Rutger Hauer talks 'Hobo,' Dracula 3D' and 'Blade Runner'
”Hobo with a Shotgun” -- a fake trailer seen in the Canadian version of 2007's “Grindhouse” turned into a feature film -- is the gory, dystopian tale of a homeless man (played by “Blade Runner” icon Rutger Hauer) who finds himself the sole voice of reason in a town ruled by a madman and his sinister sons. The Hobo takes law and order into his own hands the only way he can think to -- with a shotgun.
Current's Daniela Capistrano spoke to Rutger Hauer about playing the Hobo, violence in the media, his upcoming projects, and what it was really like to kill William Sanderson in “Blade Runner.”
Daniela: I saw “Hobo with a Shotgun” at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and was both entertained and blown away by your stoic portrayal of the Hobo. How did you get into character?
Rugter: How did I get into character... I had Dave Brunt. He was the guy they based the story on, so I was able to talk to him, look at him, pick his brain. And the director, Jason [Eisener], had other good ideas [but] they didn’t all fit, so I couldn’t make it happen. He wanted me to be louder, but I couldn’t -- I lost my voice in two days from screaming so much... [It’s] funny, because I left stage acting for that very reason -- after too many performances I would lose my voice.
So after two days of shooting, I had to sit down with Jason and say, “I cannot do this for you.” The thing is, screaming in movies -- you cannot fake it. And I’ve always hated being too big. Jason wanted me to be grotesque big but to play it straight, and [for me] to be that big felt like a lie. It didn’t feel quite right, so I had to battle him on it and we found a better ground. We [looked] for a softer side of the character. [Beyond that] there wasn’t much to the character than the ideas that Dave Brunt had, so I made it my own.
Jason also recorded an interview where [Dave] comes up with the idea of bears and territory[which we used in a scene]. But the movie is not about Dave or Crazy Town. It’s about everybody else right now, it’s just taken to an extreme and more grotesque form.
D: The film is very violent but also touches on some profound themes like creating your own reality and evolving identities, such as how the Hobo is always telling Abby (Molly Dunsworth) that she is a teacher.
R: [The film] is going to piss a lot people off, but I don’t know.... Can we not be violent? What do you mean? I [see] all the [TV] programs and the interviewers, and all the same questions go round and round. “Oh the violence, we live in such a violent world.” The violence, to me, that we give them, even at our best, is baby food compared to what we live in.
What is this factor inside people's heads that you can’t see the beauty in the worst violence, in a movie? I think that the [real] "Hobo" people who watch will have no problems in realizing they are watching a movie and at the same time being pulled in. Everything is shrunk in this movie, the most limited edition of what it is. It’s saying, here’s the American Dream now, give me a couple feet of grass and a lawnmower and I’ll be a citizen, and I guess it’s also saying, “You’re in the wrong town, pal!”
D: I don’t want to spoil the film, but the ending is pretty intense.
R: We had to fight for that ending. We were trying to find a better way to end the movie, the way it always should have ended. Now it makes perfect sense.
D: You’ll be playing the Van Helsing character in Dario Argento's “Dracula 3D.” How does it feel to be in remake of this scale?
R: I think that “Bram Stroker’s Dracula” is really marvelous, and that is what this film is based on. I have a strong feeling that it might be really interesting to see what 3D does for it. This is my first experience with 3D, and it will be [almost like] research. I’ll have to think two cameras -- that’s all I know for now. My sense of it is that the wings of Dracula will be bigger and more scary. That goes for [the entire] piece as well -- that’s all I can say for now.
D: Before you go, I have to ask about your experience working with William Sanderson on “Blade Runner,” as he has a starring role as James in our new series “Bar Karma.”
R: I always felt that [Sanderson’s character] Sebastian appears -- he is such a possum of a man, so completely screwed over by his older skin. It’s his first layer of humanity where we all go, “Ahh, we’re getting old.” It’s so sad and sweet and primal in a way.
He was so gentle and what hurt me most was that in the first days of shooting it was decided we would not shoot the [Sebastian’s death] scene the way it was originally written, with the real Maker at the top of pyramid. In the script it was written that I killed the so-called Maker, but then found out he drops to the floor like a doll and we see wires and find out he’s just a clever toy.
In the original script, Roy goes up to Sebastian, and says, “Get me to the real Maker,” and Sebastian takes me to the top floor, and the real Maker is there in a big chunk of ice, frozen. And that would have been the secret -- that the Maker was dead for years. When Roy was born, the Maker died but here’s Roy trying to get more life from the Maker. It would have been a moment for Roy, who would have felt that fuse burn inside, saying, “OK, end game now.” That scene would have said that this was his last dance for life.
This whole idea of your father [in the film], your real father, it always moved me and made my skin crawl. When I found out we weren’t going to shoot that scene and were instead going to indicate that Roy killed Sebastian... in my mind, a warrior like Roy would never kill anyone he didn’t need to. He loved everybody. People are there to be loved, not to be killed, so I felt really bad in the first few days of shooting when that decision came from the higher gods. But many of those decisions were mistakes, and it made the film what is... but working with Sanderson was sweet.
The whole scene with him and Pris (Daryl Hannah), when she tries to seduce him, is so funny, sweet and pathetic... talk about how you catch a fish slowly and see it struggle, that was Daryl. She was so good, funny!
”Hobo with a Shotgun” hits theaters Friday, and is available On Demand. Check your local listings for show times and the official website.
WANT TO SEE MORE?
Explore the Clips page for more samples of Daniela Capistrano's writing. You can also subscribe to the DCAP MEDIA Newsletter below to get new writing sent directly to your inbox.