Fang=Fangoria Karen=James Karen
Fang: How did you nab the shady businessman role in Poltergeist?
Karen: In Capricorn One, I played the Vice President of the United States and thanks to that part, I got the role in Poltergeist. I was away at the time and my agent called me and asked where I knew Steven Spielberg from. I had never met the man before. She told me that he had a part for me and had already made an offer. About a week after we started shooting, I asked Steven why he hired me. He told me he was watching Capricorn One on TV at just about the same time he was going to cast Teague. He said he saw me and liked my smarmy quality! Poltergeist was heaven to do.
Fang: Can you shed any additional light on the controversy concerning who directed Poltergeist?
Karen: The truth of the matter, rather my truth of the matter is this: Steven Spielberg has certainly proven himself a great director, producer and cinema genius. Tobe Hooper is also a wonderful director. Both are fascinating and complex men. There was a clash, but they have certainly solved their artistic problems and are friends. I'm not trying to keep my nose clean on this. . . I mean it truly. I'm sorry they had all that trouble. I've just finished Invaders from Mars with Tobe. I love him and I would work for him anywhere. Unfortunately, people just love to make gossip about movie people. It's too bad, but I adore both of them.
Fang: Prior to Poltergeist, had you heard of Tobe Hooper?
Karen: Only Texas Chainsaw Massacre. On Poltergeist, I worked two weeks and I didn't know what all the special FX would be. Do you remember the imploding of the house? Of course, that effect didn't happen in front of me. I asked them what I would be looking at during that scene. All they had were lights flashing. Steven told me to try and think of the worst thing that ever happened in my life because that is what's going to happen, what the audience will see. I used a technique called sense memory that recalls specific moments and emotions. So, I remembered an incident in World War II that I saw happen on an airplane. I conjured it up in my mind and it brought tears. That's what the camera saw in my face and that's what they used.
Fang: Where were the sandpit scenes shot? The original used only a studio.
Karen: They built a huge sandpit in Simi Valley, California, about two miles from where the homes were built in Poltergeist.
will near completion of principal photography by the time you read this, under the stewardship of Brian Gibson (director of the punk-rock musical Breaking Glass.) The screenplay, by Mark Victor and Michael Grais (Spielberg's collaborators on the original), reunites the Freeling family, with the exception of the elder daughter played by the late Dominique Dunne–her character, the script explains, is off at college.
Richard Edlund refers to the ongoing effects work as "the most complex effects sequences ever undertaken": aiding in the visualizations of some of the darker aspects of "the other side" is Alien Oscar winner H.R. Giger. The target release date is summer of 1986.
Poor Heather O'Rourke. They've just called to say they want her again in Poltergeist II:The Other Side. The skies are stormy (as the production art shows), but the spirits are unwilling to cease their haunting hostilities–against the Freeling family (Craig T. Nelson, JoBeth Williams, Oliver Robins, O'Rourke). They know what scares you–and it premieres this month.
to scare you again. 'Poltergeist 3' starts production April 6 as another installment of the 1982 ghost story. Returning are Heather O'Rourke as the terrified little girl and Zelda Rubinstein as the psychic. Missing are JoBeth Williams and Craig T.Nelson as the terrified parents. The film will be shot on location in Chicago.
© USA Today
JoBeth Williams, who battled spirits in Poltergeist and Poltergeist II, has given some advice to Nancy Allen, who's starring in Poltergeist III.
"I ran into Nancy...and I said, 'You'd better be in great shape, because these movies really take it out on you.'"
Williams said she and Craig T. Nelson, her movie hubby, "had hesitations about doing even the first sequel. Much as I'm grateful for what the movies...did for my career, we felt we'd gone about as far as those characters would go."
Williams says Allen, star of ex-husband Brian De Palma's thrillers, will play her sister, who takes care of young Heather O'Rourke. Tom Skerritt is the male star.
© USA Today
Special effects became especially affecting Wednesday morning on the Illinois set of "Poltergeist III" when an explosive charge meant to blow up six cars triggered a blaze that caused an estimated $250,000 damage to an office building. Two firefighters and an maintenance man were slightly injured and about 150 members of the movie crew had to be evacuated from an underground parking garage beneath the office building, said Tomy Barton, chief of the Fire Protection Agency in Oakbrook Terrace, Ill. Oakbrook Terrace is a suburb located about 25 miles west of Chicago. When the fire got out of hand, a full contingent of 25 firefighters and six pieces of equipment were brought in. The fire burned so hot that the concrete in the parking garage cracked, Barton said.
© the Los Angeles Times
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