Brett Wagner is known best for his work in the horror genre in such films as “The Crazies” and the upcoming “ChromeSkull: Laid to Rest 2”. Brett has also been the host of Speed TV’s “Pass Time”. Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Brett about this roles and also what he has planned next.
Mike Gencarelli: Can you tell us what it was like working with Robert Hall in “ChromeSkull: Laid to Rest 2”?
Brett Wagner: I started working with Robert Hall almost 8 years ago. I worked on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and he and I became friends. He suggested me to the directors and casting people of “Angel” for the part of Bohg’dar the demon, which was great because I didn’t have to audition. We have just stayed friends for a long time and all of a sudden I booked a part on “The Crazies”. I called and told Rob and he told me he was doing the make-up on that movie, which was pretty cool. Rob has always looked out for parts for me which is how my role as a cop in “Laid to Rest 2” came about. I told him as long as I die a disgusting death I was down for it. I always get excited when Rob gets some work or a new movie especially if I get to be in it. Rob is really easy to work with as a director as he is a real hand’s on guy. He will often give you suggestions and if you’re doing good he just lets you do your thing which is great. Rob is very calm and you don’t feel stress on his shoots. I have been on big shoots were things are very crazy and it’s not comfortable.
MG: Can you tell us about working on “The Crazies” and did you have any high light moments that stick out?
BW: Breck Eisner was a fairly young director as he had only directed a few things but he was tremendous to work with. Chris Carnel who was the stunt coordinator on that film trusted me tremendously with the fighting stuff we were doing. Chris asked me if I would mind doing a ¾ burn for the fight scene with Timothy Olyphant. I had done a little bit of burn stuff before so I told him yes and it was pretty awesome to be lit on fire. The guys wanted me to do the full burn as well but I didn’t want to take money out of my stunt doubles mouth. Breck is another real hands on guy and it was very exciting. We had taken some pictures of my makeup and I got on the cover of Fangoria magazine. For a guy that loves horror that was like an orgasm!
MG: What can you tell us about your upcoming film “Machine Gun Preacher”?
BW: I play a guy by the name of Ben Hobbs and the film is going to be tremendous! It’s a true story about Sam Childers who was an ex-biker, drug dealer bad guy who found God and decides to start helping people. Sam made his way to the Sudan and saw how people were being violently forced into joining the Army. Sam taught these people how to fight and defend themselves. Getting to work with Gerard Butler was really cool as I am a big fan. My scene in the film is actually with Gerard. I gave him a copy of “The Crazies” which he thought was cool. The director Marc Foster was also really great to work with. We had gone in to do some voice over’s and I asked him what his next film was going to be. He told me it was a zombie movie that I probably wouldn’t want to be interested in. (Laughs) The film is “World War Z” with Brad Pitt. I sent his assistant a bunch of my photo’s as I know Marc was joking about me not being interested in doing the film. I would love to work with him again. I am really excited for the premiere.
MG: You also do a lot of hosting especially with “Pass Time” what can you tell us about that?
BW: I have been doing “Pass Time” for about four years now and we have shot 160 episodes. I love drag racing and it’s great to have blue collar guys who work 60 hrs. a week and race on the weekends come out. That’s basically who I am. I’m not one of those giant celebrities. I dig getting out there and meeting the people. I have been very lucky and got to travel all over with the Speed channel filming and making appearances. We are the only drag racing show on Speed channel right now. It keeps me in the public eye and I love to travel. I also enjoy having a tasty beverage with some of the drivers.
MG: Can you tell us about the book you just wrote?
BW: I wrote a book with a friend of by the name of Bruce Collins, who is a pro wrestling fanatic. I actually did some pro wrestling back in the day. The book is called “The Big Shwag’s Positive Self- Help Guide for Complete Losers Like You”. I used to go by the Big Shwag when I was on “Monster Garage” and when I did pro wrestling. Bruce came to me and said we should do a book. I told him I could barely tie my shoe and asked how we were going to write a book. Bruce said we will do a self help book. I again told him I can’t help myself how am I going to help other people? We sat down and spent seven months writing chapter by chapter and it turned out really good and funny. I am very proud of it. My nephew who was 16 read it and told me it wasn’t a bad book. (Laughs) I also had a friend of mine’s father who is a big proponent of Alcoholics Anonymous tell me that the book should be read by everyone in the program. If someone gets a laugh while sitting on the toilet then that’s great! It’s a four seater read. In about four trips to the bathroom you should have it read. You can pick it up at Amazon.com.
MG: Any other upcoming projects you can tell us about?
BW: I am really stoked for the film I did called “John Dies at the End” to come out. The film was originally a book that people really wanted to become a film. Don Coscarelli who is a hero of mine in the horror movie business was looking for someone for the opening of the film. He had seen my cover of Fangoria magazine and wanted something similar. The person he had said that to told him he knew me and they contacted Rob Hall who then contacted me asking if I wanted to work with Don. I am really excited for it. I am also working on selling some TV shows one I am working on right now is called “Fast Talkers”. I also am working on a film script with the writers of the film “Hide and Creep” which is kind of a U.S. version of “Shaun of the Dead” except with redneck zombies. I think we could get some real money to go out and shoot this project.