Instantly recognizable from his roles in ‘Spin City’ and the beloved cult classic, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” Barry Bostwick has had the good fortune of having a show business career that is both long and diverse. He is At 68 years old, it seems that Bostwick’s best and most interesting work might still lie ahead of him. Today, he is throwing his comedic might behind an ambitious project dreamed up by Etta Devine and Gabriel Diani — two creative dynamos are trying to save independent film making and crowd funding! ‘Diani & Devine Meet The Apocalyse is a feature-length comedy film about a struggling comedy duo who discover that surviving the apocalypse is almost as difficult as surviving in Hollywood. It’s like one of those old Bob Hope/Bing Crosby ‘Road To…’ movies meets Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Road.’ It’s ‘The Road To The Road!’ Icon Vs. Icon’s Jason Price recently sat down with Barry Bostwick and Etta Devine to discuss this intriguing new project, which you can be a part of! In the interview we learn about Barry’s early years as an actor, how he crossed paths and formed a creative Etta and Gabriel, what intigues him most about the project and listen to the duo flesh out character details on the fly! As an added bonus, we discover what Barry Bostwick would do if he was in charge of visiting ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’ in film form!
Before we discuss this awesome new project you are a part of, I wanted to go back to the beginning. What was it about acting that intrigued you early on and made you pursue it as a career?
Barry: The attention! The fact I had some early success in high school where people actually paid me a couple of dollars to sing at parties and YMCA events. I saw early on that I could actually make a few bucks out of it and there were pretty girls! There was also nothing else I could really do! There ya go! Four good reasons! [laughs]
Who would you cite as some of your biggest influences as an actor?
Barry: Influences? The humanity of Jimmy Stewart was one of my early influences. The appeal of anything that was musical comedy. The Porgy & Bess album my parents had that I would listen to when they were out of the house when I was a youngster and I was totally astonished by and would learn as I laid by myself underneath the piano. Early influences… hmmm… girls! Back to girls again! [laughs] It is totally true! My girlfriend in high school was a dancer. She needed a partner for a dance recital, so I did that. This is before I was interested in show business. I had another girlfriend, who worked at a dance studio in Walnut Creek, who needed someone to play Barnaby in “Babes In Toyland.” They didn’t have anybody tall enough, so I went and did that. That was my first stage appearance. I was brilliant!
You have come along way since your debut! To what do you attribute your longevity in the entertainment industry?
Barry: Luck. The ability to do many things instead of just one thing. When I was studying at NYU and college before that, it was always impressed upon me that to make a living in show business, you had to sing, dance and act. I tried my best to do all three! Over the years, when I couldn’t get an acting job, I might get a singing job or a hosting job where I had to sing and dance. It is a matter of keeping all of your options open, taking one job at a time, taking some of those minimal talents I developed back in the 60s and being very fortunate.
Etta: I don’t think it hurts that he is a joy to work with either!
Barry: Oh, thank you!
That leads me to my next question, Barry. You a part of an exciting new project called ”Diani & Devine Meet The Apocalypse.’ How did you initially cross paths with Etta and Gabe?
Barry: Let me see, how did I get to Gabe?
Etta: I believe you manager submitted you on “The Selling.” We were just see who had submitted. I was leaning over his shoulder and your picture popped up and I said “Barry! Let’s get him!”
Barry: Oh, so it’ your fault!
Etta: Maybe! Well, he agreed with me so…
Barry: Oh my God! Well, you know, I appreciate it! Thank you! It was fate! Then I read the script and I laughed out loud! Then I met you guys and thought, “What a talented group of people!” Then I lowered my price to nearly nothing and… wait… did I get paid for that first job?
Etta: Yeah but I think you are getting less now!
Barry: [laughs] I am!
Etta: Which is the opposite of how we would like it! [laughs]
Barry: I would work for nothing for you! I would do anything for you. I think I only worked for two days on “The Selling.”
Etta: I think it was one day but you were in a suit, in a harness and it was five hundred degrees, so it may have seemed like more than one!
Barry: It did actually but you know what? Look what happened! In one day, we fell in love! It was love at first sight! I think you guys are so talented and under-appreciated at the moment in show business. If I can do anything to just totally bury your careers, look in my direction!
You have worked with many talented people along the way in your career in all different aspects of the business. What do you think Etta and Gabe bring to the table as creative talents?
Barry: They bring a real freshness and energy. They have a sense of humor that has an oddness, a sometime darkness, a sometime lightness and a lot of gray. I love that about them. I love that they are all over the map in terms of their sense of humor. They also get things done. There are so few people who actually say that they want to make a movie who actually make a movie. They stuck with it. They did it well! They cast it well. They edited it well and went the distance with it. They got all of these awards at festivals and that is worth supporting and working with again because they finish what they start!
What can you guys tell us about the character that Barry will be playing in the film? How do you prepare for a typically role, Barry? Is there a specific process?
Barry: My first thing is always “How does he wear his hair?” The next thing is “What kind of clothes does her wear?” Eventually, after about fifty of the more mundane things, I get down to “What is he feeling? What is he hearing? Where does he come from? and Where is he going to?” One of the first things I actually look at is what makes him different, unique, odd and interesting. I am at the stage in my life where I just want to be odd and interesting! I have played to many years of husbands, fathers and lawyers. I ran out of ways of playing them. Now I want to play weird people. I think even Etta would have written me a character who I can add a little weirdness too! Tell me a little bit about this character you want me to play.
Etta: Well, he is probably a state senator. He is a member of a hunting club that we run into. He has very strong views about where women should be, where his place in the world is and he may not want to wear pants.
Barry: And he is a transvestite, right?
Etta: If you want! Barry brought all of his own props to “The Selling” and they were brilliant! It added so much and we loved them!
Barry: In this one, am I killing unusual animals?
Etta: If you want! I think he has. I think he is definitely done the large animal killing tours on other continents and whatnot.
Barry: Ok, good. You see, now we are getting down to the nitty-gritty of this guy. I thin he should be killing only endangered species.
Etta: That’s fair.
Barry: He should have on his wall ostrich heads. You know, things that are odd and interesting like koala bear heads.
Etta: We would want that, so souring it, we will see. If anyone has weird heads, we would like them.
Barry: Alright. You see, Jason. This is how you make movies! [laughs]
Etta: It’s all improv. It is all Yes-Ands.
Barry: There is another reason why I like these guys. They are so good at improv! They are masters at it. A lot of the work comes from that, I think. It gives it a freshness and a vitality. I on the other hand have no idea how to improvise, so I need them to lead me with the actual words and I will occasionally add the action or the odd ball reference. I can always trust them to give me interesting words! [laughs]
Looking back on all you have done in your career, what do you consider your biggest evolution?
Barry: Evolution. Oh God, that is a big word. It is more like a revolution. It seems ever ten years I have had to revolt and try to come up with some other way of being in this business.
Etta: You have a beard now!
Barry: I have a beard now, yes. I keep it only because if the next job wants me to have a beard I have it. Jobs come up so quickly and I could always shave it off. A couple of weeks ago I did an episode of ‘Scandal.’ I had my beard and the night before I realized I couldn’t have my beard for the senator I played in that, so I had to shave my beard. However, when that job was over, I immediately started growing it again. Nobody in my personal life likes it, except for me! To me, I think it is more of who I really am inside. Whenever I am shaven, it always brings back memories of being jilted husbands and scumbag lawyers on ‘Law & Order.’
Etta: It could get you a wizard part!
Barry: Yes. I would like to play that part. Actually, I played a wizardy/futurist in a movie I did last summer (The Scorpion King 4) in Romania.
Barry: he was sort of a wizardy kind of guy. He is an inventor and I would see him as a futurist, I think. It takes place 10,000 years B.C. and he was doing all sorts of interesting things like flying and everything else.
Etta: A DiVinci type?
Barry: Exactly! But hopefully a little funnier!
It seems like you have plenty of room to play when it comes to “Diani & Devine Meet The Apocalypse” and you just mentioned an interest it playing odd characters, wizards and bearded weirdos but is there a particular role or genre you haven’t had a chance to experiment with in your career that you are still anxious to take on?
Barry: I would like to do a horror musical, a really good one. I mean, not “Rocky Horror,” which was sorta 50s kitsch but something that is really dark. I have never played a vampire. I think I want to play a vampire in a really dark, rock horror film/musical. If there is anybody out there who has one of those and I know there are a bunch of them floating around, I’m available!
Etta: I want to see that!
We will definitely put the word out for you!
What other projects should we be on the lookout for from you in the near future?
Barry: I have an episode of ‘Scandal’ coming out in a couple of weeks. I have an episode of ‘Cougartown’ coming on soon as well. People are buying like crazy this Disney movie I did called ‘Teen Beach Movie’. I did that for Disney Channel last summer. It actually got better ratings than ‘High School Musical.’ It is a fun show! All of my friends who are grandparents have their grandkids watching it twenty or thirty times. It is a whole different audience! I play a guy named Big Papa who runs a surf shop on a beach in Hawaii. My granddaughter in the movie is the lead in the film. It is actually very sweet. The kids now are having ‘Teen Beach Movie’ birthday parties! I figured if acting doesn’t work out for me in the next few years, I am going to start doing ‘Teen Beach Movie’ birthday parties! I am going to start showing up as Big Papa with a surfboard under my arm and regaling them with stories of the seven days I spent on the beach in Puerto Rico making this movie. I think that is going to be my future life!
You are a great person to look to for inspiration. What is the best piece of advice you can pass along to those who are looking to make a career for themselves in show business?
Barry: Take risks. Always take risks. Don’t play it safe. That is one of the reasons I love Etta and Gabe. They don’t play it safe and they take risks. I like being around people who are risk takers.
They were kicking around the idea of a ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’ remake in the past few years. Which is a pretty bizarre idea.
Barry: Terrible idea! Terrible idea!
Let’s just say you had to cast this project, who would you cast in the role you made famous?
Barry: I mean, if you are going to do it, you have to do a remake of it now, so I would cast me in it. It would be Frank-N-Furter, who was blown up, had fathered children in Transsexual, Transylvania. One of those kids comes back. It is sort of like how people are accosted by aliens throughout their whole lives because they have had little chips put in their arms so they can be found on future alien visitations. I figured Brad is probably now in the Senate and now is just doing young boys in men’s rooms and no one knows about it! [laughs] He refuses to even acknowledge it himself. I think it is all about Brad and Janet and how this whole new generation of alien transvestites come back and try to reacquaint themselves. I guess the point is that I would cast myself in it! I would cast myself in anything!
Etta: I would love to see this too!
Barry: Write it! Write it!
Is there any charity work you are involved with we can help spread the the word on?
Barry: ‘Diani & Devine Meet The Apocalypse’ is the charity of the moment! [laughs] Everyone else has a lot of backers and I think this project is my greatest charity endeavor. I will go to the mat for them!
Etta: Awww. That is sweet!
It is certainly a worthy case! I am glad we could play a part in all of this as well! Thank you both so much for your time today! You are awesome!
Barry: Thank you, Jason!
Etta: Thanks, Jason!
Let’s make this dream a reality! Now is the time to act! Use the links below to learn more and contribute to this awesome project. They have some truly awesome incentives, so be sure to check them out before it’s too late!
Jason Price founded the mighty Icon Vs. Icon more than a decade ago. Along the way, he’s assembled an amazing group of like-minded individuals to spread the word on some of the most unique people and projects on the pop culture landscape.