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Interview with John Van Slyke


Dirty Job

What was it about the script or director that made you want to do the movie?

I hadn't, at the time I met Ross, had much on-camera experience. I thought, "this is your chance big boy, don't mess it up." Since I rarely refer to myself as big boy, I thought, this must be special. The Dirty Job was a good, solid piece of genre writing that poked fun at the genre. I always like that.

What was your approach to the role?

Ross told me, "Tommy Lee Jones," for Bob. I knew I couldn't do Tommy, so I didn't try. What did I do? I was hoping someone could tell me. It wasn't until the second movie that I started to get a handle on who this guy was. I felt more comfortable, except for the bed scene, but I'm not answering that without a formalized question.

You had the job of casting director, what input did you have?

I gave Ross a list of names, maybe made some calls. I suggested certain people for certain roles and it often worked out that way in the ultimate casting. Ross was pleased, so I was too.

What was the experience of the shoot like?

I had the preconceived notion that all takes began with "Rolling. Action!" and ended with "Cut!" Not so. Ross's, "go when you're ready," and "okay, that's good," was well... refreshing. The shoot was loose but professional, free-wheeling but with purpose. Enjoyable.

How did you like working with the other actors? / Did you learn anything working with that person (or people)?

These are good people. I always learn from people. That's why I do this. It sure isn't for the money. I want to feel good about what I do and on these movies I feel great about our progress through each project.

What was your favorite memory of the production/ What was the most challenging?

Any time I got Naomi to call me a dirty bird was quite memorable. I'm used to the stage where you rehearse and the progress is continuous. I can handle shooting out of sequence but the aspect of low-budget moviemaking that I don't think I'll ever get used to is the space between. Taking a month off between shoots can be difficult, especially when you're trying to feel your way through to a character. But that's the way it goes, we're all really "fitting this in" to our lives. We adapt.

What was the experience of working of working with Naomi the star of the Dirty Job and doing the martial arts sequence with Sifu Steve Kleppe?

Naomi is a great person. I enjoyed getting to know her and seeing her grow as an actress. I miss her a lot but happy with her decision. I sound like an Uncle or something. I never did martial arts before. It was a positive experience. Everyone was very excited and Steve did a great job allowing us to learn, encouraging the actors, and having fun. His excitement is so contagious! It was wonderful.

How do you think it turned out? Will people like it?

Great. Yes. I have nothing more to say.


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