Feo Amante's Under the Microscope:
An interview with
David Allen Brooks
by E.C.McMullen Jr.
David Allen Brooks long career, in New York City and L.A., he has acted
in movies from top directors like Robert Zemekis, Michael Mann, and
Oliver Stone. He has played alongside Academy Award recognized talent
like Rod Steiger (AMITYVILLE HORROR, END OF
DAYS), Kim Hunter (PLANET OF THE APES), Jeff Bridges (KING KONG ), and Ned Beatty (DELIVERANCE, EXORCIST II: The
Heretic, THE UNHOLY, ED AND HIS DEAD MOTHER). David was in the first
of Thomas Harris' Hannibal Lector movies, MANHUNTER, Oliver Stone's THE DOORS, and had a small role in CAST AWAY (actually,
everyone had a small role in Cast Away except for Tom Hanks and Wilson).
He has a powerful band of Science Fiction fans world wide for his role
as the Machiavellian Max Eilerson on BABYLON 5: The Crusade.
fans of Horror, Thriller, Mystery, and Suspense, David is probably best
known for his roles in Tom Holland's SCREAM FOR HELP, THE KINDRED, and JACK FROST 2.
David is concurrently launching his new official website with this interview: davidallenbrooks.com
. . if you're serious about this (acting), don't live in LA You need
to move to New York to learn acting."
- advice from Jeff Bridges to a young David Allen Brooks
E.C.McMullen Jr.: What brought you to
David Allen Brooks: Fatigue
and accident. I'd been on the road pretty hard after college. For seven years I moved
every three months: exploring I guess you'd call it.
Before David was an actor, he was a model in
I worked steel mills, shoveled horse shit, been a waiter...
but we've all been waiters.
Yeah. But I've been a cook, a busboy, and I shoed a few horses too.
For awhile I taught school on a Navajo Reservation. I even tried bullriding
in their amateur Rodeo.
I was trying everything,
I'd always thought I was best off alone, living by my own strange code: if you don't do
it alone, it doesn't count. I found out years later that I had the nickname
of "Lone Wolf" in college. Turns out only the sick and the
old run alone outside the pack. I think being alone is important, but
I found out years later in therapy, that I had made some decisions that weren't in my
So anyway, after seven years I was getting lonely. I hated to admit it, but it was true.
So I came back from the road to LA and got a few jobs. One of them was a book company that
took me to New York. They were going through "chapter 11".
Off the streets of New York City, I started modeling. Eventually, I
lived in Paris for a few years.
In coming back to LA I was introduced to Bill Richert by Ross Brown. Bill was doing the
movie, American Success. He needed a German Playboy; Gunter Sachs. The
movie had Jeff Bridges, Belinda Bauer, Ned Beatty, and Bianca Jagger.
I had no lines, but I was glad because I was untrained as an actor.
It was all looks and body language. I could handle that.
We shot my role
for three weeks in Munich and while I was there I got a chance to talk
with Jeff Bridges. I told him I wanted to be an actor. He asked me if
I wanted to be a movie actor or a real actor.
"A real actor,"
Jeff said, "Then if you're serious about this, don't live in LA.
You need to move to New York to learn acting."
In 1979 I moved
to New York City. I started studying acting with Larry Moss and got
in a few Soap Operas: The Edge of Night and One Life To Live. Eventually,
in 1987, I found out about the Actor's Studio and I started auditions.
Like most people I got rejected about 4 times, over the course of three
years. Then, in 1989, I finally got in.
Lee Strassberg had
just died. Ellen Burstyn, Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Harvey Keitel,
and the rest of the actor's community there, really worked hard to keep
it up to the level Strassberg had created in his lifetime.
some school: Brando, James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, Dustin Hoffman, Jack
DAVID: I don't know if 'school' would
be the right word for it. You never graduate from the Actor's Studio.
Its like a gym - and you have to keep going back to experiment and stay
ECM: Somewhere, in 1985 or 86, you got the tap to play
in THE KINDRED. How did
it feel working with Rod Stieger and Kim Hunter?
the lead role of John Hollins opposite Rod Stieger and Kim Hunter, in THE KINDRED
Kindred was offered at the dead last
minute. I auditioned for the role but they passed me over for someone
else. During production, however, the guy wasn't working out. So one
day I get a call out of the blue. They ask me if I can come into work,
to take over the lead role, tomorrow.
ECM: You're kidding:
The very next day?
ECM: (laughing) So one day you're scrambling for
work and the next you are acting opposite Rod Stieger and Kim Hunter?
DAVID: (laughs) Welcome to Hollywood, man.
ECM: So what was it like, taking over for someone else?
DAVID: An all night of preparation.
I walked into a great cast, already shooting. Geez. Rod Stieger, Kim
Hunter . . . they were the icons to me. They were part of the first
wave of "American Reality Acting", where the actor actually
feels the full emotion of the role as he's doing it. It came from Stanislavisky
in Russia, to the Group Theater in Actor's Studio. It changed the face
of acting forever.
So I was a little intimidated by
having this scene with Kim Hunter in "The Hospital". I'm supposed
to be John Hollins, son of this famous scientist, Amanda Hollins, played
by Kim. "Amanda" was in a car accident and has been in a coma
for almost a year. Miraculously she comes out of it and we have this
scene where, through her fog, she realizes that she left an experiment
running unchecked back at her house all this time.
At one point she gets really upset
and grabs me and tells me that I've got to go to her house, stop the
experiment, and destroy anything having
to do with it.
I should mention that we are
filming this in an old abandoned building at the Veterans Memorial Hospital
on Wilshire near the 405 Freeway
in Los Angeles. And of course there are these lights, cameras, and all
these big guys from the film crew all around us. With all these distractions,
I remember how easy it was to look into Kim's eyes and totally believe
her choice. That this was real for
her. She was in a powerful condition. That's a place that actors get
into emotionally for a scene. I just fell right into her eyes and reacted
to her. That's easy acting.
2 - David talks about his work with
Oliver Stone in THE DOORS