We say this a lot around here at the How NOT To Make A Movie Podcast: one of the real big pleasures of working in film and TV is that you get to work with some terrific people. Our guest today is one of those terrific people. It’s just a stone cold fact: Bill Sadler is a really nice guy.
Hell, he’s nice in the extreme. He’s also super talented.
Aside from doing both “Tales From The Crypt” feature films (Bill stars as the hero of “Demon Knight” and acts as the Mummy opposite the Crypt Keeper in “Bordello Of Blood“) and appearing in multiple episodes of “Tales From The Crypt“, Bill has been part of some truly iconic movies. He played Death in the “Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey” and “Bill & Ted Face The Music”, Colonel Stuart in “Die Hard 2”, and President Matthew Ellis in “Iron Man 3” and the “Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.” movies.
He also played Heywood in “The Shawshank Redemption“. Ironically, Shawshank wasn’t a hit when it opened. In fact, it bombed – probably because the title’s not very good. Video resurrected Shawshank from obscurity and gave it the second chance it needed.
“Shawshank” is very definitely a classic. Horror fans now consider “Demon Knight” a classic horror movie, too. In time, the Bill and Ted movies may achieve some kind of minor classic status. Certainly Bill’s work as Death in the movies deserves classic status.
He turns Death into a kind of vaguely lovable loser with a hilarious accent.
We talk a lot about craft in the interview. Acting craft, writing craft, moviemaking craft. We talk about the challenges that produce great work. And, we’ll talk a lot about passion. What makes anyone a great collaborator? Passion for collaboration.
Bill’s collaborated with everyone from Morgan Freeman to Walter Hill (one of Crypt’s executive producers), to Bill Condon (Bill’s favorite director), to Claire Danes and Dennis Quaid (they all just worked together on Steven Soderbergh’s “Full Circle” for HBOMax.
This conversation feels like a pair of comfortable slippers. It’s that warm and familiar. Bill Sadler isn’t just a very, very nice guy. He also happens to be an amazing actor and a superb collaborator.
And, boy, does he have some great stories to tell!