Sunday, February 20, 2011

ILHM Interviews Bit Player Sonny Carl Davis!

There is only one of them in every monster movie: The first to be eaten! These poor souls of cinema only last long enough for a giant rabid chinchilla or scaly space-slug to run them down or rip them apart. Sonny Carl Davis is no stranger to the part, having been a bit player in the Horror, Western, Sci-Fi, and B-Movie genres for now over thirty years! Fans will recognize Sonny in everything from THE WHOLE SHOOTIN' MATCH to FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH, but he is perhaps most recognizable for his repeated roles working under Empire and Full Moon Features producer Charles Band. Sonny spent some time with us this weekend discussing his career and upcoming one-man show that will be touring the country entitled "1st2Beaten":

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ILHM: Sonny, thanks for taking the time to stop by the site! Why don't you start by giving us a little history lesson on the Sons of Uranium Savage?

SCD: The Savages started in the 70's in Austin. I rejoined them when I moved back from L.A. a couple of years ago. They've been call "the band too dumb to die. We do comedy and music. Some of our big hits are "Idi Amin is my yardman", "I wanna get laid" and "Thank Heaven for little girls".

ILHM: How did you first get involved in filmmaking?

SCD: Eagle Pennell was writing a story for a local rag. I'd heard he had made a film so when we met I told him I was interested in acting. A girlfriend had suggested I go to some classes with her. About a month later Eagle cast me in a short called "A Hell of a note". Then we did " The Whole Shootin' Match. After the "success" of that I moved to L.A. '78.

ILHM: After THE WHOLE SHOOTIN' MATCH, you worked on several other projects with the late Lou Perryman and Eagle Pennell. What were your experiences like working with these two fellow Texans?

SCD: Well, there's a saying down here: "You can always tell a Texan but you can't tell him much." We did some good films together. We developed a shorthand between the three of us plus Doris Hargrave. After a while, like family members, we started butting heads over crap that, looking back of course, seem so silly

ILHM: For years, you have starred in everything from Horror to Comedy and Westerns. Do you prefer working in any one genre, or do you like them each equally?

SCD: I love them all because I love to act. I love the process. I love humor, horses and getting "offed" in new and horrific ways.

ILHM: Did you ever get starstruck working alongside actors and actresses like Farrah Fawcett, Sean Penn, Jason Robards, Robert Duvall, and others?

SCD: Farrah was uh...Farrah. She was so sweet and beautiful and so wanted to be taken seriously and it showed. On "Roadie" I got to be around Art Carney who was the nicest legend, along with Willie Nelson. But the biggest was sitting in the makeup trailer with Roy Orbison (also on Roadie") He had his shades off and I made him laugh. The coolest! I still get all wet when I think of that.

ILHM: When did you first get involved with B-movie great Charles Band and Empire Pictures?

SCD: My old friend Ted Nicolaou was doing "Terrorvision". He cast me and we all went to Italy to shoot it. A great time was had by all.
ILHM: Approximately how many times have B-movies fans seen you killed on-screen, and what was your favorite method of execution?

SCD: The list keeps growing. Charlie and I figured 4 or 5 with just his films. Willie Nelson hanging me was kinda classic as an old Western fan like me. But, getting rolled up into a doobie by the Poontang tribe is good work if you can get it.

ILHM: Out of each of your many performances, which would you say were your favorite and least favorite experiences?

SCD: They're the same. The role of Cowboy in "Last Night at the Alamo" I could actually watch myself and not spew and the film is good. The production was a bitch for several reasons but thanks to the producer/writer Kim Henkel (The Tx. Chainsaw Masacre) we got through it. You should check it out.

ILHM: Most recently, you have been reprising the role of "Rabbit" in Charlie Band's far-out sequel EVIL BONG 3: WRATH OF BONG, which is currently filming in 3-D. How does this sequel compare to the two previous films, and are there any differences when working in 3-D?

SCD: Rabbit lives! I'm going to talk Charlie into the next one:"THE WRATH OF RABBIT" We created Rabbit in Trancers 2. He got killed in that one but who cares? The dudes rule and it's a blast. I can't wait to see the 3D. It takes a little more time. I prefer to work in 4D.

ILHM: Will Rabbit be running into much of the same trouble as he had with the Poontang Tribe in the previous film?

SCD: Let's just say Rabbit smiles a lot.

ILHM: We were thrilled to find out that you will actually be putting on a live one-man show entitled "First to be Eaten... Rantings of a Bit Player." Can you give us a sneak peek about what fans can expect to see?

SCD: It's somewhat a bio, with clips and anecdotes and a few words of wisdom. Such as: When Willie asks if you want to burn one? Say yes, the buzz lasts a lifetime.

ILHM: Where and when will we be able to see "First to be Eaten?"

SCD: I'm taking it on the road this Spring/Summer. I'll keep you updated.

ILHM: Do you prefer performing on stage or on the movie set?

SCD: Movie sets make me feel I'm in the center of something bigger. Stage makes me feel I'm in the middle of something small but yet just as important. If that makes any sense and I love them both.

ILHM: With so many films already in the can, what are your plans for the future?

SCD: I'd like to be a motivational speaker but so far I haven't gotten around to it. Or maybe get into online rabbits - "Rabbit's Rabbits",

ILHM: Will we see a film directed by Sonny Carl Davis?

SCD: I'm "soon" to be directing "Texas Sweet" here in Austin. A love story set in the fields.

ILHM: Where is the best place for fans to catch up with you and find out about your upcoming projects?

SCD: Right now I guess FACEBOOK but we're developing a website for 1st2Beaten.

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Pictures of Sonny in action are available from our exclusive set visit to EVIL BONG 3-D, and Sonny welcomes all fans to visit him on Facebook as well! Whether you are a fan of the Western, or love seeing TV repairmen eaten by giant trash monsters, you are sure to have seen this good ol' boy from Texas somewhere along the road, so be sure to check out any of his films that you may have missed and look for 1st2Beaten during its upcoming run across the US!

Another special thanks to Sonny for taking the time to complete this interview, and for making it his own personal crusade to be eaten first.

Interview By: Carl Manes.

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