Clancy Brown as Adam King in 'Supercon'

Actor Clancy Brown on the Heist Comedy “Supercon”

Apr 25, 2018 Web Exclusive
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There can be only one Clancy Brown. Across his more than 250 film and TV credits, the hard-working actor has played highly memorable villains in such classics (cult or otherwise) as The Shawshank Redemption, Highlander, and the HBO series Carnivale. (And no, he’s not always bad: his offbeat, heroic roles include The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai, Starship Troopers, and the highly underrated Homefront.) When not in front of the camera, Brown stays busy lending his commanding voice to dozens of animated characters, from Lex Luthor in the DC animated shows to Mr. Krabs on SpongeBob SquarePants.

Brown’s latest role finds him playing a different sort of bad guy. Supercon’s Adam King isn’t out to rule the world like some of the actor’s most famous characters but is primarily, well, a major dickbag. A former television star, King is now king of the convention circuit, cashing in on expensive autograph sessions and treating his adoring fans like dirt. When he gets his former on-screen sidekick (Russell Peters) fired from appearing at Supercon, his haul of the convention’s proceeds become the target of an elaborately-planned heist. (True Blood’s Ryan Kwanten and Lost’s Maggie Grace fill out the rest of the Ocean’s 8-like burglary team.)

We chatted with Brown ahead of Supercon’s April 27th release.

Austin Trunick [Under the Radar]: Can you tell me how you joined up with your new film, Supercon?

Clancy Brown: The official story is that I was on the jury at the Edinburgh Film Festival watching a lot of excellent, but very serious and very depressing European films in dark rooms for two weeks. I was thoroughly enjoying myself, but was in sore need of laughter. This script got sent to me by my agent, and I laughed out loud all night about it. I said to my agent, “What’s going on with this? It’s really fun.” I liked the whole spirit of it, and I liked the sweetness of it. I asked, “What’s the deal?” They told me if I wanted to do it, I had to leave as soon as I was done in Edinburgh and fly to New Orleans. I said, “Let’s do it. Let’s go!”

I talked to [the filmmakers] a lot, and I liked where they came from. They’re clearly guys who had lived this life, they’d seen it, they’d been to it, and they had great affection for it. A lot of these Con movies, they don’t take the culture too seriously, or they have some kind of bitchy comment about it, or they’re being mean. I didn’t get that with this. It’s a fun little romp, and it was made with a lot of affection and familiarity. So I jumped on the chance and got my ass to New Orleans so we could start shooting.

Adam King is Supercon’s big villain. But, he’s not a billionaire out to rule the world, an immortal skinhead, or a sadistic prison guard… He’s just an asshole.

Yeah, he’s just a putz! His entire world is inside his skull. 

Was that a fun change of pace from the more sinister villains you often get to play?

Oh, yeah, of course. That’s a lot of it. There’s nothing at stake there. I guess there’s some cruelty, but mostly he’s just ridiculous. You get to be as ridiculous as you want to be. I think [director Zak Knutson] had to pull me back a little bit every now and then, but I really indulged my funny bone with that one.

Your career has crossed over so many areas of devout fandom, between your cult film roles, your TV shows, and animated voice work. Do you get invited to many of these conventions?

Yeah, I have been. I go when I’m connected with promoting something, but to find time out of my professional life and personal life to go for a weekend, I haven’t really found the time to do that yet. I’ve got a kid in high school, and my wife, and I’ve got older parents. There are all these priorities that come up. I hate to say that, but when there’s a situation where it’s between seeing my folks, who are in their 90s, and going to Cleveland to sign pictures, I’d rather see my folks.

That’s certainly understandable.

I will get to the point where I’ll show up, and I’ll be a regular at those shows. That will happen eventually, just not right now. [Laughs]

Based on the experience you’ve had when you did those few shows, what are some of the things about Supercon which rang true to you?

The first convention I ever did, I did for a TV show back in the ‘90s. The big thing then were Star Trek conventions, and then people started piggybacking on to these Star Trek conventions. I remember going with the cast and everyone thinking it was just really weird. I never thought that for a second. I thought it was the coolest thing I’d ever seen, all of these people dressing up like alien characters, having fun, laughing, and having a great time. And, you know, the artists are amazing. The people who design and imagine these worlds are there. There was an author there who’d shown up, I think it was William Gibson, and I was really excited he was there. So, that experience sort of opened me up to it, and ever since I’ve been excited to go to the shows I’ve had to do.

Over the years I’ve noticed that the importance of it has been noticed by the corporate eyes, who have sort of gotten hold of it because they have so much at stake. They tend to pee all over it. But, the core of it is always the fans and the fans’ sincerity, and all of the creators’ imaginations that go into it. That’s the only thing that’s ever important, anyway. It doesn’t matter how many movie stars you trot out – it’s always back in the corner of artists’ alley where the real fun is.

One of the great things about these conventions is they give fans a chance to interact with their heroes and idols, and Supercon deals a lot with that. When you were young and starting out, who would you have been awestruck to meet?

That’s a good question. [Laughing] I’ll tell you a story. Like in 1966 or ’67, I was probably eight or nine years old, and there was a parade happening someplace in Ohio. I remember that the guys from The Rat Patrol were going to be there. They were going to be in this parade, and I was going to get to see Christopher George and Gary Raymond and those guys. I couldn’t have been more excited. Of course, they were in the parade, and I was way back in the back screaming my head off, and they were just driving by in their little machine gun jeep waving at people. But man, I was thrilled out of my mind. But, that’s sort of the same thing. I get the thrill. I was disappointed that I didn’t get to go up and shake Chris George’s hand and shoot his machine gun. I thought that maybe I’d get to drive the jeep or something. [Laughs]

I also grew up in Ohio – so I know how far that is from the glow of Hollywood. What drew you to show business?

I think everybody gets bit by the bug a little bit, so far as it’s a disease. I don’t know. I had a neighbor who was a genius. He would go on these learning jags. I was the closest kid to him his age, so he always drug me into whatever he was into. One time he got really interested in Shakespeare, and so we read the plays together and started doing some of the scenes. I really loved the plays – especially the really bloody ones, with all of the sword fights and stuff. I thought that was really cool.

And so I just kept that going, and did a couple of plays and enjoyed it. And then I did it in college. After college I thought, “Well, I should really give this a shot.” I could get it out of my system, then go back to school and get a real job. I’m still trying to get it out of my system. Then I’ll go back to Ohio and I’ll get a real job. [Laughs]

You mentioned playing with swords as a kid. Whenever you talk about Highlander, the sword training seems to be one of the things you look back on most fondly. You get to do a little bit of sword fighting in Supercon. Does it feel good to pick up a blade every now and then?

Yeah, that was definitely Zak’s idea! [Laughs] I think he said, “We’ve got to get this sword in your hands somehow.” And so they came up with a little fight for us to do.

But, yeah, that part [of Highlander] was fun. I became good friends with Bob Anderson, who was the sword master there, may he rest in peace. He was a one-of-a-kind, one of those behind-the-scenes movie legends.

Back to your Supercon character, Adam King. With most of your villains – from Lex Luthor, to Brother Justin from Carnivale – you can see the sort of twisted places they’re coming from. They’re able to justify their actions, no matter how messed up they are. With Adam King, though, there’s no reason for him to be such a jerk. What do you thinks makes him the way he is?

Well, he’s been a TV star, and sometimes that stuff can get to your head. You start to think you can run for president, or do something that you’re really not qualified to do. Maybe you start to think you’re a bigger deal than you should be, that you’re smarter than you are, that you’re better-looking than you are.

Being on TV and being a star turns your head. I don’t know that many of them – like, I ran into Scott Bakula when I was down there. I love Scott, he’s the sweetest guy in the world. He’s been a TV cop and a TV starship captain and stuff, but there’s not a whiff of Adam King in him. But you do run into guys like that, who aren’t wise enough to have a perspective on themselves. Every now and then there’s people like that. I don’t really blame them, because they have people around them always telling them how great they are.

But, Adam King, he’s a jerk. You know jerks, right? I guess people like that, they come from places of insecurity. They always need to be reassured that they’re as special as they think they are. But honestly, I didn’t really get into it too much – I was having too much fun telling the jokes, but I guess there is a discernible psychology to it. I didn’t spend too much time on it. Putzes are putzes, you know? [Laughs]

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Supercon will arrive in theaters and on VOD and Digital HD on April 27th. The DVD will hit stores on June 5th.



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David
May 3rd 2018
3:55pm

Enjoyed the interview, and great show in Supercon too.. Clancy Brown does a fantastic job.