For the release of the horror/comedy, WELCOME TO WILLITS, Nonsequitur had the chance to speak with actor Bill Sage about his character Brock, working alongside actor Rory Culkin, and becoming a staple within the indie horror scene.
Nightmarish Conjurings: WELCOME TO WILLITS operates on a truly unique and out-there concept. What was your reaction to the script when it was first handed to you?
Bill Sage: My first response to the script?….I knew I liked it, but it was one of sheer panic. They were already shooting and didn’t have they’re Brock, so I knew I’d be hitting the ground running (and screaming!) The idea that Brock and Peggy saw aliens that some others maybe didn’t see and that he was being “taken” against his will to a place he didn’t necessarily understand, and has a hostile reaction to….I’m in, but I’m scared. Not comfortable, but sometimes a creative place to be for an actor. Luckily Trevor Ryan and I got along immediately. His history intrigued the hell out of me. He’d actually been a ah, let’s say, cannabis agriculturalist and had done 4 years and 3 months of a 5 year sentence for flying a twin engine plane full of weed. So, I felt like this was quite possibly his payback for one of the stupidest sentences I’d ever heard of. Especially now that it’s legal in the state of California!
NC: The film is populated with a fun group of actors, including Rory Culkin whom you’ve worked with in the past – what was your experience like working with the ensemble?
BS: Yes, an outstanding group of young actors. Rory was the whole reason I was there. They’d come to me for Brock on his recommendation. We’d worked previously on Rebecca Thomas’ ELECTRICK CHILDREN. We spent all our down time together and his stoner portrayal in this film is hysterical and beautiful. My scenes were mostly with Sabina Gadecki as my wife Peggy and Anastasia Baranova as my niece Courtney. How the hell did I score that?! Sabina’s like a young Goldie Hawn, Anastasia’s a blast. They’re both pitch perfect and I’m grateful for how much they helped me get my part down in such little time. The rest of the cast was terrific as well. Wanna give a special shout out to the guys in the alien costumes. Particularly, the awesome Isaak Woods. Always classy to share a cigarette with an alien before you shoot ’em!
NC: Your character spends his downtime watching a fake TV cop show-inside-the-movie starring Dolph Lundgren. Were his scenes filmed completely separately or did you cross paths with him?
BS: Dolph Lundgren? Never met him… but I hear good things? Didn’t know he was in the film until after we finished. Thought he was hysterical and did a fine job.
NC: Between this, FENDER BENDER and WE ARE WHAT WE ARE, you’ve been a presence in the indie horror scene in recent times – what’s it like working on these kinds of projects in comparison to your TV gigs?
BS: Jim Mickle’s WE ARE WHAT WE ARE definitely made me take the horror genre more seriously as a way to tell a significant story as I think Tim Ryan does with this film. I’ve also learned some things about myself that I’ll probably need to spend some time in therapy for….why’s it so much fun to scare the shit out of people? I’m working on it, I’m working on it.
WELCOME TO WILLITS is now in select theaters as well as VOD and digital platforms in the U.S.