I was fortunate enough to speak with horror icon, Bill Moseley, about his return to the Firefly universe in Rob Zombie’s upcoming TDR sequel, 3 From Hell. The Devil’s Rejects is in my top five horror films of all time and I was so surprised, and a little worried, when we got the news of the sequel. I was lucky enough to watch 3 From Hell already, and let me tell you, any trepidation I had about this film not honoring these amazing characters was quickly destroyed. 3 From Hell is awesome in all the right ways. So, with that said, let’s get to the interview.
Bill obviously portrays the twisted and evil, Otis Firefly, but his horror royalty stretches all the way back to his stint as Bobby “Chop Top” Sawyer in the 1985 Tobe Hooper film, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. In fact, the day I sat down with Bill, it was the 33rd anniversary of the film’s release.
Nate: Bill, great to have you here today, sir. How are you today?
Bill: I’m good, Nate. How’s it going?
Nate: I’m great and very excited to get into the details of ‘3 From Hell’ with you. As a fan, I can barely state how exciting it is to see you reprise the iconic role of Otis Firefly, especially when I assumed you were shot to death ten times over at the end of TDR. How was the vibe those first few days on the set?
Bill: We were all so excited to jump back into it. I mean, 14 years is a long time. I think, you know, it looked like we were dead at the end of Devil’s Rejects, you know, just shot to death. I thought about and said well, lets see, how could we have survived that, and then, of course the answer was very clear: the Ruggsville Sheriff’s Department. They couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn! So thanks to the Ruggsville Sheriff’s Department for making our lives possible.
Nate: So, the Stormtroopers of Texas?
Bill: Yes, exactly. When this first started coming together, Rob and Sheri invited Sid Haig and me to lunch like a year before we shot and let us know the band was getting back together, and I was really excited about it. I certainly still had more Otis left in me, and that’s the way it goes sometimes; you play a character and you really bond with that character. Then sometimes you just get lucky and there’s more than one opportunity to play that character again. I think back to Chop Top from Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, which is 33 years old today. I mean at least it was released 33 years ago today. It’s kind of sad I never got a chance to play that character again on the big screen. But, with Otis, you play a character like that after Devil’s Rejects and he’s kind of in your DNA. So, it wasn’t very hard to get it back together. I did watch Rejects once just to kind of get totally Otis ready.
When I got to the set I was a little nervous. I, you know, dropped a few lines here and there on day one and two. Finally I sat down and took a break and this voice said in my head said “Get out of the way, Bill, I got this.” And it was Otis basically saying “Take your actor insecurities and get the hell outta here.’ You know, take a break, have a sandwich, and after that I said yeah and got out of the way and things just went swimmingly smooth.
Nate: Talking about reprising characters, Otis had so many perfect lines in the other films, so I naturally hoped you would have some new classics in 3 From Hell, and I have to say, your dialogue about being “Satan’s destroyer” gave me goosebumps.
Bill: That was one of my favorite dialogues of all time! I was standing there behind bars, and we shot that in an abandoned women’s prison in Los Angeles called Sybil Brand and just getting into that cell and hanging out for a while and just felt great. I worked on that monologue so much that it just became a part of me, I could really feel it. (laughs) And that was really a great opportunity and I’m very grateful to Rob for writing such a cool monologue. And I got to deliver that in Cybil Brand of all places, behind bar. It really felt right and that kick started Otis and after that it was all easy peasy.
Nate: That was my favorite Otis moment from the new film. I read where Rob wanted Rejects to be a lot different from 1000 Corpses, and in turn, for this new film to be set apart from Rejects. Aside from the obvious spoilers we can’t get into yet, what were some big changes in this film?
Bill: Well, first and foremost I would say the addition of Richard Brake. Thought he was fantastic. In his addition to the family, I thought he did a great job. Great guy, I really had fun working with him. He came into a difficult and pressurized situation and he handled himself very well. Just a really funny and great guy on screen and off. The other thing, of course, was the coming of age of Baby. I think she was given a lot of work to do and I think she did a great job. I was really proud of her. I thought Rob was right to give her as much as she could chew and she did a fantastic job. So, that was the other thing – the coming of age of Baby and the arrival of Richard Brake.
Nate: Baby is obviously a very terrifying character and out of her mind in the first two films, but she just transcends insanity in the new film. If you have the misfortune of meeting Otis, you know he’ll kill you, but Baby, she will make you feel like dying every second before she actually sticks it in.
Bill: Her scene with Sean Whalen was fantastic. That really showed Baby at her best.
Nate: Her weird jail hallucination scene was just completely insane. I couldn’t get over how messed up this whole scene was.
Bill: I know, right! I remember showing up for that and not really knowing much, I hadn’t read the call sheets and I just showed up for lunch and I saw them shooting that scene and I was thinking “What the fuck is this??” I had no idea what that was all about and when I read the script and that day’s pages I realized what it was. It really freaked me out. I was like “Oh, my God, this is totally insane.”
**Tickets for the September 16th/17th/18th nationwide release of 3 FROM HELL are available at FathomEvents.com/3FromHell**