Interview with actor Wayne Rogers

Myself and Wayne

Wayne Rogers is an actor who has done it all, from television to film, as well as the stage. He is a highly skilled performer who has also served as executive producer on a number of films. His first prominent acting roles were in such popular 1950's television shows such as "Gunsmoke", "The Fugitive" and "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" however the character he will best be remember for is that of Captain "Trapper John" McIntyre from 1972-1975 on the hit television show MASH. In the years after leaving that show he appeared in a number of made for TV movies, as well as guest appearances in such television shows as Cannon, Murder She Wrote and The Larry Sanders Show. At 66 years of age Wayne looks amazingly young and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Prior to wrapping up filming on the movie Frozen With Fear, shot here in Fredericton, I had a chance to talk to this gifted actor.

GB- Have you enjoyed your stay here in Fredericton?

WR -I loved it. I think it's lovely. The most amazing part of it is that you haven't had any snow. It was like spring a couple of days ago. I'm very lucky when it comes to weather. We were shooting a picture in Paris once and generally in the latter part of September and October a large cloud moves in over Paris and anchors itself to the Eiffel Tower. We had to shoot in the "Bois de Boulongne", in the beautiful area around there. It was sunny the entire time but the day I left ‘bingo' they had a snowstorm.

GB - Have you had a chance to get out much and see some of the city here?

WR-We have been working strange hours where we work till about eleven or twelve at night. That sort of bites into your fun time. I understand there is a move on to attract production here which is very smart because in Toronto and Vancouver, you think about the amount of dollars. There is a big cry in California to stop everyone from running to Canada. They're not going to stop that. I made a movie last year in Prague in the Czech Republic. A remake of "Jack the Ripper" called " Love Lies Bleeding" which should be out soon. People in Hollywood are going make pictures where ever it's the least expensive to make them. In fact I made a Canadian picture in Jamaica three or four years ago because the Jamaican dollar at that time was selling for twenty nine cents versus the Canadian dollar, so for 2.9 million you got a 10 million dollar picture.

GB- Tell me about your role in the movie Frozen With Fear?

WR-This is the story of a woman who is going crazy. I play the husband and Bo Derek plays my wife and you realize later near the end of the picture I'm really driving her crazy. I'm really a villain but hopefully the audience won't believe that till they get to the end of the picture. Villains never know they are villains in a picture so I play this like I'm the nicest guy in the world.

GB- Have you enjoyed working with Bo Derek on this film?

WR-She is wonderful. Everybody thinks about Bo Derek as being this extravagant looking lady but she is also a wonderful actress. She's just terrific and I think people like Bo, who are so beautiful and a sex object in many ways don't get the respect and the accolades they should get for their skill. She is a wonderful actress and a consummate professional.

GB- Did you enjoy playing the Trapper John character on MASH?

WR-Yes, I loved MASH. As we are sitting here now talking, it's playing somewhere in the world. It's amazing. I saw in People Magazine they said it was the most popular television show of all time so I feel very lucky.

GB- Did you ever feel typecasted at any point after you left the show?

WR-I don't think so. I played a nice funny guy in MASH. A little outrageous, a little crazy impulsive kind of guy and here I am playing a psychopath so ... (laughs) I don't think it has affected me.

GB- Do people still recognize you from that show?

WR-Oh yes all the time. An actor has got to expect that. You're in the public eye and you just hope that people don't come up and interrupt you while your in the middle of a meal or a conversation or something like that. Most of the time people are very courteous and very nice and generally they just want to say hello and get an autograph.

GB- Do you prefer making movies as compared to television or the stage?

WR-Well it's the same to me. The difference is in the time. If you get time to rehearse then it doesn't matter. The biggest problem in television is you don't have time to rehearse, where as generally in feature films you do. The rehearsal is where it all happens for an actor. Once it's made it's made it's printed and gone. On the stage you get an opportunity to do that again every night, so your constantly thinking of ways to improve and everyday your a different person. You can't say that on one day that everything is wonderful and the next day your father passed away as you're carrying that somewhere in your mind. Those differences are what color the performance, but in the movies you don't get a chance to rehearse. You don't have a chance to explore all the possibilities. I'm one of those actors who likes to do it wrong nine ways before I come to the tenth way, which is the way I think it should be. If you don't have a chance to explore all those other areas then your performance is just going to be monolithic. I don't think that's very interesting. I love to be in the position of not knowing what I'm gonna do, but having rehearsed all of those so when something happens with the others actors I go with whatever that is I'm getting.

GB-Do you have any other projects coming up in the future?

WR-I got a picture that hasn't been released yet. The picture business is very precarious and they start out saying "we're going to do this...." and everything is wonderful and something happens and it all falls apart. They can't get the location and they can't do this and it gets put off. Once I was to do a picture and it kept getting postponed and I had another picture I was supposed to do. When your in the movie business you have a start date and a stop date. The start date says your going to start by such and such a time, so that you know your not prevented from doing something else. The stop date is so you know the end if it, so if you get a commitment beyond that you can go and do that. They kept moving the start date until there was no time left and I couldn't do the picture as I had another commitment I had to do.

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