It’s baseball season and we at MarsDust are lovers of the game. The talent we’ll feature this time is Lew Temple. He is a man with many, many talents and knows to have played many, many roles in life. Stepping of the field from a baseball career, he made the brilliant and beautiful choice of putting that passion and talent into acting; and we have all benefited from that talent. From a catcher for the Seattle Mariners and Houston Astros, he’d start catching fun, challenging and tasty roles in movies of all genres. He then was a scout for the New York Mets and Astros. It was in 1993, he got someone else to scout roles for him and kept hitting home runs with his vast range of acting and roles.
With a myriad of characters played, he can be most known for his stint as Axel on The Walking Dead, Cal the cook in Waitress, Adam Banjo in Devil’s Rejects, the voices of Furgus and Hitch in Rango, and a ton of other projects.
In 2002, Temple was let go from a movie contract, because he dismissed symptoms of a serious illness. A near-death experience landed him at M.D. Anderson Hospital in Houston, where he was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia and a forty percent chance of survival. He stayed in the hospital for eight months, for chemotherapy treatment. He is a leukemia survivor.
In 2009, Temple was involved in a charity event for breast cancer called Bowling for Boobies. We now take you to the game where our own Sandee Rodriguez is announcing the game and taking you to the field.
Sandee: Pitching first is Lew Temple. He takes a swing and it’s good. That looks like a base hit to know what has been the most challenging movie or role you’ve done so far? How do you feel about this start to the game?
Lew: In many ways the project that you are currently on is always your most challenging, as I think you are always trying to out do your last performance, or go in a completely different direction with your work. Sometimes the challenge can be diversity in your presentation. Not getting stuck using the same bag of tricks is the key. Hopefully you are selecting material that is different each time out, and that gives you a challenge in itself. Specifically, UNSTOPPABLE was a challenge because I had to land Ned Oldham the character with bravado in the onset, and then burry him in a cab of a pickup truck for most of the film, until he appears at the end like the Calvary. The objective was to have the audience remember him, and get excited about his reemergence. This was a similar arc for Adam Banjo in the DEVIL’S REJECTS. He was a lot of talk in the beginning, and then had to muster the courage to fight, and die in the end, but fight none the less. Physically I would say riding a horse for three months on THE LONE RANGER was exhausting. More fun than I will ever have, but physically demanding. Also losing weight and getting into the headspace of a crystal meth addict in WICKED BLOOD was a lot of work, of which I am very proud of.
Sandee: It’s the middle of the third now. While you wait for the next inning, can we have a moment here in the dug out? What gritty parts of horror movies has you continuing to do them?
Lew: I suppose I like the situations that I am exposed to in the horror genre. Almost always there is a decision to be made that leads to cause and effect. I like the element of the unknown in this world, and that it can be altered and escalated rather quickly. I always try to bring a natural quality to bizarre circumstances, and I find that in the horror genre, my type character has a comfort level. Just fits like a good pair of boots.
Sandee: Nice job by his teammates as we cut to commercial. So, what kind of role or person would you like to play that you haven’t yet or haven’t done much of?
Lew: That is the question I ask myself before taking each role. Is this an opportunity I can make something out of. Is this a character that can challenge me, or stretch my artistic muscle. I have not had the opportunity to really play the lead of a film, action adventure, suspense, comedy etc. I would like the opportunity to carry a story from page one to the end. I have also never played a love interest per say, or a father, where the family relationship is the story. I am certain these colors will avail themselves in time, and as I seek them out more. Interestingly I seldom play authority figures, so I am always keen to those parts, as they are very different from my person, and there we go stretching that acting box again.
Sandee: I understand that you went thru a near-death experience that almost ended your life and the game itself. In the bottom of that ninth inning, what kept you from giving up when fighting for your life and how has that aided you in your career?
Lew: I am not sure I didn’t give up, or rather give over…to God. There was a defining moment in my darkest hour, during the sunniest day in Houston, Texas. Laying in a hospital bed, fighting for my life with a bout of leukemia. A dear friend, Jason Douglas, asked me to pray with him. When I did, the weight of the world was removed from me. The burden of living or dying was no long mine. I gave it over. I don’t drive the bus, I just get on and ride…it is a perspective I would like everyone to have at least an understanding of, without having to have that experience. It has served me in everything I do, including my work.
Sandee: And were back. Tip top of the sixth inning and we are in great shape. Lew is back at the plate and OH, misses the first swing. What brings you joy in life with such a busy schedule.
Lew: Family is always the first and foremost. We are all planetary inhabitants, so we should enjoy each other for sure.
Sandee: It’s 2 strikes, no runs and look at him hit it out of the park! Taking all bases with proud stride.
Lew: I love baseball, and have since my childhood. It truly is my first passion. I have played and worked in professional baseball, so I have a unique perspective. I can find a lot of peace at the ball park. I think the answers to the universe may be on a baseball diamond. It is a great place of Zen for me, and I so enjoy just letting a game happen while observing. You can choose to participate or not, but I find a great deal of relaxation in baseball.
Sandee: We are all grateful that you have such a passion for what it is you do here and love. I can feel a win coming on. Any trick plays? What won’t you sacrifice for work or to work?
Lew: Moral values I suppose. That is always a difficult question, because things are never so black and white. More a different shade of gray. I would like to think I would not relinquish my integrity or respect of humanity for a role. I won’t put myself in a situation where I am asked to hurt others, either physically or emotionally. I like to be in control when I work, and appreciate the same from others. I want to work at a level of professionalism that is best suited to build a successful project. I am only interested in serving the story, but not at the risk of losing my code of ethics in order to do so. I would rather set an example than become one if that makes sense
Sandee: There’s talk about your contract being up and maybe a trade to another team. Can you talk about what you currently working on and what’s exciting for you in the future?
Lew: The future is always exciting because you don’t know what is next. You have no idea what is in store, and no matter what you plan or hope for, it won’t be as amazing as the unknown that awaits you. I give a lot of faith in the great unknown. I just finished a sic-fi disaster film, called IMPACT EARTH. We endeavor to save the world from being destroyed by a rogue asteroid. We use some high concept science to do so, which I suspect is not so far fetched. I also have some cool films coming out DESIERTO and SHANGRI-LA SUITE, CAMOFLAGE, SELLING ISOBEL, GRACE OF JAKE, A FIGHTING SEASON to name a few. Also this October look for me in the season finale of HALLOWEEN WARS, as a guest judge on The Food Network.
Sandee: That’s good to hear that you’ll stick with it and us. What do you look forward to when you have time off?
Lew: Good food, good friends, good experiences. I like to have new exposures, meet new people. I travel quite a bit with my work, so often times these things fall into place naturally. As I said, I am most happy during baseball season, which is most of the year actually. I like music well enough, I see some art now and again. I really like getting together with folks and breaking bread. A great meal with good people is rewarding in my estimation.
Sandee: Lew swings and OH, that ball hit him right in the ribs. Now the teams managers are having it out to see what happened. Man, that was a scary throw; are you hurt? What scares the bejeezus out of you?
Lew: Human suffering, and I mean that. I can’t stand that someone is hurting, either physically or emotionally. There is so much poverty, sickness and hunger in our world. I can’t help but feel the weight of that in our society. Flesh and bone violence unnerves me. I don’t like to see people hit by others, but I can’t take my eyes off these MMA events. Strange human trait isn’t it. Suffering is paralyzing, and depresses me, I feel responsible.
Sandee: It’s the ninth inning and it’s all tied up. You’re a trooper to shake that suffering off and continue to play. That looked really uncomfortable. Talk about a most uncomfortable scene or situation, in a movie, that you really had to work at to get thru. How did you do it?
Lew: I would have to say the rape scene in Rob Zombie’s HALLOWEEN. This was cut from the film, but Rob put it in his director’s cut. Clearly that act is not something that I have any familiarity with, so this was a very difficult task. I actually got some great words of advise from Malcolm McDowell, who was on the show. He told me I had a job to do, and must do so with my best talent and effort. So I focused on all of the back-story of a guy like Noel Kluggs, and how he came to be as awful as Michael Meyers. It was a lot of soul searching to get in that place, that headspace…Rob was so supportive, and gave us anything we needed to get through the scene. It was very physical, and to have to be brutalized by Michael Meyers in the end was tough. Again, I am proud of the work we accomplished to serve the story.
Sandee: Now that we’re at commercial again, let me say that you are the greatest gift to baseball and acting today and the fans think so as well. What have been some fun gifts you’ve gotten from fans?
Lew: I have received so many wonderful things. Incredible art, sketches, drawings, paintings, sculptings, dolls, quilts, jewelry, you name it. I get moonshine, wine, homemade beer, mustache wax, and so much more. It is very humbling and kind, I always try to give a shout out of thanks. But it is really a gift to just be a part of the audiences awareness, and that they appreciate the work, validates everything. I guess that is the best gift of all.
Sandee: when you have down time what are some favorite movies, books, artists, music.
Lew: Favorites are changing constantly, as we evolve or adjust. I will watch IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE every year around the holidays, possibly my favorite. I adore HUD, COOL HAND LUKE, NETWORK and BEASTS OF A SOUTHERN WILD. One of my favorite reads is JITTERBUG PERFUME, by Tom Robbins. BLOOD MERIDIAN by Cormac McCarthy is a page turner for me. I like Cy Twombly on the art scene. As for music, I guess like anyone it is the mood of things. Could be JOHNNY CASH, TOM WAITS, THE KILLERS, ARCADE FIRE, BETTER THAN EZRA, ELVIS, HEAVY D AND THE BOYZ, TEARS FOR FEARS, DEPECHE MODE…endless, which is inspiring…
Sandee: And yes, yes, yes, Lew hit’s a grand slam and wins the game!!! The crowd is on their feet, cheering and hollering and chanting his name. That was a hell of a game and season so far. Is there anything else you’d like to add before you take to the locker room?
Lew: I guess that I would like people to see the world as possible. I can’t be nearly as lucky as I have been. I have come to reason that my field of depth somehow through a life experience has been opened up. I am able to see the gifts in life that are to be taken and given. They are right there on your nightstand. Sometimes we can only see ours, and not the amazement that is available to us in the Great Unknown. Take off your blinders and see, really see, and enjoy…life’s got a lot to give, here’s to you getting your share…
Sandee: For all our and your fans, please finish this sentence, Lew Temple is……………………..
Lew: A Planetary Inhabitant that cares about his other inhabitants. Likes to laugh, likes to cry, feels his surroundings.