Sacrament in Spain

I know not many in the U.S. will ever see the interview that Marilyn recently did for the El Pais newspaper in Spain recently, so I thought I would share the translation here. It was a lot of fun for me to read, and I hope you enjoy it as well.


About Sacrament

Tell us about your role in Sacrament. 

Beulah Standifer, is a hard-working, God-fearing, no nonsense stern woman who runs and owns a small grocery store with her long suffering husband of many decades.

Is weird to come back to another Texas cannibalistic horror?

It was truly a treat to play opposite Ed Guinn, my Savior from TCM. The story of Sacrament is unique, powerful, mysterious, and frightening.

Do you see any similarities in the energy and passion of Shawn Ewert and his team and the atmosphere in Texas Chainsaw Massacre? 

Shawn’s script promised something new I had not seen done before and it worked.  It was a great experience to work with his cast and crew. Everyone was professional, supportive, enthusiastic and glad to be there and their bonding energy was still present at the screening. Sacrament takes you on a wild ride to the dark side. Enjoy!

About The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 40th Anniversary

Speaking with Daniel Pearl, he told me that you were “a bunch of hippies” in the middle of a infernal summer in Texas? Do you agree with this description? How was the mood and atmosphere of the shooting of Texas chainsaw massacre? 

It was in the middle of a miserable infernal summer in Texas but a “bunch of hippies” would have stayed in bed and would have never been able to complete the hardest,  longest, and ever challenging shoot of their careers.  Most of us had graduated with degrees in film or drama and were very serious about our chosen professions. Daniel’s much too modest to admit it. There were many problems to overcome due to budget issues so the crew had to find ways to make the shots work with the equipment we had on hand, there was quite a bit of improvising. The crew worked long hours from morning through the night and the actors were right there on the locations with them. However, the actors had little to do but hang out on the grass, dirt, or in the hot van the first week patiently waiting for the camera crew to be ready to shoot.

There were no trailers to retire to between shots, no food truck and no bathrooms for miles. We began with 5 actors, one DP, one sound man, one director, and one assistant in the van creeping down the road at about 5 miles an hour filming the beginning,the van sequence. It was so very hot as we  slowly put sweaty take after sweaty take into the can. This process seemed to drag along forever till we added one more actor on aboard, the Hitchhiker. Here was new energy, refreshing new dialog and here comes the big scene, the Hitchhiker puts some foil on his hand and loads it with gun powder.  Props came up and loaded up his hand and Ed Neal, the actor playing the Hitchhiker asked, “what do you want me to do?”.

He was told to simply light it with a match and there would be a tiny   explosion.  Everything went perfectly as planned till the match hit the excessive amount of gunpowder, we were very  lucky to all have made it home that night.  Finally, the van week was over and though many  emotions had been tested we were all grateful to move along . The film was sent off to the lab, a few days later, it returned, none of the footage made it to screen. We had some sort of technical problem.

Your role was incredibly physical. Tell me about how it was to shoot that incredible running in the forest with Gunnar? 

Yes, the role of  Sally  was physical but I was twenty three years old, I never thought I better hit the gym to do this.  Hell, I was out late at night with a bunch of  kids filming as I was really being chased by  an actor in a mask that he could hardly see properly out of  as he carried a screaming chainsaw.  An actor prepares, no the actor just runs as fast  as she can.

How was your relationship with Gunnar. He was as disgusting for not being able to wash himself as he has quoted? 

Gunnar is my  dear friend today, but back then all I knew was Leatherface. We only had one costume and for continuity purposes it couldn’t be washed. You could smell Leatherface coming and going.

Do you feel during the horrendous scene of the dinner the horror of your character? Do you ever feel that you were doing something too grotesque?  

The twenty six hour dinner scene smelled of rotten chicken, disgusting headcheese, exhausted crew and spent actors. We were all a bit crazed by then.

What is your favorite moment in the movie as an actress point of view? 

My favorite scene in the movie is when I am pushing Franklin through the woods and then we hear the sound of the chainsaw.  I still jump when I see it.

What about the laughing and crying at the same time in the final scene? Was an improvisation? 

As for the ending, we had to re shoot that shot too, more trouble in the lab. I was really crying and laughing, wondering if I ever was going to wrap this movie.

In his book, Shock Value, Jason Zinoman, stated that your relationship with Bill Parsley played a big role in the funding of the movie. It’s true that you knew some scandal related to Parsley and public funds and that you press him with this? Did you have any relationship, aside the professional, with him, and some of the gossip in books and interviews hint?

Warren Skaaren  was over the Texas Film Commission, Bill Parsley and I were on the board at its conception in 1971. We were able to bring many studio movies to Texas. Warren brought the script to Bill, who saw it as a tax shelter. I had met Tobe and Kim on the set of ‘Lovin Molly’ directed by Sidney Lumet. I auditioned and landed the role.  There was never a scandal related to Parsley and public funds! Legends get bigger and tales grow taller.

After the screening, there was much controversy about the team not being a part of the finanncial success on the movie. What is your point of view about this?

Look, it has been 40 years and people still care, that is quite a gift! Who would have thought?


Reprinted with permission from El Pais newspaper, Spain.