In spite of a career that is approaching three decades Clancy Brown’s biggest fans may still be in elementary school. Known for his roles in such films as “The Adventures of Buckaroo Bonzai Across the Eighth Dimension,” “Highlander” and the much loved “Shawshank Redemption,” Mr. Brown also appears in one of the most popular animated programs of all time. Or at least his voice does. Brown gives voice to Mr. Krabs on “SpongeBob SquarePants.” Other animated roles include Raiden in “Mortal Kombat” and Lex Luthor in no less than six different projects. But it’s not all Krabby Patties and the Man of Steel on the small screen. He’s also had roles in such films as “Dead Men Walking,” “Starship Troopers” and will soon be seen opposite Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig in “Cowboys vs Aliens.” In spite of his busy schedule Mr. Brown took the time to answer some questions for MovieMikes.
Mike Smith: Your given first name is Clarence. Where did Clancy come from?
Clancy Brown: My Dad, Clarence, Jr, picked it. “His name shall be Clarence, III and we shall call him “Clancy.” Something like that.
MS: Both your father and grandfather were successful politicians. Did you ever think of pursuing a career of public service?
MS: What made you decide to make acting a career?
CB: I enjoyed it from a very early age. When I had to make my own living after college, I decided to give doing what I enjoyed most a shot as a profession. It worked out and I’ve never had to “work” for a living since. If I hadn’t gotten so lucky, there were plenty of options open to me being, after all, a young educated white male in America.
MS: Your first big screen appearance was as Viking opposite Sean Penn in “Bad Boys.” How did that come about?
CB: Long story. The short version is that the show came through Chicago casting a couple supporting roles. Jane Alderman made sure they saw everyone remotely appropriate for the roles. A young man was cast (and he was the best choice) but ended up withdrawing when his family objected to the script on religious grounds. They came around again and settled for me.
MS: You appeared as Rawhide in “Buckaroo Banzai.” Are you amazed that, a quarter century later, the film is still considered a cult classic?
CB: Almost everything about that film is amazing, but not that it is a cult classic.
MS: Your first starring role was as Viktor in “The Bride.” How did you prepare for a role that was completely different than anything you had done before?
CB: Read and Read and Read about the Frankenstein mythos. Honored now to be a small part of it. Boris Karloff became one of my heroes.
MS: You’re often cast as the villain or the authority figure (and sometimes both). Do you consciously pursue those roles?
CB: No. I would cast myself much more creatively. I would be an awesome Blanche DuBois.
MS: You played Captain Hadley in “The Shawshank Redemption,” which, according to over a half million users of the Internet Movie Database, is the greatest film ever made. Did you realize when you were making it that it would be so well received?
CB: No. We all loved the script and thought it would be good if we just didn’t fuck up too much, but none of us expected the love the film has inspired over the years. It’s nice.
MS: You’ve provided character voices in over a dozen animated programs and features along with a similar number of video games. Any favorite character?
CB: Mr. Krabs, Dr. Neo Cortex, and, of course, Lex Luthor.
MS: How many times have you been asked to call someone’s child as Mr. Krabs?
CB: Many. Always pleased to oblige.
MS: Can you tell us about your role in “Cowboys and Aliens?”
CB: His name is Meachem. He’s big and fuzzy. Got a deep voice. Good guy. Does the right thing. Baffled by what happened to his town but sure about how to respond. Not looking for trouble but not afraid to step in and end it…peacefully. Folks should like him.
MS: Thank you again for your time.
CB: Thanks for asking