Thursday, July 2, 2009

Questions with A New Beginning's John Robert Dixon.

A short while back John Robert Dixon contacted me pertaining to another interview I posted on here. John kindly obliged to answer some questions himself...

What got you into acting and how did you hear about Friday The 13th: V (a.k.a. Repetition)?
Actually my mother was involved in the industry during the mid 1960’s and being a “Hollywood” kid I was actually in an episode of General Hospital (I think it was GH) when I was about 7 years old. I also did some acting in school etc. musicals and such, most notable was the part of Fagin in the musical “Oliver”. None of this, however really lead me to become an actor and ultimately to be cast in Friday the 13th. As a teen and into my early twenties I was much more interested in music (wanted to be a rocker) and surfing. It was a girlfriend, who did some modeling that got me moving down the path that resulted in my eventual roll in Friday the 13th Part V.
As far as “how did I hear about” it, I was sent to an audition by my agent and never really knew what it was until after I had the part.

Did anyone who was (or became) well known, or semi-well known audition for the role that you know of?
For the part of Eddie? Not that I’m aware of, however Gina Gershon and Darcy DeMoss were among the girls considered to play Tina and both read with me for the producer Frank Mancuso Jr. and Danny Steinmann. Darcy was cast originally and suddenly “uncast” after the final wardrobe call, replaced by Debisue Voorhees out of nowhere…

How was it working with the stunt coordinator Dick Warlock? I don’t really remember Dick specifically, but all those guys were all pretty cool.

The fight between you and Tommy (John Shepherd); how hard was that to do and did you take your own fall?
It was real basic stuff. I did everything up to where he grabs and picks me up. I’d have had no issue doing the fall and in fact I wanted to do it. Trust me, I’ve done plenty of stunt-like stuff in my life (no camera necessary) and broken some bones in the process. Stuntmen (as I understood it at the time) get paid by the stunt and if I’d insisted on doing the fall, Ed (I believe it was Ed Mathew) would not have gotten paid to do it… So the guy crashing into the table in the film is Ed.

Deborah (Debi-Due Voorhees) mentioned the sex scene you guys shot taking about a day to film, how was that? Danny Steinmann has more than come out as a very sexually provocative personality-- was it hard to do this scene under his direction?
It took a while to do the actual sex part, it was first up that morning and they shot it from a few different angles. But the day consisted of much more than that, three death scenes (Tina, Eddie and the guy watching) and there was a lot of other stuff too; the entrance with the sheet, the joint smoking part, the walk back from the pond etc. Doing the sex scene was oddly devoid of any sexual impulse. People always say that it’s got to be tough to be nude and in a situation like that without actually “doing it”. It’s not. You’ve got tons of people around and any sexual impulse evaporates quickly along with any self-consciousness. In the end they cut the hell out of that scene, makes me look like a bump, grunt and run kind of guy…

I don’t remember a lot about Danny and haven’t seen anything else he’s done, in fact there doesn’t seem to be much before or anything after Friday the 13th Part V. Presumably Danny was seriously injured in a bicycle accident and never returned to directing afterwards. I remember everything feeling somewhat rushed.

How long did it take to shoot your death scene? Quite a while, it was part of that first day and there were blood tubes (behind the strap) and at least a couple prosthetic applications between shots.

It’s well know that the blood and gore was cut from the film and that your death was even more gruesome- did it bother you to film it? What was your overall experience with shooting the movie?
I never had a problem with it although you’re right about the gore level in my scene. I think it may have been Danny who told me during a looping session that the original cut was horrific to the point that they were made to tone it down and in fact that they (the producers) used it as a bargaining chip to keep other bits in the film. I never saw that original cut.
Overall it was fun. At the time I hadn’t done much and so it was all relatively new to me.

Did you keep any souvenir from the film or have any neat behind the scenes photos from the shoot?
The mold of my face used to make the prosthetics is somewhere in my mother’s stuff and I have some of the Polaroid’s from when we were shooting the death scene (somewhere).

How often do you get recognized for your role in A New Beginning?
Never now, but at the time (1985) I had that film and two national commercials running and I’d get the occasional “I know you from somewhere” or someone who flat-out recognized me.

Do you ever get contacted by fans for autographs?
Yes, and I have a few I need to get to…

I’m sure you are aware of the huge following of the Friday The 13th franchise- has it been more than you anticipated and would you ever consider appearing at a convention to sign autographs or is it something you’d rather distance yourself from?
I would have never imagined that nearly 25 years later that I be sitting here writing about the experience, in fact I’m sure that no one could have predicted that the series would continue this long. Friday the 13th (2009) looks to be more of a big budget film and recently all the Friday’s were offered on Pay-Per-View. It’s big business.

As far as the convention thing, it’s not a matter of distancing myself, but time is a huge issue for me and I’m really not “that guy”. I’m more than happy to correspond with fans or answer questions (like I am here) but I don’t see myself doing conventions. I wouldn’t mind checking one out, anonymously. They’re probably a trip.
Have you seen any of the movies before and since your role in A New Beginning?
I think you’re asking if I’ve seen any of the other “Friday” movies… Honestly no, although I did see (part VI) as Darcy DeMoss and I were an item for several years after meeting prior to the filming of part V. So I was at the premiere of VI.

Did you keep in contact with anyone from the cast or crew of A New Beginning, and if so who?
Sadly no. I’m still in touch with Darcy though and I do have other friends from the industry. Some have done well and others have moved on as I did in the ‘90’s.

As a quasi “what are they doing now” I got very involved in auto racing in the 1990’s and lost my enthusiasm for the “industry”. Although I was up for a lot of good projects in the ‘80’s, it was a tough for guys like me (age, type) to compete for rolls against Sheen, Estevez, Cage, Hutton, Penn, Swayze, Tom Cruise, Mathew Broderick and a whole slew of other, more connected individuals. Ultimately I could have been more focused too… I went on to do mostly commercials and print, although I did do a cameo in Assault of the Killer Bimbo’s. Oddly enough, I’m being sort of drawn back in now in 2009, but we’ll see if that goes anywhere…

Many thanks to the fans out there and your years of support for the Friday franchise!

Remember, no one gets out alive…

J. Robert Dixon

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