Christopher Lloyd interview and exclusive I Am Not a Serial Killer clip
IFC Midnight will release I Am Not a Serial Killer in select theaters, on VOD and via digital platforms today, and they have provided us with an exclusive clip from the unconventional thriller which you can check out below! We also had the chance to sit down for an exclusive 1-on-1 interview with the film’s star, acting legend Christopher Lloyd (Back to the Future, The Addams Family, “Taxi”), while attending Fantasia Fest earlier this month.
During our interview, we covered his new role as well as the possibility of him appearing in Kevin Smith’s in-development Buckaroo Banzai TV series (the film was recently re-issued on a Collector’s Edition Blu-ray by Shout Factory) as well as his roles in Zach Braff’s upcoming remake of Going in Style, George Lucas’s underseen Radioland Murders, and the 1984 classic Star Trek III: The Search for Spock! Back to the Future may also have been mentioned once or twice!
ComingSoon.net: What can you say about “I Am Not a Serial Killer” for our readers so they can get a handle on it?
Christopher Lloyd: Without divulging too much, because that’s part of the fun of the film, is what you don’t expect, it’s essentially about this young man who has some psychological problems. He’s seeing a therapist. He has a fear of being a serial killer and he has symptoms that might suggest that this is a possibility. And it’s about a next-door neighbor, a couple, an elderly couple, and the way they and the young man kind of get involved. And I don’t want to reveal too much more…
CS: Who is Crowley, the character that you play?
Lloyd: He’s complicated. He has a history, maybe going back thousands of years. And over time, he’s taken on evolutionized into different forms or whatever. And in his present, he’s a very believable human being. He does not know his past. He does not understand really who he is, but there is an element in his nature that comes out every once in a while, that he may not even remember. He does things in those moments that he may not even remember, something like that. But he’s a very loving, doting husband. He loves the woman he’s married to.
CS: He sounds like he’s kind of an enigma to himself.
Lloyd: Yes, exactly. That’s the way I’m going to say it from now on, he’s an enigma to himself. And he doesn’t even know where to begin.
CS: And you’re working with Max Records (“Where the Wild Things Are,” “The Sitter”) and this is sort of his first non-kids performance.
CS: What did you make of him?
Lloyd: He’s very good. He has a real presence about him. He’s very comfortable in front of the camera and he’s intelligent and he has a great face and persona and everything and he’s perfect for this role. I feel it’s a wonderful performance. And he’s not a kid in it. He’s young, but there’s a maturity about him now that he’s not a child.
CS: I’ve read that when you get a role that you actually memorize the dialogue months in advance, that you’re very old school that way. Is that still your process?
Lloyd: Yeah. I tend to do that. I did it a lot with “Back to the Future” because you get a schedule and so you know what’s coming up over the next days, sometimes there are little changes. So a week before I got to the next week, I wanted to know everything. So I find it difficult—some people have a quick retention—and I’ve seen actors who read the script and it’s like it’s set, it’s there. I find it difficult to work, if I don’t know the lines, you know, and not just knowing, they’re second nature to me. Then, whatever happens in the performance when you’re actually doing it, you’re not going to go off. You’re going to retain all of that. So I like to have my lines. And maybe it’s to the point where it’s not that important and you can kind of improvise, but mostly, I want the words.
CS: You don’t want to be on set and be like, “The 1.25 gigawatts.” And Zemeckis is like, “Uh, it’s 1.21 gigawatts, Chris.”
Lloyd: Yeah, I’ve put myself in situations like that and it’s like, horrendous. (Laughs)
CS: You also have “Going in Style” coming up.
Lloyd: Yeah, I was trying to remember that title, “Going in Style,” yeah.
CS: How does that compare to the George Burns version.
Lloyd: I never saw that, I have to confess. I didn’t do my homework.
CS: But you’re working with Zach Braff and…
Lloyd: Yeah, and it’s funny because we were in a production of “Twelfth Night” in Central Park years ago at the outdoor theater they have. We had the same dressing room and he was doing “Scrubs” at the time. I didn’t know he was going to direct this film. I arrived on the set, the first day is like, “My god, Zach.” And he did it great. He had three, four, five major names, you know, but he knew what he was doing. He knew how to get it. He was a real director.
CS: Who do you play in that movie?
Lloyd: I’m one of the old farts in this place. He’s got some short term memory loss and gets puzzled and confused easily, but he kind of functions there, organizing the various things that the people do, the old farts, yeah.
CS: And speaking of George Burns, I know you were actually in his last movie, which was “Radioland Murders.” That’s not a movie a lot of people know, but at the time it was a groundbreaking movie in that George Lucas was testing out a lot of new technology on the set. I was wondering if you had any specific memories of working with him and Mel Smith on that movie?
Lloyd: I remember enjoying it. It was shot in a studio in North Carolina. And I was delighted to get it. I was a sound man for radio shows and doing all of that, and I really loved it. It had a pretty wonderful cast, a group of people and it somehow didn’t go anywhere.
CS: Yeah, it didn’t set the world on fire.
Lloyd: I remember George Lucas had a birthday party at his ranch, where he has his studio and all of that stuff outside of San Francisco somewhere. He had 500 people there. And I ran into Robin Williams, who I was acquainted with, and he was interested in the role that I had.
Lloyd: Yeah. And he said to me, “If I played that role, I’d play it that I was deaf.” And I thought, how the f*ck would he pull that off? But he could. You know, he could. And I thought, how conservative I am. (Laughs) He would’ve gone the whole way, a deaf sound man.
CS: I think by the time it came out a lot of people didn’t even really remember that there were old time radio dramas and comedies.
Lloyd: Right. They didn’t get it.
CS: But for those who do, it was fun to just see you doing all that weird foley stuff, which is pretty accurate to that era. It was a fun role. Actually, while he was here at Fantasia, I talked to Kevin Smith. He has plans to do a “Buckaroo Banzai” TV show.
CS: Yeah, did you know about that?
Lloyd: I didn’t.
CS: Yeah, I guess his plan is to re-tell the first movie, but to do it over 10 episodes. So for example, there’s this scene in the movie where they talk about the aliens coming during the “War of the Worlds” radio broadcast in 1938. Instead of just saying that, they’re going to do a whole episode about that.
Lloyd: Oh great. Is he producing, directing, acting?
CS: Kevin said he’s writing the shows and he’s going to direct maybe a few of them, but he also wants to bring in other directors to do the whole thing.
Lloyd: That’s a fun idea.
CS: Yeah. I know he wants Peter Weller to come back in another role.
Lloyd: Oh great.
CS: Would you be interested in rejoining that cast?
Lloyd: Oh I’d love it. I would love it, yeah. That’s great.
CS: It’s such an oddball movie.
Lloyd: Yeah, it was.
CS: And it’s getting a re-release on Blu-ray through Shout Factory. Do you think it was sort of one of those things that was so bizarre that it was sort of destined to be a cult movie? Or was there just something like, really special about all those great actors just colliding with Earl Mac Rauch’s world?
Lloyd: I think some of both. You know, it’s an amazing cast. And the story was so bizarre. I remember going to the opening night with Peter and other people there and I don’t really know, but the guy who was producing it…
CS: Neil Canton?
Lloyd: No. No. There was another guy involved and he got convicted of doing some fancy financial work so that actors weren’t being paid or something like that. There was an actor, there was a movie that came out called “Charlie” about a mentally handicapped man, and this actor played him, and he was wonderful. Somehow, he got screwed by this producer, and then the film somehow got into the hands of another producer. I don’t know. But the feeling was, there was a feeling that the way they cut it, they really didn’t understand the story, which was forgivable, you know? (Laughs) But it lost something in the cutting, I don’t know.
CS: Well, hopefully maybe Kevin can right some of those wrongs. We’ll see.
Lloyd: Yeah, yeah.
CS: And I guess that was the first of several alien roles for you, because after that you did “Star Trek” and you did “My Favorite Martian.” Do you think there’s something about Christopher Lloyd, where they’re like, “It’s an alien. It’s gotta be Christopher Lloyd”?
Lloyd: (Laughs) Yeah. I don’t know—I mean, “Star Trek” came along fairly early. And I don’t know what they saw in me that said Captain Kruge because I hadn’t done anything remotely like that, but it worked out. I enjoyed that, yeah, and I love all that stuff, makeup and the—
CS: The appliances?
Lloyd: Yeah, and the creature, my dog. (Laughs) Such a world. And then, Uncle Fester. I loved doing that.
CS: That was one of the things when I was looking over your filmography, I was just like, you’ve been a part of so many different franchises, from “Back to the Future” and “Addams Family” and “Star Trek,” and I guess more recently on “Piranha” and “Sin City.” The list goes on and on. Some of them worked and some of them didn’t work, so you must have a great perspective about what makes a franchise movie successful. What do you think is the best way to balance commerce with artistry?
Lloyd: I don’t know. On “Back to the Future,” Bob Gale was a producer and wrote it, a little bit with Bob Zemeckis. He was a writer. It’s such a challenge to come up with a sequel that matches the original in expectation, and they did it, with those three. Surely, it’s the writing. I mean, to come up and think of plot lines that keep the tension all the way through each sequel and have it be credible and make sense and the characters develop, I don’t know. I just think some guy gets an idea and knows how to make it happen. That just doesn’t happen every day like that.
IFC Midnight will release I Am Not a Serial Killer in select theaters, on VOD and via digital platforms on August 26.