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Friday, November 6, 2009

A Very Special Interview: Shootin' The Shizz with Clayton Rohner (Part One)

Back in the 1980's, I spent a lot of time in front of the television watching music videos on MTV, or teen comedies and skin flicks on HBO. There was one movie specifically that seemed to run on HBO daily about six times a week. And this movie was so entertaining, that I'd always stop everything I was doing to watch it every time it was on. The movie I'm referring to is Just One Of The Guys. Released in 1985, Just One Of The Guys didn't do very well in the box office, but gained a brand new life on cable. The premise of the movie is pretty simple. An attractive high school student named Terri is aspiring to be a professional journalist who wants to be taken seriously. So she attempts to write an award winning article about integrating herself at a new school disguised as a guy to prove she could pull it off and to write a kick-ass story. She gets some tips from her wise-ass brother Buddy such as how to talk, walk, and grab your crotch like a man. Along the way she falls in love with a nice guy named Rick, and then the shenanigans start as she helps Rick become cool while also falling in love with him.

You couldn't ask for a better 80's movie. It had a great soundtrack with original tracks from Ronnie Spector, The Spinners, and Brock/Davis (trust me, their song Hard Way is fantastic!) It had great one-liners. It had beautiful women like Joyce Hyser and Deborah Goodrich. It featured one of the greatest nude scenes of all time (check out the youtube link below!). And of course the movie featured the one and only William Zabka as the bad boy, Greg Tolan. Although the movie also featured a young Sherilyn Fenn, Arye Gross, and Billy Jacoby (of Parker Lewis Can't Lose fame), the actor who really stood out in the movie was Clayton Rohner. Rohner was cast as the male lead Rick Morehouse, and he nailed it out of the park with his performance. Although his other JOOTG castmates seemed to disappear from the public eye , Clayton Rohner continued to stay busy making guest spots on a few hit television series and some other feature films. You might have seen him on classic shows such as 90210, Star Trek: The Next Generation, CSI, and many others. In fact, he's still popping up on current shows like Castle and Dollhouse. His other films include April Fools Day and The Relic. To see his complete list of credits, check out his IDMB resume here. It always brought a smile to my face when Clayton Rohner's showed up on TV, which brought back memories of Just One Of The Guys. Did you know that even to this day, Just One Of The Guys is still one of my top 25 movies of all time?

When I found out that Clayton Rohner was going to be appearing at the latest Chiller Theatre show, my adrenaline started pumping. There were so many questions I wanted to ask him about Just One Of The Guys and his career. Since I started writing, I figured what better way to get this blog rolling than to land an interview with one of my favorite actors. So I tested a recording device for my iPod, which to my delight actually was easy to figure out how to use. I then contacted his management agency to inform them that I'd like to schedule an interview with Clayton Rohner so he was prepared. I was soon informed that my information was inaccurate and had reached out to his former management company who no longer represented him. Okay, so I would meet and greet him and ask if he would sit and down and talk with me. When I entered the Chiller Show, he was the first celebrity that I had to meet. I went up to his table and professed my love of his work and Just One Of The Guys and mentioned I had reached out to his former management company. He was so gracious and thrilled that somebody was so anxious to meet him, and indicated that he would be more than willing to sit down with me and discuss his career. Usually there is a lot of red tape when trying to nail these interviews. Not with Clayton Rohner. When I returned an hour after our initial conversation to start interviewing him, he was ready to go.

I have been blessed with a lot of great experiences in life, and have met a lot of celebrities who have brought smiles to my face over the years. Interviewing Clayton Rohner might have been one of my greatest achievements. Lucky for me, I have a good wealth of pop culture knowledge so I could interview him without any notes or having done prior research. It was my first real interview with an actor, and if I made any mistakes along the way, I would at least learn for next time. Clayton Rohner was a class act, and our conversation worked because it came off as casual and "real". Below is the original audio file with a basic Chiller introduction and the raw interview with Clayton Rohner. I'm hoping to have it edited for Monday, but wanted to at least get the conversation up today.

For more information about Clayton Rohner, check out Let's cross our fingers that Clayton Rohner can nab a starring role on a TV series in 2010 that sticks around. Or maybe he'll even land another film role. Imagine if he won an Emmy or Oscar for his work? Hey, stranger things have happened!! Enjoy my chat session with Clayton Rohner, and let me know if you enjoyed it as much as I did making it happen.

Mikey: Before we get into Just One Of The Guys, I'd like to know how you got started as an actor and what were you acting in before you got your first feature? Were you doing the usual daytime soaps?
Clayton: I started acting and getting some roles in the early 80s. I had small roles on Hill Street Blues, and TJ Hooker.

Mikey: Getting to Just One Of The Guys, which you mentioned previously was your first feature.
Clayton: Yeah.
Mikey: How did you get the role, did you have to audition for the part?
Clayton: Well here's what happened, I said that I had come back from New York, and didn't have any representation because I had been studying there for a year and half. I cut my ties with everybody and came back to LA. I was looking around and didn't want to do TV, but people were telling me that they wanted me to do TV, blah blah blah. I had met Judd Nelson at an audition, and we became best friends. His girlfriend at the time was the manager of Joyce Hyser (Terri, the female lead in Just One Of The Guys) and they kept looking for this guy and looking for this guy, and they mentioned my name. They threw my name in the hat, and it's funny it ended up being between myself and James LeGros. We had these dueling auditions back and forth and back and forth and back and forth for the part. Then I ended up getting it, although James had gone on to do great things.
Mikey: (Laughing)

Mikey: So when you were filming Just One Of The Guys, how long was the shoot?
Clayton: I think it was six weeks, or a standard six to eight weeks in Phoenix.
Mikey: Oh yeah, it was in Phoenix.
Clayton: Yeah, yeah.

Mikey: Were there any shenanigans on set?
Clayton: Well, Billy Jacoby (Buddy, the comedic genius in Just One Of The Guys) was under 18, I think it was more like 15, I don't think he could drive. And he got in all kinds of trouble because his chaperone was his older sister, and she didn't give a crap. And oh my god, he was after every girl on the set. And I wouldn't be surprised if he got successful with a couple of them. He was ladies man, that kid, I swear to God.
Mikey: Did he hook up with Sherilyn Fenn?
Clayton: I don't know. I think she was dating Chris Penn at the time.
Mikey: Oh really?
Clayton: And he came out to visit her.
Mikey: That's awesome.

Mikey: In terms of the James Brown stuff that I asked you about earlier, you mentioned that James Brown actually came out to show you how to dance. What was that all about?
Clayton:Yeah, five days. They hired him as a dance couch, I couldn't believe it. Paramount spared no expense and he was absolutely crazy. But he was.. It was hard to learn from James Brown because he doesn't have a lot of patience, but it was fun. I mean how many times do you get to sit and shoot the shit with James Brown for eight hours a day?
Mikey: Did he teach you how to dance, remember, Terri wanted to see you dance, but you wouldn't because you were too ashamed. Did he teach you how to dance for the end of the movie?
Clayton: No, no. I want to mention something here. We filmed a huge dance sequence there.
Mikey: Oh, did you really?
Clayton: Yeah, and they filmed it so poorly that the cinematographer couldn't use it.
Mikey: Really?
Clayton: I had the dance moves down. I could do all James Brown's moves down and they just didn't cover it. The DP, you know it was the time of Footloose and all that and you didn't just want to put out something that wasn't filmed up to snuff. We should have gotten a specialty DP for that section.
Mikey: Hmm, interesting.

Mikey: Now in terms of your cast mates, everybody loved William Zabka back in the 80's. (Zabka played the villian, Greg Tolan. You probably know him best as Johnny Lawrence from The Karate Kid) How was he to work with?
Clayton: He was great, you know. He was a born-again Christian. All the girls wanted to sleep with him, and all he wanted to do was sing them songs and hang out.
Mikey: Really?
Clayton: Yeah, he was such a good kid. I played the good kid and I was probably the worst or maybe Billy Jacoby. And he was supposed to be the bad guy and he was an angel.
Mikey: That's interesting.
Clayton: Yeah, sweetest guy ever.
Mikey: Do you still keep in touch with him?
Clayton: Bumped into him, but not really too much. I don't know, is he still acting?
Mikey:Actually I think he was nominated for an Oscar a few years ago for a documentary.
Clayton: Did he direct it?
Mikey: Yeah, he directed it a short film, but he didn't win. I was pretty impressed. I wanted to see him win and go up to accept but he didn't win.
Clayton: I bumped into Billy (Zabka) at the Y, but I moved so I don't go to that Y anymore.
Mikey: Oh really?

Mikey: Now in terms of Deborah Goodrich (Goodrich played the attractive babe Deborah Stroubridge) who kind of disappeared. I know she was with you in April Fools Day as well if I'm not mistaken.
Clayton: She was great, we ended up being friends for a little while but things got kinda weird. I know she got married and had a baby. I don''t know if she moved out of the city to raise the kid. A lot of people do that, move out of L.A. when they have kids.
Mikey: Interesting (yes, I seem to say this a lot during the interview? Weird!)

Mikey: Back to Sherilyn Fenn. In your scenes with her, did you know at the time she was going to be a breakout star?
Clayton: Such a breakout star. We had no idea.
Mikey: No idea?
Clayton:: She was just really sweet. That character, she was really that sweet. She was.
Mikey: (Laughing) Interesting (See, there I go again!)

Mikey: And of course Joyce Hyser?
Clayton: She was great. You know there was not one bit of bad blood on that whole thing. I think the hardest part was the casting process. And then that was it. We all had a really really good time.

Mikey: In terms of choreographing the fight scenes at the end of the movie between you and William Zabka. If you watch them now, they look pretty bad. (Laughing)
Clayton: You know, what's upsetting is that I took a much better fall over that fence than the bad stunt double did. And that's what pisses me off.
Mikey: Really?
Clayton: I did better stunts than the stunt guy did and they used that.
Mikey: Wow! That's amazing.
Clayton: You know the punch was bad. There was one angle where he hits me. (interrupted by Clayton's fans)
Clayton: You know, I just thought the stunt double did a real poor job and I was upset about that. Because I pride myself on doing as much stunts as I could. I was a young guy, there's no reason not to.

So in terms of the famous scene that you have been signing tons of autographs with He's Got Tits (the infamous scene when Terri reveals to Rick that she's really a girl and reveals her breasts), did you know that was coming, that it would be filmed? Did they want your surprise reaction?
Clayton: Yes I knew and I insisted on filming it over and over and over again until we got it right.
Mikey: How do you think that movie got a PG-13? In those days that movie had nudity and was PG-13.
Clayton: No, were they able to do that?
Mikey: Yes, that movie was PG-13 and you got to see boobs. Now, that would never happen.
Clayton: Maybe they were considered a work of art and not anything sexual. They were so beautiful. She was gorgeous.

Mikey: Supposedly there was a sequel made, did you know that? Just One Of The Girls?
Clayton: Was that the weird soccer thing?
Mikey: I don't remember exactly what it was, but it was a sequel where a guy dressed up as a girl and it was like a spinoff of Just One Of The Guys but it never went anywhere.
Clayton: Was it a guy dressing up as a girl?
Mikey:It was called Just One Of The Girls or something like that (Yes, there was a movie called Anything For Love aka Just One Of The Girls back in 1993 starring Corey Haim. And he had to dress up as a girl to avoid being bullied. Yikes!) Do you remember that movie?
Clayton: I have no recollection. Sorry officer, I have no recollection.

Mikey: So back in the 80's when Just One Of The Guys was on HBO every hour, did you ever see money from that?
Clayton:Yeah, like seventeen cents every time it showed. It paid well for awhile but actually you know, movies back then even paid better back then than they do now in terms of residuals.
Mikey: I can imagine.
Clayton: Residuals now are tough on cable. At least then it was on cable and we got good money for it.

Mikey: So now that Just One Of The Guys is pretty much legendary, is there anything else we should know about the movie in terms of production, information that you can't find on-line. If a Just One Of The Guys fan went on-line and wanted to find out information about the movie, they really can't get that information. Any production notes or things we should know about?
Clayton: You mean in terms of stuff that happened?
Mikey: Yeah, like were there any stories to tell on-set? You mentioned the relationships were terrific between you and the cast.
Clayton: It's funny because Joyce Hyser had been dating Bruce Springsteen before and he was doing a concert there and we all went to the concert and had a really fun time.
Mikey: That's pretty cool.
Clayton: Yeah, Bruce got a little jealous when we had to do the kissing scene even though they weren't even dating.

You know this is my first show, I still haven't gotten this down.
Mikey: Yeah, I was going to ask you that. I don't remember you being at any of the other shows.
Clayton: Yeah, I've never been to one. This is my first show.
Mikey: How about this? Let's say I was able to arrange a Just One Of The Guys reunion show, do you think it could happen?
Clayton:m You know what, it would be a great show. People love that silly movie. I would think that here at Chiller If I brought a big sign and had Joyce sitting next to me, we would have cleaned up.
Mikey: You absolutely would.
Clayton: I think she would do it. I think I could get her to do it. I don't know if I could Billy Zabka or Billy Jacoby, but I could definitely get her.
Mikey: That would be awesome.
Clayton: We were the two leads, so that would be cool.
Mikey: Yeah, the problem with that is that Just One Of The Guys is a movie a lot of people like, but how are you going to make money promoting that show.
Clayton: No, maybe not. But, wait are any of these shows not all Sci-Fi, I mean.
Mikey: They aren't all Sci-Fi, I mean Ann Marget is here.
Clayton: No, I know. Joyce could have come here to this one.
Mikey: Yeah, it makes sense. Next time you should come with her.
Clayton: I should bring her to the next Chiller. You knust the name Chiller denotes you know.
Mikey: Yeah.

Mikey: Just One Of The Guys unfortunately when the DVD came out, there was no DVD commentary or anything. That's why we don't know much about the production of the movie. Was there ever talk of re-releasing the movie like an anniversary edition?
Clayton: I've never thought about that. You know it's strange to me what gets re-released and what doesn't. It seems to be who knows who. I mean, it's ripe. That movie has been shown and played on TV more than a lot of other movies. And Comedy Central got a hold of it and played the crap out of it.

1 comment:

  1. This is a a great interview. I'm six years late to comment but I found this because people magazine's website (and some others) are covering Just One Of The Guy's 30th anniversary.