Tonight Jeff is lucky enough to chat with amazing actor Bill Oberst Jr, star of Painkiller, Criminal Minds, Scream Queens and so much more!
Find Bill online:
“Drinks and Comics with Spoiler Country!”
Did you know we have a YouTube channel?
Buy John’s Comics!
Support us on Patreon:
Theme music by Ardus
Bill Oberst Jr – Interview
[00:00:00] Jeff: Hello listeners, a spoiler country today on the show. We have a fantastic Mr. Bill. Obers junior. How’s it going, sir?
Bill Oberst Jr: Jeff, it’s going well, thank you for having me,
Jeff: man. My pleasure. I had the sincere pleasure of watching you do watching in the movie, painkiller, you are a fantastic actor.
Bill Oberst Jr: Well, I don’t know about that, but thank you.
As, you know, as long as people don’t throw things, I always, sometime they do things verbally. When you do indie films. It’s really funny because reviews range from, wow. I love that too. Just simple. The word sock. Yeah. You learn to roll with it. Thank you. I’m glad that you enjoyed it. That that movie was based on the real life death.
The executive producer who also co-wrote it and co-starred in it, his son 21 years old died of accidental opioid overdose. And that was the Genesis for the movie. So it came from a place of real pain, you know,
Jeff: As I was [00:01:00] watching the movie right at the end, they showed the memoriam to his son and the movie did make it, it added a lot of extra layers to the movie because you could, it, you understood better what the director and the producer and everyone involved was feeling because there is that real connection.
Bill Oberst Jr: Yeah. I mean, his son was Jordan. I knew Jordan because the prequel to this movie is called stress to kill on the same character I killed in that movie too. And I met Jordan and actually stayed in his room while he was away at college. And I stayed at Tom’s house. The last time we shot stress to kill.
So, I knew him and yeah, it was kind of shocking to hear he had died and it just wrecked Tom. And so I felt a real responsibility, you know, usually when she, Jeff I’m, I’m not big on exposition and I’m not big on a lot of verbal. So usually when I get a script, the first thing I want to do is cut out as much expeditions I [00:02:00] can.
And I want to cut my lines down to a bare minimum. Like if I had my way, really, the whole thing would be silent and we just do it all with looks and gestures. But in this case, I knew that like this, all of this dialogue and all of this exposition about the opiod crisis, that my character sued on this radio show, that was really important to Tom.
It was like a cry of grief from his soul. So I didn’t ask for any cuts and I had to make it my job to make all those words work. And that was a challenge because some, I prefer to be wordless.
Jeff: Well, I’m actually thinking, then I owe you an apology. I did not know this was a sequel. I thought it was a standalone movie, to be honest with you,
Bill Oberst Jr: they created it so that you could watch it and not know anything about the pre-cool, but yeah, in stress to kill my character, bill Johnson.
He has high blood pressure. He has a heart attack and his doctor says, buddy, you have got to eliminate stress from your life. And so he starts killing people who irritate him and his blood pressure goes way down.
[00:03:00] Jeff: Well, you know, that’s a solution for, I think for a lot of people ideally, but I’m sure for most of it that does not work well.
Bill Oberst Jr: that’s the thing with this. I mean, this is a revenge fantasy along the lines of like Charles Bronson and death wish. So it’s really morally problematic that we find it so easy to sympathize with people who are on a vigilante terrorist rampage, but it all depends on the perspective. Right. You
Jeff: know, one thing I thought about as I was watching the movie.
Well, if that there was definitely a moral question. I think that the movie posed about killing. You have the question of the hero, bill Johnson, actually killing people. And depending on how you react to that, the horror of having killed somebody or how society in the newspaper would react to that versus murder.
Then you had the corporations very, in a very real way, murdering people, but doing it at a distance, doing it through the pills. And I kinda was wondering if there was a discussion of that. There was a [00:04:00] comparison there of morality. Why is one thing a horror and the other one, basically just business as usual at the moment.
Bill Oberst Jr: Well, that’s right. And you can expand that out to war and neglect which society imposes on people. Yeah. And then the whole question of capitalism, capitalism by design doesn’t look out for your best interests. It doesn’t have your, your, your, it doesn’t have your good at heart. It doesn’t give a damn about you by design.
It seeks only the greatest profit and the greatest profit is, is reaped by meeting the greatest need. Right. So it’s not a moral system it’s not designed to be. And so, yeah, it’s, you know, there’s, there’s moral problems everywhere. If we just start looking around,
Jeff: I agree with you a hundred percent. I do it.
It is interesting. When you looked at something like citizens United, that was a law that was made. I can’t remember the exact year, but early two thousands where they determined that [00:05:00] corporations were people. And on some level, when you think about corporations, they react as people in the far as a, almost like an organized indifference to those around them.
And it’s almost like a like almost S corporations are inherently, I think, sociopathic in that sense, they, they lack empathy.
Bill Oberst Jr: That’s a brilliant statement that you just made. I was going to remark on your what did you call them? Their indifference. You use some descriptive listeners, go back a couple seconds and listen to what Jeff said because whatever he’s, whatever word he coupled with indifference organized indifference.
Jeff: I think that may be, but I must admit sometimes I talk and don’t necessarily remember exactly
Bill Oberst Jr: easy and, and the fact that they are like sociopathic people. That’s true. It is organized in difference. And again, it’s, it’s set up that way because if I’m a corporation and I had found a product that people really, really want that can [00:06:00] harm them, why would I not sell it to them?
Where’s the impetus for me to have any compulsion. If the law allows me to do it, it’s like a tax break. If the law allows me to take it, why would I not? If I’m a corporation. Do I it’s really problematic to say that that entity is a person that opens the door to be a pretty wicked person.
Jeff: I would agree.
And perhaps as well, when you look at individuals in organized groups such as a mob or any kind of gang, the ability to exercise any sense of personal responsibility goes away when you’re within the large group of a corporation, because it’s not true, you’re doing it. It’s the corporation doing it.
Bill Oberst Jr: And conversely we feel, and I’ve talked to many people feel this way, that it’s fine to rip off a corporation or to even steal from a corporation because it’s not a real person [00:07:00] you’re not hurting in one. You’re hurting some, so both entities like the corporation and the people are looking at each other and saying, you’re not a real person.
Yeah. It’s not good.
Jeff: Yeah. It is a horrible situation. It, it does also a question of, like I said, idea of loyalty is your loyalty to customers or to those, you know, who you owe, you know, who you’re building the stocks for. And th that’s the fact that there’s a monetary value in hurting others is a very dangerous trend.
Bill Oberst Jr: Why would I have any responsibility to my customers at all? If I’m a corporation, I pleased my stockholders, the owner, I please my owners and it’s buyer beware caveat, poor. I’m putting shit out on the market. And if you buy it, you buy it. If you think it’s dangerous, don’t buy it. Other people will. And it’s pretty brazen, but that’s the way that I feel the opioid epidemic happened.
Why would they not, if. If these, [00:08:00] if these drugs could be designed, which boom, go straight to the chemical pathway of addiction and make people want more of them, why would I not put them out on the market again, if I’m a corporation, now,
Jeff: one thing that your movie points out the movie, by the way, it’s to the listeners is called painkiller, which is available on Verizon files.
And I think we can rent it in multiple other sites, I assume Amazon and multiple others. Yes. One of the thing that you maybe discusses or at least does a good job of demonstrating is how is the reward to doctors for prescribing these types of pills, opioids is the. Is it allowed because those who are corporate are not explicit in the fact that they’re creating a reward program for creating addiction, or do you think it’s at its open and understood well enough that it’s just ignored?
Bill Oberst Jr: I think it’s [00:09:00] been tamped down some because there’s a more transparency now than there was when Tom son died three years ago, there wasn’t zero transparency about this. But yeah, it happened because again corporations don’t have to disclose and, and the people in whose interest it is to have that information disclosed.
Nobody cares about them because they’re powerless and they can’t make anybody any money. No. So there’s no incentive to disclose that information and doctors for years have been pitched drugs. My, my veterinarian, as an example, just, and he, you know, he’s a vet. He told me when my last dog was near the end of life.
He said, bill, when I graduated from veterinary school, which is only 10 years ago, he said we had three medicines for dogs. That’s it. Now I cannot [00:10:00] tell you the list of medicines that we have to prolong life. All of which have, you know, varying competing side effects. And he said, I can’t tell you how hard I’m pitched by the manufacturers of these medicines.
And that’s for pets can only imagine for people it’s. So, you know, in doctor’s defense, they can’t know everything and they can’t keep up to date with everything. So at some point they. They have to trust that the information they’re being given by the pharmaceutical companies is accurate.
Jeff: Do you think it’s plausible denial on the part of the doctors where, when they’re told the information they can tell themselves we were told by the distributor that this was okay, so I don’t have to think about what the possible damage is.
Bill Oberst Jr: Yes. Because think how many medicines they have to think about and deal with during the day. And so sure. I don’t, I, I don’t think that there are very many doctors who I can’t imagine. There are many doctors who said, I know this is addictive [00:11:00] shit. I’m going to prescribe it. And because people will then be hurt.
I think it was just very convenient. People say I have pain and I want something for the pain. I’ve had a soccer injury and my shoulders really killing me. Well, the homeopathic path or the old path for getting rid of that pain involved a longer time period. And it was harder. And so if the doctor can just say here, take these and you won’t hurt anymore.
It’s very tempting.
Jeff: Where do you think the Hippocratic oath plays this part in this? Because whatever
Bill Oberst Jr: happened, what happened to the Hippocratic oath?
Jeff: I mean, it is supposed to be the, the, the primary rule of it is simply played, put as do no harm. Hmm.
Good point. So what I mean, cause I think it’s interesting the way your movie meet [00:12:00] your character. Not only build guns, but the docs as well. You’re posing an interesting question of, of morality and responsibility. So important to that is how do you. As an, when you were thinking about as an actor and also partly talking to the other storytellers, how do you think they understood that?
Where that would, it pre-critical plays into these decisions?
Bill Oberst Jr: Well, I had arguments actually with both mark and Tom friendly arguments, because they’re both friends about my character. And initially I felt that my character should bear more responsibility and more culpability for what he was doing and that he should pay more of a price for what he was doing.
But they said no that he shouldn’t. Because this happens in society that people get and they were thinking of the doctors, if people get away with things that are harmful to other people and nothing happens to them. And I think that both of them [00:13:00] are more inclined to think that there were more doctors than I would think who knew that this was wrong.
And did it anyway. It’s hard for me to think. I don’t ascribe ill motives to people because that’s just my, it’s my nature. But Tom is an attorney. Mark is a celebrated cult film maker, and they both have a more cynical view of human nature than I do. They’re probably, they’re probably closer to the truth, their point of view.
And I’m always pushing for the people aren’t that bad route, you know?
Jeff: Yeah. So, I mean, when, w when, when you’re thinking about living, I mean, do you, did it feel like the, the filmmakers were living vicariously through the, the bill Johnson character, your
Bill Oberst Jr: character? Oh, of course. And so was I, because when I faced my naked self, I realized that.
I too am a vengeful spiteful, petty [00:14:00] man, like all men and all women. I, to imagine horrible things happening to people, just so I can say hi, see, see what happens? You cut me off in traffic, in your car. Exploded. I want, I want it to get to a place of love. And by the grace of God, I hope I do eventually. But my first thought is never loved.
My first thought is always you son of a bitch. No something bad should happen to you. It’s just, it’s just, I don’t know if it’s in all people’s nature. I think it might be, but it is mine. So in this case, I just took off all of my desire for grace and for love and just became the vengeful soul that I would be if I never thought of those things.
And so hurting people when you’ve been hurt it doesn’t. It feels, it feels right. You know, it feels justified. That’s why we, as an audience respond to it.
Jeff: there scenes [00:15:00] originally where the character of bill Johnson dealt with the killing that he was doing at any point where he, where those either? I don’t want to say necessarily most, I don’t think he w there that was there, but the, the weight of having of doing
Bill Oberst Jr: that, no.
And, and that was by design because it’s a revenge fantasy. And in your fantasy, like a sexual fantasy, you don’t want to bring people down. You know, this is a revenge fantasy. This is a fantasy of, I can, I can get over what happened to me by doing things to other people. And there’s a place for that. I mean, humans really relate to that.
The movie that I would have made wouldn’t have. I wouldn’t have been as good and people would have liked it as much because it would have been too gray. I’m always too great. Jeff, I need kill, make yours to like push me into starker places. Cause I’m always too great. Well, I mean,
[00:16:00] Jeff: every time I do an interview, I always go back and I look into the actor’s career or a filmmaker’s career.
However, it may be. And I was able, you know, I had the pleasure of looking at your career and all the things you’ve done and you’ve played a lot of those characters. I mean, you’ve played John F. Kennedy for eight years and I imagine there, his life probably was more gray than, oh yes. This probably taught me in school.
Bill Oberst Jr: You can do, you can do this and stage much more. But film is a strictly visual medium. And if it, if the visual doesn’t apply. But yeah, sure. Kennedy had a great couple of DLT, you know, his, while he was playing around his all of his children were born while he was playing around his last child died shortly after being born.
And so, in fact, his wife said that since that last child died, that Kennedy’s behavior changed. He was a better husband. And he told her that he felt he had met her again [00:17:00] for the first time. So, you know, maybe something changed and then he gets, then he’s a couple of months later, he’s dead. That’s the way life goes.
So yeah, there was, there was there was, there was a lot of gray there. And I. I enjoy that sort of nuance, but it’s hard to do on film.
Jeff: I’m, I’m not, I need to pause this for one moment. My apologies as a public Rachel manager for the podcast, I deal with multiple things. I’m having issue with a guest and I just need to deal with it real quickly.
If you don’t mind. Sorry. I do apologize.
Yeah. Once again, I’m sorry. Usually because of the job I do. There’s sometimes multiple interviews happening at once and apparently in other interviews having a bit of a problem and I just need it [00:18:00] to try to make sure that everything was okay. Sorry to break the momentum.
Bill Oberst Jr: Well, I’ll tell you recording again.
Jeff: yeah, well, we’ll just edit that part out, but I’ll put a note in it.
Bill Oberst Jr: Yeah. I’ll tell you where you can get the nuance. I’m very into the metaphor and the idea of the wounded monster. No matter how horrific a person is acting usually they feel justified because of their wounds. And so even when the script or the project, and there’s been a lot of those that have done is purely malevolent.
I always try to bring in. Through my eyes or my expression. I always have, I always want an undercurrent of woundedness because I’m really fascinated by the mix of violence and woundedness together.
Jeff: So is that one reason why throughout your career, you’ve played a lot of real people. You play, for instance, JFK, you play Louis Grizzard later you also played general Sherman, I believe is that because real [00:19:00] people have automatically a level of complexity that is not necessarily apparent in fictional
Bill Oberst Jr: characters.
It is. And the first two that you mentioned were for my stage career and then general Sherman was the transition and oh seven, my transition from stage and film completely by mistake. I played Sherman and a docu-drama for the history channel. And, and he was sort of the bridge between the two. But yes, the answer is yes, the Sherman is a very good example.
I was raised in the south and he was always a demon. You know, the guy who came through burned, but when I learned about his life he was a student of war. And he believed, and he expressed this and exactly these words, he said, you might as well once set in motion, you might as well appeal to a thunderstorm is to stop.
The wheels of war. War is cruelty and the crueler, it is the sooner it will be over. And that’s really a hard, hard truth, but it was [00:20:00] for him, it was demonstrably. True. And that’s why he acted as he did.
Jeff: Well, I would imagine a similar logic occurred when we dropped the bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima. The idea that great carnage now for a benefit
Bill Oberst Jr: later.
Yes. And we never know what’s going to happen later. You know, when somebody has to make those decisions and Yeah, it’s w the world really, really is great, but film is a visual, medium, great as a play well there, or, you know, on stage I play Ray Bradbury, I adapted one of his stories and I also play him in a production and bread.
Barry’s work is never adaptable. I’ve never seen an adaptation of his work that really works. And it’s for this reason that Bradbury said that the great parts of a novel are in the asides, not the plot. The plot is just an excuse so that people can then have these asides where they consider moral questions.
He said, I write moral fables [00:21:00] and cautionary tales, but those don’t film. Well, you know, you have to have a plot where things happen visually. And yeah, they’re, they’re very different mediums. It’s really hard to do this sort of morale, moral nuance on film.
Jeff: When w when you are occupying a character in, in, in whatever you’re filming, either theater or movie, especially one that is real.
What are you looking for in that individual? Are you attempting to mimicry? Are you looking at certain nuances and trying to show, demonstrate those nuances for like, I guess maybe almost so the audience can make that connection. Are you trying to make it your version of those people?
Bill Oberst Jr: Well, they are necessarily.
That’s a really good question. Yeah. They are necessarily core to the actor’s soul, right? Like a flour sifter. They’re sifted through me because they have to be, but I don’t want. Anything other than the [00:22:00] sifting, I want them and I’m a word person. So I discovered them through their words. I always want to know, you know, like if it’s a script, why is the character say these things?
Why were these specific words chosen? As opposed to other words, if it’s a historical character, it’s great because you’ve got a rich field of their words to sort of Wade through and then once that’s done, then I’m okay. Getting rid of the words if need be because you understand them. But that, that’s the way I approach a character.
I want them to speak, you know, in a way I want, yeah, I want their ghost now. Not their ghost. I want them to once again speak if only for a moment, I want them to have their voice again. So I feel protective of my characters, even if they’re malevolent, because. Everyone has a voice and death. Silence [00:23:00] is the voice and everyone, no matter what their voice was, I’m sure they’d given the choice they would like to speak again.
And so I that’s, my responsibility is to give them their voice, not mine.
Jeff: Do you feel that everyone deserves a voice?
Bill Oberst Jr: I don’t even know what deserves means. I can’t be the arbitrary at that because if I, if, if I were to start saying, so then I would say only people like me who think like me deserve a voice, but I, but I do know that every human wants more than anything else to be heard.
That’s the main thing we want is someone just to listen to us.
Jeff: So when you’re performing the audience, is that person who or that group that is doing the listening in your opinion, it’s the one who, yeah. Finally hearing what that character needs to say.
[00:24:00] Bill Oberst Jr: Yes. And vicariously they are being heard. If you can somehow make them identify with the character, even if it’s a necrophiliac homicidal clown, which I played,
of course, you met some humanity in there that people can see the monster within themselves. Then they feel that they are also being listened to. So it’s cathartic. It’s not just about them saying, oh, I’ve heard what the character says. It’s them to think. Damn it that’s me. And I ma you’re tricking them into thinking that their voice is being given expression.
And I try to do that again by the woundedness, because we all have, we’re all wounded monsters to, to my mind. So,
Jeff: so you’re, you are a believer that. When, when you take I can’t remember exactly who it’s the first one who said it. I’m sure it’s been said multiple times. The idea that every villain is a hero in their own mind.
So when you’re playing that, I think you said the [00:25:00] homicidal clowns, things of that nature. Are you viewing that person, that character as a full person, as someone who does view themselves in a particular
Bill Oberst Jr: positive light? Oh yes. Oh, absolutely. Yes. Every one likes themselves, even though they may modify their flesh or do things that would indicate that they don’t like themselves are, you know, have pathologies, but everyone likes themselves.
And when it comes down to it, no one wants to die because they think they deserve to live.
Jeff: Hmm. Could in the case of a movie once again, like painkiller. How would you approach playing the opposite characters, the doctors, the corporation, would you w how much of, would that affect in your viewpoint to try to play their
Bill Oberst Jr: perspective?
I would like that I would like to very much, in fact, when I’m on set I frequently with my scene [00:26:00] partners, when we get down to final rehearsal, just before the camera, I’ll say, let’s flip lines just for the hell of it. You do mine. I do yours. And by that time, you both know this scene. Yeah. It’s remarkable just to speak someone else’s words.
Cause again, it’s another voice being heard. Sure. I could easily play the doctor or the pharmaceutical. They’re not villains in their own minds. They’re not buildings at all. You know, we’re going through this. I just heard on the news this morning on NPR. The question of whether the COVID vaccines, the patents will be honored or not.
And the arguments on both sides of it. And neither side is villainous. You know, they, they, they both have, I have my own opinion, but they both make their case and are kind of in a way that’s very easy to understand. So yeah, I sure could have played the doctor or the pharmaceutical company and liked them as well.
Jeff: Well, [00:27:00] as a fan and someone who does, who is a fan of not only writing, but art and whatnot, I must admit that would have been absolutely fascinating to watch it. That was filmed not only you playing bill Johnson, but then the same scene play where you’re flipping the character to the other side and watching how the nuance of that difference.
Bill Oberst Jr: Only an art house director would do that, but I would love it. I would totally love it. I would like to play like a really violent as hell scene, which I frequently do. And then flip the characters. And S and film the same scene with the same dialogue, but the two different actors. Cause when you pour something through some, when you sip it through somebody else, it always comes up different.
Jeff: I, I would, I think that would be absolutely fascinating. Any producer is watching, you must try that just for the educational value of the audience and the fans, anyone who wants to who’s into acting or writing, just to watch different artists lens of how they view it differently.
[00:28:00] Bill Oberst Jr: Absolutely. Because we think of people, accuracy played iconic roles.
And even in my little sub genre, you know, in indie horror, there are people whose IQ people who say, oh, I just, you know, I couldn’t imagine anybody else playing that, but sure you could. Yeah, sure. You could, because it would come out in a way that you’d like equally well, but in a different way,
Jeff: when, when you’re watching either a real person to prepare for a role or you’re switching characters, Is it hard to completely scrub what you see and make it your
Bill Oberst Jr: own explain?
Jeff: I’ve talked to other actors who let’s say they’re, they, they play either a role that’s been played by other people and they’ll friends. I can’t remember. I think it was a sewer million who I interviewed and was talking about playing Nixon and how he would watch other roles of people playing Nixon to get a sense of what to do.
But then you would try to forget it as he would say and play his version of it. When you’re is that hard? I mean, I can’t [00:29:00] imagine that doesn’t affect you somehow.
Bill Oberst Jr: Yes, it would. So I, I never for instance, for voices, I, you know, if I, if I’m supposed to reproduce a historical voice, I don’t want him to hear how anybody else did it because you’re right.
Then you become, then you’re doing an impression of an impression. Yeah, it is really hard with, with A historical character, you go to the source material, but then at some point you have to step away. You have to forget it because what you’re trying to do is not impersonate. The person you’re trying to evoke the presence and that’s very different.
So you got to find some parts of you that resonate with that. Person’s soul. If you can’t do it, you can’t play the role.
Jeff: So I kind of feel a little bit for our listeners that we talked a little bit about painkiller, but we haven’t really explained what it is. You mind giving the pitch?
Bill Oberst Jr: Yeah. Painkiller is the story of a guy who has [00:30:00] lost his daughter to a accidental opioid overdose.
He’s furious. Nobody’s doing anything about it. So he starts this internet radio show. And this is what it’s about. It’s a support group for parents. And people who’ve lost loved ones to opioids, and he gets increasingly angry while doing this radio show. Nobody’s doing anything about it. So he gets a six gun and he decides to do something about it.
And that’s painkiller. Now,
Jeff: what is the significance of using the six gun? Because that’s kind of an old, old west of you. If I remember correctly, that’s an old, that’s like an old west gun. Is, am
Bill Oberst Jr: I right? Yeah, that’s right. And I think that they chose it for that reason too, to give my character some grounding with wild Western villains who we.
We don’t think of as village yet. We think of something like the shootout, the OK. Corral. We have our heroes and our villains, but they were both just guys with six guns who were blowing holes in each other.
[00:31:00] We were Manoj sized it. And I think that was to give my character, the romantic element and also to set up the great line. Why do you shoot them six times? Because that’s all the bullets the gun holds.
Jeff: Yeah. I thought that was a great line for me. I was wondering if anyone sees them, does he actually want to wish he had the picture bullet to protect himself?
Bill Oberst Jr: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. He should. I’ll tell you God. It was very weird. Usually in her movies. I have different instruments that I’m killing people with and it was really hard to stick to one implement the whole time. I was like the gun again. Can I just skin this one or something?
Jeff: That’s that’s okay. The kind of odd statement only an actor can make.
Can I at least, can I just get him, Hey,
Bill Oberst Jr: can I cut up their Chung and make them eat it something? Well that’s
Jeff: okay. One thing I thought was really interesting about painkiller is that in many [00:32:00] ways it’s a reverse slasher film instead of the killer being the enemy who’s in the heroes of trying to escape the shear is that the slasher and the villains are trying to escape.
And once again, I agree. Yeah. And I thought it was, I mean, that’s a very interesting, I mean, it kind of in my head, for some reason, I kind of went a little bit to V for vendetta and the Crow, the kind of the vigilante hero killer. And once again, and I thought to myself too, when you’re, when you were playing Kim, it was that also how you saw them.
Did you view him as someone who. Was balanced and doing bad things, or do you think something happened to him? And he became an imbalanced person doing bad, killing people,
Bill Oberst Jr: balanced, totally balanced, because he was so easy for me, although I haven’t lost a child, it was very easy for me to say, you know, as I said to strip away everything and get [00:33:00] into my own vengeance, you hurt me.
I want, I want bad things to happen to you. Yeah, he was, he was absolutely balanced. He, he probably is what would happen if someone who had just lost someone, I mean, there were grief is raw and you give them a gun. That’s not a good recipe. So, you know, maybe there’s been Maybe your loved one was operated on at the hospital and a mistake was made.
And because you signed the papers, you can’t Sue anyone because you knew the risks, but steel, you feel that this was a horrible mistake and you’re standing there trying to believe that they’re really gone. And somebody says here here’s a six gun is loaded. What
Jeff: was it always? The decision, I think the interesting part about his character and you see him so much weapon, is that mask the mass with what looks like an American flag over it, or kind of almost not a full American flag, but it’s almost like, almost like dripping a little bit almost that that makes sense.
Bill Oberst Jr: Yes. Yeah. It’s like [00:34:00] cracked and broken the original, the original A tagline for the movie was make America great. Again,
Jeff: that’s fine and deserved. And it looked
Bill Oberst Jr: great. I mean, it looked really good up there, you know, painkiller with that America cracked America, like make America great again. So I remember that, but yeah, he’s, I, I think that that’s a statement that my character is making that, what does this country stand for?
And he was, so now he has extrapolated from his own loss and from the other people who are on his radio show, he’s extrapolated from that, that the whole country is broken, which we frequently do. You know, if our own problems and tractable, then we extrapolate that. Well, the whole country must be broken.
Jeff: And pardon me, it’s possibly, I read too much into the movie. Cause I tend to do that. I’m a very much someone who kind of analyzes movies as they watch it. Having the, the mass of the American flag as he’s killing people. [00:35:00] Probably I was wondering, is that almost like America is doing the killing the American system’s feeling or, or kind of like the kinda like consciousness?
Bill Oberst Jr: I think it is because, as I said, Tom is an attorney in a very well-known attorney in Florida. And I think that fits his worldview from what happened to his son. Mark is a subversive cult film director from Australia come to Los Angeles to make subversive mainstream films. And so that’s, I’m sure that’s, Mark’s point of view too.
Yeah. Yeah. I think you read that just right. I love you. And you’re analyzing. Oh, thank
Jeff: you. Is there a concern when making a movie or performing a movie that is so overtly political, is there a concern that either. From a potential loss of audience or potential how you may be pigeonhole because you’re in a movie of a particular political stance.
Bill Oberst Jr: For me as an actor, the former, it can’t be anything that I am [00:36:00] concerned with because I only am one small part of the team. I don’t edit it. I don’t put the score. I don’t market it. I don’t write it. So my participation in that way is very limited. But to your second question. Yes. And so for that reason, if this had been an overtly right-wing or left-wing character, I would have hesitated despite my friendship with mark and Tom, I would have hesitated because you don’t want to, I think that’s abandoned.
I mean, okay. Yeah, you could do it. You can say, okay, I’ve got to commit to this and I’m going to do it. But I think it had to be a better reason for it than just that, Hey, a screenwriter had really left wing or really right-wing views and wanted to separate the world, the good and bad people. And they wrote this movie.
Jeff: you know, I kind of surprised when you were saying that I’m thinking of, so is it potentially my own bias that immediately looked at the movie as a [00:37:00] liberal movie? I mean, I’m a very little, much liberal by myself and I guess, and maybe it is a liberal bias on my own side where I thought the corporation as an enemy is inherently liberal, left wing idea.
Maybe I’m wrong. That is
Bill Oberst Jr: so fascinating because I talked to someone just this week in an interview who said, just the opposite, Jeff. I said fine. They said, you know, they said, obviously you know, this is a extreme right wing point of view that this man has. And they asked me about Trumpism in relation to it.
That’s so funny,
Jeff: huh? It, I imagine that that’s a sign of something that’s well done, that it is speaking to both sides in a very, maybe, maybe subconsciously
Bill Oberst Jr: personal way. Maybe we found the common denominator is that both sides want to kill people who hurt them.
Jeff: I, I, I, I would think that maybe it’s possible concerned to think that both [00:38:00] sides have agreed to kill people, but maybe anger is rife on both sides quite obviously.
Bill Oberst Jr: Yeah, absolutely. But yeah, I hate anger and I think anger is it’s. So. Trivial it’s of such limited utility. It’s a good motivator, but then it needs to be set aside. I mean, I swim in the waters of anger all the time in movies, but as quickly as I can, I always am lobbying. Let’s move beyond the anger into something deeper.
Jeff: So when after doing all that, how do you like go of it?
Bill Oberst Jr: Well, you don’t and again, that’s a really good question. You’re letting another soul, you’re being possessed by your own choice and you’re doing the work of the possession. And you’re not sorry that your possess, you asked for it and you got paid for it.
So, you know, don’t bitch, because you had this other soul inside you, they left a mark. That’s like having a series of lotteries in each one, leaves some little [00:39:00] trinket behind. That’s. Yeah, that’s exactly what it feels like. And you’re not ever going to get rid of those knickknacks or they know it’s better than trinkets.
Is they Nick, the walls or one of them kicked a hole are, you know, one of them scratched the chair just that you see in your day to day life and you go, oh, I remember that Nick in the wall. I remember that. I remembered that. Yeah. It’s like that. You never forget them. And they’re always there that, that
Jeff: that’s, that sounds extremely difficult to carry all the time.
Cause you, cause I mean, if you’re playing so many characters, you said you played a lot on, you know, a killers murders who’s of that nature. That’s a lot to take home with, you know, and your shoulders.
Bill Oberst Jr: Yep. And but the good thing is that once you’ve done this so many times, you know, over 200 now for me.
I’m completely disabused of the notion that there are other people, the other, they’re not like us, there’s us, you and me, Jeff. But then there’s these other, that [00:40:00] is bull shit with capital’s shit. There are no other people we’re all the same. It’s just a matter of what potential realities have been realized.
Jeff: Well, that’s funny that you said that after I just made a comment that you said was totally opposite. This other person, it does seem to suggest once again, the commonalities are, I mean, their vast, the vast commonalities is it’s the fringes of those ideas that are the difference.
Bill Oberst Jr: Right? And the danger of, of the internet is that it’s, it is a system that rewards loud voices and, you know, and there it is any.
Yeah. I mean, going back to the ideas of marching with McLaren and the, the medium is the message. And then there’s a professor who I really, really loved. I already mentioned college Neil postman and the book was entertaining ourselves to death and postpone was [00:41:00] immediate theorist and postman said, inter television is entertainment.
And anything you pour through the funnel of television will come out as entertainment, whether you intend it to be information or sacred, whatever it is, it will come out as entertainment. And so it’s the same way. And it just, like I said, film is a visual medium. It’s always going to be informed by what can be shown visually.
And although we’re not talking about the internet, I often reflect that the internet as a medium of loudness. And whatever you pour into it, it’s always going to favor the loudest parts of it.
Jeff: I would agree with you a hundred percent on that. And I do think as people it’s just easier to deal with those that agree with you.
I think we don’t like being told we’re wrong on things. And I think that is one of the reasons why we do gravitate for news and other things that [00:42:00] do kind of already feel what we already believe, because it’s just easier,
Bill Oberst Jr: people who well, they should play many other people with whom they don’t agree.
They should play rapist on the Seidel clouds. And have to like them, because again, it’s, it’s very instructive the commonalities we’re wrong about almost everything. I frequently go through all the things that I think I’m absolutely certain of. I can’t find very damn many things that I say I am absolutely certain of this comes down to because of my life experiences and my predilections.
I believe this to be true based on those things, that’s a lot more nuanced than this is true.
Jeff: No. I agree with you. And one thing I was thinking about as well, it kind of connects to it a little bit. You graduated from university of South Carolina I assume for acting, is that correct? It was
Bill Oberst Jr: called journalism school back then J school, because nobody thought you could make money as an [00:43:00] actor.
So they also taught you how to be a television journalist, but you know, I was never pretty enough for that, but yeah.
Jeff: So, I mean, do they, when you talk to people who go to school for acting, do they teach psychology? Cause it feels like there’s such a connection between psychology philosophy and acting, but when you’re playing,
Bill Oberst Jr: they should know.
I mean, they didn’t, then they should. Yeah, absolutely. Should, there’s all different, you know, acting’s a lot more advanced now. You know, I don’t even like the word acting because it implies pretending and you can’t do that for a camera. You just have to either be the thing or not. And the camera will know whether you’re telling the truth.
You really can’t pretend it knows what is a
Jeff: better phrase to use.
Bill Oberst Jr: Being it’s just being, you just have to be the thing in front of the camera. You can’t pretend that you are the thing. If it sees your eyes, if the camera only sees your body. Sure. You can use stagecraft. But if the camera sees your eyes, you can’t lie.
I’ve tried it. You can’t lie. Well
Jeff: when you’re playing [00:44:00] painkiller with a mask on, are you then just acting through your yes.
Bill Oberst Jr: And your body, if you can’t see your eyes, a lot of that is just, you know, it’s yeah. It’s just your body motion. And then the memory, the emotional memory of when they saw your eyes in the shop before you hope carries it through,
Jeff: that’s amazing to me.
I can’t imagine. That must be, it was an entirely different type of acting to act basically without your face, without the prime way. You could, we all obviously read each other through facial expressions and that’s how you deliver the information and the majority of the time of enacting. But what’s that mask on you, you
Bill Oberst Jr: know, you go into your body and I’m a huge fan of body harder.
I do a lot of body horror and I love contortions of the body. And so you go into that and thinking of how am I holding my hands right now? And what is that saying? Extends extending the bones out and trying to put a curve here and being artistic with it. Yeah. That kind of thing, which is very different [00:45:00] than showing truth in your eyes.
Jeff: And that’s another thing too, though. I mean, as someone who might like myself, who’s never, who’s on an actor at all to kind of perform with your eyes. I mean, how does that even, I mean, I don’t normally even think of your eyes as something that can be. That kind of gets malleable in, in a performance. How, how are you able to do that?
Bill Oberst Jr: Oh yes, absolutely. If you do it right, you can. And this is why I love nonverbal scenes where the, the, where the character goes through some change and you just see it in their eyes. Absolutely. Absolutely. You see it? I don’t know how to explain it other than it has to be true if it’s not true for you, it, no amount of tricks will make it seem true.
It has to be true for you and then became more seasoned in your eyes. So then you’re, if it’s malleable, you know, if you, if it’s a change within a scene, then something that was not true becomes true for the character or vice versa. And that [00:46:00] is shown only in the eyes. Like, it’s almost like there’s an audition technique where you just think the emotion, like sometime, especially in LA, when you audition, you get a redirect, which just means do it a different way.
And usually the redirect is something like, do it angry, do it, this do it. They just want to see if you can follow direction, which you never want to actually say. Okay, now I’m going to pretend to be angry. Just think the word anger. That’s enough. Just think the word angry your face doesn’t have to change and your eyes will receive it.
And we’ll do the work
Jeff: to wait when people are practicing and product saying or learning to perform act. Do you think a, when the problems is doing it with dialogue, do you thing more acting should be trained? Free of the actual words, tweak God.
Bill Oberst Jr: Yes, yes, absolutely. The words are the last thing and the last thing you needed, and you can tell like who haven’t done a lot of film work because when you rehearse with them, [00:47:00] they put full intention into the rehearsal with you.
When really all you want to do is look in their eyes. They can just mumble the words. I don’t care. I just need to see you and begin to discover you because in the scene, if it’s going to work, I’ve got to give myself to you completely through my eyes. And you’ve got to give yourself to me and we can’t hold anything back.
If you’re not going to do that, that seems not going to work. But instead they’re concentrated on getting the words, right. Which don’t mean shit to me. I just need to see inside. I need to see inside your soul, please open up. And that’s really a difficult thing to say to him, usually a stranger or something, you know, because you open up, please.
I’d like to see yourself, go ahead.
Jeff: I mean, how do you get to that level of vulnerability with someone you don’t even know.
Bill Oberst Jr: Professionalism, the professionals who have done this a couple of hundred times, know that if I don’t do this, the scene’s going to suck and my work will look bad. So I gotta strip down because if I don’t, it seems like going to work.
That’s [00:48:00] yeah. That’s the only reason because usually you don’t know people very well. It’s very, this is why actors have addictive behavior and destructive behavior because we can open up on a dime. And that, that in and of itself can become addictive and destructive. In two ways, you can either open up all the time, too much to everyone, or you can decide that outside of set, I’m not opening up to anyone.
And both of, both of those can cause problems.
Jeff: So, I mean, do you think the actor then mindset is dangerous on some level then?
Bill Oberst Jr: Oh, yes. Accuracy or needy psychopathic bitches.
Totally. Don’t ever get in a relationship with an actor. Yeah. It’s horrible. I mean, we’re all, yeah. We’re all wounded in people and just different levels of covering it up.
Jeff: Why so many actors are so good at politics because it’s the same kind of neediness.
Bill Oberst Jr: Yes. It really, really is. And you talk about eyes.
[00:49:00] If the camera ever gets close and they don’t do this much anymore because you know, the cuts are so quick and interviews. If the camera really lingers on a politician’s eye, you can tell if the lion right away really. Oh, absolutely. If you’ve, if you’ve done film work, because you’re looking into their soul for a second and you can feel it.
They might be stupid, but they might also be telling you the truth or they might be brilliant, but lying
Jeff: that it’s kind of funny. It’s like being an actor is literally, really is psychology. Like it’s like, it’s like a full degree in psychology being an actor because you literally are learning how other people think
Bill Oberst Jr: real, most actors end up being so accused of being, having bleeding hearts because of course your heart is going to bleed because you’re always looking inside people and see in their pain and their woundedness.
And so of course your heart’s going to believe. Yeah. Yeah. You’re you just can’t when you do this for a living, you can’t countenance [00:50:00] the lie that we’re different and that there’s some people who aren’t worth looking at or looking into it just doesn’t make any sense to you because you do it all the time.
Jeff: No, it’s such an odd economy from an actress then, because on the one level. There’s a sort of, I think, and let me be wrong. Sorry, narcissism that comes with it acting at the same time, acting itself is an act of empathy because you have to live into somebody else’s mind, body thoughts, or another actor that must be, I mean, that’s a hell of a balance to deal with.
Bill Oberst Jr: Yeah. Yeah. Most actors have been hurt. And so they’re saying, please don’t hurt me and I’ll entertain you. So you won’t hurt me. And then at the same time, they’re saying, show me your hurt, maybe because then I’ll feel more like you it’s all about woundedness, man. It’s all about woundedness.
Jeff: Like I said, I don’t think you’re, I think you’re literally the first actor to phrase it like that, that, that I’ve heard.
And I think that’s incredible
Bill Oberst Jr: truth. And [00:51:00] I don’t trust people who won’t show me their wounds. I freely admit it. I don’t trust them if they never will show me their wounds. I can’t. I can’t deal with them and I just shut down. I try every way I can, I show my wounds and I try every way I can to get you to show yours.
And if you won’t show me any of your vulnerabilities, if you insist and wear your armor all the time, I just, I can’t deal with it. And I, and I won’t deal with it.
Jeff: Is, was that before, I mean, was that always before you became an actor or did that something that developed over
Bill Oberst Jr: time? I’ve always been an actor.
So I don’t know, I don’t know where the pot pathology begins and where Fred election
Jeff: we’ll have to have the DSEC, your your brain at some point and figured it all out. You know, looking also at painkiller one scene I thought was very interesting and how and how it was filmed. There’s a scene where bill is killing someone within the range of his daughter.
[00:52:00] And you kind of pull out and she’s swinging on a swing and you kind of sense that the girl is aware of what’s happening, but on some levels also seems indifferent to it. Do you know what I’m talking about? How did you protesting and what was your thought process in doing this within the range of, in real life?
This girl, but in the film, this guy’s darling, what was, how did you get into bill Johnson’s mind at that moment?
Bill Oberst Jr: Oh, mark loved that scene. That’s that is stereotypically Mark Savage and a hit. Yeah. Taking place in the presence of a child and a swing. That’s very mark savvy. That’s very subversive. Yeah, I didn’t have any problem with it at all, because I remember thinking on one level, he probably would like bill Johnson would probably like the girl to see it to say, this is what the world is.
And to see him as a hero and also to prepare her for what he thinks she’ll have to [00:53:00] go through, you know, he’s sort of Batman at that moment.
Jeff: Do you, since I, is it so it’s commitment or the cruelty that he’s doing in front of the daughter?
Bill Oberst Jr: Oh, absolutely. It’s absolutely cruelty and commitment and cruelty at the same time.
You know, it’s saying maybe it’s saying you need to see this. You need to understand. You’ll know. I know what it is, Jeff you’ll thank me for this later.
Jeff: That’s an interesting thing to think. Not only are you doing something temporarily, I mean, you’re not potential. I mean, you’re, you’re, he is bill Jones is literally killing this man, even though he has, he thinks there’s a good reason for doing it.
But to think even those who know him will feel at some point happy that it happened or feel that it was a positive that it occurred. That’s a, that’s a, that’s an even more interesting layer of that. Gentleman’s personality.
Bill Oberst Jr: I did another film where my son, I brought my son into my [00:54:00] murderous ways and there was a great line in there.
I told him because he said, I don’t understand that. And I said, Mike people have to pay for what they do. And the actor was great because his eyes has changed. And there was a look of. That makes complete sense to me, dad. And when you’re in that mindset, people have to pay for what they do. That’s a lesson you want to teach your children too.
Jeff: And I think there’s so many good moments in that film. This is a moment as well, where bill talking to detective Simone and he’s asking her, you know, what could I have done differently? Which is such a common, I think thought among people in that situation. And I thought to myself in preparing for that moment, did you talk to those who parents or wherever who, who had children, who, who died and try to fight to find that mindset of that moment of wondering what could I have done wrong?
How, you know, kind of taking the big, taking the blame themselves for it.
[00:55:00] Bill Oberst Jr: For me, narcissistically, I used by own failures and my own regrets of my own life. I swim in a sea of regret. And I remember at that moment thinking, you know, thinking of the things that I regret, the situations, the relationships that I’ve messed up the things that I can never take back that I wish so much that I could, that was what I was thinking of at that moment.
Jeff: It, it really is a very smart moment. And I think another scene that was just very intelligent and I don’t think I, I hadn’t thought about it until the scene did it and the way you delivered it, I mean, it’s a heartbreak and see where you state the idea of widower, you know, if your wife dies out your widow, if your husband dies an orphan, if your parents died, but there’s nowhere for what you are, if your child dies.
And that was such a powerful song,
Bill Oberst Jr: You know, and my grandma lost her son, my father’s brother. He was 16 and he died in a car accident. And she never talked about it. She never [00:56:00] talked about it. We only knew his name, you know, from writing. She would never mention it. And I, I had thought often as an adult and I thought when doing that line, what it must be like to have that kind of pain and not have any, even a word to describe it.
Jeff: Do you think it’s intentional that there’s no word for that either because you can share it. You don’t want to think it or don’t want to approach it,
Bill Oberst Jr: maybe. So we don’t want to approach it because it’s people always say it’s unnatural, right? Yeah. It’s unnatural for a parent to bury a child. Well, it’s not really, I mean, it used to happen a lot more than it does now, but we just don’t.
I think it’s one of those things like true child abuse that we almost don’t want to imagine could exist in this world. And that’s why parents, I have heard from parents whose children have died of illness. One in specific that I remember. And she says you become almost a [00:57:00] pariah because people are afraid to rub off on them.
After a short period of extending your sympathy, they just want to leave you the hell alone because they don’t want to hear any more about your dead daughter. Right. If they’ve got living daughters and they’re afraid of it
Jeff: is that we’ll see how that would go. Let’s go. Why you don’t use that word because you don’t want to get into that conversation.
Or maybe it is almost like a, like a curse. You don’t want it by saying it, you kind of inherited it.
Bill Oberst Jr: Oh, Jeff. That is so many evil. That is so smart. Yeah. Yeah. Maybe it’s like a curse. Maybe if we say the thing and we acknowledge it. That’s very interesting.
Jeff: I mean, I think one thing that you did, one of the many things you did great in that movie, too, that you do inhabit that loneliness.
You get that sense of that loneliness. I mean, in the movie for the most part, he’s only interacting with. Two other characters, the detective and the other doctor. And I think it kind of, to me, made it feel like that same [00:58:00] loneliness that a parent would have because no one does want to talk to them about what happened.
So that is that there’s, that isolation immediately happens.
Bill Oberst Jr: Yes. And bill the character bill is rather obsessed with it and that’s all he talks about. So you can imagine being around. And again, you know, there’s the point at which people want you to move on, but he’s not moving on.
Jeff: And that’s amazing because when you think about it, it’s totally irrational to a thing that he would never move on.
But I guess on the outside, you don’t, I guess, as the person who isn’t, you know, the friend or the neighbor, you don’t care that it’s rational not to move on. You just don’t want to, you don’t want to inherit that sadness.
Bill Oberst Jr: And so that’s what the whole script felt like to me, knowing the story, the script felt like sitting with a grieving person and saying, I can’t do anything for you, but I can just listen.
And then spending the whole evening while they just say all the things they need to say, that’s what it felt like to me.
Jeff: Yeah. [00:59:00] It, and I would imagine in many ways that that’s literally the only solution I would imagine. Just, yeah, listen.
Bill Oberst Jr: Yeah, just listen. So this is the script, this the screenwriter the coast screen writer who actually experienced this loss.
And my character both say, you need to hear this. And that’s why I forgive the expedition in the movie, because there is exposition when I’m doing the radio scenes, I’m talking about statistics and how many people died and this and that, but the character and the person behind it, the writer is saying to people in general, you need to hear this
Jeff: in, in your imagination.
When you thought about bill Johnson, did you envision that he had a large network before it happened and he sheded those that network, or do you think he always was someone who may not have had a network to lean on?
Bill Oberst Jr: Well, I know the answers to that because I played him in the pre-fall. That’s true.
And in the preschool he had his daughter Ashley and he had his [01:00:00] wife he worked for. A company that replaced fire extinguishers and buildings. So you had this sort of mundane outdoor job, but he was very easily annoyed. And he was increasingly annoyed by people’s selfishness and living in their own bubble and talking on cell phones and movies and this sort of thing.
So he had a best friend, he had one best friend. And in that movie, the best friend is a chemist who helps him develop a poison that will kill people without a trace. And so he starts killing annoying people. And he ends up killing his best friend. The chemist, he kills his wife, his ex-wife, and then in return is a favor.
The chemist kills bill Johnson’s wife. So that’s where he has come from in this. You would never know any of that, unless you’d seen the other movie that was by design, they wanted you to just approach the character knew. But yeah, so that’s the history I always coming to him with like, no, he never had a large network and he’s got incredible culpability.
[01:01:00] Jeff: Do you, is there any sequel in the works for painkiller?
Bill Oberst Jr: Actually, Tom wrote me and said, mark and I were thinking about SQL. And I was like, I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know what you could do. You know, I don’t know, hell I didn’t even know about playing this role because I read the script and I thought, I know what you want, but I don’t know if I can do this.
I don’t know if I’m the guy to do this. And I was really unsure about the performance and still am. So when people tell me that they thought it worked, I’m like, okay, but I get the questions all during the filming about, you know, I’m not sure if this is working.
Jeff: My wonder about the sequel is that obviously for a sequel to work, you have to maintain a character, maintain that rage throughout a whole nother sequence of a movie.
But I would imagine because of what happened, it’s, it’s, it’s beyond a doubt that he could maintain it.
Bill Oberst Jr: Yeah, I think so because he doesn’t, he doesn’t really pay a price for what he’s done. And he [01:02:00] sort of seems more peaceful at the end, which was the case of the previous movie. He didn’t pay a price for John at the end of it, his blood pressure’s down to one 20 over 80.
And the doctor says, I don’t know what you’re doing, but keep doing it.
Jeff: I think it would be curious where you would take the SQL and the end. What’s a character like bill Johnson as well. There has to be a sense then. I mean, do you think the character. Viewed his job as something that would have an end point, because there’s so many, I mean, it’s so large. It cannot ever be.
And point to what he’s doing. I would imagine
Bill Oberst Jr: point and what he’s doing. It’s not effectual at all. It’s not bringing his daughter back. It’s not helping the situation in any way. It just feels good, which is what he did in the previous movie. So maybe,
Bill Oberst Jr: he would have to grow, grow, grow.
Jeff: He’s unfortunately, an extremely ineffectual person.
Bill Oberst Jr: Yes. He takes extreme action, [01:03:00] which has, it’s like pissing in a blue suede suit. It feels really good,
Jeff: but nobody notices. Oh, that’s funny. If you look at it, then move from that perspective. It does change a little bit how you see him. So, so what, so where can our listeners find painkiller?
Bill Oberst Jr: It’s on demand on several platforms.
I know it’s on apple TV and I know it’s on Amazon. And as soon as you just Google painkiller movie, then you’ll find it and look for the creepy American flag mast on the cover. That’s how you can tell it so well,
Jeff: can you also tell us, what are you working on now? What can they look forward to seeing you in next?
Bill Oberst Jr: Yes, I have about 14 in preproduction. She’s lucky that I work a lot too. That I’m. Three, that I’m really excited about. Two are definite. One is a, maybe that I really hope happens that you definites are. I’m going to Romania to play off Hitler. Oh shit. It’s a straight world [01:04:00] war II drama. It’s called the message.
And it’s about Romanian cooperation with the Nazis during world war two during the occupation. And then I’m going to Mexico to do a movie called dead Iris about the ESX, sweat lodge culture, and the belief that you can contact the dead through a sweat lodge. That’s by a director named Adrian Corona, who also did a movie called this in Mexico that I was in.
It’s very strange and very offensive and close to my heart. I’ve been the one that I really hope happens is a Mark Savage project, the same director painkiller, and mark has a script called circus of dread. And it’s a story, both, both mark and I really, really, really into the old idea of human oddities or what used to be called freaks.
And because we both believe that we’re all freaks. So this is a very twisted story of a career criminal whose brother is would be considered a freak in another era human oddity, and his brother [01:05:00] ends up pawning him off on some people who sort of take control of him. And Ian’s his brother ends up in this horrible underground freak show where very wealthy people, forced human oddities to perform for them to kill each other.
You know, sorta like the, you know, the gladiators, the freak shows. And so my character is so racked by guilt that he’s got to go get his brother, but the only way to get into this freak show is to be a freak yourself. So he had to goes plastic surgery to become what we used to call a human oddity.
Jeff: That sounds awesome.
When’s that coming? He goes
Bill Oberst Jr: underground. So he, he, he gives up his physicality to go underground and try to save his brother, knowing that it’ll probably never come out. So it’s a story of redemption. He’s looking for redemption, but he knows it’s going to cost him his life. And he’s a horrible person to begin with.
And this is very Mark Savage and I really, really want to do this [01:06:00] movie. Because freak show culture is always fascinated.
Jeff: I definitely hope as these movies start getting released, you come back in the show and talk to me about it.
Bill Oberst Jr: Jeff, I would love to, or your questions have been really insightful. I really enjoyed the conversation.
Jeff: Thank you. I did as well. And like I said, you have an open door whenever you have something to promote. Come right back on. You’re welcome anytime.
Bill Oberst Jr: Thank you very much. Thank you. It was a pleasure. I have a very good night,
Bill Oberst Jr: You too. Bye-bye.