Exclusive interview with Actor Billy Slaughter
It’s likely you’ve seen Billy Slaughter in many different films and tv shows and never even realized it. Not to take anything from him, just the opposite! He’s one of those actors that just seems to blend seamlessly into whichever part he’s playing, no matter what the demands of the role. And there have been plenty. Slaughter finds himself in the extraordinary position of being a veteran character actor still in his 30s, having just completed his 100th on-screen principle credit. This might come as no surprise since Slaughter early in his career caught the attention of one of the all-time great character actors, Dustin Hoffman, who invited Billy out to L.A. to be his personal stand-in. After putting together an impressive body of work, Slaughter’s career took a turn with the crime-thriller Dark Meridian, which won “Action Film of the Year” at the 2017 Action on Film International Film Festival and earned him a nomination for “Best Actor” at the same festival.
So chances are you’ve seen Billy “The Kid” (as he’s been called) in something; but if not, you certainly need to catch him in one of the literal half a dozen releases he has before the end of the year! He’s a series regular in Arceneaux, a newly-released mini-series on Amazon Prime. You can see him this month in both the much-anticipated season 2 of Mindhunter on Netflix (executive produced by David Fincher) and recurring in the new Showtime series On Becoming a God in Central Florida (starring Kirsten Dunst and executive produced by George Clooney). Then, as a recurring guest star in season 2 of Hot Date and a supporting role in Patsy & Loretta, Lifetime’s upcoming Patsy Cline/Loretta Lynn biopic. And of course, ending the year with a couple holiday offerings in Netflix’s Holidate and John Schneider’s Christmas Cars. And this is to say nothing of the couple recent films Slaughter completed that he isn’t allowed to speak on yet, one of which has him collaborating with a particular legendary director.
With Billy having worked with so many iconic actors and directors, when I got the chance to speak with him, I had to inquire…“Who’s left?” Who are his top 3 directors he’d like to work with that he hadn’t already?”
Slaughter: I’m biting my tongue here, since the one I just finished working with was easily top 3 and one of the greatest of all-time! But I’d say the updated wish-list would be: Scorsese, Tarantino, and Mel Gibson. Scorcese and Tarantino speak for themselves and would be on anyone’s list. When I was 15 years old, “Braveheart” was the film I was watching when I said – this is what I want to do with the rest of my life…tell stories like this. Sure there are other more technically-proficient directors, but I love that Gibson doesn’t pull his punches. So many older filmmakers used to be so daring. Now it seems like so many younger directors are afraid to be anything other than “subtle.” I think Mel’s acting background allows him to bring an actor’s rich inner emotional life in front of the camera for the audience to experience. His scenes, his tones, whether dramatic, comedic, romantic, etc., elicit visceral responses. Those are the films I love and want to make…where you don’t just see something, you feel something, you experience something! Marty, Quentin, and Mel…call me.
Slaughter went on to say he would like to be producing more in the future. I asked how he got started in producing and what he liked about the process.
Slaughter: I’ve always wanted to get into producing. I was too young to be considered the “Rocky” generation, but “Good Will Hunting” was the film I saw when I was really starting to get into acting when I realized you don’t just have to settle on waiting around for someone to throw you a bone as an actor…you can create your own content. Obviously writing and producing are different, but the same concept applies of being a part of the development of a project from idea to execution to delivery. It’s not only great to see the many moving parts of the industry come together, it’s really rewarding to have a hand in bringing it all together, and certainly to see it all work out! I got the chance to produce for the first time on the film “Dark Meridian.” My friend, Rankin Hickman, who I’d worked with many times in the past, called me as he was gearing up his writing/directing debut to say he’d written the leading role for me.
Obviously I was thrilled to hear that, but I loved the project so much, I told him I wanted to do more to help it come together. And he was thrilled to have me come on as a collaborator, so it ended up being a very mutual and organic process for us both. Certainly nothing big business – no reps haggling or intensive contract negotiations, just old friends really excited about working together to make a film as good as it could be and getting it out to the world. Even with the tribulations, it was an awesome experience. We ended racking up a lot of major awards on the festival circuit; world-premiered the film in Europe; had a limited theatrical run in New York, L.A., and New Orleans, where it was shot; then got a wide release on DVD and VOD. It’s a project I’m still really proud to be a part of. But yes, I intend to do a lot more producing and have a handful of strong projects I’m trying to help bring to fruition.
Well that’s a wrap as they say in Hollywood! For the latest filmographies and updates check out Billy Slaughter on IMDb, Instagram and Twitter @BillySlaughter1!