FRIGHT INTERVIEW – Stu Charno (FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2)
Stu Charno is an actor/ writer & musician whom you’ve seen in various films & television commercials. Genre fans recognize him as camp counselor Ted in ‘Friday The 13th Part 2’. But he’s also appeared in genre films such as John Carpenter’s ‘Christine’, Stephen King’s ‘Sleepwalkers’ & ‘Alien Hunter’. He’s been in the comedies ‘Once Bitten’ with Jim Carrey & also the 80’s cult classic comedy, ‘Just One Of The Guys’. We caught up with him to ask him about his experiences on his previous work, & to find out what he’s up to now. Visit him @ Stu Charno.com. – by Robg. & Mike C. 4/04
What are your earliest recollections of the horror genre?
I remember, and loved some of the early old black and white “scary movies”, like; House on Haunted Hill, The Haunting… stuff like that. Just scary without being bloody.
I had read that after seeing how it all works behind the scenes on Friday The 13th Part 2, you weren’t a fan of the genre anymore.
Frankly, I never really liked the “BOO!” thing that much. I think it’s totally cool that other people do, but roller coasters make me pyook…
Are there any particular films that influenced your acting in the beginning?
There are SO many great actors in my view that all of them have something to learn from.
Overall, what were the working conditions like on the set for Friday The 13th Part 2?
Great. They treated us like young princes and princesses.
The Friday movies tended to come out rather fast. Was it a rushed production or did everything run fairly smoothly?
Smooth as can be for me.
Friday The 13th Part 2 was Steve Miner’s first film as a director. What were your working experiences like with him for that movie?
I hope I’m not being boring or redundant but everyone and everything about that experience for me was a blast. I’m a big fan of Steve Miner, the human.
You had said previously that most of your footage from Friday The 13th Part 2 was used in the film. Was there anything more of your character after the bar scene? You seemed to disappear from the film after that.
I asked the old guy at the bar if there were any “after hours” places ’round there. I figure that I went out and got more drunk. The camera didn’t follow me, which is probably good.
Were you able to keep in contact with any of the other people involved in the production of Friday 2?
Bill Randolph and I hung out for a while, but I moved to LA and we fell out of touch. Kirsten Baker and I were friends too, but she moved from LA. I still see John Furey on auditions now and then…
Did you get to keep any souvenirs? Any props? or keep any journals or pictures from your Friday The 13th Part 2 experience?
Wish I had…
How’d you enjoy seeing the movie for the first time on the big screen?
I hate watching myself act, but that aside, it was tons of fun
Some actors involved in the series shy away from being associated with it. Did you ever feel that way?
I got recognized just yesterday from the movie — I guess I like getting attention, so I don’t mind at all…
Are you involved at all in the upcoming Friday The 13th Part 2 special edition DVD that Paramount plans on releasing later in the year?
NO! Why hasn’t anyone called me?!
You played Vandenberg in ‘Christine’. Were you a fan of Stephen King or John Carpenter’s work going into that project?
I think Stephen King is a certain kind of genius. He was also in a movie that I had a small role in, called ‘SleepWalkers’. The amazing Alice Kreig is the star of that one…
You played ‘Reptile’, one of the more memorable characters in ‘Just One Of The Guys’. Did you have any problems working with any of the various reptiles you had on that picture? Did you have a new affinity for reptiles after having so many as pets on that film?
I’d call it an affinity, but I do have a new appreciation for all those amazing cold blooded creatures.
‘Once Bitten’ looks like it was a fun picture to work on. What was it like playing a vampire?
Again, I hate watching myself act, but I had a blast working with Jim Carrey. He’s one of the most creative people I’ve ever met…
Considering you’ve done a lot of work on comedies, and that your original agent had mistaken you for a comedian, have you ever thought of trying stand up comedy?
I used to sing songs I wrote that had comical lyrics, in clubs in and around Manhattan. I guess it was really sit down comedy.
You were in ‘Clyde Bruckman’s Final Response’; a fan favorite X-Files episode. How did you get involved with the X-Files? Were you a fan of the show?
My ex-wife wrote on the show for a couple of seasons, and after she left, another writer named Darren Morgan thought it would be fun to put me in the show, and he wrote that part with me in mind. He won an Emmy for it, and it was rated by the TV guide as one of the top ten television episodes of all time! There’s even a bunch of trading cards with my picture on them!
Dramatic acting is a serious thing. One has to have their imagination about the circumstances fill them completely. And if the circumstances are eviscerating people and not knowing why, for the time at work, you’ve GOT to be as serious as anybody who eviscerates people.
How did you prepare for your roll on the X-Files?
I chopped up some neighbors.
Besides your X-Files appearance, you’ve done a lot of television & commercial work. What are the biggest differences between working in television as opposed to full-length films? Do you prefer one to the other?
I’ve been in over a hundred commercials, and I think I’m better suited for a quick laugh than a serious role.
You had done some writing for Star Trek: The Next Generation. How’d that come about & would you like to do more writing?
I’ve been writing for years, and my ex-wife and I did some writing together for that show.
You have worked in both music and movies professionally. Which to you is better or more fulfilling?
I’ve never really looked to my professional life for “fulfillment”. I just love being alive…
You had scored a few short films. Is scoring something you’d like to do more of considering your experience in both movies and music?
I don’t mean to brag, but I think that the combined understanding of both music and acting (64 years total study) can bring something to scoring a film that’s unique. I’d love to do that some more…
Your most recent film appearance was in ‘Alien Hunter’ with James Spader. Can you tell us a bit about that film?
Bulgaria! We shot it in Bulgaria! Wow.. Ever hear the term, “great Bulgarian chef”? No? We couldn’t find one. I got to meet some wonderful people though. All the actors and crew in that movie were fantastic. And cuisine aside, I absolutely loved the people in Bulgaria. Chudesno! (that means ‘excellent’ in Bulgarian)
What are you currently working on for the future?
Currently I’m teaching music (35 years of experience in that), teaching the martial art Shing-Yi (25 years of experience in that), building one-of-a-kind furniture (15 years of experience in that), and waiting to see if anyone wants to hire me again for acting. Every job is the last job. What a biz…
Thanks for talking with us, Stu!
Visit Stu Charno @ www.stucharno.com!
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