Aug 27, 2019
Bill Moseley is an actor,
musician and horror icon. He burst onto the horror scene in a
huge way as Chop Top in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
2, and has since
starred in movies like Repo the Genetic Opera and the TV show Carnivàle. But perhaps most
notable is Bill’s chillingly well realized portrayal of Otis B.
Driftwood in Rob Zombie’s Firefly family trilogy, including
House of 1,000
Rejects, and the up and
coming 3 From
Bill and I talked about his
career history, including a pretty incredible story about how he
got on the radar of Tobe Hooper for Texas Chainsaw 2 through a short film he made called
The Texas Chainsaw
Manicure. We also got
into details about his acting process and how he gets into the
psychotic mindset of characters like Otis. And of course, we
discussed what we can expect from 3 From Hell.
Speaking to Bill was a real
treat. I’m a huge fan of him and The Devil’s Rejects is not just one of my favorite horror
movies of all time, but one of my favorite movies of all time. To
me it was a perfect blend of fascinating (even lovable) characters
in a grounded, believable sun-scorched reality that had the
Americana flavorings of classic road movies like
and Badlands. It delivered the blood in the big way and had
moments of palpably bone-chilling psychotic brutality. All of this
plus a killer soundtrack.
As you’ll hear in the interview,
Bill is an incredibly nice guy, he was so generous with his time
and knowledge and I was so humbled to be able to speak to
Here are 3 key creative lessons
learned from this conversation with Bill Moseley.
- Make stuff & put it out
there. Bill was a
struggling actor who, on a whim, made a fun short film in a day
with his buddies called The Texas Chainsaw
Manicure. With very
little expectation of it getting much recognition, Bill sent it
around to multiple networks and it got in front of Tobe Hooper who
then cast Bill as Chop Top in Texas Chainsaw 2. This put Bill on the trajectory of being the
horror icon he is today.
- Get out of the way!
Hell, Bill began
screwing up Otis' lines because he was over-thinking the
performance and becoming insecure. After take after bad take, Bill
suddenly heard the voice of Otis in his own psyche tell him to get
out of the way and let him do his job. Bill said that he sat the
performance out at this point and simply let Otis take over which
made the performance go much smoother. This idea of getting out of
the way is relevant to most artists, not just actors, who often
will stifle the flow of their own creativity by over-thinking the
material and finding reasons to feel self conscious. This may be
part of being human but it's destructive to the creative process.
Sometimes, the best way to serve your art is to get the hell out of
- Art is not safe.
During a particularly brutal hotel room scene in The Devil’s
Rejects (you know the one) Bill struggled to get through the
large number of takes and mentioned to Rob Zombie that he was
emotionally struggling to get through the performance. Without
skipping a beat, Rob Zombie replied “Art is not safe” - meaning,
that working in horror and other darker arts, can take an emotional
toll on those involved when it's taken seriously. It’s supposed to.
Yes, there are those goofy, schlocky slashers and exploitation
films that exists for cheap thrills & entertainment, but then
there is the type of horror that is meant to portray larger truths
about real evil. Sometimes the only way to properly depict evil is
to confront and embrace the inherent danger that comes with
exploring it. That’s exactly what Bill did which is probably why
Otis is such an effective character (and probably why he’s still
stuck in Bill’s head).