For the upcoming released of Rob Zombie’s 3 FROM HELL, we had the opportunity to speak with British actor Richard Brake. Known mostly for taking on unusual, eccentric, or brutal characters such as the Night King in Game of Thrones, Doom Head in 31, and Enrikas Dortlich in Hannibal Rising, Brake once again teams up with Zombie for the follow-up sequel to House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects. During our chat, we got some insight into what it’s like working with Rob Zombie as well as some information on who Winslow Foxworth Coltrane is in 3 FROM HELL.
To start things off, can you tell us a little bit about your character Winslow Foxworth Coltrane, which is really one of the best names ever.
Richard Brake: I know, I love the name. That was the first thing Rob [Zombie] told me before he said anything else. He said, “By the way, your characters name is Winslow Foxworth Coltrane” and I went “Oh my God, that’s genius” and I knew anything from that point on was going to be brilliant.
I can’t tell you a lot [about the character] but I can say he’s definitely another mad, crazy, mayhem-making member of this world, that’s for sure, which I love about him. He’s very different from Doom Head who I played in , Rob’s last film. That’s another thing I love about Rob, [Doom Head] is another great character but just as crazy in a different way. I think Foxy brings his own unique style to the Firefly world.
Speaking of working with Rob Zombie, how was the process this time compared to that of 31?
Richard Brake: Many things were the same. Rob is, as I say always, my favorite director. I’ve worked with Spielberg, De Palma, Ridley Scott, and they are wonderful, wonderful directors and I’ve had some great directors on indie films, recently Panos Cosmatos for Mandy. But if I had a gun put to my head I would choose Rob because he’s just so inspiring. He’s like a creative force unlike anything I’ve come across. That is something that infuses throughout the set – whether it’s a runner who is just stating his first job, to the producer, everybody is just so wired with his creativity and this desire to do their best. That was the same on both Halloween 2 and 31 and 3 From Hell. As an actor who has been doing this for 30 years that’s just something you die for.
As far as the character, that was obviously different in many ways. With Doom Head, Rob had written that opening speech which is so genius, I didn’t change a word of that. So much of Doom Head was really on the page with the dialogue that Rob had written, it was just some of the best dialogue I’ve ever had the pleasure of saying. I very much stayed to the script, I improvised very, very little. In 3 From Hell, Rob was much more open and he really wanted me to improvise. Foxy is obviously a looser character than Doom Head so I had a lot more freedom on this one and Rob encouraged me to come up with some crazy improvisation, which made this experience different in some ways than Doom Head.
Following in the same steps as House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects, 3 From Hell is also rather brutal. When it comes to getting into the mindset of someone such as Foxy, what is your process like?
Richard Brake: Honestly, it’s from playing these characters for so long. I have a whole process but I would bore the pants off of you explaining. I do all this work before the camera even rolls and then I just let that go. The short answer would be that many years ago, when I was young, I realized these were characters that I might end up playing a fair amount of. You have to be willing to embody that darkness. These characters are, for whatever reason, in a very dark place that most of us are afraid to go to. We all have these thoughts but as an actor, and someone who ends up playing these characters for Rob Zombie amongst other people, I’ve allowed myself not to stop those thoughts from coming and to accept that they are [thoughts] all human beings have. I guess, in a way, I’m not afraid of the dark place – without sounding too much like a, as we say in England, wanker (laughs).
One thing that I picked up on while watching the movie was that you all seemed to be having so much fun, regardless of the film’s brutal nature. That said, what was it like working so closely with Bill Moseley and Sheri Moon Zombie?
Richard Brake: It was absolutely brilliant – we were really, honestly, having so much fun. Everyone knows Sheri and Rob are both vegans, I’m a vegetarian, Bill and I are non-drinkers and we don’t party, neither does Sheri or Rob much. I thought to myself after we had filmed one scene where we had slaughtered a fair number of people, I thought, “We are making movies with all this crazy madness and mayhem and brutality and it’s being made by a bunch of vegans and vegetarians” (laughs). Honestly, we have such a laugh doing it, and cause Rob is sort of the captain of the ship, it really infuses so much joy. Also, a lot of us are the same crew and the same cast – I’m really close to all of them. Sheri, Jeff Daniel Phillips, Kevin Jackson – all of us have worked together. We are like this family having a blast making these great films. We also love Rob so much that we all want to aspire to do something great for him and keep making one masterpiece after another. As Bill said, actually, shortly after filming, this was going to be Rob Zombie’s masterpiece and I think that was really our feeling from the moment we read the script to while we were shooting it. This is going to be Rob Zombie’s masterpiece and it’s proof that he’s getting better and better as he gets older and older.
Tickets for the September 16th, 17th, 18th nationwide release of 3 FROM HELL are available at FathomEvents.com/3FromHell.