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Michael Ironside isn’t a huge fan of the slasher genre, but the actor stepped into a maelstrom of terror for his latest role in Knuckleball.
“A lot of your Halloween films are what I call a pizza and a beer film. You see the film, you go have a pizza and beer and you forget about it,” joked Ironside. “Knuckleball is not that kind of film. Knuckleball stays with you. We designed it that way.”
The indie psychological horror film, written and directed by Michael Peterson, finds 12-year-old Henry (Luca Villacis) left to fight for his life in the wake of his grandfather’s sudden death and an impending blizzard on an isolated farm. Ironside portrays Jacob, Henry’s estranged grandfather, who leaves behind family secrets as well as a crazed psychopath neighbor, played by Munro Chambers.
A method actor by training, Ironside noted that there is a common misconception about the highly touted Hollywood craft.
“I was taught to never make your work process somebody else’s problem — have all your work together before you show up on set, as opposed to everyone’s got to wait for [the actor] to find [their] emotion,” Ironside told The Hollywood Reporter.
Instead, the actor works to blend his own reality with fiction, explaining that he evaluated his own father’s passing before filming his death scene in the film. “I find something that emotionally I can connect to in my life and use the emotions of that to lay it under this situation that’s being scripted,” Ironside said.
The veteran actor also discussed why audiences won’t be seeing him reprise his role as Jester in the upcoming Top Gun sequel, explaining that he doesn’t have the best relationship with producer Jerry Bruckheimer.
“I’m not going to be in this film,” he said. “The one person still in charge is Jerry Bruckheimer and Mr. Bruckheimer and I don’t really get along, or didn’t get along. He offered me a project 10 or 12 years ago and … I said no to it.”
Ironside added, “The next time I saw him at a hockey game… I went up and said, ‘Hey Jerry,’ and he just turned around and I figured, ‘Well that relationship is over with.’”
He continued, “But he has a business he has to run, he has to make decisions based on his way of doing things and what makes him feel safe.”
Watch the video above to hear Ironside explain what makes a good death scene and why he’s looking forward to the Top Gun sequel.
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