HD: Lin you have such a prolific career, I don't know where to begin! You were involved in Jack Nicholson's comedy western "Goin South", what was that set like to work on, and what did you take from a talent like Nicholson?
LIN: 'Goin South" was the first film I ever did in Los Angeles. I actually was living in NY doing all theater. "Jack" saw a photo of me...I actually think it was the Academy Players Directory!...and was looking for some "small roles" to fill out his cast. When I found out he had expressed interest, I nearly had a heart attack! I sent him a rather naive little note and some additional photos...the date I remember was 7-7-77...a big number in my life on several occasions...He was back in LA...and as an afterthought I said "I plan to be in Los Angeles for a short visit in the next few days"...which was not AT ALL true...! But his response to my agent was "I would like to meet Lin when she arrives." Needless to say, I booked a flight that day to leave the next day, put it on a credit card, packed dirty laundry...and was on my way to meet "JACK!" I was so excited I could barely speak, and on the plane felt my mouth erupting into a giant fever blister over the excitement...and yes I walked into "Jack's" office with a giant swollen icky thing all over my mouth...He looked up at me with that "s***eating grin and first thing he said was "so....what happened to your mouth?...I nearly died and stammered and stuttered and told him "ooo I am just so excited..Um...well...I didn't really just come here to meet you, and...Um..." and that was pretty much the interview!! He said "even though these parts were small, he was looking for some 'special' people...." several days later, (I was almost leaving to go back to NY,) I got the call that I had "landed" the part of "the parasol Lady" and was to go to Durango Mexico for 2 weeks (there were "crowd scenes," etc.) so there I was with the likes of "Jack", Danny DeVito, John Belushi, Chris Lloyd, etc! Jack was kind supportive, and "taught" me so much just watching him work both as actor and director. I have ONE line: "He aint for you Serene. " Here is the link to the clip! That is me on the right with the pink parasol!!!
HD: You were incredible as the horrible landlady on Kingpin. What was it like to work with the Farrelly brothers not once but twice? Where did you get the motivation to play her? Did you know someone like her at one time?
LIN: The Farrelleys are just plain great. This is also too long a story to get into, but I first met them when I had a short scene in DUMB AND DUMBER....They didn't want to "see me" for the landlady...they said: "we love your work, but you just aren't right for the role"...I worked for over a month "creating" Mrs. Dumars...in my bedroom!...begged one of the producers who I had met on Dumb and Dumber, at the 11th hour to PLEASE just let me come in and "show them what I had created"....he gave me the chance, and went completely dressed as her, exactly as you see her in the film...I had bought that jumpsuit, worked on makeup etc. and when they saw me, Pete said: "well, I absolutely did not see you as the character...but....now I do!" I found out I was cast the next day, and they kept 'her" exactly as I had presented her at the audition!
HD: Again showing your ability for comedy, you worked with the late Richard Pryor and John Candy. What was that set like on Brewster's Millions?
LIN: Meeting Richard Pryor was really cool. I was only there one day, so had no real interaction except "watching/learning." He was very professional, and worked really hard...quite "serious" while working.
HD: You also have chops for Horror (my interest) How did you feel about being in an Amityville sequel? Enjoyable, or just another gig?
LIN: I had a wonderful time on the Amityville sequel. I loved working with John Murlowski who directed it, and loved the character....an insane nurse in an insane place!
HD: Tell me a little about your recurring role in the 2001 Maniacs franchise? That looked like you had a blast! You had already worked with Englund before in the original Nightmare, What was Bill Mosley like to work with. You both come from prestigious alma maters of Columbia and Yale.
LIN: Both Maniac movies were really fun....Tim Sullivan, the director/writer go back to Detroit Rock City together where he was one of the associate producers...His energy and enthusiasm are pretty much incomparable!. Yes, Robert and I have known each other a long time...and he is a fantastic actor. Not many people know he studied, I think it was the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, and was a Shakespearian actor when he started out...and Bill is one of the smartest and most clever people I have met. I love both of them as friends and as actors.
HD: Did you get to handle many of the snakes on Snakes on a Plane, or do you fear them?
LIN: I don't fear snakes at all...but LOTS of healthy respect! They are really gorgeous animals. There was an 11 year old python named Kitty on the film, and we all had the opportunity to "pet her" and take pictures with her, as long as our wonderful snake wrangler was with her!....I took about 11 people to "hold her"....not sure how long, but LOOOOOONG AND HEAVY....AND BEAUTIFUL!
HD: Now my personal favorite role I've seen you do was of Paranormal Investigator Elise in Insidious. During the scene in the bedroom where you sense the creature's presence your facial expression was beyond intense. Was that scene a quick shoot, or did it take a bit of time to show that kind of fury/emotion?
LIN: In Insidious we shot the scene in the bedroom my first day of work. I was "hopeful" and a bit worried, as I knew it was a key scene...Can't "give away" actress secrets!...but I "knew" what I was looking at, and James Wan worked with me, feeding me thoughts and suggestions as we were shooting it. I am really proud that it "did the job" we were hoping it would do...James Wan is absolutely fantastic to work with. He understands "humanity" as well and the genre he is working in, and I think those are the 2 things that make Insidious work so well.
HD: So what's next for Lin Shaye? Horror, Comedy, Westerns? My final question is what was your favorite role up to now?
LIN: I am not certain what is next!...There are 3 projects that are on hold due to money concerns,etc...all 3 are different and wonderful, so hoping they materialize. That is part of the fun of living...YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT IS AROUND THE CORNER, ....SO MAKE SURE YOU ARE READY FOR ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING!...and always put out the best you have to offer! I think KINGPIN is still my favorite character to date. I loved Magda in SOMETHING ABOUT MARY too...but the journey and joy of getting cast in Kingpin still inspires me!
HD: Lin Thank you so much for talking with me and the fans at Buried.com. Stay Creepy!!