Hey, this is Kurtwood Smith.
I’ve been acting in film & television for about 35 years. Looking forward to talking with you today about any and all of that, but hopefully a lot about the new show I’m on, ABC’s RESURRECTION.
Victoria’s helping me out tonight. AMA!
Update Well thank you SO much for so many insightful and/or fun questions! Really appreciate it, and enjoyed my time today. Thank you very much, and please watch us on SUNDAY for the next 3 weeks on ABC – they are very exciting episodes!
You were President of the entire Federation. Why didn’t you put a foot in the Klingon’s asses when you had the chance?
Well, haha, unfortunately the President of the Federation didn’t have those Red Foreman powers. Otherwise, I guess the movie would’ve had a different outcome.
In all seriousness, you had several Star Trek roles in multiple versions of the franchise. Do you have any great memories or stories from your Star Trek days?
I really enjoyed doing STAR TREK. In particularly, the Voyager. I had a 2-part arc. That was really an interesting one. The other one, including the movie, mainly what i remember was makeup. Because you had to get there SO early to put it on, you had to stay late to take it off, and then you had to arrive early again, so I didn’t get much sleep, and then during the day, both when I played a Klingon and the President, I had enough stuff on I couldn’t even lay down or take a nap, so I mainly felt kind of exhausted.
But when we were actually shooting, it was FUN. Doing those things is probably the closest thing to doing Shakespeare. They’re larger than life characters that are doing larger than life things.
Did you improvise the line “bitches leave” or was that in the script? Everything in that scene is villainous perfection. Thanks for being one of the great movie villains.
Well, that’s a terrific compliment and I appreciate it very much because I have a great appreciation for people who play villains. It was a scripted line – there were several lines that were improvised, but that one in particular was scripted.
Who came up with the “My foot in your ass” bit?
Oh, the writers! We had a stable of writers, led by Mark Brazil, who was the creator of the show. They came up with that. But all of Red’s stuff was for the most part based on stuff the writers heard their fathers say, which is what made him genuine – he was based on peoples’ fathers.
Which TV show/Movie was your favorite to work on?
Again, I have a short list of my favorites, which would be (of course) RoboCop, Dead Poet’s Society, To Die For, Citizen Ruth, of course ’70’s show which I did for 8 years and would still be doing if they let me…and I’m having a great time working currently on RESURRECTION.
What did you think of Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis getting married?
Well, I was surprised to say the least, you know. They were certainly friends & working colleagues while we were doing the show, but there wasn’t anything romantic between the two except for what happened on camera. And also, at the beginning, Mila was so much younger than Ashton, so it was a surprise to me because I just never thought of them as an actual couple. But they’re both really wonderful people, and I’m sure that they’ll be a very happy couple and produce amazingly beautiful children.
AND I bet they’ll have a lot of fun together.
My last name is Foreman. What should I say to my wife to convince her we should name our first born son Red?
Well… don’t name him Red. Let that be his nickname. Then he doesn’t have to be stuck with that when he’s older and decides he doesn’t be “Red. “I suppose you could call him “Redmond?”
The trivia section of your IMDB profile says you’re a huge fan of video games. Is that true and if so, what do you play?
Well, here’s the thing: I was a fan of videogames, especially back during That 70’s Show, that was when I discovered them.
There’s playstation and what’s the other one? Xbox. Xbox gave me a box. And some games. And I got kind of hooked on them while I was doing the show, I had one in my dressing room and I would use it while I was sitting around waiting for my rehearsal time.
However in the last couple years, I kind of knocked that off. I think the last game I played was LA CONFIDENTIAL.
How often do people ask you to call them a dumbass?
Well, dumbass, in answer to your question, I would say probably several times a week – depending how much I’m out in public.
How did Red and Kitty make it work when they were so different?
Well, I think that they – you know, often opposites attract. And I think that in Red & Kitty’s situation, that was the case. Basically, they made it work because they loved each other, and that was always first and foremost with them, I think. You didn’t see them smooching around a lot, or saying they love each other, but you could see it and you could feel it. And I think Deborah Joe and I had such a good relationship and chemistry that it helped that.
Over the course of That 70’s Show, how many times do you estimate that you said “dumbass”
I had no idea I said it so many times, and some of those things I had no recollection of saying.
Do you have kids? If so how often does Red come out to them?
I have all kinds of kids. And I have actual kids, a son and daughter from my first marriage, and they (my daughter) has 2 kids, so I have grandchildren who are 7 and 10, and I have an adopted daughter, who was a foster daughter, who is currently in college, and then I have other people that feel like kids to me. My past assistant, my current assistant, feel like daughters. And when does Red come out? He doesn’t. That would be a better question for them. I think if they ever saw Red, it would only be for the briefest moment and never addressed to them. I think my kids would say I’m not a shouter or a threatener.
I don’t even know if that’s a word. Threatener.
In a Q&A once, the writer of Robocop, Edward Neumeier, said that you were the nicest guy imaginable. However, during Murphy’s execution scene, he said everyone on the set was pretty skittish and noticeably kept their distances from you. For that scene, were you aware if people were dodging you when the cameras weren’t rolling?
No. I wasn’t. And I’ve never heard that quote before. That’s very interesting.
Yea, that’s very interesting.
Because that was shot later, most people knew me… but that’s probably more of a testament to Ed’s writing, Paul’s directing, and THEN my acting… because Clarence was such a creepy – I mean, he was an enjoyable character, but at times, creepy, in particularly in that scene.
The gore that happens is – and Clarence’s enjoyment of it is unnerving. If people were avoiding me, it was probably because i forgot to wear deodorant that day or something.
When was the last time you watched Robocop and with whom did you watch it?
The last time I watched it was when we had a 25th Reunion, so that was a couple years ago… it came out in ’87, so it could’ve been 2012, I guess? So 2 and a half years ago. There was a 25th Anniversary and most of the cast – Paul, several of the crew – and it was at UCLA and we watched the entire film. It was awesome.
What was working with Gus Van Sant on To Die For like? Did you enjoy making that movie? Is there a role or a subject you’d like to try that you haven’t done yet?
Well, to answer the first part, I enjoyed working with Gus very much. And thanks for the question, I rarely get asked about that one. I thought that was an excellent film. I thought that film did an awful lot for Nicole Kidman in terms of being viewed as an actress, as opposed to a movie star. I thought she was terrific in that film, and has been so terrific since then. I enjoyed working with her and everyone. Gus really gives you a lot of room to work in. He suggests things to you – doesn’t insist on them – and really brings about an atmosphere that helps you to produce your best work, I think. Not that that’s my best work, but I felt it was the best I could do at that time.
I often get asked that, and I don’t have a good answer. I’ve been fortunate in my career, and my current role, Henry Langston in RESURRECTION is a good example, that I’ve been able to do a variety of different parts. So basically, roles that are presented to me or that are suggested by my agents or manager I get enthusiastic about. I don’t sit around and try to think of some role I’ve always wanted to play. But I’ve always wanted to play a private detective and I’ve never done that.
What’s your favorite thing about being an actor?
You know… getting to experience the feelings of being other people. Getting to express emotions and attitudes that I wouldn’t ordinarily experience, or that i have experienced in the past. That’s a deep question.
Who would win in a fight; Red Forman or Clarence Boddicker?
I think it probably… Hahaha… let’s just call it a draw.
I would hate to make that decision.
Is it true Chuck Norris was the first choice for Red Foreman?
I don’t believe so.
That’s a myth, I think.
I think Chuck was busy doing other things at the time.
And by the way, I wasn’t the first choice to play Walker: Texas Ranger.
Do you have any memories from your appearance on The X-Files episode “Grotesque”? You played the role wonderfully!
I remember being on a rooftop – we shot the end – in Vancouver, laying in a puddle, surrounded by snow, with my face in the water, thinking What the HELL am I doing?!
It was 3 in the morning.
What’s your favorite role you’ve played that we’ve probably never seen?
The character I played in a film called “Hard Scramble.” It’s a film that nobody’s probably ever seen.
Tell me about Resurrection and why I should watch it. I’ve never heard of it before, what’s it all about? Why did you decide to include yourself in the cast?
RESURRECTION is about what happens if people were to begin returning from the dead. Which is a pretty fresh idea, considering that the people are not zombies, but people who are just as they were before they left. What’s interesting to me is that it covers what happens beyond that first moment of recognition – as time passes, how your life changes because of this.
I thought that the character that I play, Henry, is in such an emotional dilemma for the whole season, having his son return, and not being able to accept that, that I thought it would be a challenge to play. The kind of role i had to play.
Do you have a Robin Williams anecdote from the set of Dead Poets Society that you’d like to share with everybody?
You know, I had worked with Robin before that, on a play – on 3 plays – years before, so I knew him for a long time. I didn’t see all that much of him when we were doing the show. I remember one time we were in the lobby, there must’ve been 150 extras around us, and he chose that moment to make fun of my eyebrows… that was pretty funny… but otherwise, the time I spent with Robin – it was personal time and not necessarily entertainment.
What was life like for you in the 70s?
You know, busy. I was very busy in the 1970’s. I was doing professional theater. I was teaching college. And I had a family. So I was very busy.
Before we really get too far into this AMA Mister Smith, would you be kind enough to tell the bitches to leave?
I think…we’ll leave that one.