Actor-director Lillard weighs in on high-impact movies

  • By Christy Lemire Associated Press
  • Friday, October 12, 2012 5:26pm
  • LifeMovies

LOS ANGELES — Matthew Lillard’s filmography runs the gamut, from playing a killer in the original “Scream” and the goofy Shaggy in the “Scooby-Doo” movies to showing a more dramatic side of his talent opposite George Clooney in “The Descendants” and Clint Eastwood in “Trouble With the Curve.”

He added directing to his resume with “Fat Kid Rules the World,” which premiered at SIFF in Renton in May and returns to SIFF in Seattle on Oct. 26.

We asked him to take over the Five Most space and he chose movies that impacted him so greatly, he remembers exactly where and when he saw them. Here he is, in his own words:

“The Blair Witch Project,” Park City, Utah, Sundance Film Festival, 1999: My sister (a film publicist) invited me to attend a midnight screening. She purposely didn’t tell me anything about the film. Afterwards, as the lights came up, I sat there, bug-eyed and completely shell-shocked.

“The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King,” Wellington, New Zealand, 2003: I was in New Zealand shooting “Without a Paddle” when Peter Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” was premiering. A co-star from “Without a Paddle” and I were lucky enough to score tickets. We sat directly behind Jackson and his cast. As the lights came up, we both had tears in our eyes and were blown away by the moment. Those books helped define the man I am today.

“Training Day,” San Francisco, 2001: It was the opening weekend of “Training Day,” and my wife and I were one of the last few people to get tickets to the 10 p.m. screening at the Kabuki Theatre. As the movie started a huge fight erupted. As the lights blasted on, someone screamed, “He has a knife!” The entire audience started to panic and struggled to get out of the way. The skirmish was over as quickly as it had begun, but the effects of a dude swinging a knife lingered. My wife and I chose to stay, and the adrenaline mixed with the violence of that film left us both shaken.

“Aliens,” Orange County, Calif., 1986: I was with my dad standing in line to buy tickets for over an hour. James Cameron’s “Aliens” was totally perfect for a 16-year-old boy. I laughed; I freaked out; I thought it was bitchin’. Bill Paxton in “Aliens” represents the hero we’d want to be, scared yet strong. In the end, he makes the ultimate sacrifice. I took it all in, sitting with my dad. Just me and my dad.

“Fat Kid Rules the World,” Austin, Texas, South by Southwest Film Festival, 2012: It’s a bit selfish to include, but the world premiere meant the world to me. I optioned the book “Fat Kid Rules the World” 10 years ago and getting the story to the screen was no easy task. When you screen your movie for the first time, that movie flies away and you don’t ever get it back.

When I think about that night, I think about hugging Jacob Wysocki’s mom and dad and seeing the tears in their eyes. It’s probably the best memory I have as an artist, and I’ll keep it until the day I die.

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