You can call him Doom-Head, or you can call him Foxy. However you want to call him, Richard Brake has become a key part of Rob Zombie’s ensemble of actors since first working with the director in Halloween 2. Brake was the badass, psycho-clown hit-man killer in Zombie’s 2017’s grindhouse splatterfest 31, and is now part of 3 From Hell, the sequel to House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects. 3 From Hell screens September 16th-18th courtesy of Fathom Events.
Along with penning the introduction to our Rob Zombie Week, Brake was kind enough to chat about the new movie, working with the cast, and why he considers Zombie to be a renaissance man.
Andy Burns: How did you find out Rob wanted you to be in 3 From Hell?
Richard Brake: The thing I love about Rob is, you’ll just be chilling out one day, and the phone will go ding! And you get a text from the guy. “Hey, man, what are you doing in February?” Or whatever. Next month. Once, it was for a music video he was planning, and it was just for the weekend. And I’m always like, “Man, nothing that you don’t want to go on.” So, basically, Rob got in touch, asked if I was available, and of course, with him, it was automatic. I didn’t even need a script. I’m available for one line or a hundred lines. Then, he let me have a call. I called him and I remember it so clearly. I was doing a movie. I forget where I was. Somewhere in a hotel room. He was in L.A. with Sheri and I had a chat with him. He gave me the whole rundown of what the story was going to be. He said, “Well, I’m finally doing the sequel to The Devil’s Rejects after all these years, and I want you to play Foxy.” And I’m like, shit! He told me who the character was and I was beyond excited. I was shooting a film with a good friend of mine, so I ran down to him and said, “Rob Zombie just called.” So, yeah, that’s how I found out about it, and it was probably the most excited I’ve ever been about a job.
AB: What got you so excited to do this film and this role?
RB: I’ve said this, and I’ll keep saying it. I’ve worked with so many great directors, many of them award-winning. They’ve all been fantastic. And not to take away anything from any of them. I mean, I’ve never had a bad director. I’ve been really lucky like that. I mean that. I really haven’t had one that I didn’t like working with. But, if you put a gun to my head and I had to choose one, without a doubt, I would choose Rob Zombie. He’s my favorite, and I think it’s because he’s an absolute fount of creativity. He just explodes creativity. Therefore, it sort of would infect everybody around him with a kind of enthusiasm and joy and desire to do their absolute utmost for him, for the project. He brings out the best in everybody. I mean, I watch it when I think of all the films I’ve gotten to do with him, particularly the last two. You see it in the kid, who may be on his first job as a runner, just coming into the industry, to a producer who had been there forever, to all the actors and crew. They’re just inspired to do their utmost best. It’s incredible. The whole vibe on set is full of inspiration and creativity. He is, to me, a modern Renaissance man. Without a doubt, one of the greatest artists and greatest people that I’ve ever, ever come across. I mean, I’ve just been blessed to have our paths cross and for him to use me as much as he does in such fantastic roles.
AB: How familiar were you with House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects? Did you feel like you needed to really familiarize yourself with that world?
RB: Obviously, I knew them from before. Then, of course, we watched them very closely before we started on this, just to remind myself of his world. He’s really created a whole universe, a unique world, including Foxy. Foxy is a completely new element in that world. He brings a kind of different energy, a different vibe to it, which is what I loved. There’s no replacing of anyone. Nothing could be said, there’s no way to do any replacing. It was all about a new energy, a new vibe, a new feel for the new film. All the actors were great in them. That’s what I love, too, about it. You’ve got Clint Howard, Richard Edson (it was the first time I’d worked with him), Emilio Rivera. It’s brilliant the way he brings in the fantastic character actors because everybody wants to work with them. They come in and, whether it be for a day or a week or two weeks, whatever, they all have a good time. And they all add their own energy to the world. Clint Howard is brilliant in it.
AB: Tell me about working with Bill Moseley and Sheri Moon Zombie – there’s a clear camaraderie on the screen. Is it as pleasurable to work together as it seems?
RB: They’re amazing. I have worked with Sheri before, and I have incredible respect for her as an actor. She’s amazing. My favorite part from 31 was the last section with her because she was just so honest. Doom-Head would not be Doom-Head without Sheri. I was already well-versed with working with her. Bill, I had never worked with before. I just had huge respect because he’s an icon. His work, not just in Rob’s work, but in a lot of films. I’ve seen him lots of times, and he’s an amazing actor. In terms of the connection, that was what drew me in. I had to be there. I knew going into it. I knew it would happen with Sheri, and I suspected it would happen with Bill, but you never know. And it was so great because my first day was just the three of us. It was the very first thing I shot. I was there a few days late, because I was doing another film, and I had to fly home, change my underwear, then fly to L.A. And I literally arrived. We shot that scene first thing and, right away, Bill and I were just riffing it. It was so good. The characters were just clicking. He obviously knows that character inside out, but it’s hard finding Foxy’s. It’s because he’s such a generous actor, so damned present and good, that Foxy is clicking in. We did some improvisation, coming up with all kinds of quotes and stuff. It was brilliant. Then, in walks Sheri in full Baby mode. And I’m looking at her like, “Holy shit! You are awesome!” Because she’s incredible in that role and she knows that role inside out. And I realize the camera is on me. And I’m thinking, “Shit, I’m supposed to be Foxy, not Richard admiring Sheri!” By the end of that first day, I knew what was going on between me and those two and where I stood. It was almost like destined, or fate, or whatever you want to call it. We literally clicked so quickly and so smoothly from our first opening scene that we shot, and it just grew. The chemistry on set was like nothing I had ever experienced as an actor. But, I never know how that translates on-screen. From what I’m hearing from more and more people is that it’s a really good translation, and I’m really excited to hear that. It’s really gratifying.
AB: The ending to 3 From Hell leaves it open for more from the three. Are you up for playing Foxy again?
RB: Oh, man. I’m waiting for that text. I’ll absolutely do it, one-hundred percent. You know, with Rob, he only ever does it when he’s one-hundred percent ready to do it. People ask, “Is there going to be a 31 sequel? Are we gonna have a Doom-Head story?” And I’m like, “Gotta ask Rob.” Someday, he just may say, “Ah, yeah, I’ve got an idea for a sequel to 3 From Hell,” or, “I’ve got an idea for a movie about Doom-Head.” You never know. You just sit around waiting for that ding on your phone.
AB: I think he does it for the right reasons.
RB: Which is why, when he does it, he really does it. He doesn’t just rush on and make any old thing. You just wait until that fount of creativity explodes.
Don’t miss Rob Zombie’s new film, 3 From Hell, screening exclusively in theatres for three nights only, September 16th, 17th and 18th through Fathom Events. Get the details here.