As a special treat for our readers today we are honored to have one of the hardest working actors on television and film, Patrick Kilpatrick sit down with us to have a conversation about his life and career. Having over 170 credits to his name, Patrick has shared the screen with films stars like Bruce Willis in Last man Standing and Arnold Schwarzenegger in Eraser. Starting his film career in the Trauma classic The Toxic Avenger and later working on series like X-Files and Star Trek, Kilpatrick is no stranger to sci-fi or horror.
LATE TO THE GAME (LTTG): Thank you for your time today Patrick, before we get into your film history, I’d love to hear a little about yourself, I read that you were born in Virginia but spent your formative years in Connecticut? So, what was young Patrick Kilpatrick like?
Patrick Kilpatrick: Well, a lot of that is certainly covered in the book Dying for Living: Sins and Confessions of a Hollywood Villain & Liberty Patriot, But I was very blessed. I was born in Virginia and my mother’s family and ancestors came from that area. My father is from Louisiana. I lived there till I was about six and I was born when my father was a teacher at a prep school there, Woodberry Forest School for Boys, which incidentally is Beto O’Rourke’s Alma Mater.
LTTG: No kidding.
Patrick: Yes, his prep Alma Mater. Then my father moved the family to take a job with an insurance company, Connecticut General Life Insurance, where he ended up helming as President, CEO and chairman of the board twenty years later. So I grew up formatively in Connecticut and then at the age of 13, I went back to Woodbury to attend school. I was only there one year and then went to a prep school in Connecticut called the Gilbert school and then I went back to Virginia to attend and graduate from the University of Richmond where my father mother and sister and brother had attended. I wanted to be a writer at that time, so I moved to New York and quickly started writing for most of the magazines in town and either doing advertising, writing or journalism. I did that for a little over a decade and, then long story short, I took a sabbatical from Time Incorporated to write a novel and split a house in Connecticut with an actor becoming a big-time Broadway director, John Tillinger.
I became an assistant director on and off Broadway and a director Off Broadway and wrote a play instead of a novel. That got produced and was asked to join theater companies as the play selector, It’s a job called the Literary Manager. Then began subbing in and jumping in as an actor and it took off. So I only acted for a couple of years and then got the Hollywood in ’87 where I started screenwriting as well as acting and then and moved into directing and producing and founded my own film company Uncommon Dialogue Films in 2005. So, there you have it pretty much.
LTTG: Wow, that is quite a career.
Patrick: The great career continues, I have added teaching to it for about 15 years. I go around periodically to Universities and coach group and private [classes] here and really enjoy doing that. I did a seminar at the Texas Theater a couple years ago, various colleges and Universities as far flung as Fiji and Morocco, to University of Wisconsin to Kansas City College. So, pretty much those are the pillars of sustaining an acting career, which is acting, writing, directing, producing and to some degree teaching.
LTTG: Going back to your first major role with Toxic Avenger, working with Michael hurts and Lloyd Kaufman on one of their most famous cult films. What was it like and did you have any sense that it would be such a cult classic at the time?
Patrick: I did not. To start out I went to NYU for film and video, graduate courses, most of all because the job I was doing as a writer would pay for advanced education. So I looked at the NYU catalog and took the most expensive classes were Film and Video tape ones. So I took their graduate level classes and I did a lot of NYU student films starting out as an actor, cause your just getting your feet wet.
I replied to an ad in Backstage for Toxic Avenger and to me it was just a slightly more elaborate student film. It was not a SAG film, I was paid $75 for the week and they liked what I did so much they doubled it to $150. It was a crazy little adventure that I believe was mob financed. (laughs)
I thought it was the worst film in western civilization while I was doing it. I had a lot of fun, and spent some time with Lloyd and Michael. I had a lot of misadventures, because I got involved with the leading lady a little bit and the mob financier didn’t enjoy that. She got the job because he was financing it. His muscle spoke to me about it so I didn’t speak to her after that.
LTTG: I don’t blame you.
Patrick: Yeah, they cornered me in the men’s room one night… Interestingly I was also doing the largest production in the history of PBS at the time, Roanoke. So, when the reviews both came out at the same time so I had the odd experience of seeing on the left side of the New York Times of positive review for Toxic Avenger and on the right side of the paper’s open spread the positive reviews for Roanoke and myself. Roanoke got good reviews from Variety and Cannes Film Festival.
It’s a generational thing to a certain extent, I just think that sort of Gore humor, if you would, or schlock humor eluded me at the time and my tastes were a little bit, I don’t know, they ran from John Wayne war movies, to, you know highbrow theatrical stuff. So, I had no idea it was going to become such a cult film.
LTTG: One film that stood out to me as a kid was Stephen King’s The Stand, where you played the role of Ray Booth. What was it like being in a Stephen King production?
Patrick: We you know, something really interesting happened. It was a TV mini-series and I went in and auditioned and they fired the guy that they had already hired, paid him his entire salary and put me in, so I was really gratified that they really liked what I had done.
It was really pleasant in that I would have lunch with Stephen King, which I talk about further in my book, It was in Salt Lake City and Salt Lake County environs and they had extraordinary food which is hard over six months period. I wasn’t there for the full six months, but they would fly me in different periods and Salt Lake City itself is interesting because you have all that Mormon influence. As a result, you also have this very strong Counter Culture influence in response to that sort of Mormonesque environment. As I said, the food was great and I’m a recreational and competitive shooter of firearms, mostly because they were always putting guns in my hands. So I started training with police and Navy Seals but the Sheriff there took me out to their range which is beautiful and in the mountains and I got to shoot all these Thompson Submachine guns and everything. So for a while, I was an honorary Salt Lake County Sheriff. Myself and Karl Malon, who played for the Jazz, were the only people who had that honor.
It was a great thing, you know, I was big fan of Laura San Giacomo and Rob Lowe. I if you remember that job mostly all I did was abuse Rob Lowe and spit on him and stuff like that. Rob is a very game guy, he did all of his own fighting and stuff, I kinda just worked him over for six months and he never had a stand-in for it or anything. So, it was a really fun job and I love to get out of LA and go to beautiful areas of the world and that was one of them.
LTTG: So later, you ended up on the X-files as Randall Cooper in the episode Surekill. What intrigued you on taking on a role like that?
Patrick: Well, you know, it’s interesting, for institutional TV you usually have to audition because different episodes. They have a different director and all of that. I actually think I hold the world’s record for auditioning for X-files. I went over there twenty-six times, six different times I told my agent, ‘I am never going back there’ you know because this was crazy. You know I am a good auditioner, I have made that a science and an art form. I made it my business to master that because really that’s the key to the kingdom, which is what I teach young actors and the methodology of that.
So, I was so frustrated because I had gone over there so many times and finally, I ran into Chris Carter at the Golden Globes and I said to him ‘why aren’t I working with you?’ And he said well, ‘I’ve been trying to get you on the show for years. You were the runner up to the Cigarette Man and runner-up for the Bounty Hunter and so eventually I got on and I really like that guy. I call him the Challenged Romantic Serial Killer. I looked a while back and that young actor [Kellie Waymire] passed away shortly after the show, very young of some rare disorder.
It was interesting to work with Michael Bowen who’s actually one of the Carradines. He’s a half-brother of the Carradine guys, and I’ve worked with them, David, Keith and Bobby so I kind of made the rounds of those guys.
Yeah, I remember I would hit my hand against the chrome bumper of a car that was on that set. So that every time I did a take, I had this very hurt look on my face. It’s a little extreme but that’s what I found was necessary at the time and also since there was so much emotionalism with that guy, you know, my father passed away and I visited his death and passing a lot in order to conjure up the sense of loss that that guy had, so that was meaningful for me. It was great, you know Kim Masters the director of that was kind of an institution, he’s passed away as well, but he was kind of a legend as a television director.
LTTG: Now, a lot of our readers are huge Star Trek fans and you have been on both Deep Space Nine in the Siege of AR-558 (with Bill Mummy) and later on two episodes of Star Trek Voyager. Do you have any memories you would like to share of your experience on these series?
Patrick: The first Star Trek thing was as the Kazon [on Voyager] and you know had very expensive makeup, you know to tell the story right would take a little longer than we probably have but I hope your fans and readership will go to the book because I go deeper into this.
I had done a movie called Remo Williams with Kate Mulgrew years before in Mexico, we got to be really good friends, intimate friends, not sexual boyfriend girlfriend, but very close over a five-month period and so we would talk very closely and very intimately when I arrived on the set [of Voyager] and her then boyfriend Rick Colby, who was kind of a go-to director for pilot episodes for sci-fi, I thought he took offense at were evacuating perhaps he thought we had had an affair or something ,which we hadn’t.
So I made the situation even worse. He’s German and I said something, thinking I was funny which I wasn’t being, ‘so was your grandfather a Nazi in World War II?’. He said, ‘No, in fact I served two tours in Vietnam in the United States Army Artillery’. So, I felt like an idiot. He did a lot of crazy stuff [on set] and was really screwing with me the whole time. I didn’t really understand he was just screwing with me, so I called the job ‘The River of Doom’. (laughs) So I was really in chemical toxicity by the time from the makeup and the lack of sleep. You have to be on the set at four o’clock to get into that makeup and it took an hour and a half to get out of it and they change the script every five minutes. So I call it I call that job the ‘River of Doom’. By the way, I think I am the only guy to work on two Star Trek shows with Aaron Eisenberg on Deep Space Nine and on that Voyager.
The truth is, it’s much better to be a Deep Space Nine Officer with no makeup and be the hero than it is to be an intergalactic serial killer as a Kazon in that makeup. You know I got a lot of great stories out of it.
I came out of the Voyager Kazon episode thinking Rick hated me, but in fact he was just screwing with me the whole time. So it was a real pleasure to get back on Deep Space Nine after that, because you know if you are an officer, all the girls want to go out with you, unless they were really bazaar and there were a couple of those, who would want to go out with you as a Kazon. I know that the makeup [for the Kazon] was modeled after a turkey.
LTTG: Wow, I didn’t know that.
Patrick: Yeah, they take a lot of the makeup from nature. Particularly ocean life and you know marine type animals. It’s fascinating to deal with all the makeup people. Yeah, Robert Beltran [Chakotay] was really cool too.
You know, all in all you end up making a lot of money being in those shows. I haven’t done it for years but around 2001/2002 there wasn’t a lot of acting work after 9/11, because all of the investment funds dried up. So, I would go around the world to Star Trek Conventions and sign autographs because I had a family and I needed to make money. My producing, directing and teaching things were really not yet fully formed, they were just getting off the ground, so I virtually went around the world, all over Europe and everything with the Star Trek conventions and learned how to speak in front of hundreds of people and thousands and that was really rewarding. I began raising money for movies at Star Trek conventions, and I would raise money, $40,000 at a convention, and then come back and pay them $80,000, two for one for their money. Yeah it worked out.
LTTG: So, I am not sure if you are following the new series on CBSAllaccess, but if you had a chance to join Star Trek again, would you consider it?
Patrick: Yeah, of course I would! I haven’t followed it, I didn’t even know there was a new series, because I’ve been so much on this book tour, but of course I would.
People ask me which I like, westerns, sci-fi,period pieces, war movies or whatever, to me It’s all interesting. It’s all just acting and each thing will have its individual challenge. So yeah, I mean, I think with the Star Trek series, what do you have, you have a lot of technical language sometimes, although often not my characters so much, but you just got to get the right tone.
Certainly, the easiest and the most fun as a Star Trek Officer, you know because you’re playing that guy. Yeah, if you’re playing a psychopath or a maniac that’s that takes a fair amount of energy and a lot of angst and everything else but sometimes you know, sometimes these things reverse themselves. In fact also often you’re looking for something completely different from anything else that’s being done with that particular character. So I became very fast friends with Rick Colby and we have lunch periodically and I haven’t spoken to Kate [Mulgrew] for a while, but I talked to Arron Eisenberg every now and then through social media man that exhibits
LTTG: I’ve always heard that once you’re part of the Trek Family you’re in for life. So, you definitely have a fan base from just Star Trek alone. So that’s pretty incredible.
Patrick: Yeah, it’s pretty crazy, almost any weekend somewhere in the world there’s a Star Trek convention going on. The other conventions like, London Expo and such, they come and go but the Star Trek Conventions, it was almost like they were my extended family during that period. I only did it for a year or so, but I became very close friends with some of [the actors] and it was an interesting extended family.
LTTG: So, shifting gears a bit. There’s recently there’s been an uproar in the film industry about the legitimacy of movies released on digital platforms and the validity for Academy Awards. Having been in so many films, how do you weigh on this? What are your thoughts about that controversy?
Patrick: You’re talking about Netflix? Roma being on Netflix and all?
Patrick: I think it was released in theaters but to me Roma is a film. I don’t necessarily think it should be consigned to the Emmys as Steven Spielberg, I guess, believes. I think of those as movie platforms as well as television platforms. I think they should be eligible for [awards], now they should have to choose, I wouldn’t think that Roma should be nominated for Emmys as well since they went to film route. It’s a film.
I’m very grateful to streaming services because they are generating so much scripted work and content when there was about 10 years there that it really looks like scripted content both on television and, to some extent films, was coming to an end because reality TV was dominating everything so much. So, I think now quite to the contrary to the end coming where we’ve been for some time in the true golden age of television and writing and all of that cinematic writing and that has emerged out of all of those screaming services. I still love to go to a theater and watch a movie in that big space and I do it a lot. So, I’m sure grateful for Netflix. I mean Netflix, and these other services, they’re the best buys in entertainment, you know other than maybe movie pass.
I’m a member of the Television Academy and I go to their Theater which is the most highly technological theater in Southern California, and it’s a great tree to go there and see [films] I’m not a huge sort of big Studio comic book fan, but if you’re going to go and see a movie like that a special effects driven movie, that’s the kind of theater to see it in. I really appreciate the access and the diversity that you can get on streaming services and I also truly experience the and love the experience of going into a place like ArcLight or the Television Academy Theater or even a little you know, Quentin Tarantino’s theater around on Beverly and seeing movies that you might not be able to see in a theater unless you went to those places so I think it’s a very good time for entertainment.
You know, the studio system has become so comic book driven and sequel, tv sequel and remake driven that it’s great that the you have these other realms that allow the creativity and, in some cases the long form writing, and the ability for something to string out a little longer. I mean, I just adore great writing and great cinematic expression. Whether it’s Better Call Saul or Narcos or the films that come out on the Academy under strictly ‘movies’. They all make their way to television anyway so why that they should even be having that discussion.
LTTG: You mentioned that you are touring your new book, Dying for Living: Sins and Confessions of a Hollywood villain and Libertine Patriot. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
Patrick: Well, I you know, I’m being basically an embedded journalist in 35 years as an actor at the highest level of the action realm, particularly in television and film, I had a lot of stories and I got the privilege of working with the best and the brightest both in front and behind the camera for all that time. So, I needed a place to put those stories and, at the same time, I had a very unique and privileged upbringing. My father had been a World War Two hero and a national baseball guy who struck out George Bush to win the national collegiate baseball championship.
LTTG: No kidding?
Patrick: Yeah in 1949 and then was offered a contract to join the Yankees but ended up founding the Cigna Corporation, one of the largest insurance companies, so great figure and my mother was very accomplished lady as well, at the same time she had some mental illness issues and she was I guess you would call it, I’m a little leery of diagnosing people, but I think you’d call it classically bipolar and she was, uh, she was homicidally violent, and home life was kind of a war zone. So, I had this sort of weird dichotomy, she was unfaithful to my father very vividly with my baseball coach and yet he was a superb stunning cook, so it was like kind of a weird, odd background.
You asked what I was like [as a kid], I was very exuberant and I’ve always been physically bold as either an athlete, I played every sport known to man and competitively horseback rider, Rode and jumped, I was a lifeguard and all kinds of other stuff. I also had my fair share of motorcycle accidents and a near fatal car crash and then all the writing stuff for all the great magazines at the time and really, they were the top of the media heap but that time, you know magazines like Time and everything. Of course, they’ve been relegated to secondary position with all the visual media in this age.
So, I wanted to write and of course writing has been part of my life for 50 years. I knew I could tell a good tale and I had a lot of inside stories, a lot of salacious things, a lot of affairs, a lot of craft, a lot of insights into acting and a lot of insights and experience in the political environment of LA, which is unique. I wanted to put that into something that was enduring and yet very fast paced. I ended up with a 600 page manuscript, so we divided into two books, Volume one: upbringing and that goes through the writing part, Although there’s an excerpt of 26 pages from book two in it. We front-loaded a lot of Hollywood things because you know, the theory is that a lot of people are going to be interested in that aspect, but I think I did a good job of conveying the exuberance, the recklessness and eroticism of growing up and all of that and how that was formative to my life largely playing villains and succeeding and thriving in Hollywood.
Then of course Volume 2 is all show business all the time, the subhead for that one is Wasted Talents in the Valley of Debacle.
LTTG: Good title!
Patrick: Yeah, (laughs), The reaction has been good, we have 100% five star reviews on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. People can get the book either from there or they can go to my website, PatrickKilpatrick.com. If they can’t get to one of our signings and they can get an autographed copy that way.
Unfortunately, they can’t review it [on Amazon] if they go through my website but we love to hear from people when they read it and it’s been really gratifying.
LTTG: I look forward to reading it myself. Any plans on getting it in an audio book?
Patrick: Yes. The audio book is been up and everybody that I’ve spoken to has loved it. You know, I did a lot of voice-overs. I was lucky enough to do some prestigious voice-overs like the Olympic IMAX movie and some other big accounts. I’m actually the voice of Sail Plane Grand Prix, which the American audience might not know much about, but it’s actually the most eco sensitive sport in the world. They tow these Gliders up to the Andes Mountains or the Alps with these planes that are running on bio-diesel and then they cut them loose and the guys race through those mountains. They’re trying to bring that to America now.
I thought it was good for me to do [the book] author narrated, but that is a rigorous exercise. We clocked in Six days, six seven hours a day running at top speed because you’re you know, you’re running $500 dollars an hour in the studio. But you want to get it exactly right and I guess from at least from the listeners we’ve done pretty well.
LTTG: I’ll have to add that to my collection for my commute. it sounds fantastic.
Patrick: You can get that through Amazon and you can review and I’d love to hear from you.
LTTG: Absolutely. So, what’s next for the hardest working actor in Hollywood?
Patrick: Well, I’ve got a movie coming out called Catalyst in which I play a pedophile priest directed by Chris Fulkens and produced by David Bianchi. Just really interesting project. Chris created a very tight environment very structured and then cut us loose improving after working on each character for some time and I’m excited about how that’s going to come out because you know, I really cherish these young directors that are really good at their craft. There’s a movie coming out called Night Walk which is kind of a Romeo and Juliet, Western journalist meets Eastern Islam Beauty. Sean Stone, Oliver’s son plays the journalist and Sara Akani plays the beauty and I am, I call him the Towering Vessel of Hate. I was allowed to improv and that one too and managed to insult every cultural group on the set. We shot it in Morocco. I thought at one point I was lucky they let me out of the country alive, but they loved it. Some of these villain parts, you’re so abusive. (laughs) I think a lot of topical and current events stuff into the improvisation and, particularly that character, to make him as insulting to everyone as possible while having fun with it. So, I think people will like it, it’s called Night Walk and they’re locking down the post-production.
Then I’ve got a short film that I did with a couple of great guys called The Grand Inquisitor that’s going to be making the festival circuit shortly. Then Blackwater with Jean Claude Van Damme is on DirecTV and, I believe, Netflix now. I kind of played the head of the CIA interrogation team that’s working Jean Claude over. That was very interesting, I did Death Warrant 29 years ago and that was a crazy ass set with lots of organic/inorganic brain damage. I had been in a relationship for about five years, so it was interesting to watch the entire set descend into a fuck fest from one end to another down in Mobile, Alabama. All of which is very candidly documented In Dying For Living Wasted Talent in the Valley of Debacle, Volume 2, coming up.
I know that every segment of these entertainment niches have their fans and I try to explain them in the book while being ruthlessly candid and loving with everybody. You know it is the crazy one’s that make things interesting. One thing these books are for is to really peal back the curtain and show what is really going on in Hollywood. I call Hollywood the culture of theft so it’s a cautionary tale for young aspiring Entertainment professionals.
LTTG: Thank you for your time today Patrick, it was a delight to have you on the blog. You have the honor of being our very first interview on Late To The Game, so thank you very much for joining us today.
Patrick: The pleasure is all mine, I was the primary guest star on Soldier of Fortune, which was Jerry Bruckheimer’s first TV show so I am happy and honored to be the primary interviewee on your blog. I’ look forward to talking to you again when Volume 2 [of the book] comes out, stay out of trouble and God Bless.
You can pick up Patrick’s new book on both Amazon or Patrick’s web site. Dying for Living: Sins and Confessions of a Hollywood villain and Libertine Patriot. We look forward to talking to Patrick again in the future.
Late To The Game 3/16/2019
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