Christopher Lee Talks The Wicker Tree


And, working with Nic Cage, the Wicker remake and more

Shock Till You Drop had the pleasure of having writer Alan Jones on the London set of John Landis’ Burke and Hare.

While there, Jones sat down to talk with Christopher Lee on our behalf; the horror legend stars in Landis’ comedic thriller with Simon Pegg and Andy Serkis. A full set report is coming soon, but for now, here’s Lee talking a bit about his turn in Robin Hardy’s The Wicker Tree, the director’s companion piece to The Wicker Man.

Christopher Lee: Never go to see myself in movies, unless at a premiere, I don’t enjoy watching myself on the screen. I never have and I don’t know many actors who do. You get a complex after a while, why did I turn my head that way, why did I have cigar on left side, you tend to think abut the things you should have done and you forget it’s what the director wanted.

Shock: Can you talk about your role in The Wicker Tree?

Lee: They wrote this script, I was originally going to play the lead, and do quite a lot of singing. But by the time they got around to offering me the part, I was in New Mexico doing The Resident with Hilary Swank – a delightful person – so I couldn’t play the lead. Then when I returned they asked if I would do a scene, because in their minds there was some sort of connection to The Wicker Man original. I couldn’t work that out because what I read was clearly not The Wicker Man in any shape or form. And certainly nothing to do with the remake. I worked with Nicolas Cage on Season of the Witch (pictured) – a nice guy – in Budapest and he couldn’t believe how the press lambasted it. I’ve never seen the remake and don’t want to. It was a bit like remaking Psycho in my view, pointless and bizarre. I couldn’t see how it would be a success as the original was so famous, millions have seen in on TV and DVD. So they really had an even bigger audience who would notice the negative differences.

Shock: Do you play a Lord Summerisle again?

Lee: Don’t really know who I play in honesty, I’m not named. Good god, I don’t play Summerisle – in the movie I look like I do here [in Burke and Hare playing old Joseph in rags]. He’d be at least 38 years older. I was 50 when I shot the movie, so I suppose I could have done without it being too much of a stretch. I don’t know what happens in the film in truth, it’s a bit of a mystery to me. Apparently it’s in the style of the first whatever that means and it explores similar themes. However I wish them all the luck in the world of course because they have a superb cast and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be good with all the talent they have attached. It didn’t matter if my role was going to be large or small in The Wicker Tree. Audiences expected me to be in it anyway, and I am, so why do longer than a day’s work when that perception is out there already?

For our exclusive set report from The Wicker Tree, follow this link!

Source: Shock Till You Drop, Alan Jones