Exclusive Interview with 10 Days In A Madhouse Actress Kelly Le Brock
Kelly Le Brock wowed fans in the 80s classics Weird Science and The Woman in Red. After a long acting hiatus, Kelly’s finally back! She’s stronger and more beautiful than ever. I recently chatted with her about her new projects 10 Days in a Madhouse and Kelly’s Kitchen. Keep reading to find out what she had to say.
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I have to tell you a story first because I got a call on a Thursday night from a friend of mine, a director who I’ve worked with in the past, Stephen Eckelberry, and he calls me up Thursday night and he says, “Do you want to be in a film?” I’m like, “Well, what is it?” And he tells me, 1800’s piece, Nellie Bly. I’d be playing a nasty nurse in an insane asylum, and I said, “Well when is it?” And he goes, “Tomorrow.” So I go, “Oh, okay. All right.” 12 hours later, I get on the set at9 o’clock in the morning. They give me an actor to learn my lines with. I run my lines for a couple of hours, I learn my lines, and then I’m on the set.
I have to tell you, it was really an extraordinarily crazy experience to go into a film like that, but it was really good for me. I learned a lot. I realized that I really do love working and that I had missed it. It was really wonderful to go into a role that had some substance in it and not just be a sex symbol. I’m very happy. I think that people are very pleased with my performance, and I think I have another role in Timothy Hines’ next film. He’s writing me a special role.
Aw, that’s fantastic.
That’s pretty cool, huh?
Yeah. I think so. I’m glad that you’re acting again. It’s been ten years. Right?
The last film I did was, I believe The Mirror with Stephen Eckelberry. Yes. Because you know, I’ve been raising my kids and now they’re all older. 28, 25, and 22.
My mother and brother died and I took care of them for 6 years, and that was kind of traumatic, so I just wasn’t ready to come out yet. Now I’m stronger and happier and healthy, and things are good, so I’m looking forward to it.
I’m glad that everything is okay now! Since 10 Days is based on a true story, and being that you just told me how quick everything kind of happened, how you got the role, essentially in less than 24 hours …
And I didn’t have to sleep with anybody. (Laughs). Hollywood’s really changed.
(Laughs) After you got the role, did you do any research while you were filming? You kind of had to multitask a little bit.
I didn’t have any time to do any research. I mean, I didn’t even read the script. I went in completely blind, but as an actor, what you have to do is just put yourself right into that role. 1800’s I understand because I was born pretty close to it, (laughs) and coming from Europe, we’re very educated in the early hundred periods. I lived in homes that were from the 1700s and stuff, so it’s a period I’m very comfortable with. The minute you put your costume on, you become that character, and if you don’t, you won’t get it. I played a nasty nurse, and everybody has nasty in them. You just have to find out where it is. That’s what I drew from. You understand filth and mental sickness. I’ve had stalkers after me, so I understand mental sickness from that angle. Obviously, when I was doing a film with Steven (Seagal) Hard to Kill, which I call Hard to Watch, we did research. I was playing a nurse there. Bottom line is, when you’re a mother, you’re a nurse as well. It was quite easy for me to draw from regular experiences.
What made you get back into acting besides you getting that phone call? Because I know you’ve been doing so many things between charity and your other work.
Number one, I love period pieces. I’ve always wanted to do period. And number two, Stephen Eckelberry really talked up Timothy Hines as being a wonderful friend and director, and it just seemed like a wonderful opportunity, and sort of my place. I was very happy to take it. I think everybody’s happy with the outcome, so it’s all good all the way around. But also, I had been friends with Christophe Lambert. I hadn’t seen him in over twenty years so it was funny to see him again after so long.
How did you like working with Christophe and the other actors on the set?
I didn’t actually get to work directly with Christophe but the three actors that I worked with were all wonderful.
Do you have any plans to produce or write your own stuff? I’ve always wanted to ask you that.
“You know, I’m producing right now. I have three films and two television shows, but it’s very hard to get a film made today. I think that the new movie genre is all television. There’s only a few people working in film today, but I think that the new medium is television, and I’m certainly willing and able to do TV. In fact, I just went up and read for a role of a new character that they’re going to be having on Shameless.
I went over to that a couple weeks ago and I read for the role. I tell you what. I’ve never read for anything because I’ve done a number of pretty successful films. But in today’s world, everybody reads, and I thought it was a good opportunity to go and read, which is a very scary and uncomfortable situation to put yourself in, but I nailed it. I dressed the part. I was a hippie slut. (laughs) I had everything but hairy legs. I even had Birkenstocks on. That’s the fun part about this business.
But in terms of producing films, I think I’m not going to be going that way. I think I’m going to stick to my TV shows. I have Kelly’s Kitchen, which is a reality show that I’d like to do where I’m showing people how to cook for five, ten bucks, and make a great meal. I want to get Americans back to the table – if they were ever at the table. I believe that conversations start with families when you’re all having a lovely meal. You don’t need money to make a nice meal is what I’m trying to say.
Then I have this other show that I’m doing that’s all about rodeo called True Grit. It’s like xBox or extreme sports on steroids, and that’s kind of a fun thing too. I just want to show up and do that job and leave.
I understand too that you have a working farm where you make cheese and yogurt.
Yes, I have a working … sometimes working farm. I get up in the morning. I feed a bunch of goats and horses and chickens. I make my own cheese. I make my own yogurt. I grew some vegetables, but they all suck. My peppers are good though. I’m going to be dehydrating a bunch of peppers right now. I love making a hot and spicy salsa that I put with everything. My horses live free. I live in the wilderness. Just a small dirt road. You don’t want to bring your car here if it’s just been washed. I haven’t had a television for 22 years. I’m loving life.
You also work with the UN, right?
Yes, I do work with the UN to stop violence against women and children. I spoke at the United Nations to 300 ambassadors and UN people, which was terrifying. I am astounded and shocked and sickened by the fact that women are still being beaten and that not much is being done, that women are being abused and not much is being done. You look at Bill Cosby, whether he did it or not, something is going on, yet 40 women or so come forward and yet there’s really not been any investigation. I would like to see the statute of limitations be lifted for rape, so that’s what I’m going to go and try and fight for. I’ve spoken in Congress as well, which I did in the 80’s, which allowed people to have access to medical treatment like chiropractic, acupuncture, all that sort of stuff, and get it offered on health insurance, called the Access to Medical Treatment bill, and we got that passed. You can change things, but you have to be stubborn and you have to not quit, and you can’t give up, and so that’s what I’m trying to do.
I believe that the abuse, it starts in the sand pits, and I have been asked by Princeton and a few other colleges to go and speak to the college goers and try and talk some sense into them because rape and abuse is happening on the college campuses and it’s not all right.
You’ve got to get to the little boys. You’ve got to get to the four and five and six year olds watching their daddies do this. Like I say, it starts in the sand pit. I mean, we’re educated to be polite and all this other sort of stuff, but I think some of these young kids need to be taught how to behave around a woman or a girl. If daddy’s doing it, it must be okay for me to be doing it, and there’s nowhere for these six, seven, and eight year olds, nine, ten year olds, to talk to anybody about it, so I’d like to see that in a school.
I have to ask you about Weird Science because everybody loved your role in that, including me.
You want to hear a funny story?
I turned that film down initially. I was in the south of France, horseback riding with Sting. So, do I want to work or do I want to keep having fun with Sting? So about six weeks into filming, they fired the other girl due to creative differences. They called me in France, which is where I was, and they said, “We’ll give you anything.” I got on a plane, and I was on the set the next day, again, having had no lines, no idea of what I was going in for, and just showed up on the set of a film that had been filming for six weeks. There wasn’t even time to give me a new wardrobe. They had to just cut, with scissors, the back of the dress that because the girl that was before me was a slightly different body type. So that was pretty crazy, walking into a film that had been going for so long, and they were in serious trouble because that’s expensive to fire the lead so much into production.
That was kind of cool, and that was only my second film, so that was a big chance. It was a blast to do. John Hughes was extraordinary. Anthony Michael Hall is a freaking genius. He’s just gotten a role with Leonardo DiCaprio on a film for Netflix. I’m very proud of my boy.
Do you have any upcoming projects, besides Kelly’s Kitchen? Is there anything else that we should be looking forward to seeing you in in the future, besides that or have you done anything else after 10 Days?
I just now went to meet with my agency for the first time and they know now that I want to go back to work, so I’m just waiting for them to send me material that I like, that I’ll go up and meet on. I’m excited. I think that once 10 Days comes out, I’m going to get a little more interest and that’s all good. Not in a hurry, and I want to pick wisely. I’ve waiting a long time.
I need to be careful of what I go back and do. I think 10 Days is a wonderful way to come back. I’m excited.
*Featured image photo credit: Manfred Baumann.