A Conversation With Michael Berryman
When I was first introduced to Michael Berryman it was most likely the same way many other metal head purists from my era had first met him: by seeing his performance as the mean principal in the Mötley Crüe video for the song: “Smokin’ in The Boys Room”.
He was the ideal fit for the foreboding and intimidating figure that roamed the school halls and scared any would be malcontent. Someone you’d never want to meet in a dark alley let alone a principal’s office because a dog ran off with your homework.
Mr. Berryman has built quite an extensive resume of portraying these frightening and intimidating characters. From a mutant biker in “Weird Science” to even the devil himself in an episode of the 1980′s television show “Highway to Heaven“.
He’s been a part of the Star Trek franchise and is also a favorite of director Rob Zombie, having appeared in his films “The Devil’s Rejects” (2005) and the soon to be released “The Lords of Salem”.
But Michael is quite the opposite of the types of characters he portrays on-screen. In fact, it may surprise you to learn that he’s a strong advocate for the environment and leaving something behind for future generations to enjoy.
And here’s something else you might not know: the second film Michael was cast in just happened to be “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest”, the 1975 film starring Jack Nicholson that went on to win five Academy Awards including Best Picture.
But the role Michael is probably best known for is his portrayal of Pluto in the 1977 Wes Craven Film “The Hills Have Eyes”. Considered a cult favorite among horror enthusiasts the film has spawned two sequels (one in 1985 and the other in 1995) and two separate remakes (2006/2007). The original film also ranks #41 on Bravo’s list of 100 Scariest Movie Moments.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Michael and get his thoughts on the Hills as it turns 35. We also discuss the Mötley video, the importance of preserving the environment, his thoughts on working with film legend Jack Nicholson and his newest thriller, “Below Zero“.
goJimmygo (gJg): Hi Michael, this is James Wood, how are you?
Michael Berryman (MB): Pretty good James!
gJg: It’s good to talk with you.
MB: You too!
gJg: Did you ever think that after 35 years people would still be talking about “The Hills Have Eyes“?
MB: Oh gosh, has it been that long? <laughs>Continued on the next page