GOREHOUND MIKE EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH Howling and Gremlins actress Belinda Balaski
Battling killer Piranha werewolves and nasty Mrs. Deagle is all in a days work for this award winning actess Belinda Balaski whose been in many of my favorite films and I`m sure if your a horror and cult fan she`d been in many of yours as well...I had the extreme pleasure to chat with this multi talented actress. She has not only a wonderful film resume by has been in some awesome tv shows like A Team, Starsky and Hutch,S.W.A.T and Baywatch to name a few and countless tv specials. Not only is she a wonderful actress but very down to earth and nice!
Mini Bio: Belinda Balaski has been acting most of her life. She starred in the cult horror film Piranha and such cult favorites as Food of the gods, Gremlins and The Howling. She has now retired from acting but is still very busy, she owns and operates Belinda Balaski Kids Acting School which is highly regarded. She also attends conventions to meet her fans and sometimes is joined by her wonderful co star Dee Wallace. She will be at Cinema Wasteland in Oct. http://www.cinemawasteland.com/cinemashow/guests.html
GM: You`ve been acting your whole life, correct?
BB: It started when I was five actually I would write these little plays and have all the kids in the nehbiorhood
to be in them and changed the parents to watch them for a nickle, that was the beginning of my career. When I was really little I heard this voice that I thought was God, and basically it said my life would be about communication and that I should be an actress. Whenever a decision came up I just followed that voice.
GM: Was there a single piece of advice that helped you in your career?
BB: Yes from Jim Gavin who was directing me in a play. When I did a play called Picnic with Nick Nolte. At one point in rehearsal he (Jim) walked up on stage and whispered in my ear "You give to much away." I said what do you mean? He said you give so much to the other actors, hold it, keep it for yourself. That was pretty interesting advice because I am a giver and tend to give to the other actors. I learned to empower myself on a stage performance all from that statement and it changed a lot of things for me.
|Belinda in "Food of the Gods" 1976|
GM: Do you prefer stage work or screen?
BB: I love stage, I was raised in the theater so stage is my first and foremost love. However because the are two different kind of crafts. When you're working stage your trying to reach that back row with not only your emotion but your expressions. When your doing film your trying to get the camera to come to you, so you take the whole performance and turn it inside out or basically turn it outside in so the camera comes into you. Its such an opposite technic so I had to stop doing theater so in order to hone in on my film acting. At the time I first starting doing television I had won a bunch of awards doing stage. It takes a few months for you to actually see your performances but when I began seeing them I realized I was still doing stage. I knew I had a lot to learn. (laughs) I had to pull my performances in.
|Belinda with Lynda Carter from "Bobbie Jo and the Outlaw" 1976|
GM: How did you meet director Joe Dante?
BB: I was doing "Bobbie Jo and the Outlaw" for Mark Lester and Tina Hersh was editing it. Roger Corman gave her permission to use his editing bay, so she was using one of the editing bay and Joe Dante was there editing his first film "Hollywood Blv." So they had become friends from being there. They began helping each other cut and watching each others edits so that's how it met me. Then when I went on to do "Cannonball" with a friend of his Paul Bartel and Joe was in "Cannonball 2" as an actor.
About Piranha (1978)
Susie Arnold who was casting (daughter of Jack Arnold) and I had done "Black Eye" with Jack Arnold and had met her (Susie) back then. Susie had called me in on this because Joe had requested me and they knew me from two different things. So when I went on the Piranha interview Joe said I actually worked with you. I was so shocked, I was like oh my god who is this, then i realized he was the mechanic from "Cannonball" He was actually a wonderful actor.
BB: A lot of fun! Its so much fun because Joe is always open to your creative ideas so when you arrive on set with nine thousand thoughts hes really open to them. I`ve been actually able to write scenes in movies, add scenes ad-lib. For example in "Amazon woman from the moon" the whole beginning in the foyer of the church Rob Picardo and I, we were waiting for them to set up the camera in the other room and we were sitting there improving and having fun and Joe watched by and we said, Hey Joe check this out. We did the improve for him and he Oh my god bring the cameras out here and we shot the whole foyer scene. The scene with Paul Bartell and I in Piranha. Paul and I had just did Cannonball! and we kept saying to Joe that Paul and I dont have a scene together and finally after bugging him for two or three days he said go ahead and write one, which ended up bring the moon light scene which I think is the best scene in the movie.
GM: Do you have a favorite Joe Dante film you`ve been in?
BB: I love "The Howling" of course, its certainly a classic, but I loved "Amazon women on the moon" and as much as I loved the other movies I love AWOM. Rarely do I get to do comedy, it was great fun.
GM: Any memorable stories from "The Howling"
BB: So many (laugh) One is, the werewolf was not finished, every scene in with the werewolf is in that's shot where were looking at the werewolf, there was no werewolf. Myself Chris non of us know what he looked like or how big it was or what it could or anything. If you watch that office scene with me and the werewolf, he catches me out at filing cabinet and he knocks the files out of my hands if you watch that scene in slow motion you`ll realize that every shot i`with me I`m by myself is shot three months prior to any shot with me and the werewolf in it. You can see that by the length of my hair, which had grown three inches in the three months that we had rapped the movie and Rob had finished the werewolf we all can back and did our two shots. Its so well done, you cant notice it unless you watch it in slow motion.
GM: Did you know Dee Wallace before Howling?
BB: No I met her on Howling, but of course I did Broadway a fews years later she we`ve known each other for quiet awhile now.
GM: You still keep in touch with her?
BB: Yes all the time at conventions.
GM: You`re in the cult classic film Gremlins, what was your overall experiences shooting it.
BB: Gremlins was so much fun! The thing about Gremlins is before I was suppose to shot I remember I was sitting in my house in Manhattan Beach waiting for the messenger service to bring me the script. It finally got to be at eight o clock at night, I remember calling Joe and I said Joe I haven't gotten my script yet. He said are you kidding I haven gotten mine either.(laughs) They had already been shooting for about a month. I said what you are you talking about, he said why just relax will improve something. I said WHAT!? (laughs) I dont even know a Gremlin is and Joe said neither do I. That night I ended up writing forty scenes and I brought a wad of papers to Joe the next morning. I said what can I say I panicked. can you use these? He read bunches and said I like the first one bring it to Polly Holiday and let her ad lib her lines. She came up with that line "Now you know what to ask Santa for Christmas"
GM: What was Polly like to work with?
BB: It was like being chosen to work with Carol Barrnet. To me Polly Hollywood was way up there. It was fine until I knew I had to improve with her. I mean that's like improving with Carol Barrnet. These peoples are geniuses at that. I really got nervous that's why I wrote all those scenes out and of course they go to her dressing room and I improve my lines and she bam right at me with her lines and I said wow I`m glad I wrote all these out. At least I had my character formed by then.
GM: Ever see her after the shoot?
BB: No, just that day.
GM: Was Stephen Spielberg on the set any?
BB: No but I met him at the rap party, way after the fact.
GM: Do you know if there will be a Gremlins 3?
BB: A lot of talk a lot of talk. No action.
GM: Would you reprise your role in it?
BB: If Joe Dante directed it. Or Rob Zombie (laughs) No serious I would if Joe was making it.
GM: Finally do you have any advice for young actors or actress`s?
BB: Hold onto your heart (chuckles) hold onto your heart or you`ll lose it. You have to be really strong and do your homework and be well prepared for all the slamming doors and revolving doors and junk you have to put up with in order to do what it is you love.
BIG THANK YOU Goes out to Belinda for taking time to do this interview!!
all interviews are solely to be used on this blog and should not be used in any website,magazine blog etc. Copywrite 2012 Gorehound Mike all rights reserved.