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Swamp Shark Interviewby Pattye Grippo    

Wade Boggs, Robert Davi, Kristy Swanson, and D.B. Sweeney

This is an interview with Wade Boggs, Robert Davi, Kristy Swanson, and D.B. Sweeney on June 21, 2011 about the Syfy original movie Swamp Shark. In Swamp Shark, a killer shark is illegally released into a river in a remote Louisiana town. The crooked sheriff responsible blames a local family, who must battle the swamp shark with the help of a mysterious stranger to clear their names and prevent more townspeople from being torn to shreds.

Question:
How did each of you get involved with this project?

Robert Davi:
I got a phone call from the agents and they said, ???Hey, there's a Syfy movie called Swamp Shark.??? So I was immediately intrigued by the title because I have a 10-year-old boy where all he does on You Tube is look for swamp shark images. And him and his 10-year-old friends gather around that computer and they go, ???Wow look at this shark thing.??? So when I heard Swamp Shark I said, ???Send me the script.???

I then read the script, and I enjoyed it - it had a great sense of fun, it had a great sense of humor, it had the tradition of course of seeing a film that was shot in Louisiana in the Bayou which is a great location, a sort of a different place to put a shark and I then asked them to the directors and the producers that had some ideas about the character and they were very open to that. And the process started forward and then of course the beautiful Kristy Swanson was involved.

Kristy Swanson:
I also got a phone call from my agent to read the script and I thought that the title of it was very interesting as well. And then I heard Robert Davi was on board and I'm a big fan of him and a good friend of him and so I thought this would be a really good experience to work with him and be a part of the project. I really liked the character that I would be playing. She's a very strong female role and I'm always attracted to that and that's how I got involved.

D.B. Sweeney:
The reason I got in, I heard Wade Boggs was in and I'm a big Red Sox fan, a big baseball fan. So I had all kind of chicken recipes I wanted to try out and I had already gotten on the plane before I found out Davi was in it. It was too late to pull out.

Robert Davi:
I know. That was already signed because when I found out D.B. was in it, I was going to pull out.

D.B. Sweeney:
I know Robert and Kristy and it sounded like it was going to be a lot of fun and it certainly was. And I went to school in Louisiana for awhile, so I love that part of the country and it was just a lot of good reason to do it.

Wade Boggs:
I was in a golf tournament in Orlando with Jeff Chase and he plays the Swamp Thing, and he asked if I would be interested in doing a bit part in a movie that he was doing in Louisiana and I said, ???Absolutely.??? Being a baseball player, you're a ham any way and got an opportunity to play somebody other than myself in an acting role. So I was really looking forward to it and just had an absolute blast with meeting Robert, and D.B., and Kristy, and the whole cast. It was really a special opportunity for me.

Question:
Wade, can you talk about the similarities between the zone inside the batter's box and the zone of acting? Is there a similar focus or are they different?

Wade Boggs:
I think they're somewhat different. I know that the concentration has to be exactly the same. You have to portray an individual and people have to believe, and I think being an athlete you don't have the opportunity to say cut, Take 2, cut, Take 3, cut, Take 4. You either strike out or put the ball in play. So I think there's somewhat similarities, but by concentration. Like I said about knowing your lines and coming across, but if I had to have a druthers I just love acting. And being a baseball player you're an actor, too. You're playing in front of 45,000/50,000 people every night and so you're on stage. So basically that's the acting bug that comes out in you.

Question:
D.B., since you were in Eight Men Out earlier in your career is it extra special to be in a movie with Wade Boggs?

D.B. Sweeney:
Oh yes. He's one of the all-time greats and when I did Eight Men Out Wade was with the Red Sox at that time and his career batting average was pretty close to???that's when I was able to measure how well Shoeless Joe Jackson did in his era. One of the metrics that I could look at was that Wade was one of the dominant hitters at that time. So it was a big thrill for me. I'm sure he deals with it all the time but when you're a baseball fan I think that part of you that's 9 or 10 years old comes out when you get around the guys you watched on TV.

Question:
Syfy has obviously done a really good job with their real and their imagined monsters. They've had some really fun monsters. How does Swamp Shark sort of compare to some of the others we've seen?

Kristy Swanson:
He's a lot more different looking than any other normal shark, but to be honest I haven't seen all of those other monsters so I don't really know how to answer the question properly, you know. I've seen the movie and I think it's really great and it's really fun and it's got a lot of suspense and interesting stuff and it takes place in a really beautiful part of the country and I think that you'll really enjoy it.

Question:
Robert and D.B., you have both played some really good guys and bad guys. At this point in your careers do you have a preference?

Robert Davi:
Right now I want to sing. I'm doing an album that'll be out called "Davi Sings Sinatra" and that lets me be the good guy. But no, it's a great way to slip in a plug. It's fun playing all kinds of characters if they're fun and interesting and whether it's good guy or a bad guy. And you know, this was fun for me because I played a guy that was kind of like going back East but then move to the Bayou for the last 25 years. I had an uncle that did that. He had the strangest accent, so I kind of like fashioned it after him and it was fun to do that. I'm open to all kinds of interesting characters.

D.B. Sweeney:
I think a lot of times playing a bad guy is more fun I think because you got to stir the pot the protagonist often has to walk a sort of straighter line. When you're the bad guy anything goes. You're not constrained in the same way as the guy who's in every scene and the audience has to sort of root for.

Question:
Wade, the acting thing, where did that come from for you?

Wade Boggs:
Actually my first acting job was Cheers in 1986. I did an episode playing myself during the bar wars when Gary's Old Town Tavern and Cheers were going back at it and exchanging good fun and trickery and things of that nature. So that was my first acting job and went on to do a guest on Simpsons and actually I just finished up an episode on Psych up in Vancouver about two weeks ago.

I love acting, but once it bites you it sort of consumes you and it's something that I'd like to pursue a little bit more. Not only playing myself, but I like going into character. I like trying various accents and things of that nature trying to come up with a Louisiana do dat Cajun accent a little out of the ordinary. But yes I love acting and I respect each and every actor and actress that does a role very well and my hat's off to all of them.

Kristy Swanson:
And Wade acting loves you because you were great in the movie.

Wade Boggs:
Oh thank you.

Question:
What would you say was the most challenging aspect of filming Swamp Shark?

Kristy Swanson:
The weather. It's really hot in Lafayette, Louisiana in June and that's what it was year. It was so hot. I think that was the most challenging was just the heat and sort of working on boats and near the water is always a challenge. So that was the toughest for me.

Robert Davi:
For me it was staying away from the rich Cajun food let me tell you. They had some great crayfish down there and Etouffee and all that good stuff. Everything is fried. I love the heat and I love the humidity of that even though it was tough because it's part of the character, you know. So you could of like meld into that for me. Any time an actor can have a condition, like when I did Stargate Atlantis, we had these scenes where we were in the rain and it was terrible, it was horrific, but I enjoyed it because you're in the elements. You don't have to act it it's there so this whole experience and the gorgeousness of the Bayou. We had a terrific director Griff Furst and producers and Louis and Tim that made things as comfortable as possible for us down there. And it was just a blast.

Wade Boggs:
Well as far as I was concerned, I was inside the jail and it was 125 degrees in there. And probably the most difficult part was keeping my makeup on. I didn't want my makeup to run too much.

Robert Davi:
You wore makeup, Wade?

Wade Boggs:
Absolutely, absolutely.

Robert Davi:
Oh that image just destroyed a whole week for me.

Wade Boggs:
I was trying to keep the fake blood on my nose and that was the most difficult part. I was sweating so bad and trying to keep the blood on my nose after I got punched out by the swamp thing.

Robert Davi:
Here it is macho Wade Boggs wearing makeup. It's like what Robert Mitchum said, ???There are no actors only actresses.???

Wade Boggs:
Perfect.

D.B. Sweeney:
I had a great time driving the boat around. I like it when they let me either drive a car or drive a motorcycle on a blocked off road. That's kind of the funniest thing, but acting in this case we had this great boat that I got to drive around and the biggest challenge was to drive it really high speed and keep Kristy from puking.

Kristy Swanson:
Yes. Remember I nicknamed you Captain Crunch.

D.B. Sweeney:
Well we were on a tight schedule and there were a lot of shots where I had to drive up to the dock and it was a shark chasing after you. You can't come in like under full safety with flags or anything. You have to sort of come in kind of hot. So we ran up on more than one dock.

Question:
Wade you already talked about this, but can the rest of you talk about how you got started in acting?

Robert Davi:
Sure. I always wanted to act as a kid and in fourth grade I did a play, George Washington Slept Here, where I played Sam the black butler. I was typecast from the beginning. So I was a character actor from the beginning so then I wound up getting the buck for it and the teachers in my school were encouraging my parents to put me in the arts and then I wound up in high school winning a lot of awards for dramatic interpretation, for singing, and first place in New York State. Then got a scholarship to Hofstra and then studied with Stella Adler and then went off to the Actor Studio and studied with Miser and Chekoff and all these guys and then did my first film and then they put me under Kaiser at Columbia. The rest is either uphill or downhill. However you want to look at it.

D.B. Sweeney:
After I won American Idol it was sort of a natural progression for me. You know, I didn't really want to have a recording contract so I thought, you know what I'll just go take a job from a real actor so that's what I did. No I started out in New York. I just started on theatre, I never thought they'd let me into Hollywood, or movie, or TV.

Kristy Swanson:
I guess my background is similar to Davi. I started when I was very young. I was pretty much always performing, acting, anything I could get my hands on when I was a little girl 6 years old doing any church plays or musicals that were going on or community stuff or school stuff. And then I had some friends that did commercials in Hollywood and I talked to their mom and I got their mom and my mom to talk and I said ???I could do what those kids do on TV. I want to do that.???

And my parents were school teachers from Orange County. They're like Hollywood let's just say knew nothing about it. They didn't want me to get involved with it, but after me persisting and persisting they finally just decided okay well we'll send some pictures to those agencies - this children's agency which is Mary O'Grady Agency. And they asked me to be a client and I went on my first audition in the next day and I got the job and then I got the second job, and then I missed the third but got the fourth. So I was kind of on a roll right at the beginning when I was 9 years old and I just been doing that every since so 32 years later it's just kind of like all I know. That's what I do and I love it.

Question:
You all talked about what was hard about filming the movie. What was your favorite part?

Kristy Swanson:
My favorite part was the cast and the crew and the directors and producers, everybody involved in the project. Seeing them everyday and working with them everyday, you know. I mean we were in some extreme heat down in the swamp with lots of bugs so there were tough elements and stuff. But everyone made it a lot of fun and we had a lot of laughs and just always had the upbeat, you know. So that was the most fun for me was working with everyone.

Wade Boggs:
I'd ditto that. When you're behind the scenes and watching how everything comes together and not really knowing what the final product's going to really look at and how your segment is going to blend in with everything else and then because I haven't seen the final episode yet - the final product. So this is going to be all news to me Saturday when I look at it so.

Robert Davi:
You're not in the picture, Wade. They took you out.

Wade Boggs:
It won't be the first time I wind up on the editing floor. But it was just working with extreme professionals and finding how the things behind the scenes work and how much preparation and everything goes into it. It was just a tremendous experience.

D.B. Sweeney:
I think it's always fun. I mean I read sometimes actors talking about how hard it was to do their part. I mean it's a long day. Yes, you might work 12 hours or some movies you work 14. So we were pretty much tied to daylight so there's only about 12 hours of that. So it's never really hard like a manual labor job but it can be stressful and so it's good when you have good people around you like Kristy, and Robert, and Wade, and Jeff Chase and Griff. Griff, the Director was really good at keeping things kind of light and we had a lot of laughs so it was definitely one of the fun ones. There's jobs that you kind of like looking at the schedule and counting down the days until you get the airport and get away from all these people and then there's jobs like this where you're kind of sad that it's over.

Robert Davi:
You had the whole experience I guess like I said being in the Bayou, the people down there. Like what Kristy said: the cast, the crew, the support team from director to producers. Also the most fun was interacting with some of the Cajun locals. We shot this one location that's terrific that's off the swamp. I forget what it's called, but it's like the guy that had been generations down there Cajun, Louisiana and hearing some of the folklore. You know, you go to a place and you learn about that and that's what the audience will get to experience that because I think they really showed the Bayou in the picture. Griff did a good job opening it up and showing that there and then watching D.B. sweat. I had a blast watching him sweat.

Question:
Wade and Kristy, could you talk about Psych, D.B. about Harsh Realm, and Robert about Stargate?

Wade Boggs:
I just filmed an episode that's been I think a couple of weeks ago for Psych and played myself. I was come in as a hitting coach and the guys were trying to figure out a murder at the baseball field, so it was me written into the scenario of coming in and being a friend of the guy that, sort of don't want to give too much of it away but the guy that winds up killing everybody. But it's going to be a cute episode and it was fun to be on set and really figure out how another episode works.

Kristy Swanson:
I had just shot up there in Canada with the Psych guys a couple of weeks before Wade doing an episode about the vampire episode where I'm the main vampire suspect and it's going be their Halloween episode. And I mean I never had so much fun other than Swamp Shark of course, but I had a blast on Psych. They're a great group of guys, they're super fun. You know, so it was a really great experience and now I'm looking forward to the fact that Wade's going to be on it this year. That's great.

D.B. Sweeney:
I loved doing the Harsh Realm. The show that you mentioned is one of my favorite jobs that I've ever had. It was Chris Carter, the guy who created the X Files and came up with it and it was sort of a Matrix meets - I guess Chris used to say it was Matrix meets the Paths of Glory, but Matrix wasn't really out yet so we kind of were making it at the same time and they beat us to the bunch.

But it's a computer simulated world and I got to play a real kind of swashbuckling character and it's the same kind of thing. It's like if you have a shark in a Bayou you don't have to worry about what's the reality here. You know, you can sort of use your imagination more than have worry about him. I do it exact way that they do it in the real world. You know, if you're in a computer simulation whatever you say is reality so. You know, and it was great working with Terry O'Quinn and Samantha Mathis some really great people on that show. And I was disappointed that it got whacked after nine episodes.

One of those ones. But I think the DVDs are out. You can get it on Netflix and I think it's one of those shows that really stands up. They spent a lot of dough on it and I think it looks pretty good and I hope people check it out who haven't seen it.

Robert Davi:
And Stargate is again one of those things where my 10-year-old boy loves Syfy and I've never really done a lot of like space stuff. But he loves Stargate thing so he came along and I wound up doing a bunch of these episodes for the Stargate Atlantis which was just a blast. The whole crew up there in Vancouver is great, the show is terrific, and my character was a lot of fun to play. I've done a series before with Wise Guy and then Profiler for 4-1/2 years and this was the first Syfy experience and it was a lot of fun. I enjoyed it.

Question:
What was your first impression when you saw the Swamp Shark creature?

Robert Davi:
The first impression is the shark's that in the water they got to do some CGI effects for. We didn't get to see the final CGI stuff until later on, but they had something in there that looked, at least if you looked on the surface, was a little bit scary for you. You know, it was better than I see at Universal on the ride that kids go on and get terrified on. And they did the CGI stuff and had what they had. hat's funny is that there have been spottings now of sharks in the Bayou. Yes I saw it on AOL a couple about two months ago. There are sharks that have been in the rivers or in the Bayous that they've never seen before so how out there is this concept is what's funny to me.

Question:
As we all know with Jaws there were legendary reports of the shark not working properly for Steven Spielberg. Did you guys have any of those of problems with the Swamp Shark creature?

Kristy Swanson:
Yes I believe we did.

Question:
CGI. It's there's not really a mechanical shark like they had. It's mostly computer generated so I hate to break to the people who think it's a real one but.

Kristy Swanson:
We had a puppet head that we worked with. It was more like this just a head that would come from the water up to the surface and then it had tubes with blood in them coming out the teeth that kind of thing. But the rest of it is mostly all CGI.

Question:
Wade, since you've accomplished so much in baseball and you're now in a fun movie like this, what motivates you today in terms of filling that void of being on the field?

Wade Boggs:
Well actually the one thing that for a few years defined the adrenaline that I tried to accomplish with baseball, I went to Africa and would chase animals around over in Africa and lions, and leopards, and elephants, and things of that nature. But I think that the acting bug can fill that void of sort of getting back into that being an actor because I'd said in the previous question that athletes are entertainers. Question:
And D.B. do sports fill a certain void for you away from the screen?

D.B. Sweeney:
I love playing hockey and I love playing golf and yes. I mean I grew up doing all of that stuff and I enjoy acting. It's my job and when it's over yes I get a big kick out of playing hockey these days and I wish I was a better golfer but I don't mind hacking around the course a little bit. So I don't know if it's a void but it's definitely something I enjoy.

Question:
Kristy, you really open up the door for the female action star. What sort of feedback do you get from your contemporaries?

Kristy Swanson:
I don't know what kind of response from the industry and I think that any time that a role is written like that it's a strong female role it's great for any actress to be able to play that kind of role. It means a lot to do that. So, I think all actresses that are out there that are doing those kinds of roles are enjoying it. I enjoy it.

Robert Davi:
I think she's being modest. I know a lot of young actresses they say, ???You did a movie with Kristy Swanson???? And these are girls 23, 24, 25 and they're all like, very respectful of Kristy and how she - that thing you just brought up in terms of being one of the strong female characters out there. So she is being modest on that.

Kristy Swanson:
Maybe, maybe. No, I've always gotten really good feedback from the fans. Buffy still plays really well, 20 years later. There's a lot of young girls that they love that character. She's in high school and she's strong and she's out there killing vampires and they really enjoy it and they look up to it. And that means a lot to me because that's giving them self-confidence.

Question:
What would be your ultimate dream world or is there someone specific you'd want to work with?

Kristy Swanson:
That question always stumps me because there's so many great actors out there that I would love to work. I don't have one particular dream. I don't know.

D.B. Sweeney:
Yes, it's a hard to say. I mean there's some great directors that I really enjoy. I've gotten to work with some of the people that I really admitted already so I don't really have like a long list, you know. But to me it's always like what's the role. Is there something that you haven't done before so that's kind of how I think about it. I know that's not a very good sound bite, but it's reality.

Question:
Do you have any unusual stories that may have happened during filming or anything kind of weird or bizarre perhaps?

Robert Davi:
The one weird story I had was they have this place I forget what it's called, but they make these crayfishes right. You know, you have this crayfish. You know, I remember having crayfish in LA in New Orleans when I've been there. You know, you have a few on the plate but I said, ???Can I get them to go???? ???How many pounds do you want???? ???What do you mean how many pounds do I want? I just want a couple of crayfish.??? She said, ???We order it by the pounds??? and they was 5 pound increments or something like. So all of a sudden a fish gets put on the table of crayfish that are mounded about 2 feet high.

And this is how they eat the crayfish like this because they're not big, you know what I mean? They're like - they have a little meat, but now that to me was just a unique experience. You know, I'm Italian. I've seen a spaghetti pile like that, but never crayfish so. It was amusing, tasty, and fun.

D.B. Sweeney:
The last restaurant I went to with Robert Davi was an interesting experience because Robert really knows food and is a very specific food that they're making down there in Lafayette, Louisiana and it's fantastic. But I don't think it's the stuff that Robert grew up with.

Robert Davi:
No, it wasn't necessarily I didn't know some of the stuff. Although there were the Italian and French influence is on the food but it was very delicious and we went to this Greek restaurant quite a bit, remember?

D.B. Sweeney:
Yes. That was great.

Robert Davi:
There was a Greek restaurant, but the Cajun food was with the catfish and stuff like that was all. I didn't do the alligator and the frogs. Didn't do that, but the crayfish mounded there 2 feet high was quite impressive looking and kind of like bite the head and suck the tail or something like that so.

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