on the spot. I ran like hell to my car and went home to hide under my dog. My agent at the time, Beverly Hecht called and read me the riot act on my answering machine. Two days later I ended back up on the set in a small role on Full Moon High which, thankfully for me at the time had been cast the day I ran home. That’s almost as crazy as when I met Robert Aldrich for the first time to star in All The Marbles. Hell, I was a kid. I didn’t know who he was. I kept calling him Mr. Altman. He kept telling me he was Robert Aldrich. I told him I have never heard of a Robert Aldrich, only a Robert Altman. It turned out he was right. Lord, I loved this man and miss him terribly.
Jimmy Star: If you could go back in time and be a character in any film that has ever been released, which film would you like to be in and what character would you have liked to play?
Laurene Landon: If I could go back in time I wouldn’t be born for twenty years and maybe would have had a chance to meet and marry Tom Hardy. He reminds me so much of my dearly departed friend, Marlon Brando, who always called me “Vanilla.” I would love to play Tom Hardy’s wife in real life. As the great Judy Tenuta says, “IT COULD HAPPEN!!” I am not a stalker. However, I do think people should marry stalkers. Why? Because stalkers never cheat on you. They don’t have TIME!!
Jimmy Star: Let’s ask some fun questions to see what you come up with….
Jimmy Star: If you could be any superhero in the comics, who would you like to be and why?
Laurene Landon: I was the original cartoon of Spider Woman many years ago. My body and face were rotoscoped to look like her. Rotoscoping is an animation technique that animators used to trace over motion picture footage. Many years ago, Stan Lee wanted me to star in a comic book he had called THE DAZZLER. Because I was taking care of my ill parents along with my sisters, I opted to get out of the business for many years and said no. There are no regrets in hindsight. We would never have changed a thing. Our parents are our greatest treasure. There is always a movie somewhere down the line if you have passion, patience and perseverance. A fist comes in handy too at times.
Jimmy Star: It’s a cold day and you are snuggling up on the couch with a fire and hot chocolate to watch your favorite chill and relax movie…what film are you watching?
Laurene Landon: Any film that I am not in. HA! I love watching HOCKEY! THE KINGS and THE DUCKS. Because I hail from Canada, I love the fastest sport on the planet, but suppose if one had to nail it down, it would be a comedy. Or any Marlon Brando movie for that matter.
Jimmy Star: What other cool projects would you like us to know about so we can be looking for them when they come out?
Laurene Landon: I have 3 projects in the works. Flow -- Fabulous Ladies of Wrestling created by the indefatigable genius of Glow - Matt Cimber. Cannot go into much detail but it is going to be a hoot!. God knows, I really want to do comedy right now. Albeit, another project is Sorrow's Way - written and directed by Ben Lawson. It deals with the five stages of grief and how in life, the bitterest tears ever shed—are for words that are left unsaid. This is a role of a lifetime. I pray I will do justice to Opal, the main character. The cinematographer is a giant talent by the name of Chuck France. You don’t even need dialogue with the pulchritude and majesty he creates visually. The other project is in New Zealand but we are just in talks for this film. I am sent two to three scripts a week but honestly, if I feel there’s no way to make a full bodied, three-dimensional character come to life, why bother?
I am most grateful dear Ron and Jimmy Star for this interview. I admire and respect you both more than idioms can express. May your lives be blessed with the love and happiness you show to others unconditionally. This is another word so seldom expressed in this town: Unconditional. My other favorite word is authentic ——you hear me Sir Thomas J. Churchill? And not to forget the most important word in the world…FAITH.
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