Interviews: There Can Be Only One: Clancy Brown Talks Supercon and His Villainous Legacy

We had a chance to talk to Clancy Brown about his new movie, Supercon. 

Another weekend, another comic convention for former TV actor Keith Mahar. Most people don’t recognize Keith. His only claim to fame was as a child star in an '80s television show. Keith reluctantly joins his close friends,cartoon voice-over actor Matt,comic book artist Allison,and '80s TV star Brock,who are also working the convention, but things take a turn for the worst when Keith’s former co-star and Supercon’s big ticket draw for the weekend — Adam King — decides to have this group fired and banned from the convention with the help of the convention promoter. This launches the friends on a crusade to bring down King and the promoter in the most epic way imaginable.  

Supercon was written by Zak Knutson, Andy Sipes and Dana Snyder, directed by Knutson, and stars Ryan Kwanten, Maggie Grace, Mike Epps, Brooks Braselman, Russell Peters, Clancy Brown, John Malkovich. 

In theaters and on VOD and Digital HD on April 27th. On DVD on June 5th.

TMS: How did you end up being cast In SuperCon? And what attracted you to the film?

CB: It was just a hilarious script. I was in Edinburgh serving on a jury of the Endinbugh Film Festival, which is a great festival and they have great films there, but you know a lot of them were very serious and very depressing. I had been spending all day in a room watching these movies and a script came along and it was a great relief, it made me laugh a lot. It was really sweet to the genre, if there is con genre. It didn’t talk down to the fans, but it was also as silly as those things can get but not in a derogatory way. Does that make sense? Have you seen it?

TMS: Yes, I saw it. I watched it last night.

CB: Yeah, It’s very sweet. It’s not a perfect movie, but it’s perfectly sweet. It’s perfectly wonderful and funny, and plays with everything. The fans are the heroes and the fans are treated well, except by my character of course. But, he gets what he deserves. I don’t know anybody like that. I don’t know any actors that behave that way at cons, but I have heard stories. There’s a couple of stories that are being told. A couple of stories of bad behavior and a couple stories of sweet behavior as well, but a couple of bad stories that I’d rather not go into. They make the rounds and are maybe con mythology or whatever, right? So, it’s not specific to any real person, and Zak was very clear about that. He said, “This is not William Shatner. This is not anybody that I can identify. This is just one character that does all of these misbehaving stories.” Shatner’s great for the fans, he’s really a sweet guy. I don’t want anybody to think that I’m doing any kind of Shatner thing, because I certainly am not.

TMS: You play the villainous famous TV star in the film. When prepping for a villainous character in a film, how do you prepare and get into that mindset? Or is it easy now?

CB: Uh, I don’t know if this guy’s a villain, he’s just kind of a well you know. You know what I mean. He’s no Lex Luthor for crying out loud. He might think that he’s that smart. He might think he could could conquer the world or run for president, but he’s justa putz. I was just having fun with the jokes I think, just indulging my sense of how ridiculously offensive someone can actually be. So I just of went with that. I wasn’t trying to find any true psychological motivation for him, he was just an asshole.

TMS: (Laughs)

CB: Unapologetic asshole.

TMS: You have a great scene towards the end of the movie with John Malcovich. How was it working with him?

CB: My very first professional job I was doing some TV show in Chicago, some cop show that was shooting there in the ‘80s. He was playing a bad guy and i was playing cop number 2 and we were sitting in a room waiting to used, astounded that we were making so much money, a couple hundred bucks, and bored out of our minds waiting to be called to shoot and do something silly. It was a really exciting time for theatre in Chicago during that time and I had seen him onstage and I knew him, he was a little bit older. So, it was good to see him again and catch up, by the end of the time there we were just two old codgers talking about our kids and reminiscing about Michael Jordan, you know it was pretty pathetic after a while actually (laughs). He’s a good guy, I like John so much.

TMS: You’ve probably attended a great deal of conventions over the years. Besides the heist part of the film, how accurate would you say the film represents the convention scene?

CB: Well I know it’s accurate because Zak, Andy, and Dana are convention goers, so I know it’s accurate from that. I usually go to the convention with something that has to be promoted, I’ve never actually gone and sat behind a table and signed autographs and stuff because I have family and a profession, I can never find time. I’ve been invited, but I’ve just never. It drives me nuts, one of these days I will. But, if I had a choice between seeing my folks, who are in their nineties, and going to sit behind a table and sign pictures I’m going to choose family. And I don’t want to charge for pictures either, that’s the other thing. I would rather just give people pictures, rather than charging them for it. But, I don’t have any problem with people doing it, I just don’t can’t find the time to do it. But, I think it’s pretty accurate from what I understand. I’m very confident in Zak and those guys. And as far as fandom, it’s absolutely accurate.

When I go to these things, I like spending time at the tables talking to the artists. I’ve dropped a few bucks getting stuff signed before. But, I’ve been sat behind a table before. I’ve done it for Spongebob and TV shows and stuff, but when I go to the artist corner I’m looking for art. So, It seems pretty accurate to me. You tell me?

TMS: I think it was, for the most part. It goofs it up maybe a little bit more, but I think it’s pretty accurate. As much as you can be for a comedy.

CB: Yeah, it’s not Comic Con, it’s a medium sized con. It’s not a big one.

TMS: How did your role as Kurgan in Highlander direct your career? And if not for that role, how would things be different for you as an actor?

CB: Well, the only way it directed my career was that I knew that I didn’t want to do any sequels, because the sequels were all bullshit. They were fucking terrible. So, yeah I don’t know how it directed my career. And if I didn’t do, I have no idea. To me, it was just another part. The fact that it was popular is kind of a miracle given how those guys blew the franchise. They sort of did ok with the TV show, but jeez c’mon the movies, 2 and 3, those were horrible. They are just terrible and I’m aching for somebody to come and remake it and figure out how to make the franchise work. I have great ideas of how to make that franchise work, but not the way they did it for sure. It’s a such great world that Greg Widen created and then Davis and Panzer just screwed it up, I mean what were they thinking? I don’t know what the hell was going on after the first one. Let’s remake it and get somebody to make the franchise as good as it should be. And not that silly nonsense that they made. So I don’t know, you tell me? The smartest thing I did was not make anything beyond part one (laughs).

TMS: Yeah.

CB: It would have ruined my career if I did more.

TMS: Yeah (laughs). Well the villains don’t often return anyways. So, you've had so many iconic turns in film. If you could pick a favorite, what would it be?

CB: No (laughs), there isn’t. I like them all.

TMS: How was it working with the director Zak Knutson?

CB: Oh Zak was great. He’s a big dude like me and hilariously funny, in a sort of big guy kind of way. He’s a big teddy bear, as sweet as they come and just totally loves the world of that. He’s actually a pretty darn good director, you know we only needed about another couple million dollars and another month to shoot, but from what he did and put together. I think we all had a pretty good time, we were all enjoying ourselves and that’s really all that you can do. He’s a good camp counselor (laughs) kind of director. He was having a good time and I think he put together a pretty good movie. I’d work with him again in second, I love the guy.

TMS: Perhaps one of the biggest disappointments in television history was the cancellation of Carnivale. Your character in that was amazingly textured. Would you return to that world if given the chance?

CB: Yeah, if Dan was involved absolutely. But, I don’t think HBO would do that and we’re all getting pretty long in the tooth now. But yeah, I loved doing that show, I thought it was unique.