First of all, why don't you introduce yourself to those of us who don't
already know you?
My name is Tom Lodewyck and I am an actor, musician, writer and sometimes
originally from Chicago, however I have lived all over: Arizona and
Tennessee to name a few. I
currently reside in Wisconsin.
What can you tell us about your training as an actor, and to what
extent did it prepare you for the actual job (which might be a stupid
discovered acting early on, in grade school really. Some school plays and
neighborhood self-produced “shows” with friends. However, it was my
freshman year of high school in Tucson, Arizona that I began to take it
more seriously. I had a great acting teacher who believed in my abilities,
and taught me to really push the envelope of creativity and how to
successfully become a character. She cast me in all the big school
productions and encouraged me to start writing as well. She even got me a
job at a local dinner theater where I literally learned everything you’d
ever need to know about how to run a production. Then some classmates and
I started our own acting troupe, which performed classic theater
productions at local libraries. We did everything ourselves, from
wardrobes and makeup to building sets and rewriting these well-known
plays to fit into a 45 minute vignette. It became really popular quite
quickly, and we were being pursued by other libraries to bring our shows.
We were 14 years old and we were not business people. We never charged a
dime. We did it because we loved acting. But I really learned a lot that
year and it certainly shaped my acting style and craft.
Do talk about your career as a stage actor
for a bit if you may?
high school I really moved away from the theater and concentrated on music
for many years. It’s a hard road to travel and it can definitely break
your heart. I had always assumed that I would return the theater one day
and I did. Once we moved to Wisconsin I discovered a thriving theater
scene and instantly gravitated toward it. I met a lot of good friends and
great actors during that time, and realized what I had been missing.
with Katherine Heigl in Side Effects
According to my information, your
screen debut was of all things a romantic comedy starring Katherine Heigl,
Side Effects. Do talk about that movie for a bit, how did you get
involved, and what was your first time in front of a movie camera like?
story: A friend of mine, not an actor mind you, but a co-worker, told me
about a screen test they were having for a movie called Side Effects. He
told me they were looking for people to play businessmen and doctors. I
told him I’d never done a screen test before and that I was a stage
actor. He convinced me and said he’d meet me at the audition. He never
here I am waiting to do a screen test with a bunch of professional looking
actors, and I’m basically a nervous wreck. They call me in the room and
I completely tank the audition. I think I was sweating and stuttering and
most likely looking like a lost puppy. When I left the building, I was
sure I’d never hear or speak of it again. About a month later, my wife
and I returned home from a weekend vacation and she was checking our phone
messages. She tells me that some production company needs me to return a
call ASAP. I seriously had no idea what it was about, but I figured I
owed some money to a music service or something. So I call, and the lady
on the other end says she needs an address to send my scenes. I’m still
clueless at this point and believe I asked her “What is a scene?” She
then proceeded to tell me that I was cast in the role of Dr. Smith and
production would begin the following month. I dropped the phone.
next month was probably the most surreal time of my life. My very first
scenes ever shot on film were with Katherine Heigl, and she couldn’t
have been any more awesome. Completely put me at ease and taught me how to
put on the game face. The rest I guess is history.
on stage and acting in front of a movie camera - how do the two compare,
and which do you prefer, actually?
entirely different beasts. Theater is all about projection. In both speech
and movement, you are selling yourself to the person sitting in the back
row. There is instant gratification or humiliation. There are no outtakes
or re-shoots. A theater actor is about the most prepared person you will
ever meet. I have always professed my love for the theater because it is
where I came from, but film has been my salvation. Obviously, time
commitments are vast. Your average film usually shoots for a month or
so, whereas a theater production takes about four or five months from
start to finish. I’ve definitely found a comfort zone in film, but I do
miss the theater immensely.
Of late, you seem to
have more and more found your home in the horror genre - why do you think
is that, and is horror a genre especially dear to you, and why (not)?
absolutely love horror movies! A passion my wife does not share with me…
When I was a kid growing up in Chicago, my grandmother (the coolest woman
ever!) turned me on to all the classics. There was a weekly program called
Creature Features that played all the great Universal
like Dracula, The
Mummy, Frankenstein and (my personal favorite)
Wolf Man. I’d watch them through my fingers. I was absolutely
horrified and mesmerized at the same time. I became a bit of an idiot
savant when it came to knowing facts about the actors, directors and films
themselves. When I had previously mentioned about our neighborhood
“shows”, this is what they’d be. Friends and I would put on our own
productions of the Universal classics for the other neighborhood kids, and
they loved it.
I became a legitimate actor, I wasn’t necessarily looking for horror
films, but they definitely came looking for me. I think director Jason
Satterfield (The Legend Trip) was the first person to not only give me
the opportunity of a major role, but also saw that I could pull off a
serious villain. Once The Legend Trip came out, the phone started ringing and I was
conceived as a “heavy”. Before that and in theater, I was often cast
as the protagonist.
a side note to this, my wife and children usually get a big kick out of
the villainous roles I am cast in, because they know what a complete sap I
really am. I’ve never had a violent bone in my body and I’m about as
pragmatic a person as you’ll ever meet.
significant deviation from your usual roles was The Penny, which
cast you pretty much against type - so you of course have to talk about
that movie and your character in it for a bit!
scared the shit out of me! When I was invited to the audition, they (Filmweavers
– the production company) knew my work and I had assumed they were
looking for a “heavy”. But
I never did read for any of the villainous characters. They had me read
for a Detective and then asked if I’d read for Jack (the lead).
When they called me and offered me the role I was stunned and absolutely
unprepared for the proposal. My wife knew I was stressing and told
me that I had a good heart and I could easily pull off this character. So,
to prepare for the role I looked at the people in my life that I saw as
basically good-natured and kind hearted. My dad, my grandfathers, my late,
great uncle Mike, and I realized I could play this guy in a convincing
fashion. It worked, the film ended up winning over a hundred grand at a
film festival. A strange side note to this story is that I was
filming the first Incest Death Squad at the same time. So I’d
spend one day with The Penny portraying a decent man of God and the
next day I’d be chased by the Incest Death Squad.
talk about a few of your other movies (and your characters in them) that
I've admittedly picked mostly on the strength of their titles:
called Hell’s Labyrinth and was a hard film to shoot. 99% of the
film was shot in front of green-screen and it would play tricks on your
eyes. Actors would run face-first into this thing on a daily basis. We
shot inside a steel warehouse in Milwaukee. It was hot during the day and
absolutely freezing at night (which was when we filmed). I played the
character of Vincent whom I best describe as the guy that when you
first see him in the film, you just know he’s gonna die a horrible
death… Besides the uncomfortable elements, I had a great time because I
was working opposite one of my best friends in the world Edy Cullen. We
still talk about this shoot from time to time and laugh about the living
conditions. I also met Matt Urkena on this film, and we have
remained great friends ever since.
Satanic Panic will
always hold a soft spot in my heart. I absolutely loved everyone on set.
This was another WTF? moment for me, as Marc Selz (writer/director) invited me down to an audition and knew of my work leading up to
this. The film was called Satanic Panic
so I naturally assumed
I’d be playing Satan right? No, Marc casts me as the lead’s boyfriend
and he’s about as white bread as you can get. We shot down in southern
Illinois and we (cast and crew) were pretty isolated from the rest of the
world. This is when I met Cyn Duley and Andy Schatner [Andy
Schatner interview - click here]. Andy
and I hung out a lot and discovered we both had a love for Howard
Stern. Andy had recently written a screenplay called Afraid of
Sunlight and I had written one called The Writing On The Moon. We
swapped scripts and ideas. I have always maintained that Satanic Panic
one of my fondest film memories ever.
The Incest Death Squad-movies -
and what prompted you to also produce them?
J Udler is perhaps the most misunderstood person in the world. He’s
proud to say that he writes “filth”, but when you read his writing,
it’s the most poetic thing you have ever read.
met Cory at the audition. When I originally read the casting call for a
film called Incest Death Squad I figured this was gonna be one of
those “Seriously man, who’s gonna want to watch this?”-moments. But,
as an actor looking for work and seeing that it would be shot in my own
backyard, I decided that I’d have to check it out. I connected with Cory
instantly. I got his humor, his vision and above all else his passion
to make this happen. I knew a lot of actors including Greg Johnson, and
I began enlisting them into the film. We needed some very rural locations
and I live out in the country, so I was able to procure these as well.
That’s basically how I earned the producer credits. There is a real
sense of family when we’d (cast and crew) be together. There was no
animosity or stress on those sets. When an actor says that
they need to fully trust their director or else things will fall apart,
this is the guy they’re talking about. Not once did I ever doubt Cory’s
vision or talent. In fact, as an actor, I’ve never felt so free to
explore emotions or try different things. Cory simply made the
perfect environment for any actor to flourish, and I truly believe that
with all my heart. My role as Aaron Burg has easily become my
favorite character. He has such an arc of emotions between the three
films. People often ask me what my favorite movie (that I was in)
is? And I repeatedly tell them Incest Death Squad 2!!! The film had
balls and I give all the credit to Cory J Udler .
movie that I shouldn’t have even been in… I was in rehearsal for a
play at the Broom Street Theater in Madison, Wisconsin and my leg
was broke. Seriously nasty kinda break where they thought surgery would be
the only way to fix it. Meanwhile, I’d recently attended a couple of
auditions in Chicago for a film called House Of Black Wings. I was
not cast, because (as I recall) the director told me I was too
“intense!” This is about the time that I realized why people
cast me as “heavies” - I always tried to push the envelope and some
people just weren’t ready for what I’d bring to the table. So, here I
sit broken-legged in the middle of winter, feeling sorry for myself and
wondering what I’m going to do for the next 6 to 8 weeks. I
receive an e-mail from writer/director Robert Cappelletto who
had heard about me from House of Black Wings director. Robert proceeded to
tell all about the Goodie Hines character, a complete lunatic. I
was honored and thrilled that he had placed this kind of excitement behind
an actor he didn’t know, however, I had to tell him about my recent
physical limitations. Without even a pause, Robert explains to me
how the fact that I have a cast up to my knee would hold no bearing on the
film, because my character will spend 99% of the film strapped to a bed in
a mental hospital.
can’t say “No” to fate.
Cash is the perfect combination of Quentin Tarantino meets zero budget.
The writing is impeccable and the people involved were about as dedicated
as you’d ever want. Petty Cash is also a film that employed an equal
equation of veteran film and theater actors with no film experience. I’d met
writer/director Ross Bigley [Ross
Bigley interview - click here] while I was on the set of
Spirit Lake and the filming of Petty Cash began about a month after. Had a
great time hanging out with the cast, which included Edy Cullen (Hell’s
Labyrinth), Cyn Dulay (Satanic Panic) and Lindsay Bledsoe
(Still Life) – three of my favorite people in the world. I play Lars, a mafia henchman.
Family aka Cut and Disciples - and what was your
collaboration with Joe Hollow like [Joe
Hollow interview - click here]?
Hollow is about the most dedicated and true people I’ve ever met in the
business. Very similar to Cory J Udler in the sense that they will give
you everything they have to create their vision. I met Joe Hollow while I
was working on Afraid of Sunrise and we became fast friends. Being a
phenomenal actor himself, he understands the process and allows you to
ascend the playing field. He flew me to upstate New York twice for The
Family and I instantly felt at home. These are some the coolest people
you’d ever want to know. Wolfgang Meyer [Wolfgang
Meyer interview - click here], Chris Losicco, Drew Shirley,
Jeff Brunkhurst, Justin Romine [Justin
Romine interview - click here], I could go on forever. I played the role
of Tony, who resides on the lower rungs of the family tree.
with Debra Lamb in Disciples
was and is my crowning moment as an actor. Joe Hollow wrote the character
specifically with me in mind, and knew precisely what my strengths were. I
play an evil priest who’s hell-bent on getting his way. I arrived
in Florida at the same time as Debbie Rochon [Debbie
Rochon interview - click here] and we were taxied by
Jesse Kozel [Jesse Kozel
interview - click here]. Truly one of my fondest moments in film. Debra
Lamb [Debra Lamb interview -
click here], Brinke
Stevens, Linnea Quigley and Shannon Lark [Shannon
Lark interview - click here] were just a few of my cast mates.
By the time we wrapped in LA, I had shot scenes with Tony Todd and Angus
Scrimm. Surreal to say the least, I felt that all my years of hard work
had paid off, as I was able to share the screen with some of my peers.
Hollow is everything that Hollywood is lacking: integrity and spirit.
The Spirit of Hatred and Revenge?
Borowski is a complete visionary. This guy invented his own genre of film.
He is also one of the nicest people you’d ever meet, which makes the
fact that he writes films about serial killers even stranger. We shot a
lot of the scenes in a closed down jailhouse in Chicago, same place they
shot parts of Public Enemies. There were some permit issues on the day I
arrived on set, and the schedule got pushed back. My good friend/director Jason Satterfield
(The Legend Trip) was brought in as director of
photography and I was thrilled, because Jason and I are like evil twins…
we feed off each other. Panzram is an amazing and true story. It is
available on Netflix and I highly recommend it.
with Deneen Melody in Afraid of Sunrise
Rewind to 2007 when I read Andy Schatner’s
screenplay called Afraid of Sunlight [Andy
Schatner interview - click here]. This is the shortened version.
Absolutely great cast and crew assembled for this one, which included
Heather Dorff [Heather Dorff
interview - click here], Dan Kuhlman [Dan
Kuhlman interview - click here], Kris Desautels and one of my favorite actors
in the world Deneen Melody [Deneen
Melody interview - click here]. Behind the camera was another great friend in
writer/director Don Ford. A lot of blood, sweat and tears went into this
film and I think it shows. Andy is a superb writer and he really proved it
with this film. This is also when I met Joe Hollow who would become
a great friend and collaborator. I play a corrupt Senator (who has other
issues) here and had a great time.
met Dan Kuhlman and Deneen Melody on the set of Afraid of Sunrise, and they are the masterminds behind
Rose White. A
modern telling of a Brothers Grimm story, the script and direction
were flawless and tight. The cast, which includes Erin Breen, Anthony
Fleming, Kuhlman, Melody and my own daughter Brooke Lodewyck are
prolific and intense. I play a rather nasty crime boss named “Little
Man” and I’ll just say that never has this much blood been used in any
of my other films… ever.
play a gay weatherman… I have only watched the trailer, but the film
looks great. Don Ford was director of photography and if you have Don shooting your film, it’s gonna look incredible.
House of Purgatory?
haunted house story, which stars Brian Krause. I play the father of
one of the leads.
other past films of yours you'd like to talk about?
Wesley Norton’s Spades was an amazing experience. Stellar cast included
Thomas Andrew Jackson, Juan Riedinger, Alex Skuby (The King of
Larry Thomas (Seinfeld's Soup Nazi). I play the CEO of an agency that hires
killers to conduct business. Apparently John wrote the character
specifically for me after watching Afraid of Sunrise. Deneen Melody
[Deneen Melody interview -
click here] and
Heather Dorff [Heather Dorff
interview - click here] also show their spectacular talents in this film. John
Wesley Norton is a vastly prolific writer, much along the same lines as
Ross Bigley [Ross Bigley
interview - click here], as they both share a common gift for being able to project
their ideas believably onto the screen. Highly recommended if you get the
opportunity to see it.
future projects you'd like to share?
Entry by Kevin Jamison was another great experience. Filmed in central
Illinois and Indiana, the story revolves around two psychotic serial
killers played by Jim Betts jr and myself. Extremely disturbing in a good
way, Tina Renee Grace and Bridgid Macaulay knock their respective rolls
out of the park. Their sheer talent humbled me.
J Udler’s Ed Gein DDS should make its way to the public as part of the
Hole in the Wall horror trilogy. Another great cast includes Tom Running,
Heather Dorff and Judith O’Dea (Night of the Living
Dead). As with all
of Cory’s films, you will be treated to the most politically incorrect,
brilliant barrage of chaos displayed on screen. I play the drunken
boyfriend of a proposed victim who goes toe to toe with Ed.
Wesley Norton’s Drifted is now in production. A crime drama that
reveals the lower side of human depravity and addiction. Colleen Elizabeth
Miller is the glue that holds this story together, and she is the perfect
actor for the role. I play a hard – nosed Irish detective out for
with Debbie Rochon in Disciples
How would you
describe yourself as an actor, and what do you draw upon to bring your
characters to life?
I definitely see myself as a character
actor. I love creating things, whether it’s through acting, writing,
music or even cooking. I think I’ve always been an artist at heart. I
usually find inspiration in those people I’ve known through out my life.
I’m certainly not a method actor; I don’t take these characters home
with me. I can turn it on and off at will.
with Deneen Melody in Afraid of Sunrise
Actors (and indeed actresses) who
are so many… Growing up would be actors like Paul Newman and Jack
Nicholson, Eastwood for sure. I’ve always been drawn to the anti-heroes.
I get very inspired from the actors I work with. Deneen Melody [Deneen
Melody interview - click here] instantly
comes to mind. She’s a very giving actor, and always brings energy to
the scene. Paula Duerksen (Mediatrix) can absolutely command a scene. Two
actresses that I feel most comfortable acting with would be Edy Cullen (Hell’s
Labyrinth) and Melissa Jo Murphy (Incest Death Squad). They both bring a real
natural flow to the scenes, it sets you at ease, and you forget you’re
acting. It’s an incredible thing to witness.
Your favourite movies?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Cool Hand Luke, Tombstone,
Saving Private Ryan, Creature From the Black
Lagoon, The Elephant Man,
Stand By Me, There’s Something About Mary, Poltergeist,
Pet Sematary, Unforgiven, The
this list could go on forever.
and of course, films you really deplore?
I don’t really
care much for action films. Tom Cruise jumping off buildings with
CGI explosions behind him does nothing for me. Remakes tend to be equally
Facebook, whatever else?
am on Facebook: www.facebook.com/tom.lodewyck
Anything else you are dying to
mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
hope I haven’t offended anyone... lol! You coin a very detailed interview,
and really had me searching the memory banks for the right answers. Very
all the aspiring actors out there, just go for it! Study a lot and give it
everything you have. You’re never too old to start and this business is
no longer confined to LA… I’m living proof, I live in Wisconsin.