And Now, An Intimate Conversation With Brad Dourif

In which the star of WILDLING talks EXORCIST 3, Tim Burton and whatever's going on with DEADWOOD.

This weekend, IFC Midnight's rolling out a creepy little thriller by the name of Wildling, a movie we saw - and quite enjoyed! - at this year's SXSW Film Festival. The film (the first feature from director Fritz Böhm) features a number of strong performances, including an impressive lead performance from Bel Powley, a solid turn from Liv Tyler, and a typically-awesome supporting performance by the iconic Brad Dourif.

IFC Midnight asked if I'd be interested in speaking with Dourif, and - in my ongoing quest to interview all of our greatest character actors - I said yes immediately. Here's how that went.


Hello, Brad Dourif.

How are you doing, sir?

I'm fantastic, how are you?


Now, they've only given me ten minutes with you, so I'm just gonna cut to the chase: what's it like living with the injustice of The Exorcist III being so criminally underrated?

Hahaha! I live with it fine! But, y'know, I liked Blatty's first cut way better. It was much more of a real movie. But then they did kind of a marketing thing and then they brought it in a new [direction]. I remember watching the filming with George C. Scott and he said, "Y'know, if Madonna doesn't come out and do a song I think everyone's gonna be disappointed." I thought that was pretty apt. And I had to redo everything, because they needed [to use] a different set. And I mean, it was fine - I did okay! - but I liked what I did in the [original version] better. But, y'know, you spend your whole life doing movies, you tend to let things go after a while.

I will admit to only recently discovering The Exorcist III, so it's fresh in my mind. I will be outraged on your behalf.

Well, thank you. I'm glad you liked it.

I mentioned I was interviewing you on Twitter and people were not shy about suggesting previous Brad Dourif projects for me to ask about. We'll get to a few of those questions in a minute, but I suppose we should talk about Wildling, which is the reason we're talking today.

I think that would be good!

You've cut back on acting over the past few years, and I'm curious what it was about Wildling that convinced you to get in the game.

Well, I'm done playing bad guys. But I had a talk with Fritz [Böhm] and there was something about ... well, look, I'm a father. I've got two kids. And the stuff in this movie is stuff I don't typically get to work with, so I was interested in that. I wanted to do it for that reason. So, I talked to Fritz and I said that I didn't want to play [the character] as crazy in the beginning. I wanted to play him as someone who went crazy.

Your Wikipedia page says you almost played the Scarecrow in Batman Forever, back when Tim Burton was gonna make that movie. Is that true?

Y'know, I've heard that! One time I saw Tim Burton on an airplane and he was looking at me very interestedly. But I never spoke to him about it, and I think I wouldn't have been big enough a star for anyone to cast me in that role. He might've been interested, but I doubt the powers that be would've let him do it.

Fair enough. Although, you say you're not a very big star, but I feel like you're pretty recognizable. Do people recognize you when you're out and about?

Well, not so much anymore. I'm, y'know, much older and I just look different. Occasionally, I guess! But I was never recognized so much that I had a problem with it.

When people do recognize you, what's it from?

Oh, I think Chucky. I don't know how or why, I don't look like Chucky.

Was that you doing the voice of Chucky in Ready Player One?

The what?

Steven Spielberg's Ready Player One. Chucky's in the movie very briefly.

No! But then, they might've used [audio] from past movies. I signed off on that.

I assume you've not seen it, then, but Chucky's got one of the best moments in the film.

Hm. Well, it may be somebody else. I haven't a clue!

Here's a thing I've gotta ask you about: what's up with this Deadwood movie?

I keep hearing things, but ... y'know, it's going to be done, it's not going to be done, it's going to be done. I've only talked to my agent about it, after he talked to the powers that be, and it's looked like it was gonna [happen] twice. I don't know if it is greenlit, or - if it is greenlit - if they could even get everyone together. Most of the people involved work a lot, y'know?

They have that problem when they bring these shows back after an extended period. Everyone's off doing their own thing. I imagine that scheduling's incredibly difficult to pull off.

Yeah! In many cases, people just can't. Even if they'd really love to, they're doing a series or whatever and they just can't get out of it.

You said you won't play bad guys anymore. Why is that?

I'm just done. I've been playing them my whole life. And Wildling's the sort of thing I would've passed on, had I not spent so much time talking to Fritz [about the character]. The only thing I'll still do, of course, is Chucky. 

IFC Midnight will release Wildling in the US and Canada on VOD and Digital HD on April 13, 2018. You should definitely check it out when it gets here.