Interview with Jake Busey of "Marvel's
Agents of "S.H.I.E.L.D." on ABC and "Stranger Things" on
We spoke for about 40 minutes on
Friday. The interview went really well. It turned into more
of a casual conversation during parts just because we're
dudes. He's a cool guy.
JG: Hi Jake, this is Jake with
The TV Megasite. Thanks for taking the time to have a
chat with me. This interview is very much appreciated.
We're all a fan of your work.
JB: Hey, thanks!
JG: "Stranger Things" Season 3 coming up, that's
JB: Yeah, very cool.
JG: You're one
of those dudes that's always good to see. My brother and
I, growing up would always be like, "Look, it's Jake
Busey!" when you showed up onscreen. There are only a
handful of people we'd get excited to see in movies and
stuff, and you're one of them.
JB: Haha, really?
That's a trip.
JG: Yeah, totally.
Honestly, it's weird to me because I feel like I'm just
getting started. I'm still trying to make a name for
myself and feel like I'm just getting roles, which is
kind of hilarious.
JG: You've been in a lot of
films. You've gone through so many different genres
already. I remember that one comedy "Tomcats." That was
a heavil- quoted movie among my friends back then. That
part when you're like "Dude, can you get my ball?"
JB: Hahaha, I've heard a lot of guys being into that
movie then. There's a lot of fraternities that were fans
of it. If you were a dude in college in 2001, that movie
was for you.
JG: Yes, exactly. Exactly where I
JB: Right on.
JG: I love it, too,
because it's not the kind of movie that would be
produced today. Everything has changed in a certain way.
JB: Oh, yeah, that movie is totally taboo. Nobody
would touch that today -- oh my God. Everybody would be
so afraid of that. We're living in an interesting time.
That's for sure. Things are so much different. Just in
the last two years, things have changed faster than in
my whole life. It's very hard to adjust to, but I'm
doing my best.
JG: That's great, dude. What's a
type of a movie or show that you've always wanted to act
in, that you haven't done yet?
JB: Well, I think
"Star Wars" would be the one. That, growing up, was my
favorite thing. But you know what? On the same token, if
you know my work, you might see the rationale in this
statement: As much as I would like to be in "Star Wars,"
on the flip side of the coin, I would also very much
like to be in those Merchant Ivory movies. Like those
movies that Helena Bonham Carter does. You know, in the
1700's. In England. Where the whole movie is about
somebody's cousin's marriage. And someone there is made
a scoundrel, and has nefarious intentions.
you want to play that scoundrel?
necessarily the scoundrel. Just one of those movies
where that's as big of an action piece as you get. You
know, like there's just one person there who isn't a
good person or whatever. I'd like to be in one of those
movies. One of those stories like My Left Foot. A heavy
drama that's not necessarily a sci-fi action thriller.
JG: So, like a very serious role that's
JB: Yes, yes, exactly that.
JG: That would be awesome. I think
you'd be great at that. Like I said, you're one of those
actors that would do well in any type of movie or show.
JB: Thank you.
JG: Which brings me to my next
question. Can you tell me a little about your character
on "Stranger Things" coming up?
JB: Yeah, I play
a journalist in Hawkins. Working at the newspaper. So
far most characters on "Stranger Things" have been
upstanding, helpful citizens. You know, with all the
crazy things going on with the kids. I think I'm one of
the first characters who is described as having a sick
sense of humor. I'm a little bit different of an angle,
I think. That much they have released. Like, in the
press release, when they announced that I would be in
the show. I'm basically, at this point, until we start
the official press campaign... I'm limited to what I can
say. I've never been on such a popular show, and I've
never had to be so secretive about something. It's very
exciting, but it's also kind of frustrating. We live in
a new era, where it's all about having instant
information, and spoilers, and it's really hard to keep
anything under wraps. Of course, for something to be
compelling and interesting, you don't want to already
know what's going to happen.
JB: One exciting thing is when I recorded my lines
during post, I got to see some of the stuff we did
yesterday. One thing I can say is this: Season three is
going to be very cool. Very, very cool. I'm excited to
be a part of it. It's such a huge movement, you know?
It's just a show, but it's become a full-on cultural
movement across the globe. And to be invited to the
dinner table with them was just phenomenal. To be a part
of their family. It's a trip. It's one of those things
where I saw the show and was such a super fan. I thought
"Oh my God, I would love to be on that show. Of course
that will never happen to someone like me. That's for
the cool people or whatever" and then it happens.
JG: You're one of the cool dudes, though.
JB: Haha! I don't know. I never have been. But I guess
there's a first time for anything.
this is probably the step towards "Star Wars." You know,
like how you can't say anything. You can't spoil
anything. Maybe all of this is preparation for you doing
that thing you really want to do.
JB: You never
JG: So, in the time that "Stranger Things"
takes place, you were a teenager, yeah? In reality, I
mean. Were there any nostalgic elements in the show that
resonated with you?
JB: Certainly. I was twelve
in Season One. So, I was the exact age of our heroes.
When I watched the show for the first time, I didn't
even know it was a period piece because that's what the
world looked like to me when I was that age. That's just
the way things were when I was twelve. They've really
done an amazing job. I wish I was allowed to talk more
about it. They've just asked me to hold off until we
begin the formal campaign. [That's] another thing that's
so funny about this career and the current state of the
entertainment industry. It used to be that when a movie
was released in theaters, people would go see it the
first weekend it was released. There wasn't really any
worry about spoilers. And now with these things... We're
all watching TV series that grow such a life of their
own, that we have to be very cautious of that. And they
continue. It's not just a one weekend thing. There's an
ongoing need to maintain secrecy. For example, there's a
show I'm about to do, and it's on the fourth season. I'm
so excited about it and I'm leaving to go do it next
week. But I can't even tell you what it is. I'm not
allowed to. I can't tell you the title. I can't even
tell you where it shoots because that could potentially
give it away.
JG: So I'll give you a vague,
JB: Haha, right? Thank you.
That's hilarious. Things are going in a great way, and
I'm so thankful. There's been a real turning point in my
life. It might have happened when my daughter was born.
It could be a lot to do with my own attitude. A lot has
happened. About five years ago, I ran into Robert
Rodriguez at the premiere party for "Machete Kills." I
hadn't seen him since we were both twenty two, when we
were both starting out. I walked up to him and was like,
"Dude! How are you? What is up, man? You have such a
great career and have made so many great movies. I'm
stoked for you, and it's almost unbelievable that we
haven't ran into each other all this time." I said to
him, "You gotta put me in the third Machete movie. I
loved the first and second ones. You gotta put me in
Machete 3, dude." And he laughed. We talked for a little
while, and then a little while later, he had me come in
and audition for "From Dusk Til Dawn: The Series." And I
guess I passed the test because they hired me and I
wound up doing three years on that series. At the time,
everyone was very excited that Robert was doing that
series. Everyone wanted to be on it. So the fact that
Robert cast me on it, I was so elated. I finally got to
actually work with him after knowing him for twenty
years. And loved his work for twenty years. And
honestly, at that point in my career, I was having a
very hard time finding any work whatsoever. Like, nobody
was hiring me. I was auditioning for little parts on TV
series. Guest spots with little two line parts. Nobody
would hire me. It was about 8 years of not getting work.
It was Robert who was the first person to say "You know,
I don't care if Jake's not real popular at the moment."
He went ahead and hired me. I gave it my all, and I
think we made some really great art. If it wasn't for
Robert and hiring me on that show, none of these other
things, like "The Predator," and "NCIS," and "Marvel's
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.," and "LA's Finest," and
"Stranger Things"... All these shows. And then the next
notable job I got was when Shane Black called me at home
out of the blue, asking me if I wanted to be in "The
Predator." That's just not the type of thing that
happens to me at all. It's really been a wonderful polar
shift in my career and my energy. I was suffering from a
really bad case of Murphy's law. Like one of those days
when you hit every single red light on the way to work
and it takes you an hour instead of fifteen minutes? I
had that for about ten years. It was Robert that made
that first green light. And now the lights have been
just green, green, green, green. I'm just so thankful.
JG: That is extremely badass. Those red light days
are over, man.
JB: Heck yeah, man. We're gonna
keep it that way. I'm really excited. We got this "LA's
Finest" show that just wrapped up. I did the second half
of the first season. I played one of the recurring
villains. Really a fun role to play. It was really sweet
that Gabrielle Union and Jessica Alba brought me on to
the show. It's a great thing. The two of those girls are
actually the main producers. They're running the whole
deal. They've been really smart about hiring key people
who have good wisdom and have done this for a long time.
I think this show is going to be great. It's female
undercover police. Similar to the "Bad Boys" movies.
That will be out in May on the Spectrum streaming
network, so we're looking forwward to that.
have another question. I remember reading a long time
ago that you learned how to play violin for your role in
JB: I did!
JG: Do you
still fiddle around?
JB: Haha buh dum dum chh
(rimshot joke drum sound) I do fiddle around, but not
with a violin. I only played violin for that film. It's
such a difficult instrument to play. It's the one
instrument that doesn't want to sound good. When you
pick up a guitar, you can at least get a couple notes
out of it. It sort of makes you want to keep learning.
But the violin is just torturous. But that was fun, and
I'm glad I learned how to play it. The director's wife
taught me how to play. Three lessons a week for six
months. We finally shot the scenes with me playing
violin, and I was like "Uh, are you kidding me? That's
it? That's all you're gonna shoot of me playing it?" I
busted my ass on that thing for half a year for that?
Where's the big solo moment where I perform for the
world? And then the reality of it all hit me. Oh, right.
I get it. I get it. This movie is not about me playing
JG: Haha, yeah. Wait wait, you said the
director's wife taught you?
JB: She's like the
first chair violinist in the Holland Symphony.
JG: That's amazing.
JB: She is so badass. She's
the most amazing violinist. She loaned me an old violin
that I could practice with, and I looked inside and I
saw a sticker that said "Stradivarius". So I told her
"Hey, I don't know much about violins, but Stradivarius
is the Mercedes of violins, right? I mean, how much is
this thing worth?" And she said "Oh, that's a cheap one.
Don't worry about it. It's only about seventy five
JB: Yeah. And I said
"My God, if a cheap one is seventy five grand, how much
is the one that you play?" She says "The violin that I
just use at home is two hundred and fifty grand. The
ones we play with in the symphony are insured for much
more." I was like, wow! So, yeah, I got to touch
greatness. I got to be around greatness. I got to feel
and hear what that is like. It's very awe-inspiring and
gave me a big respect for the violin. Much more than I
had before we had done the movie. I really understood
the significance of a soldier playing a violin like
that, and the message that Paul was delivering. So,
yeah, it's a deep movie. It's far deeper than it looks.
It looks like "Beverly Hills 90210" in space, but it has
a far deeper subtext that no one really caught for about
JG: I'll definitely be watching it
again. Now that I'm older, I'll understand the subtext.
JB: The humans are not necessarily the good guys.
It's an interesting outlook on things. And now I've
reconnected with Casper Van Diem. We've been training
and working out in the gym together. We've been making
some silly Instagram posts. It's been fun. It's like a
couple of old guys reliving our youth together. A little
cheesy and silly... but hey, you know what, you only get
JG: That's awesome.
man. Well, shoot, I gotta go pick up my daughter.
JG: Well, dude, Jake. This was a very awesome
interview. I'm really happy for you. Especially the
vague congratulations on the untitled project that's
being filmed at an undisclosed location.
Hahaha! That's perfect. Thank you.
JG: I really
appreciate it. I'll be watching "Stranger Things."
Everyone with The TV Megasite will probably watch that
whole season between July 4th and July 5th.
Haha! You and about another hundred million
people. That's awesome. Well, thank you so much, Jake.
Actor Jake Busey
(ENEMY OF THE STATE, CONTACT, STARSHIP TROOPERS) is
poised for another banner year in 2019 with high
profile projects following a jaw dropping 2018 with
a role in THE PREDATOR (Olivia Munn & Sterling K.
Brown) playing the son of Peter Keyes, the character
his father, Gary Busey,
played in PREDATOR 2. The new year will see
Busey flexing his acting
prowess in a variety of interesting roles, including
a role in
"Stranger Things" Season 3 (July 4th, Netflix) as
Bruce, a journalist for the The Hawkins Post with
questionable morals and a sick sense of humor, and a
recurring role as Tony Caine in the upcoming season
of ABC's/Marvel "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." Up
next, Busey will take the
screen as a lead of DEAD ANT (in theaters and on
demand - January 25th), a sure to be
cult classic starring opposite Tom Arnold and Sean
When the 1989 "one-hit-wonder" glam-metal band
"Sonic Grave" (lead by Busey's
character, Merrick,) embark on a trip to Coachella
in hopes of a comeback, their peyote trip pit stop
in Joshua Tree incites an "unworldly" viscous
attack, and they must "rock" themselves out of harms
Although producers are keeping season 3 of "Stranger
Things" under lock and key, Busey
can safely say that fans won't be disappointed!
Busey also just returned
from San Diego Comic-Con with the cast of THE
PREDATOR, which received rave reviews from Hall H
with director Shane Black (IRON MAN 3) leading the
cast of A-listers. The film starts with a young boy
who accidentally triggers the universe's most lethal
hunters' return to Earth, only a ragtag crew of
ex-soldiers and a disgruntled science teacher can
prevent the end of the human race.
Busey recently returned to
the small screen in the final season of FX's hit
series "Justified," as a pyrotechnic specialist.
Director Robert Rodriguez then nabbed him for all
three seasons of his series "From Dusk Till Dawn,"
and then Busey starred in
the History Channel mini-series "Texas Rising,"
playing Samuel Wallace, the man credited with
reciting the legendary warning, "Remember the Alamo"
alongside Thomas Jane, Bill Paxton, Ray Liotta,
Jeremy Davies, and many others; directed by Roland
Joffe. He also had a starring role on the Hulu
series "Freakish," Showtime's "Ray Donovan," and an
episode of "NCIS," all leading up to his newest work
in "Stranger Things," THE PREDATOR and more episodes
of "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D."
Busey has racked up an
impressive $1.1 billion in box office with his films
over the years and has worked with A-list directors
including Robert Zemeckis, Tony Scott, Peter
Jackson, Paul Verhoeven, James Mangold and Jan de
Bont. He has also starred alongside some of the
industry's best and most respected actors such as
Jodie Foster, John Cusack, Reese Witherspoon, Alfred
Molina, Matthew McConaughey, Michael J. Fox, Drew
Barrymore, Will Smith, Gene Hackman and Helen Hunt
in films that include mega blockbusters TWISTER,
CONTACT and ENEMY OF THE STATE along with STARSHIP
TROOPERS, THE FRIGHTENERS, IDENTITY and HOME FRIES.
A bit of a modern-day Renaissance man, Jake's
passions in life include fatherhood, acting, desert
racing, architecture, music, flying planes (as a
trained pilot) and fabricating anything mechanical
in his metal shop.
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