Behind the Scenes
Revisiting how it started for Bill:
The year was 1986 in Austin,Texas one of the hottest summers on record and I was an actor living in Austin trying to make living in Austin workable and do-able as an actor who needed to wear a lot of hats to make ends meet.
My film Agent called, go to a film audition for Tobe Hooper who was filming the sequel to the "Texas Chainsaw Massacre".
Continued below the picture gallery.
I hadn't yet seen the first, "Texas Chainsaw Massacre". I solemnly rented that video and watched it. Once. I got frightened at a deep viscerally psychological level; one viewing was all I needed. My sense of safety had been greatly compromised.
After I saw, "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" I was amazed that I had gone to the Drama Dept at UT Austin with Marilyn Burns, Edwin "The Hitchhiker" Neal, and the Van passengers William "Kirk" Vail and I had been a part time employee of Alan "Gerry- 'don't be goofing on me'…”, Danziger. Alan operated a singing telegram business, 3-Ring Service, and I played the Grim Reaper delivering the Grim-Gram for 'over the hill' birthdays.
So after all of that intense experiential flood of the "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" I then thought: “what am I going to do tomorrow at the audition?” Had Ed and Gunnar been approached? What’s up? Answer: Unknown. Maybe find out later. But Now, I have an audition coming up.
I thought about that deeply a long time. I did something I didn't normally do maybe even had never done before which was that I told selected acting friends what was coming up for me was a literal Monster audition and did they have any tips or insights or flashes of intuition...Anything. And I got a lot great vibes, great energy and that made a big difference, even right there in that audition room to bring what I believe was the essence of the film director's style; the hypersensitized director from this film from which I got the faintest sense of him the Tobe Hooper psychic signature or more to the point, The psychic signature of Tobe Hoopers killer.
The casting director was Ms. Pat Orseth. I recall being in a smallish room and the casting director, Ms. Orseth, explained the role to me that there were no scripted lines for Leatherface who now had a first name, Bubba. Sez I to myself, GREAT NO LINES I WON'T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT forgetting ANY. memorizing ANY. Hooray, GIVE ME MORE TIME TO FOCUS ON OTHER THINGS.
So she briefly set up the scene for me that's there was a captive girl and I had a chainsaw and instead of killing her I'm more interested in her as a girlfriend, Bubba had a big puppy love crush on this Stretch.
So I was handed a short's board probably 18 inches long and told, "okay there is your saw and we would like you to threaten her with it". I recall doing was jumping up in the air and kicking over my head before using the saw as a tool of intimidation and courtship.
Bubba was almost showing off to her as in, “Look what I can do.” So next audition also included, screenwriter, Kit Carson. And playing Stretch was, Caroline Williams. I felt that Caroline and I had chemistry we had a connection and she was very receptive to body language. Caroline was on fire and all I had to do was fan the flames. Which reminded me of something that inspired me for the next audition , a quote by Antonin Artaud, the originator and author of the, Theatre of Cruelty:
"...When we speak the word 'life,' it must be understood we are not referring to life as we know it from its surface of fact, but to that fragile, fluctuating center which forms never reach. … If there is still one hellish, truly accursed thing in our time, it is our artistic dallying with forms, instead of being like victims burnt at the stake, signaling through the flames"...
…so, there it was, this would be my Character touchstone for Bubba
"Leatherface" Sawyer…I had no spoken aloud lines and yet, I could still signal to Stretch through flames through the firestorms of my heart.
Next audition session later that day was an audition for director, Tobe Hooper. Caroline and me with Tobe directing us.
And there was so much energy and electricity in the atmosphere in that room that the air shimmering and highlights off of shiny surfaces…definitely dancing…there is a lot of excitement in this room and Caroline is doing extreme energy surfing of the waves rolling and roiling inside the room in perfect accordance with Tobe Hooper's artistic Vison of this movie, not until later by serendipity do we get insight into his film and his message, Tobe's inner 'knowing' revealed by his emblematic statement made aloud much later on the film set during the Radio Station scene which Bill Moseley as Chop Top is hammering to a pulp the head of LG McPeters, played by Lou Perryman, as gallons of stage blood pumping with expert gusto by Tom Savini's pumping and spurting as the blows landing amidst cackles and non-sequiturs of Bill Moseley squirted out along with arteries pumping the life force out of LG's destroyed skull, and as the camera is rolling on all of this endless marauder-ish raining of blood and blows, the essences of which are inhaled by Tobe through his smoldering Monte Cristo cigar aglow, Tobe inhaling, drawing in, drinking in the bloody chaos such that Tobe must adjust his position more comfortably in his director's chair and in a trumpet of Triumph he exhales expelling that cocktail with a flourishing gesture, proclaiming: “Ahhhhh...
'The Cinema of Excess!' ”