It’s becoming a bit of a joke. The man hasn’t made a legitimate mainstream movie since 2001 (2006 if you count the digital experiment INLAND EMPIRE) and yet he remains one of the most highly regarded and beloved auteurs in all of film. His past efforts include masterworks such as Mulholland Dr., Lost Highway, Wild at Heart, Blue Velvet, The Elephant Man, and Eraserhead, and even his lesser efforts (Dune, The Straight Story, to some extent) radiate an artistic immediacy that is hard to shake.
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Born in Chicago, he splashed onto the scene, suddenly, like a successfully launched Apollo space capsule, his rat-a-tat reflexes and verbal gymnastics taking more than one mid-‘70s TV viewer aback. No one had ever seen someone like Robin Williams before, a Julliard-trained shaggy haired hippie holdover in a cherry red alien outfit who acted like he was indeed from another planet.
He was part Chaplin, part Pryor, an ad-libbing maniac who tossed every imaginable idea, accent, social taboo, and current event talking point into a blender, mixing them up in his mind to then blather on non-stop, weaving his own Rumpelstiltskin like web of mischievous comedic gold. After being introduced on the popular sitcom Happy Days, Williams received his own spin-off shot at stardom, the surreal laugher about an extraterrestrial and his platonic bond with an Earth girl entitled Mork and Mindy. A huge hit, it wasn’t long afterwards that film came calling for the then 29-year-old “overnight sensation.”
For a certain generation, he will always be the quick-witted, adroit cardshark Bret Maverick in Maverick. His slick, snide persona left a major impact, even after he walked at the end of the third season (the show ran for another two years).
For others, he remains the laid back beach bum private dick Jim Rockford, a problem-plagued PI whose questionable abilities were quelled by his flashy (?) fashion sense, beachside mobile home office/residence, street savvy, and complicated backstory (he served time in prison on a wrongful conviction). Audiences loved this Maverick-like update (co-producer Roy Huggins was responsible for both shows) and it set a standard for which actor James Garner would be both grateful and a bit glum.
Bernard Robichaud may be best known for his role on the Trailer Park Boys movie and series as Cyrus, the antagonist to the Ricky, Julian, and Bubbles protagonists. Cyrus is back in both the new season and the new movie (Trailer Park Boys 3: Don’t Legalize It slated for a release on—you guessed it—4/20) and has teamed up with another villain in the cast, Sam “Caveman” Losco, for double trouble for the boys.
PopMatters had a chance to speak with Bernard Robichaud over the phone before the holidays, and he filled everyone in on the lowdown on the set of Trailer Park Boys, the best ways to stay fit, current and upcoming projects (such as a double appearance on Jason Priestley’s Call Me Fitz holiday special), and his metaphor for a chain link fence.
Button down the hatches! Warm up the TV! Stock up on the NoDoz and insert the catheter! This year’s annual presentation of the Academy Awards is only (believe it or not!) a few weeks away and that means that this coming Sunday night is pretty much already shot to hell. In ways of predictions, let me just go out on a limb and state that the show is going to be long and full of mind-numbing stretches of unrelenting boredom.