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Written by / 8/14/2019 / No comments / , , , , , , , , , ,

KAREN BLACK REFLECTS 'TRILOGY OF TERROR' AND 'NASHVILLE'

Interview with KAREN BLACK on Trilogy of Terror and Nashville
KAREN BLACK was an amazing actress... Known for her work on the big screen in groundbreaking indie films like EASY RIDER and especially her Oscar nominated role in FIVE EASY PIECES, she followed up with low and big budget movies alike, and television... Perhaps her most popular performance, or rather, in the case of the Dan Curtis made-for-TV anthology TRILOGY OF TERROR, performances was playing three (or depending how you look at it, four) characters in three chilling vignettes...

The most memorable has Karen battling a killer doll... Although the first story really shows her range as an actress, playing a shy college professor with hidden layers...
Karen Black and her then real life husband Robert Burton in TRILOGY OF TERROR
In the story JULIE, which is my favorite story of all of them… Do you give off any subtle clues or hints to the twist that happens at the conclusion for someone who’s watching it the second time… That you’re not supposed to catch the first time around? Is Julie the school teacher?

Yeah, the teacher from the first story... Okay, I got it now… Now that I understand which story you’re talking about. You know a lot of actors can’t remember all these names.
Karen Black and the Zuni in TRILOGY OF TERROR
I just watched it the other day... It’s alright… But have you ever seen these before?

I saw it as a kid, but recently re-watched it... Uh huh… How come you happened to see it again?

Well, for one thing, I’ve been brushing up on my Karen Black because I’ve been hoping for an interview... Well that’s good.
Karen Black in TRILOGY OF TERROR
Yeah, so, I watched it again, and I really like the first story… I know it’s mostly known for the third story. But my question is do you give any subtle, hidden clues to the real motives of the character? As written I think it’s supposed to be quite a surprise… quite a revelation so how you play it, even though you know that is what you’re up to I would say there was nothing in my heart or mind about my actual intentions as I played the role until I got to that part. I was truly someone who was fascinated with this boy and victimized by this boy until…

I think that it’s very good to wear your past when you’re acting and wear what has already occurred.
Karen Black in TRILOGY OF TERROR
I saw a play recently and I said to the actor that I know, it was like, for one half of the first act I just couldn’t believe… I didn’t know these people were married because the way they spoke to each other had none of the… past in it...

If you say something to your husband you may have said it a thousand times before, and you may have gotten the same result so you’re gonna have your despair or your… or your… weariness is going to have a certain feeling to it that it wouldn’t have if this was the first time you said it. I do think people should wear their past.

Go back to “Five and Dime Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean”… I was certainly wearing my past. I walked in the door with my past on my shoulders. But in this particular drama it’s a little simpler – it’s an entertainment piece.

Karen Black with the famous Zuni Fetish Doll in TRILOGY OF TERROR
In the third, and most popular tale, AMELIA, about the killer Zuni Fetish doll, when you’re running around screaming (and eventually fighting back)… And there’s nothing really there, on the set… What’s in your mind? Well you use your imagination, which is all any actor is ever doing and at any moment. He’s dwelling in the world in which he’s created and all of his responses are to what he’s imagined, and that’s how you act.

When I did THE PLAY ROOM, the one I did on Broadway… and I think I talked to you about that… Joseph Anthony was talking to the actors, he said, “You know you are afraid of what will happen," he said, “Fear is," in his opinion, “Fear is the easiest thing for an actor to create. Just create fear and feel fear.”
Karen Black in TRILOGY OF TERROR
So you just create fear within yourself and you feel fear. Just like, you know, when you watch an actor and they’re crying, they’re really sad – they’re truly sad…

They have created it. Life hasn’t created it but the effect is really so similar.
Karen Black in Robert Altman's NASHVILLE
In Robert Altman's NASHVILLE... Did you write songs specifically for your character Connie White or were they already your own songs you had the character sing? I’d written MEMPHIS earlier. [Singing] “I’d like to go to Memphis but I don’t know the way”… that one. I’d written MEMPHIS earlier, and when I met Mr. Altman I was in an office, a very fun office. It was the old Lion's Gate: there was a fireplace there, a little desk. I did not meet him on this movie; I didn’t meet with Altman because of NASHVILLE or for NASHVILLE, we were talking about another picture.

So he said “I’m doing a picture in the fall where everybody has to write their own Country/Western music.” And he said to come back and sing. And I said, “I’ll sing now.” And he said he could have a pianist or guitarist come tomorrow. And I said, “No, I’ll sing it now."
Karen Black sings in NASHVILLE
I got up in front of the fireplace and I sang: [Singing] “Well I’d like to go to Memphis but I don’t know the way – And I’d love to tell you how I feel but I don’t know what to say.” And he said, “You got the part… Welcome aboard."

So that’s how I got that part. And then that was a lot of fun and we would look at photographs of some of those country singers and I would sort of make a “look," you know? It was a big blonde longhaired look we picked.
Henry Gibson with Karen Black in NASHVILLE
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