Sunday, January 18, 2015

Adam West Interview

I've got two cover articles in the new issue of , including a feature on the Batman television series, which features my interview with Adam West that I did a few months ago over the phone. Mr. West was funny and charming as always. I've reprinted the interview here:  

ADAM WEST: Hello, Batcave.

BRETT WEISS: I’m assuming this is ?
WEST: You’ve assumed correctly.

WEISS: Have you had a chance to watch the Simpsons/Family Guy crossover?

WEST: No, no I haven’t.

WEISS: It was very funny.

WEST: Oh, it had to be. Two shows with records like that. When you put in the mix so many crazy characters—it had to be funny.
WEISS: How did you get involved with ?

WEST: Seth MacFarlane had written a pilot for me a few years ago, and we had the same kind of comic sensibilities. So when it came to Family Guy, he just called me, and I said, “Let me look at it,” and I said, “Yeah, absolutely, I want to try to do this. There is nothing tougher than playing yourself. You really walk a tight wire, especially when you have to say lines that are that absurd.”

WEISS: Are there any special challenges to doing voice work in general, as opposed to live action?

WEST: Not really. On my end, the way I move, it’s all pretty much the same. Voiceover work doesn’t require as much getting ready, since you don’t have to do makeup and wardrobe and all of the people involved. As I get older, voice work is wonderful, and I do a great deal of it now.

WEISS: Do you enjoy appearing at comic book conventions?

WEST: I try to make it fun. I get a kick out of making people happy and interacting with them. These comic-cons give me a chance to do that in a large way. And it totally stimulates your fan base. I’ve had over 50 years of this. In order to have that kind of longevity, there has to be a kind of affection for people. I think much of that is stimulated by me not being afraid to get out and see people.
WEISS: Are you able to go out in public and just be yourself, or do you get called out pretty often, people calling you  and whatnot?

WEST: I’m able to do that where I live in the mountains in a small town in Idaho. We have a couple of homes. One in Palm Springs and one in Ketchum Idaho—Hemmingway country. People around there are used to me, and there’s no problem at all. I don’t even think of it as a problem. When I travel, there are a lot of people who know me, but it’s easy. You just say hello. What the hell, I don’t  know another way.

WEISS: Yeah, life is short, you might as well be pleasant to people, right?

WEST: Of course! You know, I’m a human being, and honest-to-god, there’s nothing special about me. I just happen to be in a job that’s highly visible.
WEISS: The Batman TV show DVD and Blu-ray set will soon arrive. Did they send you a copy

WEST: Not yet, but they will. I’ve done a lot of work with that. As a matter of fact, there’s something surprising coming out with me in that set, but I can’t talk about it yet. A lot of it is biographical—it’s just a tremendous salute.

WEISS: Was there ever a point in your career where you resented be associated with the Batman character?

WEST: Yes there was, to be honest with you. I was so terribly typecast immediately after Batman that I had to do a series of movies that I thought weren’t very good. But I had to keep working because I had a family to support. I felt the more you work, no matter what the material, if you could bring something fresh and try to elevate that material in your own way, then that’s a great exercise for an actor. I finally realized that people love , so why don’t I love Batman? And I discovered that I did, I really loved it.

WEISS: That’s a wonderful point to reach in your career. Most people are known for nothing, and you’re known for portraying a world famous character that everybody loves, so that’s definitely a wonderful thing.

WEST: You have no idea how grateful I am. Not many actors have become icons. You can count us on maybe four fingers (laughs). I’m one of the luckiest actors in the world.

WEISS: Let’s get a little more obscure for a minute. Can you tell me one or two memories of working on Robinson Crusoe on Mars?

WEST: Sure. You know I worked with a monkey named Mona (laughs), so that was a little bit of a challenge. But the important thing to me was realizing as we went along that this movie would become extremely well known because of its—at the time—high tech effects.

WEISS: Fans of ’50s and ’60s science fiction tend to be pretty rabid about their favorite films. Robinson Crusoe on Marshas definitely become a cult classic.

WEST: Exactly. And then I did a picture with The Three Stooges
called The Outlaws Is Coming—their last big color movie. I did that for several reasons, among them the fact that The Three Stooges were so incredibly popular in colleges and so on that it did nothing but expand my fan base. People make fun of me sometimes—critics and the like—for all of these things, but I pretty much know where I’ve been heading.

 WEISS: It sounds like you have an excellent perspective on your career, and that’s a wonderful, happy way to be.

WEST: My main perspective is that it’s just a matter of luck. There are so many wonderful, talented people out there that never get anywhere, so luck really enters into this. But you better be ready when the time is right.

WEISS: I grew up watching  on Saturday mornings. I was born in 1967, so the show hit me at the perfect age. And it played a big role in my career today, writing about popular culture. Can you tell me a little bit about working on that show?

WEST: It wasn’t to me the best project. I didn’t enjoy it too much, but I felt that I should or had to do it. If others, especially young people enjoyed it, that’s great. That was my reason for doing it. You mentioned video games. Those are terribly important now as far as income for studios and others. I just finished doing voice work for .

WEISS: Are there any projects coming up that you’d like to mention?

WEST: Thanks for the opportunity to plug! I have a series on the Travel Channel called What You Get for the Money, which I host. I did a recent pilot with . I'm hosting the Family Guy Online game, which is a lot of fun.

WEISS: One last thing. A friend of mine wanted me to ask you about the time you met the Pope.

WEST: I met the Pope one morning at the Vatican with a group of very famous Italian performers. People like . I was under a lot of pressure because my agent and I had to go out the night before and live it up. I mean so much good Italian wine and food—I wasn’t feeling too steady. And not being Catholic, I felt maybe I shouldn’t kiss his ring. And I also thought I’m a fairly tall guy, if I bend way down there and kiss his ring; oh my god, I may never get up (laughs). So I shook his hand, and I said “Howdy, Pope” (laughs).

Bonus Pic: My my with Adam West when he signed autographs at my comic book store, Fantastic Comics & Cards, during the early 1990s. 

No comments: