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Interview with Laurence R. Harvey (Fangoria #326)

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Like John Doe’s project from David Fincher’s Se7en, Director Tom Six’s Human Centipede trilogy will be a masterpiece when it is completed.  So far, we are only midway through the centipede of films – quite literal, as the first is dubbed as [First Sequence] and the second as [Full Sequence] – and we have already seen the bar of depravity raised to 11.  What will the appropriately titled [Final Sequence] bring us?  Fangoria caught up with Laurence R. Harvey – Martin from Human Centipede 2 [Full Sequence] – in the middle of filming the final entry of this trilogy of debauchery.

Fangoria – Supposedly Jack Nance, while filming Lynch’s Eraserhead, would sit alone in a room for hours on an uncomfortable chair to get into character – how did you prepare yourself to be Martin?

Laurence R. Harvey – Well, the idea of Martin came from discussions with Tom over the course of about four or five months where we kind of pounded out Martin’s background.  I kind of saw a lot of myself in Martin and I also looked at my friend’s two kids, who were both one year old at the time.  I would look at the connections between their real emotions, and how they behaved and signaled those emotions – all of that went into the making of Martin.  But yea, I didn’t sequester myself away or anything like that – except for the rape scene, for which I had to be pretty intense and very demanding.

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Fango – Martin does not say one word throughout the entire movie – as an actor; did this make it easier or harder to bring Martin to life?

LRH – It’s about the same, really. While all the dialogue is off-screen, you still have to work out the emotions of Martin – the progression of his thoughts and his emotions of what he does on-screen – you still have to plot that, you still have to remember what emotional state he is in – you just don’t give him triggers by actual dialogue.  That’s the only thing really; otherwise it is like a normal character with normal scenes.

Fango – Between the sandpaper masturbation scene and the ol’ barb-wire-round-the-dick rape scene – what was the most disturbing scene of Human Centipede 2 to you?

LRH – I think the rape scene, just because it is quite intimate, and you are dealing with another actor and you want to make sure they are ok.  My hats off to Emma Lock, who was absolutely brilliant as the tail end of the centipede.  Right from the very first scene she was in she was intense, and wonderful, and a real trooper – she would have let me do anything, but I am a gentleman and want to make sure she was ok, plus the stunt barbed-wire – you don’t want to scratch or hurt them in anyway and you also don’t want to throw them off balance – these things need to be negotiated beforehand.  I think the scene affected her more than she thought it would; she didn’t realize she would have so little control over what was happening.  That didn’t really affect me at the time, but a little later in the day I had to re-enact for the close-ups, and then it really hit me.  As an audience member watching, I think my worst scene was the bashing out of the teeth [with a hammer] – and that’s because I’ve had some molars taken out, and they had to be broken up in my mouth, and I kept having flashbacks to that (laughs).

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Fango – Were there any scenes you were apprehensive about doing…or even flat out refused?

LRH – No.  (Laughs) Everything was fair game.  After seeing the first film on the day of the casting, I kind of knew what Tom was doing in terms of mixing high art with low brow culture and mixing those references together.  Add to that the fact that in the first one you don’t know if it is a good film, or a bad film, or a satire on bad films– while you are trying to figure that out it has already gripped you.  So I trusted Tom, as a director, that he would be capable of pulling something interesting out of the ideas he was having.  The ideas were also referencing Japanese gore films – which I am a big fan of, and also films like Brian Yuzna’s Society – especially in the sense of the ridiculousness.

Fango – What was the craziest thing that happened on set?

LRH – The craziest…it was pretty normal actually (laughs).  There is a scene where Martin chases a prostitute up some stairs, and then she sprays him with pepper-spray, and then we are both kind of shrieking.  For that scene we were using the real location, so when that scene was going on, and she screams – and I’m shrieking – the door busted open on that level of the car park, and a guy came running to help – and then he saw the film crew and everybody.  So that was quite nice, and I felt reassured that if somebody was being attacked that members of the public would step in, so I respect that gentleman completely.  From our point of view it was funny; even though I’m sure he was in therapy afterwards (laughs).

Fango – After shooting had wrapped was there still a little bit of Martin in you?

LRH – Martin is very much me in the sense that I feel socially awkward and awkward.  Initially I feel socially awkward in situations when I meet new people.  It depends on the group.  There’s always a part of Martin in me.

Fango – Rumor has it Human Centipede 3 [Final Sequence] takes place in a prison –Did Martin get caught?  Is there anything you can tell Fangoria readers about Part 3?

LRH – I think they are about to make a press release later this weekend, but I haven’t seen it, so all I can say is what has already been released to the press.  It will start with the end of Part 2, it will be set in America, it will be rich in saturated color, and you will be able to screen all three parts together – they will flow directly into each other, so it will be a centipede of Human Centipede films.  Also Tom Six, Dieter Laser, and I are in it.

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Fango – Is it true we will witness a 500-person centipede?

LRH – Yes, there will be a 500-person human centipede, but that’s all I can say!  Also, like how the first two had their own ways of attaching the centipede, Human Centipede 3 will have its own distinct way of attaching the centipede as well!

Fango – Does Martin speak in Human Centipede 3?

LRH – I’ll leave that for you to discover (laughs).

Fango – Dieter Laser has been confirmed for Human Centipede 3, given that Martin looked to him as a father figure of sorts, is their meeting a tear-jerking moment?

LRH – We first met in London when we had the UK premiere of Human Centipede 2, he was in town doing a signing.  I’ve been working with him the last few weeks and he is operatic in his style.  He is a lovely guy.

Fango – One of the theories about while watching Human Centipede 2 is that the each person of the centipede represented a year of Martin’s life – which is why the pregnant woman was at the front, and also why he raped the 10th one – the age he was perhaps raped as a child – have you heard any other crazy theories about the film?

LRH – Not really crazy, but, a lot of people see the difference between Part 1 and Part 2 as the difference between a psychopath and a sociopath.  A lot of people have theories about the ending of Part 2 – how it’s kind of ambiguous.  Usually people think we went back in time and that it was all a dream – but I don’t agree with the dream theory because we end up mid-way through his collection of people for the centipede – so even if it is a dream or his imagination, it’s only him imagining what could go wrong with the final surgery rather than the centipede construction not happening at all.  So one can say that it is all a figment of his imagination, I disagree – rather I think the centipede is in Martin, and he is dying, and as he is dying, he goes to his happy place, which is being alone at work watching Human Centipede.

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Fango – Is Martin a monster, or is he just misunderstood?

LRH – He’s a monster created by circumstance and by society.  When I first saw the film, a friend of mine came with me and she said that “Martin just needed a hug,” which is true.  He needed an example of somebody positive in his life to change his way of thinking.

Fango – If – in a crazy alternate universe – Human Centipede 2 won for best picture at the Oscars, what would your speech be?

LRH – Well, it came out the same year as The Artist, another film with a silent lead character, I would praise The Artist for being a good film (laughs) and I’d thank my family and friends, and a big thank you to Tom Six for taking a chance on a character actor who hadn’t done a feature film before.  I did theater, a lot of short films, and TV, and this was my first feature film – it was a big gamble, and also I had pretty big shoes to fill from Dieter in the first film – it was a risk, and I’m glad that Tom chose me.

Fango – How has your life changed after Human Centipede 2?  Are holidays with the family weird?

LRH – No, my family hasn’t seen the film, I don’t really want them to – they aren’t really into gory films.  Half my friends are split into those that don’t want to watch gory films and those that only want to see the uncut version (laughs).  Other than being recognized every time I go into town, usually by some kind of 11 year old, things really haven’t changed that much, other than now I think more people in the States recognize me more than the people in my home-town.  The Days of the Dead convention in LA a few weeks ago they gave me the ‘Man of the Year’ award which I was very touched about.  I keep hearing people in different parts of the States asking when I will be out their way, so I am looking forward to doing more conventions.

Fango – Is it true you worked on a children’s show prior to Human Centipede 2?

LRH – Yea, about 10 years prior, it wasn’t like the week before (laughs).

Fango – Tom Six comes off as the Max Hardcore of extreme horror movies and art – he comes off as totally insane, yet also a genius, how did he find you?

LRH – He’s not a genius; he’s a very naughty boy! (Laughs)  Tom Six is an intelligent, wonderful director that has a very organic feel for things.  All the films that he’s worked on he’s always had this sense visually of what he wants from each scene.  He never works with a storyboard; it’s all in his head.  He has this public persona of being a showman, and he likes it, but that isn’t want he is as a person.

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Fango – You are so calm and polite in real life, has the recent convention circuit tours thrown off fans when they meet you?

LRH – Usually I get “Oh my God, you can speak!” (Laughs) I think a lot of fans follow my Twitter and Facebook and see that I am an intelligent man who really cares about people, especially my fans.  There have been fans that have been going through tough times and I will give advice, or tell them that things will get better, so people who come across me online know that I am a thoughtful and caring person, but at conventions you will still get people that look at you from across the room, their eyes wide, and then they put their head down and scurry away, as if I am going to be Martin.

Fango – Has anybody ever mistaken you for the other Laurence Harvey, from The Manchurian Candidate?

LRH – No (laughs).  I go by Laurence R Harvey – I have that initial, also, he’s dead, we look kind of different now.

Fango – What are some of your favorite movies, who inspires you as an actor?

LRH – Roberts Blossom as Ezra Cobb in Deranged: Confessions of a Necrophile – that was a wonderful, wonderful performance.  He is one of those character actors that you always see in small parts, like in Home Alone or Christine, so it was fantastic to see such a wonderful actor given a great part in Deranged, and he really kind of runs with it.  I’m a big fan of character actors – Phillip Seymour Hoffman I think is absolutely amazing, and also Toby Jones – whom I used to be up for a lot of theater parts with – people would either chose me or him, but since his Hollywood career has taken off, he’s just going from strength to strength – he out-Capote-d Phillip Seymour Hoffman, which is no small feat!  I also love Sid Haig and Bill Moseley.

Fango – What are your nightmares like?

LRH – I tend not to remember dreams, or only remember bits of them.  The ones that keep me awake at night are things like, not having any money, or, not getting any work.  They are much more practical because I deal with the imagination and the art world in acting; I think my nightmares tend to be very mundane (laughs)

                Human Centipede 3 [Final Sequence] is filming now, and is looking at a 2014 release.

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This entry was posted on December 13, 2013 by in Fangoria, Magazine and tagged , , .
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