What was your impression of the entire production, compared to "Beneath the Planet of the Apes", which you made around the same time?
Due to 5the limited budget, everyone did many of the several jobs required to pull off this project. A small but efficient family.
For "Beneath the Planet of the Apes", 20th CENTURY FOX studios issued 6.5 million dollars for that budget. Of the hundreds of people used, everyone had a specific job to do. Each department is covered by union jurisdiction, so no crossing over departments was allowed. This made the whole show move very smoothly. Like a huge passenger train on one track with one chief engineer. Made you feel like it was in the days of the big Hollywood stars. "GRAND!!, SIMPLY GRAND!!"
Had you seen the original THX-1138:4EB (the short film upon which the THX-1138 feature film was based on)?
"YES!!" Once. Interesting, but more confusing than the final film. That's why we, as the cast, worked so hard to bring real life to each shot.
THX-1138 wasn't quite a success. What do you attribute this to? Did you think the movie was too far ahead of its time as most other people say?
I believe, when it was first released, audiences at that time, went to the movies as something to do on a Friday night. They didn't go to have to think about what was going on, just be entertained.
When THX hit the screen, you were thrown into a world that was not that far in the future. The idea that BIG BROTHER, not only was watching, but he was controlling every part of your life. Government issued everyone narcotics. When you were caught not taking your Government issue doses, you were convicted of drug EVASION, and sent to the white void!!
You had to concentrate just to survive what was happening to these characters. If you wavered, you would be swept away by the rush of humanity, much like the Donald Pleasence character, after we supposedly escaped from the white void. Lost!!, in the crush of the nameless, faceless hoard that is happening to us as we speak.
However, THX has been in constant release on late night cable almost every month, somewhere in the world. That draws in a lot of revenue. Calculate how many times above the original budget that is, since it's first release thirty years ago.
THX1138 is now a cult film classic. Every film maker from the generations since, has lifted whole sections of our concepts because of it's influence. How can that type of success be measured in dollars and cents??
What do you think of George Lucas's later films? Do you like Star Wars, and what did you think of his most recent film?
On several occasions, George talked about a series of films he wanted to make, kind of a running chronology based on one theme. He wanted to release a new episode each year for eleven years.
The scope of his idea, reminded me of a playrite I studied in my early years in the theatre. The American playrite, Eugene ONeal, tried that very thing. He wanted his plays to be eight hours long, with a dinner break during the second intermission. Eleven plays to take place in the same disfunctional family. It would have taken two weeks to view the whole story.
Sadly he died before they were completed!
We would joke with George by saying, "please let us get through this one first!!"
When "AMERICAN GRAFITTI" came out, I said to my friends, "George looks like he is going to be a great story teller and a complete film maker!"
With the success of the computer generated "STAR WARS", I wonder if he didn't become more of the hedonist than a good story teller.
In every artists repertoire, there is a bomb you wish would go away. "HOWARD THE DUCK" is classic in that distinction. Granted, he only produced that one, it has his distinctive mark to it.
I'm sorry to say I have not seen the latest "STAR WARS" episode, but I hope it is a good story and not just a forum for these strange looking characters to act cute in.
Do you still keep in touch with George Lucas or any other people from the film?
A few years after we did THX, I bumped into George at the Burbank, CA. airport. We were on our way to San Francisco. We had a few moment to speak before we boarded, and promised to keep in touch. Years later, I sent his company my press package for their files, but have never heard from that part of the world.
At some of the convention I attend, I have met some of his tech people, and they usually seem overwhelmed to shake my hand.
I did write a hello letter to Mr. Duval through his agents, but have had no response.
About three years ago, I was going to an awards presentation by the mayor of Los Angeles in a downtown hotel, for some Jazz musician friends. I had to ride an elevator to the third floor.
At the second floor, the doors opened and in walked Francis Ford Coppola!!, followed by four suits and briefcases. "Don!!", he said. "Francis!!", I returned as we shook hands. "You realize we started this whole thing??", he said. "You bet!!", I followed. "We were the beginning of this whole jonera!!".
When I left at the next floor, the four suits were rooted there in total confusion. I LOVVED IT!!!
In the ensuing years, I've shared a cup of coffee or beer with the two guy's that were the chrome faced robots. Their lives have since moved on.
This past September, at a convention at the Shrine Auditorium, a chap stopped at my table to tell me he was the boyfriend of Maggie (LUH) McOmie. We promised to pass along our hello's.
Do a lot of people recognize you for your role in THX-1138 at the many conventions you attend or do most people recognize as your characters from "Beneath the Planet of the Apes" or "The Dukes of Hazzard"?
Well!!, let's see!! I guess it's "Beneath the Planet of the Apes", then "Dukes of Hazzard", followed by a huge gasp of recognition, "THX1138", depending on which end of my table you start!
Colley as Sheriff Little, and at a recent convention.
"Dukes of Hazzard" picture from Dave's Dukes of Hazzard Homepage
Convention photo from Don's official site
What projects are you currently working on?
I'm a regular on a radio Soap Opera called "It's Your World". I am also working with Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic. No film activity in about five years, so I'm concentrating on putting together two collectable Conventions a month. They are giving me lots of great opportunities to travel and meet the people one on one. By the spring of 2000, I will be going to Europe and Australia with these shows.
Were you aware that a possible THX-1138 remake in the form of a mini-series was in the works for FOX TV a few years ago? (The project has been indefinitely postponed - Lucas was going to do it before he did "The Phantom Menace")
OH!!, NO!! GET OUTTA HERE!!!
Do you think you would be able to play the character of the Hologram again?
I'm a Hologram!! I'm not real!! Just another computer generated blip in the circuit. All you have to do is hit the button and there I am!!!
Many thanks for doing the interview, Don! Be sure to visit Don's OFFICIAL website for more on all his projects and information on getting his autograph, as well as a schedule of upcoming conventions where you can meet him. Also, if you would like to talk to him yourself, ask him a question, or just say hello, you can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org
THX 1138 is © 1971 Warner Brothers, and © Lucasfilm Ltd. used without permission for non-commercial purposes.