It’s been the great pleasure of 5D this week to have the chance to talk with two artists, both of whom have had a number of collaborations with a particular directing hero of ours, the genius that is Robert Rodriguez. However, more importantly than that, it’s quite clear that both artists have an abundance of talent in their own right, so much so that it also serves to make this here blogger very, very, very jealous. A subsequent 5D article will feature the musical talents of Alex Ruiz, all I will say for now is that he has contributed music to the likes of films by Tarantino & Rodriguez – not bloody bad eh??!! Today, it is the fabulous Billy Blair who has succumbed to my piercing questions for another legendary 5D interview..
So, I know what you’re thinking…..”Just who in their right mind thinks you’re important enough to give you access to such luminaries matey boy?” Well the person in question is lady who I had the pleasure to have a Skype conversation just the other day with and who just so happens to represent the two talented gentlemen in question. She obviously know important bloggers when she sees one…..either that or she just feels sorry for me.
Tamela Ehlinger is the founder of T&T Talent Management, which represents some of the top established and up and coming entertainers in the world. Tamela has spent several decades honing her business experience, travelling the world, and developing an understanding of the trends that make her promotional skills and experience a value to all her clients. From award-winning actors to musicians Tamela can book and provide your film or convention with the very best entertainers. Her clients appear at conventions across the globe and have been seen in projects such as “Marvel’s Agents of Shield”, “Sin City”, “From Dusk Till Dawn the series”, “Tales of Horror the series”, “SoulMate” and “Alita:Battle Angel.”
So it was my great pleasure to interview actor, musician and artist Billy Blair this week, but first a little IMDB information on the man himself;
“Born in El Paso, TX and related to the great Edgar Allan Poe, Billy knew what he wanted to do at the ripe age of 5 after experiencing Sesame Street and KISS. He comes from a musical background. His great grandfather led his big band during the early 1900’s in Mexico performing for some of history’s greatest figures such as Pancho Villa. He also had uncles and cousins, all which played in big bands and symphonies.
For all of Billy’s life, he was dedicated to music and still proceeds to endeavor this lifestyle. Being in numerous bands, he would experience touring the nation, playing in clubs, theaters, arenas and amphitheaters; fulfilling the dream and opening for some of the biggest names of rock.
By the mid 90’s, Billy decided to pursue in acting. He would develop his skills in theater at Richland College in Richardson, TX and would resume with taking private lessons from the greatest acting coaches in Texas. Building his resume with small, local indie films. Landing in a national commercial, then booking roles in bigger films like Jonah Hex starring Josh Brolin. He is known for some of his great work in films like The Last Stand starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Robert Rodriguez’s Machete, Machete Kills and Sin City: A Dame To Kill For.”
THE 5D INTERVIEW BIT…….
Q) Hi Billy. Greetings from Scotland! Thanks ever so much for taking the time to talk to 5D. Can I first ask you about your incredible family history? Your grandfather worked with Pancho Villa and you’re also a descendant of Edgar Allen Poe – Tell me more and do you ever get tired of being asked about it?!
Thank you for having me on your blog by the way. It’s an honour. My great grandfather was a musician in Mexico. Juarez is where he lived but he would travel just like any other musician would. One day his band was hired to play for a party that the legendary, Mexican bandito, Pancho Villa, was throwing, so they were the main event for his party. And as far as Edgar Allen Poe, he is a descendant of the blood line through my grandfather on my mother’s side. I thought it was really cool finding that out later in my life. That’s another long story to tell. Maybe on a memoir or something, haha.
Q) Picking out a few of your movies is difficult as you’ve been in some heavy hitters – but the brilliant ‘Machete’, am I correct in saying that your role was originally meant to be far smaller?
Yes. MACHETE. That’s what helped me in my career and I can’t thank Robert enough for it. My role was a small role at first when we started shooting. Then it grew into a bigger role as I was called back for more shooting. One of the scenes, where I shoot Robert De Niro, was meant for another actor. A much older actor. And right at the last minute they pulled it away from him and gave me that scene. It was a surreal moment. Robert came up to me and said, “You get to kill De Niro.” And I said, “It’s about time.” Haha. Without a beat. So the rest is history.
Q) What are are your memories of Oatmeal & killing Robert De Niro in that film?
Haha! the oatmeal. I remember they had to keep watering down that oatmeal to look like real vomit. And I think on the third take was the winner. And the Robert De Niro thing, I already said. Keep in mind, we weren’t on set together. His scene was shot earlier than what we had shot. So at first, I was shooting at his body double, and on the close up I was pretending he was there when he was not. That’s the beauty of movie magic.
Q) You worked again with Robert Rodriguez again in the wonderful Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. What are your recollections of working in that film?
Yes! I was invited for that film. It was great! The one thing I’ll never forget is getting to shoot the shit with the late, Powers Boothe. He was telling us about his experiences working with other great legends and giving us some pointers. Very surreal. I’ll never forget that.
Q) I’m a huge fan of Rodriguez’s work – what makes him different from other directors that you’ve worked with?
The guy is on fire. He shoots fast and he knocks it out. He gets really into a scene and finding those angles for the camera. He doesn’t fuck around. He’s just in his mode and it’s amazing to be a part of that.
Q) After checking out your IMDB you seem to have a whole plethora or of work in post production – one that catches the eye is the James Cameron/Robert Rodriguez film Alita: Battle Angel. What can you tell us about your role in that?
Again, it’s coming back to working with him again. This time it’s a bigger budgeted movie. I mean it’s James Cameron on the producing chair. I play Cronie, a henchman for the main villain so to speak. I can’t say a whole lot about it but it’s going to break some boundaries there.
Q) You’ve played a few bad-guy roles – what’s more fun and rewarding, playing a bad or good guy?
A bad guy role is always cool. But I wouldn’t mind being the good guy every once in a while.
Q) Billy Blair, a man of many talents it seems – your rock band Junk recently signed a new record deal I hear? I’ve just checked out ˜Like Lightening’…. loved it! So was it love of music before acting?
Yes! I am very excited about that! I’ve been signed before but this is an actual record/distribution deal we’re getting. Again, a surreal moment. I’ve always wanted to be a rock star. Ever since being a little kid. So yes, the music thing was my first passion. And thank you by the way.
Q) So go on, you have to make a choice – Rock god or acting superstar?
Haha. How about both?? A mega-superstar!
Q) So what does the future hold for Billy Blair?
Making this record and then touring. I’d also jumped on the producer chair and making my own films. I did my first with a movie called, BLOOD SOMBRERO, and now I’m doing another film called CHEROKEE CREEK. And of course, starred in both films. BLOOD is out already, but CHEROKEE is about to be submitted to film festivals here within the month. Plus I have a hand full of projects that I was signed onto coming out, like, THE VEIL, which comes outÂ Friday the 11th. An indie film called, APOCALYPSE ROAD, which will come out this fall. The TV series, THE GIFTED, which is coming out in October. And the big one, ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL, coming out in July of next year.
I would like to give my thanks again to Billy in giving up his valuable time to chat with me and to Tamela in arranging the whole thing and providing the images you see here.
You can find more information on Billy Blair’s IMDB page RIGHT HERE.
You can find Billy’s website at http://www.billyblair.com
You can find out more information about TnT Talent Management at their website https://www.tnttm.com
You can follow TnT on Twitter at https://twitter.com/tntmanagement