If punk pioneer Henry Rollins isn't the coolest personality to emerge from the last few decades of pop culture, he's definitely in the top five. Now, the rocker/writer/producer/host of TV's best talk show returns to movies with "Wrong Turn 2: Dead End," the blood-drenched Eliza Dushku-less sequel that spills onto DVD this week.
MTV: Have you seen the original "Wrong Turn"?
Rollins: No, I have not. I asked our director Joe Lynch: "Should I see it? Would it help me?" He said no, because realistically my character hasn't seen it. And that makes total sense.
MTV: Your character is a retired Marine Colonel, hosting a reality show that drops good-looking teenagers into the wilderness. You seem to play him like a cross between Jeff Probst and R. Lee Ermey.
HR: My main goal in the film was, when the whatever hits the fan, to get into this very stealth, quiet and deadly mode. With the face, the body action, and everything -- to go "I'm all action, no talk."
MTV: And once the "Wrong Turn" cannibal mountain-people attack, the sexy teenagers learn that maybe they should've listened to their host a bit more closely.
HR: Yeah. What's interesting to me, not being familiar with [horror movies], is how far the technology has come; what is doable these days ... I'm like 'Wow! You just split someone in half! And made their guts come out!' It's all wonderful, rubber things, made so well.
MTV: It's also fun to see Henry Rollins delivering cheesy 80's taglines after killing people off. How did it feel to get in touch with your inner Schwarzenegger?
HR: Great. These kinds of movies come with humor; if you're not laughing, you're missing the fun. So [after I talk to a guy about his wife, then kill him], I say 'Hello to the missus for me!' The guy's in like 800 pieces. That's just fun.
MTV: As a punk icon, so much of your public persona is built on being anti-authoritarian. Was it strange to be playing a military man?
HR: Hey, I work for a living. And sometimes it's a movie, sometimes it's a radio, sometimes it's my TV show. My acting range is incredibly limited and narrow (he laughs), but I'm a good heavy. I'm a good authoritarian figure; I don't know why. "Can you be a cop?" Sure. "Can you be a Marine?" Absolutely. Well, at least in a movie.
MTV: I saw you doing a great spoken word show, years ago, in Boston. You had just acted in "Heat," and one of the topics you hit was how you loved taking that "dirty Hollywood money" and using it to help fund your independent efforts. So, what are you gonna do with your "Wrong Turn 2" money?
HR: In those days, yeah, I'd do the corporate work and then I'd put it into my company (2.13.61) -- we'd put out this record, or put out this photo book ... I went into the machine, and I came out with this money. I'm no longer in that position, where I must go into the machine to get the money; I now have the money. I just enjoy working. I would never tell you how to live your life, but for me, I believe I should be gainfully employed about 6.5 days a week.
MTV: I recently saw "What We Do is Secret," the biopic on Darby Crash from The Germs. What do you think about Shane West not only starring in the movie, but going out on tour with the remaining Germs?
HR: Well, I don't know. I'm a big Germs fan; most people are. I've never seen the band play with Shane, nor have I seen the movie. I love the band and, if they made a good film, well okay. Darby Crash is dead. It was a great band, and I wish he wasn't dead.
MTV: Jello Biafra [from the Dead Kennedys] hasn't seen the band or the movie either. But he has still spoken out against the idea of a Hollywood actor joining a punk band.
HR: Well, I don't have that with it. Jello, okay, that's what he said about it. I saw Jello last night, actually. Look, do your thing. If you want to make a movie, make a movie. I'm not Joseph Stalin, and I can't really be in a position to tell people not to do something. [The movie]'s probably nothing that I would run to see, but eventually I'll probably catch up with it. If they'd done a documentary with found Germs footage? That I'd be in the front of the line for.
MTV: If Hollywood decides to make a Black Flag movie next, who would you want to play Henry Rollins?
HR: Well, Greg Ginn is Black Flag; I'm just one of the many singers. But that's an interesting question. I could be funny and say Rosie O'Donnell. Or maybe Christian Bale; he's a handsome guy, don't you think?