Hey Rewatchers! Keith here. This week we have a VERY special episode. We interviewed Highlander Director Clay Borris. Clay directed eight episodes of Highlander, spanning Seasons One, Two, and Three, as well as being an incredible filmmaker and television director in his own right. In this episode we talk to Clay about his work on Highlander, career as a filmmaker, and his life growing up on the rough streets of Cabbagetown. Highlander Rewatched is committed to bringing YOU, the fans, the very best Highlander content, and this week is no different. Highlander Rewatched has worked with Clay, and next week we will have a very special treat for everyone. Tune in to our Facebook page next week as Highlander Rewatched releases an incredible, never-before-seen, look behind the scenes of a Highlander set. That's right! Clay Borris AND Highlander Rewatched will be releasing an intimate, behind-the-scenes look at a day in the life on the Highlander set, and we can't wait to share it with you! Thanks again to everyone out there, who has been listening to the podcast week after week. We have a lot more special treats in store for you in the coming weeks as well! So stay tuned for brand new Highlander podcasts and videos!
Hey, Rewatchers! This week's episode is brought to you by the Highlander 25th Gathering Convention in Los Angeles, in celebration of the unique and enduring legacy of the Highlander television series! The convention will take place Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, October 20th through the 22nd at the LAX Crowne Plaza on West Century Boulevard in Los Angeles. We here at Highlander Rewatched could not be more excited about this convention, which will feature guests such as the Highlander himself: Adrian Paul! Elizabeth Gracen, Jim Byrnes, Stan Kirsch, Peter Wingfield, David Abramowitz, F Braun McAsh, Anthony De Longis, and James Horan (whom you may remember from his turn as Grayson in Season One's "Band of Brothers"). Not only will you be able to meet the immortal swashbuckling stars of our favorite television series, but there will be amazing interactive classes offered as well. Sharpen your skills with the blade in Adrian Paul's Sword Experience! Go toe-to-toe with F Braun McAsh in his Knife Combat Class! Experience super-sonic speeds with Whip-master to the Stars Anthony De Longis! And find inner peace and tranquility in Elizabeth Gracen's Fan Kata Class! This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for us mortals, so make sure to head over to highlanderworldwide.com for details, tickets, and hotel booking info! We can't wait to see everybody at the Highlander 25th Anniversary Convention: Friday, October 20th through Sunday, October 22nd. Head on over to highlanderworldwide.com--again, that's highlanderworldwide.com--today, to get your tickets!
Hi, this is Adrian Paul, and you're listening to Highlander Rewatched.
Hello, this is Beatie Edney. I played Heather in the original Highlander film, and you are watching Highlander Rewatched!
This is Andy Armstrong. I was the 2nd Unit Director directing the action units in New York on the original Highlander, and you're listening to Highlander Rewatched.
Hi, this is Anthony De Longis, also known as Ottavio Consone from the Duende episode of Highlander, and you are listening to Highlander Rewatched.
Hi, I'm Elizabeth Gracen. I played Amanda on Highlander the Series, and the spinoff called Highlander: The Raven, and you are listening to Highlander Rewatched!
Everybody involved with Highlander has stories; and they're great, great stories! This is John Mosby, the author of Fearful Symmetry: The Essential Guide to All Things Highlander, and you're listening to Highlander Rewatched.
This is Ken Gord, producer of the Highlander Series, and you are listening to the podcast Highlander Rewatched.
Hey! This is Stan Kirsch. I played Richie Ryan on Highlander, and you are listening to Highlander Rewatched!
This is Clay Borris, director of Highlander: The TV Series, and you're listening to Highlander Rewatched.
4:19 Clay: Hello?
Keith: Hey Clay! This is Keith! How're you?
Clay: Hey. How're you doin'?
Keith: Very well! Uh, I just wanna introduce you to the crew we got here. Well I'm Keith. Uh, guys do you wanna introduce yourselves?
Yeah, I'm Kyle. How are you? Nice to meet you.
Clay: Yeah, you too.
Eamon: And uh, my name's Eamon. Uh, thank you, Clay, for joining us!
Clay: No problem.
Kyle: We do have the uh, Explicit tag on our podcast so, you know... and--
Keith: You're allowed to curse!
Keith: Is what that means.
4:40 Clay: Yeah. No, after... When you first contacted me uh, I looked it up and I started listening. So I listened to most of the interviews.
Keith: Oh, cool! Cool.
Clay: Yeah. I... I didn't know they had existed before that. *Kyle: Yeah!* Directors are never told anything. *Laughter*
Kyle: Is that--is--
Clay: You know what I mean? It's like uh... I have to find out this stuff myself.
Kyle: Yeah! I mean, is that indicative of your experience on Highlander?
5:00 Clay: No... It's just that, you know, you're a hired hand. I remember when somebody said to me on set one day, he said that, he said, "Who was directing the live show?" he says, "I don't know," he said, "besides the hair, you guys all look the same."
*someone raspberries* Keith: Hoh, boy!
Kyle: Yowch! *laughter*
5:14 Clay: *laughs* And I'm like, "Yeah, right. Okay, buddy!" I, you know, I do every other show, I think you remember me. I mean, you know, it's basically you're a hired hand; you come in and you shoot. People that work there all the time, the DOP, you know, he's the god. He runs the show, really. You know, a director comes in, he just does his job; he leaves. But the crew stays on, the actors are all the same... You know, I'm just a visitor when I come on set.
Keith: But you--you got to visit the Highlander set a number of times! You were one of their... go-to reliable directors, if I understand.
5:41 Clay: Yeah. Yeah, I guess so. Yeah. I was doing ever--every other show at one point. And then uh... they wanted me to come back the... next year, and I couldn't, cuz I was doing a movie, in Vancouver, with Richard Grieco or something. (Suspicious Agenda (1995)). So Ken said, "You can't come?" And I said, "No, I can't." And he said, "Is there any way you can ma--you know, get off the show you're doing and then shoot?" And I said, "No!" I said, "I gotta keep prepping here." You know, it's a feature film. Can't fool around.
Keith: *laughing* Right!
Kyle: Is that uh, Ken Gord?
6:08 Clay: Yeah, yeah! Ken Gord and I were friends. You know, we worked together before on, uh, Sweating Bullets, and that's how we first met. And after Highlander we did a uh, movie of the week together, too, called Killer Deal. *Kyle: Oooh!* So, you know, Ken and I go back a long ways.
Kyle: Killer Art of the Deal!
6:26 Clay: Yeah! *laughing* No, it was called Killer Deal. It was a science fiction-type thing. Yeah.
Keith: So, Ken was the guy who brought you into the world of Highlander then?
6:31 Clay: Yeah. When he got the show, he brought me up and then uh, while they were prepping and everything else, Ken said uh... "Hey, maybe you should do the SECOND show," you know? And I said, "No!" I said, "I'll be the first and everybody has to follow ME. I don't wanna follow the OTHER guy!"
Keith: Right! *Kyle laughs*
6:47 Clay: Mm. Ken goes, "Ah, okay. You got a point there." And then the thing that was really weird about the show, I never could understand, is that I was never given a contract to do... a certain amount. Every time I was doing a show, Ken would just come and say, "Okay. You're doing another one."
Keith: *surprised* Really? *Kyle laughs*
Clay: It was never like... No. It was never like, "We're gonna give you five, for sure." It never happened like that. So I never knew if I was gonna get another one or not. It, it was really weird. I was all, "Ken, how come?" I think--I don't know--maybe the producers--the other producers--had a problem with me, or something... or... they weren't sure I could deliver. I'm not sure. You know. Then I got into this six-day-show thing, and then... all of a sudden, you know, they need me. So I don't know--*laughs*--It's just one of those weird things.
Kyle: So, so is that a nickname you had? You were Six-Day Clay?
7:28 Clay: No, I heard about that when uh... *Eamon laughs* when I saw the DVD package that came out--
Kyle: *cackles* So that--
7:34 Clay: --and they interviewed Panzer. He says, "Oh yeah. Six-Day Clay." *Kyle laughs* And I'm like, "Oh wow. That's... that's what they called me, huh?" Which is not a title I'm... particularly happy about. I mean, you know, it's like, "Whointhehell wants to do a show in six days when the other guys were getting seven or whatever?" Big difference, one day, you know? It really does.
Eamon: So were you like, the Pinch Hitter? Did they like, come to you when they... knew they needed something in like a, a fast turnaround?
7:58 Clay: No... It's just that... like I said, I was doing every other show. So... I was just given a script and then I'd shoot it. Cuz I knew the show really well, and the way that I shoot, you know... I, I shoot from the hip, you know, cuz I know how to edit and everything, like I've done it all my life; all my movies and everything. So I don't need to sit there and do a shot-list, 'n... It's not that I don't do a shot-list, cuz you know, the producer wants to see one. They'll sit there and I'll put one together, but you don't use it, you know. Anyway, when I was doing the show... You know, I'm French-Canadian. So, I knew they were going to France, and I said to Ken this is..."Man," I says, "I gotta go to France! You gotta take me there!" And he's like, "Well, I'll do my best. I'll do my best," you know? Like, I wanted to go shoot in France! It'd be amazing! So... The day came he said uh, "I got good news, and I got bad news." And I said, "Well, okay. You know. What's the bad news?" And he said, "Well you... You can't go to Paris." And I'm like, "Oh, man." He said, "The good news is: You get to start to shoot the new episode without prepping!" And I'm like, "What?" He goes, "Yeah! The director we had fell through, so you're gonna start directing the next day after you finish this show."
Keith: Wow! *laughter* *Kyle: Cool!*
Clay: Well fo--without prepping, cuz Ken knew I could do it.
Kyle: Do you remember what episode that was?
Clay: So I basically uh, I guess--Yeah. Bless The Child. And...
Kyle: Ooh! That was actually a uh, an episode we definitely wanted to talk to you about, so... we can't wait to hear it.
9:10 Clay: So, what happened was: I read the script on the way to the set in the morning, with my AD. The AD prepped the show. I showed up, he said "These are the locations," I said "Okay. Put the camera over here, let's go shoot. Let's go!" Like, to me, I can just walk on any set and start shooting. It's not a mystery. If you're a director, you know what you're doing. You don't need, you know, big plans. I th... I don't think so, anyway. *sits back* That's one of my things on Highlander, was that thing of, you know, not being able to go to France, that really upset me. Besides that I had a great time, though.
Kyle: Uh, that is a bummer you didn't get to go to Paris as say uh... s--
9:39 Clay: I know. Especially when you're French Canadian.
Clay: *chuckles* But--
Eamon: Did you ever get to visit?
Kyle: *amused* A non-Highlander-related visit?
9:46 Clay: Oh, yeah. Well, my first feature, Alligator Shoes, was in the Directors' Fortnight at Cannes.
Keith: Oh wow!
9:51 Clay: And uh, it showed in Paris, too. So I spent two weeks in Paris. My movie was playing in a theater there. So I don't know, I've been to France a few times. Drove through it, you know, that kind of stuff, but uh... Anyway, I just wanted to go just to be FILMING, it would have been exciting. That's all.
Keith: In your experience, it sounds like... shooting these quick episodes was like, kind of old hat for you. Like, you, you knew what you were doing. I feel like other directors might think shooting a six-day episode would be a real challenge. *Clay is chuckling* Did you find this to be hard to do? These--these really quick shoots? Or... what was the hardest experience on Highlander?
10:21 Clay: I mean, if you know what you're doing as a director, I mean it's not HARD. *laugh* Uh, the thing is... it's the time-thing, right? Like, we were shooting eleven, twelve, sometimes thirteen pages a day. *Keith: Wowl* You know. So you're doing all these pages and at the same time you got fight scenes. As far as the fun of Highlander is, I used to work out some of the fight scenes with Adrian, you know. I'd say what if we did this, and... Like, I remember doing one where he's hanging on to the hood of a car, and I said "It would be great if you let go of the hood of the car, bounced off your feet, jumped in the air, did a flip, and landed on your feet." And he said "Oh yeah? Christ, that'd be great." *Rewatchers laugh* You know? I love doing action, you know. That's what I like to do, so um... For me it was fun doing all those fight scenes, and sword-things 'n... The show's hard to do only because you've got so many pages to do, 'n you have to get through it, and, you know, you've gotta keep the camera moving, and you can't just put it on sticks and make it look... you know. I mean it's called "Motion Picture" for a reason. *Eamon laughs* *Keith: Right!* The camera's gotta be moving. The way I like it, anyway. But you know, I learned ta--a lot of tricks you know, from uh, from the old days, you know. Like, you have an actor, you know, stand in front of the camera; and the other actor's in the background, talking. So that way you're getting a closeup from one actor in the front, and the other actor reacting in the background. It tells you the whole story. Next! Let's move on to the next scene!
Kyle: *laughing* Right!
11:38 Clay: You know, it's those kind of tricks that I learned how to do that made me, you know, shoot pretty fast. And like I said, a lot of... *sighs* Some directors don't really know what they're doing. You can usually tell pretty fast, cuz they shoot everything, like they... they cover it they co--they just cover it to death, to make sure they got enough for editing. Any director that knows what he's doing edits in his head as he's going. "I need a shot here, I need a closeup here. I need this, I need that. Let's go!" You just get what you need, and get the hell out. And uh--
Kyle: So where did you learn to be--to be that kind of conversant with those kind of tools to make you so efficient on set. I mean, it sounds like a lot of directors--even experienced directors--don't have that kind of comfort level.
12:15 Clay: Well, it's because the... If you understand editing, you can't go wrong. So I go on set, no prep, I just say "Okay, put the camera here, let's go, shoot!" I knew exactly what I wanted within--within two seconds. You know I walk in with the actors, 'n, you do a run-through, and then sometimes Adrian would say, "Well, you like... I'd prefer it if I was over here," and say okay. So, or if I set up a shot, especially with the guest stars of the week that say, "Well, I prefer to be over there," I say: "Well you can go over there if you want, but you won't be lit." *Rewatchers laugh*
12:42 Clay: I mean, you know, uh, "Go ahead. Stand over there. That's not the way I set up the shot." Because I was always thinking like, "How do I set up the shot so that we can move fast on to the next scene?" You know, so you don't waste your time like, shooting everything in one direction, and then moving all the lights around and shooting the other thing in the other direction. So you sort of plan ahead that you gonna do as less changes as possible. You know, so your lighting's always like in the same direction. And then we do a lot of French Reverses. You know what that is?
Kyle: No! What's a French Reverse?
13:10 Clay: A French Reverse is when you shoot a scene of an actor, especially if he's around a wall, it all looks the same. So you get an actor who is standing there; we got a closeup say of our hero, and he's talking to some guy, right? So we lit our hero, he's all lit against the wall. Well what we do is, we bring in... say, if the background is the same, we bring in the other actor, and we put him in the same spot, and we just shoot him 'n then, we have him look the opposite way for his eyeline, and then nobody will ever tell in a million years. And then you put the light source, just move a flag or something over to the left side of the cheek, to the right side. *laughter*
Kyle: The French--
13:44 Clay: *laughs* Those are the things that you learn in the business. You know?
Kyle: Yeah. French Reverse. Free uh, film lesson for our listeners. *Keith: Yeah!* It's also much more PG than I was expecting. *Keith laughs*
Clay: *Laughs* Yeah.
Keith: So, it sounds like you... you always had a very clear idea of what you wanted to do, when you were shooting the show. Was that ever at odds at what... let's say what a producer wanted? Or, one of the actors? Like, were there ever disagreements on set about the way... the shoot was going?
14:07 Clay: Well, I don't think so, because, you know, if Ken had a problem, he would tell me. He was really good about that. He would say, you know, "Clay, maybe you need this." And I'd go "Yeah, okay." Cuz Ken was also a good editor. He under--he understands film 'n... I think sometimes, like, first of all there--there's sort of a rule on any show, right? The director can't change dialogue, that kind of stuff, you know? Like, without permission. So if you say uh, "I wanna change this line, I think you should say this," and then at some point I'd talk to Adrian, and he'd go "Yeah, I agree with you," and we'd just change it, you know? We did. A couple of times, somebody came up and said, "Well, they're a little pissed off, the writer, you know, you changed a couple of lines." And I said, "Well Adrian okayed it. What'd'you mean?" *laughter* That kind of stuff, you now? So you're always... you're running into stuff like that, you know? It's all part of the game. The thing is as a director, you know, you get a script and it's so-so. And a good director will make the script a lot better. Right? And I think every script I ever did on Highlander, they all would turn out better than what the way it was written. Cuz that's what you're s'pposed to do. Cuz they can only write so much. They're not there on location. When on the location, I see things that I can change and make it better, you know? More exciting. And uh...
Eamon: Like that flip in Revenge of the Sword! That probably made that script a lot better. *Kyle laughs*
15:18 Clay: Yeah. Yeah. Again, it was REALLY tough. I mean I--I'm actually in there, you know. I'm the director saying "Okay! Cut! Cut! That was pretty good." I don't know if you remember that. We were shooting a scene--
Keith: Oh, that's right! Yeah! You're the... the director IN Revenge of the Sword is you! Yeah!
Clay: That's right, yeah. Yeah.
Kyle: It's very Meta! Layers within layers!
15:34 Clay: Again, that was an example. Like the scripts that I didn't like the most were the ones where there's no Quickening. Like, without the Quickening, I'm like, I don't know. The show's not the same to me. *Kyle laughs* It's like... You have a build-up to a Quicken--You know, and then the thing is the director always has--you, you have to come up with a Quickening, right? I mean, they would say "Okay! A Quickening happens!" You go, "Well what the fuck happens? What d'you mean?
Keith: *laughing* Right! *Kyle laughs too*
15:58 Clay: Yeah! So you go on the location that you were at, right? So I'd say "Okay. This one here." Like in ah, the one that we did with uh... I can't remember what's it's called, now. All the bulbs blow in the building, one after the other? That kind of stuff. *Keith: Uh-huh!* I mean, that was a good one. And then uh, the one at the uh, circus, where all the lights go on and everything...
Eamon: Oh that's uh, Epitaph For Tommy.
Clay: ... the Ferris Wheel starts to go.
Keith: Yeah! That's one of the best! Yeah!
Kyle: That IS one of the best Quickenings, with Rowdy Roddy Piper!
Clay: Yeah. And uh...
Eamon: That is one a--That IS one of the series' best Quickenings.
16:24 Clay: Yeah. Well that was a lot of fun and uh, that's because we were shooting at the location, you know. So we said "Holy shit, okay!" So I said, "What about if everything starts to go? The clowns start to laugh, everything starts turning, the lights are--" I mean, it was really exciting to do that, you know? It was a lot of fun. I had ONE Quickening I wanted to do, but I never did another show. We never did it. Where: He goes into a used car lot where--a car graveyard--and all the cars start, the lights go on... That kind of stuff, but I never got to do it.
Kyle: It's funny that you mentioned that like, the Quickening is like, the thing that kind of indicates... the hallmark of what's gonna be a good episode. Did you run into... issues where you wanted to change a lot of the... some of the scripts you were given a lot? Because, in looking at the episodes that you directed, you got like a real grab-bag of some of... kind of the most beloved episodes and... you know; some ones with no other Immortals, no Quickening, that are just kind of strange ones.
17:13 Clay: You know, you get a script, and then uh, you have ideas, go to a meeting with, I guess, with the producer and the writers, and I... then I say, "Okay, look. What if we did this instead." You know, so as the director you DO add to it. Or sometimes you--I'd say, "Well, you know what? This is a six-day show and not thirty, so... we can't shoot that scene." But you, you have to say it as the director, okay. I do the show enough that I knew I couldn't do this in six days. I'm going, "Guys, I can't do it. I don't care how quick I am." *laughter*
17:39 Clay: There's only... but then they... that ends up suffering, right? Cuz you're not spending as much time with the actors, you know? Like you never have to worry about your lead actors, because they know their part. I mean, are you gonna go in there and tell Adrian how to play his part? He's gonna go, "Yeah, right, kid." *Keith laughs* *amused* It just, it just doesn't work like that, right? You can give nuances. You know, you can say "How about if you smirked here? Or uh, you grinned or something like that." But you don't tell the lead actors in the show how to act their part, really. The only people you deal with are the uh... people who are coming in like the extras 'n, they're just doing small parts, you know? Those people, they're on--On any show you do they're hardest to deal with in the sense that, you know, like any actor they don't work that much, so they come on the show, they're so happy. They're gonna get to shoot. They do a scene, I say, "Okay good, let's go! Move on!" They're like, "What--what--Wh-what? What d'you mean?" *Rewatchers laugh* "I can do another one! I can do another one!" And I go... and I know the show so well, and it's like, "Okay. Y'want another one? Alright. Go ahead." *laughter* No! They do another one, and they did it exactly the same. And I knew they would. So sometimes you have talks with people like that, and I would explain to them that we have to move this quick. We'll give you a couple of takes; or something--sometimes three, but we gotta move on. Cuz you know, we're gonna cut to the other actor that's not fucking up the scene anyway. *laughter yeah!* You know they--There's ways of editing on a TV show! Let's go! For instance I--This is a little bit out of context, but I was doing a TV show called "The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin", right?
Keith: It's no secret how that dog solves crime!
19:08 Clay: And we used to shoot really fast on that show, right? So the guest actors would come in... and I always say, "Don't worry. We're gonna cut to the dog. Fucking trust me." *all laugh* And we, and we always did! And we knew we'd cut to the dog, listening... whatever! You blew your lines? Too badlet'sgo, let'smo-let'smove! You know. So...
Kyle: Just get a disappointed look from the dog?
19:28 Clay: Anyway, when I got the... when I got the Highlander I was using the same kind of thing, you know? And it was like, "Guys, you know, we canNOT do five, six, seven eight takes for everybody! We just can't get our day that way." And you know, and Adrian, he's really good, he never fucks up. Guy always has his lines right. He's a real pro. So you don't have to worry about him or the kid, you know, or anything like that, they--they're real pros.
Kyle: So who was the most challenging guest star for you to work with? You got to work with a, an interesting spread of them on Highlander.
19:56 Clay: Well the most interesting is uh... what's that guy from Raising Arizona?
Eamon: Tex Cobb.
Clay: The big guy.
Keith: Randall Tex Cobb!
20:02 Clay: Yeah! Yeah. Uh yeah. Only cuz he was drunk, or something. I mean he... tell him something, and uh... you know, he was--I don't know if he was listening; I don't know if he heard you, uh... He wa--*Keith laughs, then Kyle is laughing* No he, no. No, he was a great guy... but uh, you never knew... You know he got hurt on set, I mean, you know.
Keith: Yeah! He got hit by a truck, right?
20:23 Clay: Yeah, he got hit by a truck! That was my episode, and so, "What the FUCK? What'd'you MEAN you got hit by a truck?!" *laughter* I said, "Is the truck all--Is the truck alright?" *everyone laughs* And they're like... You know cuz, he was such a strong guy, man. Unbelievable! But no, he was a sweetheart, but he only cared a--The thing I remember is that he just couldn't listen or, I didn't know whether he heard what I said, but he would deliver. Jonathan Banks was interesting. When I see him on Saul, you know I love it.
Keith: Yeah! He's a fantastic actor.
20:51 Clay: He's a, he's a great guy. He was fun to work with. He's another real pro, there.
Kyle: What was it like working with him on set? Did he have any fun quirks?
20:57 Clay: No, he's a good guy. All I remember is that he had a sore back. And he had a lot of things he couldn't do because of his sore back. And so he would s--
Kyle: That's rough on a show with sword-fighting.
21:05 Clay: So he would say, "Clay, do you mind if I--I have to do this a little different." And I'd go "Okay. No problem." The thing I remember about that show the most, too, is like... I doubled him in the gunfight, right? In the quickdraw, I'm the one that's drawing the gun. It's my hand.
Keith: Oh wow!
21:19 Clay: So if you watch the show, it's shot from behind. And I practiced for a couple of days, you know, just the quickdraw. And I was wearing that outfit on set; I was directing wearing it--*laughter* And, and you know, I had the gun at my hip and everything. So he had to leave, and we-we couldn't do the reverse shot of him drawing the gun, so I did it.
Kyle: I'm sure everyone on set listened to you, with a, with a gun on your *laughing* on your hip, yeah. *Clay laughs* There's a--There's a new sheriff in town, literally.
21:45Clay: Yeah, that was great!
Keith: What was, what was the experience like working on Highlander--You've had a, a long career in the industry, like how--Was Highlander any different than... other TV projects you worked on? Or... What's the difference between working on a TV show as opposed to a movie? Uh, for our listeners.
21:56 Clay: Well, the difference is the schedule. Like, f'r instance, like I said, we're doing ah, all these pages, all the time, y'know? Other TV shows I did--Like I--I started out doing features, right? Then I got into TV by accident, somehow, whatever. And then I went back to doing features... for a while, so... After I did Highlander, like I said the next year we went back to Vancouver, but I was hired to do uh, these two TV shows. One with Corbin Bernsen and... You know, you're given a script and all of a sudden I look at the schedule and it says: two pages, three p--FOUR pages a day. I'm like, "HUH?! The fuck are we gonna do in the afternoon?" *laughter* "All we're doing is four pages." *Clay laughs* So that's the--The thing is that I... you know, it's like, uh... And also, I mean I shot both those shows in fourteen days--fourteen or fifteen days, right? Which in itself is pretty fast for a feature, right? *Keith: Yeah.* But the thing is, I liked about... the pacing, for me, was a lot less. I was able to use cranes, and all kinds of stuff, y'know? And I could... you know, rehearse the actors. I could work more with the actors; I could get better performances, cuz I had the time. And uh... I never went over schedule ever, not once, on both those movies. The scripting days when you go from... When you go from six... to all of a sudden, you know, fourteen-fifteen days, believe me it's a lot of time. A lot of directors wouldn't think that.
23:13 Clay: Like I did a... you know, The Gunfighters. I did a Western, you know, with George Kennedy. *Keith: Uh-huh?* And we shot that in eighteen days. And that's a Western. So again, you see, it all comes down to YES!! I'd like to be able to do like, a fifty-million dollar film, and, and shoot one page a day and... rehearse the actors for a month and... really do things well, you know. But I--I--I've never been uh, given that luxury. Even in my first Hollywood film, Quiet Cool... I think was shot in thirty-eight days... And that was non-stop action.
Keith: Can you tell us a little bit more about that film, and how you got started in the industry?
23:43 Clay: Well... It's a long story. But basically uh, I grew up in an area in Toronto called Cabbagetown, which was the slums in Toronto...
Kyle: Did you say "Cabbagetown?"
23:51 Clay: And I was a, I was a street kid in a gang and everything. And then I had this social worker that uh, saw something in me and uh, he used ta--you know, we started a Free School together, and everything, and he said, "Clay," he said, "you should make a movie about your neighborhood!" And I'm like, "A movie? Me, make a movie? Wha'd'you mean?" He says, "You know, you could make a film! So I'll get you some money for a film and," he said, "come up with an idea!" Well I said "Okay." I came up with this idea where a kid comes home from school; he walks by three tough guys; they don't like the way he looks at 'em; they chase him through the streets of Cabbagetown, they corner him, they beat the shit out of him, and they walk away as if nothing happened. And that's the movie. And he said, "Fuck! That's the way you see your life?!" I said, "Yeah." He said, "Okay." He got me the film on Super 8. I shot the movie, and then uh... With all... With my friends, in the gang that I was in, and... I didn't know how to do a fight scene, so I had the guy beaten up for real on film. *Kyle laughs* This is TRUE. Yeah it was like--they didn't kill him, but his--you know, they really did kick him in the head and shit like that.
Keith: WOW! *Eamon laugh* *Kyle sort of stutters: Whoa!*
Clay: But-but-but I didn't know how to do a fight-scene. What was I supposed to do?
Kyle: It's some method-acting, uh--
Keith: Yeah! That's, like, that's the raw stuff right there.
Clay: Yeah! Yeah. I mean, I'm still friends with the guy and everything, *laughter* so that's the way uh... they showed it--the Super 8--to somebody, and then they decided to redo it--uh, the school board or something--They decided to do it in 16. So I reshot the film in 16mm with a professional cameraman. Cuz the first one I did myself, behind a Super 8 camera 'n stuff. And so then uh... you know, I was uh, eighteen years old and the film played all across Canada, on TV, and that started my career. *Keith: Wow!* That's how it happened.
Kyle: That's incredible!
25:25 Clay: All my earlier films were about Cabbagetown, so... My first FEATURE was Alligator Shoes. So I wrote it, directed it, produced it, and I starred in it with my brother. And that's the one that was in the Directors' Fortnight at Cannes. Yeah, I went without working for a while, and nobody would hire me because I was known as the fierce independent, and people were afraid to work with me or something. It was really weird.
25:45 Clay: So I said fuck this, so with my wife and two kids--one was a baby--moved to Hollywood. I got a contract to write a script with MGM. That didn't go anywhere. Then I wrote the script Quiet Cool... *laughter* Anyway, that was my first film, and then the guy was... that produced that produced Teachers, and all this stuff, and The Rose, and... He was a bigtime producer. And he even read one of my scripts, which I've never got done to this day, called "Rush of the Passing Train". He loved it, and then uh... I remember I was sitting in his office, and he said--and he said to me, "Clay, you see this script? Your script is a great script. You see this script here?" He points to Teachers. "It's nothing compared to yours, but we're gonna make this one." *Keith wheezelaughs* "You know why? Cuz it's the kind of film people wanna see. Your film is too dark. It's too streets!"
26:29 Clay: I dunno how much time you have, but I could tell you very quickly the story of how we came up with the name Quiet Cool.
Keith: Sure! Of course!
Kyle: I mean, we've got as much time as you've got! So, uh...
Clay: Yeah, okay. Uh--
Keith: I personally can't wait to hear more about Cabbagetown and all the... the stuff going on there. That sounds incredible.
26:42 Clay: Oh. Okay. Anyway, uh... I was working in Hollywood--I was a handyman, with a carpenter. And uh, you know, just to make some money, to put food on the table and that kind of stuff... And we were digging holes in Hollywood, and it was about a 103 °F or something, it was fucking hot as hell, I'm standing there digging this hole and I happened to look up and there was a guy was a DOP I think, and he was sitting there having a cold beer, you know. Gulp gulp gulp, just drinking it down. *chuckles* And I'm watching I'm going "Oh fuck man! I'd give anything to be in there right now." *laughter* So as I, as I'm, as I'm looking at him, I see the back of the air conditioner. The name of the company was Quiet Kool, with a K. So I started thinking about that as I'm digging the hole I thought, "Quiet Kool...Quiet Kool. Quiet Kool. What if I change it to a 'C'? Quiet Cool! What does Quiet Cool mean?" Two years later, Quiet Cool opened in 1,800 theaters across The United States. From me seeing that fucking air conditioner.
Kyle: You never know where these ideas are gonna come from!
27:40 Clay: That's... and that's how I made my first Hollywood movie! That's how it happens. Before that my films were all about Cabbagetown. You know, they couldn't believe that I could do an action film, but I wrote the ac--You know, I wrote the action, I was--I love action movies, always have...
Keith: What are some of your influences? Favorite action movies and stuff.
27:56 Clay: First of all, I'm a--I'm a Western freak. So like, "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly..." and uh... you know, "For a Few Dollars More", and that kind of stuff. I love those films. They really influenced me. Action films, you know, are like "48 Hours", 28:09 where I fell in love with James Remar? That's why I cast him in Quiet Cool, because I thought he was the best bad guy I'd ever seen in my life when I saw "48 Hours." But, you know, those kind of films. You know. The Getaway, with Steve McQueen. Or... Die Hard, right? I mean, those kind of movies. I love big action movies like that. I've never got to make one, because... because I've never... had enough success, I guess, with the films that I did to be able to do those big movies. You know, cuz I was always gonna make movies about Cabbagetown. You know, that's what I... I wanted to do. I didn't know I was gonna end up doing Hollywood films, really. That just sort of happened because I had to make a living.
Keith: C--Can you paint a--a picture for us OF Cabbagetown? I'm like, intrigued by what this neighborhood was like, especially cuz it has... influenced you so much.
28:51 Clay: Well, like I said, that's where I grew up. At the time... Like right now, it's upscale as hell, right? You know, the renovators moved in and changed the whole neighborhood, right? I mean, it's not--
Keith: Is it more like Brussel Sprout Town now? *laughing* Sorry! Bad joke!
Kyle: That was terrible!
Keith: That was a terrible joke!
29:04 Clay: Well you may not know the reason--*laughs* No, the reason it's called Cabbagetown is because... when there was the famine, you know, from Ireland, they all came down to uh, to Canada. They used to grow their own cabbages in their backyards. And that's how they got called Cabbagetown. The name just stuck. I mean, it's called that now.
29:21 Clay: You know? Anyway, that's where I grew up in the streets. And uh... you know, I mean my--my parents--my mother ran a rooming house, in Cabbagetown. As a matter of fact, I made a film called "Rose's House", and my mother starred in it, and she was nominated for Canadian Oscar for Best Actress.
Eamon and Keith: Wow!
Clay: Had never acted in her life.
Kyle: Wait, that's incredible! So wait. You directed a movie and your MOM was nominated for Best Actress?
Clay: Yeah! Yeah. *Kyle stutters* In Boston's Film Festival. Martin Scorsese's film about his mother and her Italian Spaghetti uh... recipe or something, do you remember that film he did?
29:53 Clay: Okay, well... They had my film playing with his; they had us there as a double, right?
Keith: Oh wow!
29:57 Clay: I mean, I'd made a movie about MY mother, and he made one about HIS mother, *Eamon laughs* so we were in the same festival together. Anyway, that was my connection to Scorsese.
Eamon: That's still pretty rad!
30:07 Clay: Yeah. Yeah, it was pretty cool, you know. So, I wanted to be the Martin Scorsese of Canada, you know? Didn't work out that way, when I wanted to get Rush of the Passing Train off the ground. It woulda made my life totally different if I woulda made that film. Cuz it woulda--I woulda kept doing my Cabbagetown uh, about my life there. And my friends and everything. Guys I grew up with. A lot of my friends, they ended up in jail, shot, that kind of stuff.
Keith: Y--You said you were in a gang, in Cabbagetown, right?
30:32 Clay: Yeah! I was in a gang called The Cross Gang.
Keith: How didja--How did you get into that?
30:36 Clay: Yeah, you know, we just went out and stole 'n shit like that, right? I mean, yeah, broke into people's houses, 'n all that stuff. I'm lucky I never got caught. But, ah--
Keith: Yeah! Holy shit! *laughter*
30:45 Clay: Yeah, well I'd ma--if I wouldn't have made my first film... You know, I think I would... that's where I was heading. All of a sudden I became a filmmaker, so I went from being a street kid, to being a filmmaker, which is really strange, y'know?
Kyle: Yeah actually, that's a hell of a transformation.
30:57 Clay: And... Yeah, you know! So I did my film--My second film was called Paperboy, and it was based on me... This is a short film, again. 16 minutes. It was based on me being a paperboy in Cabbagetown. And I had my kid brother star in it. My kid brother played me. Cuz I made the film only like, six years after I'd been a paperboy, right? *laughing* *Keith: Yeah.* So, so, my kid brother, I tell him, "Okay, you're gonna be in my movie!" *shrill* "Oh I don't wanna be in a movie!" *laughter* "Yeah yeah, okay you got--You got no choice!" You know, he's beautiful in there. He's really good in the film. You can check it out on Youtube, you know?
Keith: Oh, awesome!
31:28 Clay: Under my name. Paperboy is on there. Then I did Alligator Shoes, which was a feature, and then I was nominated for Original Screenplay, for that. It went to Cannes, I thought "Okay! Finally my career's on the way!" But, I went five years without making a movie after Alligator Shoes. Nobody would hire me. Not even the CBC for their, their TV shows. Nothing. Nobody would hire me! That-That's why I left. And then they wouldn't do my script, and I thought, "You know what? What the fuck am I doing here? At least in the States they love people that--They give people a chance down there!" Um...
Keith: Yeah. So, yeah, what--what's the difference between making... entertainment in Canada, versus the United States?
33:03 Clay: Well it's not that... we could do stuff here just as good, it's just that we never have the budget. *Keith mms* You know? It's just that in the States, I mean it's like, I mean, I can't talk for other people. I mean it's, just like, you know when you do a Canadian TV show, you know you get a third of the money that an American TV show gets, for instance. We compete a lot against that kind of stuff. But anyway, like I said, I moved to the States because, I couldn't get work over here, so I went there; I got Quiet Cool made, and then uh... started my career. Then and, the funny thing is I end up working in Canada! Only, practically! Which is the weird thing. I had to move to the States to start my career, come back to Canada to work. Cuz you know, I lived in L.A. for five years, right? My wife and I broke up, so I moved back here to Toronto, and then I met somebody here. And then you know, I ended up staying here. I didn't think I was going to stay in Toronto, but all of a sudden I got into TV, and then you know, then I meet Ken Gord, "You know, you wanna go to fucking Israel, to do Sweating Bullets?" I'm like "Israel? Holy Fuck!" So you know for a Cabbagetown kid to be all of a sudden in Israel; trust me. It fucking blew my mind, couldn't believe it. And again uh, you know, the thing that Ken uh, Sweating Bullets, was luck, man. You have to move fast in that show. Shooting so many pages a day, it was unreal!
33:11 Clay: But anyway, I got off-track there. Shooting in Canada is, is... it's just different. I mean, a lot of the American films are shot here in Toronto, don't forget right? *Keith: Right.* Cuz, you know the crews are really good here, and everything. It's all about money and budgets.
Kyle: Any stories saved up from your time in Cabbagetown that you still wanted to tell, and didn't quite have the chance?
Keith: You've got stories... we wanna hear them! Cuz--
33:31 Clay: The one time in my I wish I would've been American was after I finished uh, Alligator Shoes. Because, if I would've been from the States, and I did Alligator Shoes, it'd be like Scorsese dong Mean Streets, you know? Everybody went "Fuck, man! This guy's got talent!" Well, when I did Alligator Shoes, everybody went "Hey wow, this guy's got talent!" but nobody came forward and gave me money. As a matter of fact, I met a big producer, I won't mention the name, at a party in Toronto--cuz my film, out of English Canada, was the only film that was chosen, that year in '81. And this guy comes to me, he said: "You and your STUPID fuckin' movie! You put Canada back ten years with your fuckin' low-budget shit fuckin' movie!"
Keith and Kyle: WHOA! *laughing*
Kyle: That's messed up!
Eamon: That's bonkers!
34:11 Clay: Yeah. And uh, When he--I said, "What the fuck are you talking about?" The guy from France that picked my film, he said "This is the most interesting film that I've seen out of English Canada in years!" Because everybody's imitating Hollywood, right? So they got all these movies they make, and they wanna go to Cannes. So when I got picked, man, I didn't realize how pissed off people were gonna be, so I got... That's why I think I wasn't getting work. Cuz everybody... You know, cuz I wanted to make these independent films about... street life and uh... You know like Scorsese, doing films about people like in Little Italy. Well, I was doing films in Cabbagetown. Yeah, about Cabbagetown people, because I was French Canadian growing up there was uh, pretty hard. You know, there was a whole French neighborhood, and I... I went to a French school. As a matter of fact, just off the cuff here, when I first came to Toronto, I didn't speak any English, right? Totally French. So I had to learn how to speak English, and I got into a lot of fights on the streets and that kind of shit because of my accent.
35:06 Clay: Cuz I used to say "I TINK so", and "Tank you." And I taught myself how to say I "think", "thank", and now, when I got older I am angry at myself that I had to lose my accent, you know? It's so fucking ridiculous! But otherwise I'd get in fights every day of the week. *Keith: Wow!* When you live with that kind of stuff.... I've had guys chase me in my house, and my mother take a knife out fuckin' threaten to kill 'em.
Eamon: Oh my God.
35:29 Clay: She was really tough! *laughs* That's I--So, that's why I made that film "Rose's House." And my mother couldn't read or write, and so we made the... we made most of the scenes up as we went along and, the thing that kills me is we got nominated for Best Screenplay-- *laughter*
Kyle: On an improved movie?
Clay: --and uh, you know we had an outline for a script, but there was no written dialogue. I say, "Okay Mom, talk about this." And then in the scene she'd talk about it. Right? I mean, that's how they did it. Anyway, those are the kind of films that I wanted to keep making, and Alligator Shoes was my next step; it was my first feature, and uh... It was based on my experiences with my brother and everything. And so I thought my next one was gonna be about Cabbagetown. They were ALL gonna be about Cabbagetown.
36:14 Clay: But I got sidetracked, as I said, had to move to Hollywood, to really start my career, so... Even with the Cannes Film Festival, uh... You know, it got me an agent--As a matter of fact, here's another story you might like! You know Norman Jewison, right?
Eamon: *uncertainly* I don't... think so...
Kyle: I don't think so.
Kyle: I don't think so.
36:27 Clay: You don't know Norman Jewison?
Keith: Uh-oh! We have homework to do!
Kyle: Yeah! Drop some knowledge on us!
36:30 Clay: Oh, you know... "In the Heat of the Night".
Keith: Oh yeah!
Eamon: Oh yeah. Yeah, yeah!
36:35 Clay: Yeah. Norman Jewison. Anyway, *laughing* he... *Keith laughs* I was sitting in his office in Toronto one day... We're talking about agents and he said, "You don't have an agent?" I said, "No." He said, "Well, fuck this!" He got on the phone and he called up Willian Morris, in New York, he says, "Hey listen! I got this young kid here, this young guy, he just came back from the Cannes Film Festival, he needs an agent. You guys wanna take him on?" And he's got his script he's trying to fuck--to take. I mean, Norman Jewison's calling up. And they go "Yeah!" So I went to New York, met this guy, so I got taken on by the William Morris Agency! *Keith: Wow!* Yeah! I'd never had an agent before that, ever! I didn't even know what an agent did! And, uh, so...! *laughing* So when I went to L.A., at least I had an agent! And they helped me get--
Kyle: Did they help you land any... any of the, the gigs that you've described for us? Did they come through that agency, or...?
37:17 Clay: Well they... they helped me get Quiet Cool off the ground, cuz they found the producer. You know, which was New Line Cinema, right? That was their first film outside, you know, the horror genre. You know? It was their first action film.
Keith: Huh! I didn't know that. That's interesting!
37:29 Clay: Yeah, yeah. So I had to go the whole--through the whole thing at The Chateau Marmont Hotel there, trying to decide whether they're gonna hire me as a director or not, so I sweated bullets for a few hours there, while they all went in a room and uh, came out and they said "Okay, kid, you got it." Probably the happiest day of my fucking life, I'll tell ya! *Keith laughs*
Kyle: You were sweating bullets. *Clay: Pardon?* Was that, was that inspiration for when you did the show Sweating Bullets?
37:49 Clay: Yeah, yeah! *laughter* Anyway, that's... that's what happened. I got away from doing the kind of films that I wanted to make, started doing Hollywood stuff, then I got into fuckin' TV, 'n... I'd never meant to go that way, but all of a sudden, you know, you got a mortgage to pay, you got kids to feed, you gotta... you know, your life changes. Y'know, you can't just be this artist living on Canada Council grants, you know.
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39:35 Keith: Can you tell us about maybe, some of your more recent projects? Like, I know you did an independent film called "X Wins" recently.
39:40 Clay: That was a... very low-budget, because I, I wrote the script. I wanted to do something where I could shoot it real fast and see... You can't shoot any faster than in the woods, *laughter* you know, because everything looks the same. It's a chase-movie, and I made the girl a deaf-mute, so there's no talking. *laughter*
Kyle: I can see how that moves it along!
40:00 Clay: We shot it in seven days!
Kyle: *laughs* Not bad!
40:03 Clay: And um, you know... we had two or three cameras and, you know, it doesn't look too bad. It's like a... it's like a "C" movie. Y'know? *laughter* Really low--really low budget. I did it that way on purpose, cuz I knew that's the only way I could do it. And then I did a short film--I went back to doing a shor--I did a short film about a young blind woman, who by chance becomes a world-famous photographer. You got that?
Kyle: Yeah! How does that--How does that happen?
40:29 Clay: *laughing* It turned out really good! It's like six and a half minutes long. It's a really good little film. I'm really proud of it. Otherwise, I haven't really done anything, uh... Done... I'm not really pursuing anything anymore uh... You know what I mean? I'm out of the game at this point.
Kyle: So whaddya do when uh, you're not working on one of these projects you've told us about? What are you uh... How do you keep busy these days?
40:49 Clay: Well I'm trying to work on scripts all the time. But, you know... basically I go to the gym, uh... that kind of stuff. I mean uh... go to the cottage a lot or whatever. Yeah, back to Highlander.
Keith: If you--*laughing*
Kyle: We have this problem when we're just talking about an episode.
Keith: *laughs* Yeah!
Kyle: Like, someone will mention a, a kind of snack food, and we'll spend twenty minutes on that, so... *Keith laughs* You know. *Clay laughs* You nee--we need like a, a dog to cut to when we're rapping some bullshit. *laughter*
Clay: Oh, okay.
Keith: Uh, I was gonna ask--
Clay: Alright go--
41:16 Clay: Yeah there's lots of Highlander stories, I just have to be reminded. So let's go back to Highlander. Just--
Keith: Yea, well I was gonna ask, if there was an opportunity to tell a Highlander story, like a Clay Borris Highlander story, what would the story that you'd wanna tell be?
41:28 Clay: Well, the one about going to France and all that is kind of the story that, you know, I never forgot. But uh... well, you know, you guys are talking to Ken Gord and other people and all that stuff about directors on the show, and uh... Besides Ken, I don't think anybody really appreciated the fact that I doing their shows so fast. You know, I was given those shows... I didn't have a choice, right? This is your episode. I mean, what're you gonna say? No, I don't want it?
41:52 Clay: I mean it doesn't work like that, right? I remember I think I heard... David Abramowitz, is that his name?
Keith and Kyle: Yeah. 41:58 Clay: Yeah, he said something about... one of the worse episodes, and I think he mentioned The Zone...
Keith: Yeah, that's a notorious uh, episode, I think, with some people.
42:05 Clay: Yeah, it is. But you shoulda read the fuckin' script. *laughter* The script wa--the script was even WORSE! *Keith laughs*
Kyle: I have no trouble believing that.
42:14 Clay: And I didn't--I couldn--I couldn't believe they were doing that script! I couldn't believe it. I'm like, "Are you kidding me?!" And Ken says, "I'm sorry Clay, but you know this--you gotta do this one." *Rewatchers chuckle* And I'm like, "Aw, MAN!" And uh...
Eamon: Did they pick you because of your short film?
42:25 Clay: You know, can't you at least--I said, "Can't you at least put a Quickening in it?! Fuck face!" I mean you know, it takes place in this weird fucking place 'n, you know, it's the one I hear some of you say, it's one of the worst episodes, but you know it's like, you know, it's just not fair to ME. It, it... it just really bugs me, that I heard that, you know? Um...
42:43 Clay: What about the episodes that people loved that I did a really good job on, you know? You never hear from these guys. I think I heard from Abramowitz... I think I heard from him ONCE, that he liked something or whatever. You know, when Ken went to do uh... Queen of Swords? Well David Abramowitz was part of that somehow, right? I think he was one of the writers.
Keith: Yeah, I think he was one of the producers, or one of the creative people on it. Yeah.
43:04 Clay: Yeah. Well, okay, well... Ken had my name down, as one of the directors, right? And Abramowitz came in and crossed my name out.
Kyle: Oh my! I did not know that!
43:13 Clay: And I said--And that's what I said! I said "What the?! What? What?! WHY? Whaddya mean? I sacrificed all those fuckin' six day shows, working like a fuckin' dog! Whaddya mean my name is off?" He said, "I don't know why!" I was fucking taken off the list! I couldn't believe it!
43:28 Clay: And, you know, and I'm a Western freak, too! And Ken knows that, and that's why I had the episode with the background with the Western and everything. You know, I'm taken off the list!! And I'm going, "Okay. I guess they appreciated me on the show, huh?" Because you'd think they're doing a new TV show: "Hey, let's bring in Clay Borris. That kid did us a lot of favors, man! He did all those shitty shows that nobody else could do!" But NO! I was so angry, when Ken told me that, I couldn't believe it.
Kyle: Well that's--
Keith: I know Ken had nothing but good things to say about your work on the show. Uh...
43:57 Clay: No no no! Ken's got nothing against me at all!
Keith: Oh no, I-I-I--
Kyle: Yeah, yeah. Even when he talked to US he brought it up.
44:02 Clay: I was taken off the list, that's all. I mean... WHY was I taken off the list? That should have been payback. "We know Clay loves Westerns! Let's give him a, a nice gift here! Let's let him... do a couple of episodes." You know, whatever. But to be taken off the list?
44:19 Clay: That's what I mean. So you, you end up thinking, well, you know, the producers didn't really appreciate me at all, did they? ... I'm sounding bitter. I don't wanna sou--I don't want to sound bitter. *quiet laughter* But anyway...
Kyle: Oh! Oh, I'm just curious. Like an episode like The Zone, since we were just talking about, what were some uh, things that you brought to that script, to try to... breathe some life into it?
44:36 Clay: The changes I made are probably, uh... I probably cut stuff to make it shorter, I... I try to move the camera as much as I can... One of the things I remember that we did: the uh... the guy who plays the main guy... The guy, that the actor that played the part...
Clay: He was like, he was playing him too slow, like. He was trying to do a De Niro or something. And I kept telling him, said "Look, you can't play it like this. This is a TV show. You gotta talk fucking faster!" *laughter* "Fuck, man. You're not James Stewart. You can't fuckin' sit there going 'nya nya nya.' Nobody wants to hear that shit from YOU!" *laughter* *Kyle: D--* And so--And then I talked to Ken I said, "This guy just won't fuckin' LISTEN, man!" And I got really pissed off at this actor. Anyway, you know what we did? Ken said, "I'll fix that fuckin' guy!" We hired another actor to do his voice and talk five times faster. *laughter* So--
Kyle: That's amazing!
45:27 Clay: So, in the episode of The Zone: It's not the original actor's voice!
Kyle: That's incredible! Hahah!
45:32 Clay: No, isn't that amazing? We re-dubbed his whole fucking episode. *laughter* Fuck him. You don't wanna do it our way? Fuck you!
Eamon: Then it's the highway! *Keith: Wow!*
45:39 Clay: *laughing* You know what I mean? So, uh... so that was one thing that happened I remember. Ken said "Don't worry. We'll fix it in post." *all laugh together* I used to hear that all the time. "We'll fix it in post!" Alright!
Kyle: Do you have any other stories like that of uh, kind of these creative fixes on, on the set, or these, just kind of like, wild shooting stories? It sounds like you've got a, a lot stored up!
46:03 Clay: I can tell you a story that's kind of interesting. Um... I was doing The Gunfighters. And uh... I was sitting on a horse, and I was directing George Kennedy. I'm standing there, looking at him. In those days, you know your phone was that big, fucking thing there? The big phone?
Keith and Kyle: Yeah.
Eamon: With like the antenna or something on it?
46:20 Clay: Yeah. So, my AD uh, my AD all of a sudden or, my assistant all of a sudden he says, "Clay!" He says, "Your wife wants to talk to you on the phone!" And I says "Right now?" He goes, "Yeah. She says it's important." So... I pick up the phone, and I'm sitting on a horse, right? And she's in L.A. She, the first thing she says to me, she says, "First of all, get off your high horse!" *laughter* I'm, I'm like: What the fuck?! I look around, is she here?! *Keith laughs* And she says, "Just so you know, I'm leaving you." *Keith gasps* *Eamon: Ohh.* And that's, and I said, "WHAT?!" *Keith: Ho-oh!* I'm looking, I'm looking toward George, little tear comes out of my eye. George looks at me and he goes, "What's the matter, li'l fella?" *starts laughing*
Eamon: Oh, my God.
Kyle: *laughing* Holy shit!
47:02 Clay: And I says, "Oh, nothing, George. E-hem." And so I go back to the phone and says, *muffled voice* "What the fuck you talking about?!" You can imagine I'm having this conversation, George Kennedy is sitting right in front of me on a horse; she's telling me to get OFF my high horse--*Eamon chuckles*--and I'm SITTING on a high horse, so... Anyway, I never forgot that.
47:16 Kyle: *****Oh my god. Yowza!
47:19 Clay: Yeah. That's one thing I've never forgotten.
Kyle: That's a LOT!
47:21 Clay: And the other thing is, with George Kennedy is, he came in uh, the... He came in the wardrobe. We were putting his wardrobe together. And he's holding up this pair of boots. And he says uh, "Clay, listen uh--" He always called me Mr. Borris, actually. "Mr. Borris," he says, "do you mind if I wear these boots instead?" And so I look at 'em. They looked like old boots, you know. He says, "You know, cuz I wore these in John Ford's film. I wo--I wore these with John Wayne. I wore these--" I said "ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?" I said, "Of COURSE you can put them on!" *laughter* He put the boots on and th--and get this! I kissed both his feet on the boots! *laughter* *laughing* So, every time I see the film, and I see George sitting on that horse, and I look at those shoes, I think: "I kissed those!" *laughter* *Eamon: That's amazing.* So, that kind of stuff you can have fun with on set. You know? The kind of things you remember.
Eamon: Do you have a favorite Western? Was it "The Good, The Bad and the Ugly?" or--
Clay: Yeah. It would have to be "The Good, The Bad and the Ugly", and then "Once Upon a Time in the West".
Eamon: Yeah. I think that, that's my personal favorite--
48:18 Clay: You know, there's a lot of Westerns that I love, right? I mean, you know, "The Gunfighter", with Gregory Peck, n', that kind of stuff. But uh, did you ever see Quiet Cool?
Keith: No! I haven't seen it. We're gonna have to make sure we all watch it now.
48:30 Clay: Anyways, it's like a modern-day Western. That's why I got hired to do The Gunfighters, cuz... The last half hour of the--of the movie is pure Western. I shot it like a Western; it looks like a Western; and I made it like a Western, you know? There's motorcycles instead of horses! And a lot of the reviews of the films actually said that. Cuz obviously Borris is trying to make a Western... So uh, yeah! I love Westerns, and so... Did you ever see uh, Forever Knight?
Keith: Oh yeah!
Kyle: We have to ask about that, cuz that has some other Highlander alumns... involved as well, so!
48:59 Clay: Yeah, yeah! So I did... I did a bunch of Forever Knight, right. 'N they used to have flashbacks the same thing to the past in that show. So I did a couple of Western flashbacks in that, and so Ken knew that I loved Westerns cuz when we did Sweating Bullets, we did an episode that was a Western with uh, Clint Walker, playing an aging cowboy that somebody's trying to kill on a film set, and that was like a Western. You know, just a quick thing: My father was a real Western freak too, you know? You know, he's like uh... He's like 6'4, something like that. 6'5... You know, and I'm only like, 5'6? *Kyle laughs* And uh, so I said to uh, to Clint I say, "You wanna pull--I wanna pull a joke on my father," I said. I stood on an apple box, next to him, and I made myself just a little taller than him. *Eamon laughs* Right? So the camera starts on me and him talking, and he's saying, "Hello, Mr. Borris. How are you? I understand you're a Cheyenne fan, thank you." And actually, we're talking, the camera pulls back, back, back... And when I'm watching it with my father, he's going, "Tabernacle!" in French, you dig it? "Tabernacle, I thought that guy was a lot sh-taller than that!" *laughter* "You're taller than him!" I said "I KNOW, Dad! He looks tall on film! It's really weird, huh?" *laughter* *Clay laughs* As we're talking, the camera pulls back and he sees I'm standing on a box and he goes, "You son of a bitch!" *laughs* And so then my father, he got--he was so happy to see that he wasn't as short like I was! *laughing* Anyways, those kind of memories I, I just love, you know?
Keith: That's amazing!
50:29 Clay: **** So, yeah. Yeah.
Keith: So, one question we ask everyone that's on our show, is...
Keith: Would you wanna be immortal? And if you were, what would you wanna do?
50:37 Clay: Yeah. I think I'd wanna be... I'd wanna be... I would... I'd like to have been, uh... You know, Pat Garrett. Something like that. Bob Dil--Wild, Wild Bill Hickock. One of those guys.
Kyle: Yeah! *laughs*
Clay: No, no! I... That's like, you know, because I love Westerns, I think in Western days, I would've been a gunfighter. And uh...
Kyle: Ooh, that would be good because it'd be hard for a gunfighter to take off your head! That would be uh... *Keith laughs* You'd be in good shape!
Clay: *laughs* Anyways, when we did Highlander, you know the guy who starred in uh, Forever Knight, he was in... I think my second episode that I did there.
Keith: That's right! Turnabout!
51:07 Clay: That was kind--That was kind of neat for me to be working with both those guys.
Kyle: Did you end up having a... different relationship with him when you went on to work with him on Forever Knight? Or... Did you guys already have a good rapport when you started on Turnabout?
51:20 Clay: No, we had a great rapport on Forever Knight. We were... You know, we worked really well together. When he came on to, uh, Highlander, you know, it was like... You know, he wasn't the guy in charge anymore, but he's still a great guy. I mean, really. He's a beautiful human being. So, I got along with him real well. It was fun having them together.
Kyle: We love that episode. That is some of our favorite Highlander moments from that season.
Keith: Oh, for sure!
Clay: Yeah, yeah. Well--
Kyle: When he reveals himself to have multiple personalities, he uh--*Clay: Right!*--He really like leans in--*Keith laughs*
51:47 Clay: The thing that was great--The thing that was great about him was that he was a trained theater actor, right? And he really knew how to use a fuckin' sword! *Keith: Awesome!* So when we did that fight scene, man! Those guys were SO fucking good together! *laughter* Remember that fight scene, how great it was?
Kyle: Yeah, that was a--
Keith: Yeah, it was great! Yeah!
Kyle: It also has one of our favorite moments with a barrel-throw!
52:04 Clay: It was an amazing fight scene! It was amazing just to see them work out together! I used to love getting involved with the sword fights and try different things and all that, right? Anyways I--Yeah, that's one of my favorite episodes, too. Which one do you like the best?
Keith: Oh, of YOUR episodes?
Keith: Uh... Uh, let me think! Which one's our favorite of yours? Uh...
Kyle: Ooh that, the--This might actually... result in a debate, cuz there's a few real highlights, here.
Keith: We love Line of Fire, cuz we think that's got a lot of like, character 'n--
Eamon: That's--that's the one with, um, Tex Cobb.
Keith: Randall Tex Cobb. *Clay: Yeah.* Um... we LOVE Turnabout. Uh, and actually I remember when we, when we watched THAT episode... I for one... mentioned how much I liked the way it was filmed. Like, your, your filming style in that episode was like, very fluid. Uh, and it served really well like, the... the camera kind of floats around some of the scenes, it's rea--it's really nice!
52:51: Clay: Right.
52:52 Clay: Right. Well I was Dutching the camera, right? We call--you know, Dutching the camera, you know what that means, right?
Keith and Kyle: Yes!
Kyle: Givin--giving the Dutch Angles?
Keith and Clay: Yeah.
53:00 Clay: Well I, I started doing that on uh, Forever Knight. I told Ken, I said, "I'm gonna do this thing where I Dutch the camera." He goes, "Go for it!" And uh, cuz I thought it fitted the scene, when he's walking uh, walking around and stuff. Y'know?
53:11 Clay: You gotta be careful about using that kind of shot, cuz it-- if it's used out of context, it-it-it kicks you out of the picture, you know?
53:18 Clay: And so it--So it has to be used in the right way. So I learned how to use it on Forever Knight pretty well.
Keith: In that scene in Turnabout when you used that, Duncan's actually walking around a mental asylum, so it-it really gives this great uneasiness to the, the scene, which is really nice.
53:32 Clay: Right, right. Exactly. No, I'm glad you noticed that. Yeah!
Kyle: Yeah, we try to talk about the, the shots. It's also striking me how many uh, how many different shooting techniques have nationalities bit into--built into them! We talked about the French Reverse earlier, now we're talking about Dutch Angles... *laughing*
53:46 Clay: Yeah. *laughing* Yeah.
Kyle: Do we have any other like, ethnic shots out there?
Keith: "Ethnic shots!" *laughter*
53:52 Clay: Well, I mean I can't give away ALL the secrets. *Rewatchers laugh* *Clay laughs* So, uh... I'm surprised that you heard about the French Reverse for the first time!
Keith: Yeah! That's a new one to us! We're always learning on this show!
54:03 Clay: It's uh, whenever we're in trouble--Whenever we're in trouble we say, "Okay! It's time to do a French Reverse!" *laughter* So if there was a picture, we wro--uh, wherever you're shooting, if there was a picture behind the wall--If there was a picture on the wall, we'd take the picture out. When we cut to the other guy there was no picture, right? *Keith: Right!* So, there's so many ways to cheat like that; we did it all the time. It's the only way you get your fuckin' day. Get the fuck out of there! *laughter* Let's go! Shoot! *Kyle: Ooh!* *laughs* So anyway uh, well I'm glad I talked to you guys! Thanks for calling me!
Keith: Yeah, thank you so much!
Eamon: Uh, thank you, Clay! We really appreciate it!
Keith: Yeah! And we've added a bunch of movies to our "Must Watch" list, which I--I'm excited to see uh, Quiet Cool, so, this'll be fun. Thank you again, Clay!
54:39 Clay: Yeah, I think you'll like it. You know. It's a good little action film. And you'll see my style in there, for sure, and... And you'll see what I mean when it looks like a Western, trust me.
Keith: Great! Well thank you again, Clay, for uh, talking to us! Uh, we hope the fans have enjoyed this as much as we have, and uh thank you for all you've, uh, contributed to the world of Highlander and uh, TV and film! Thank you, Clay!
54:59 Clay: Okay! Well thank you very much, guys.
Keith: Alright! See you!
Clay: Talk to you later. Alright. Bye.
Kyle: See you, take care!
🎶 Princes of the Universe! 🎶
Keith: Hey, Rewatchers! We hope you enjoyed our interview with Clay Borris, director of Highlander! It was certainly a blast to talk to him, and Clay's stories about growing up in Cabbagetown and making his first independent films were truly awesome. Once again, stay tuned next week, because we are going to be releasing a never-before-seen, again that's NEVER-BEFORE-SEEN insider look at a day in the life on a Highlander set! This is an exclusive Highlander Rewatched video, and we can't wait to share it with all the fans out there. It's really a special look at the inside world of Highlander. Thanks again for listening! We'll see you next week! Bye!
55:54 Keith: Clay, before we wrap up: This show gets ou--kind of edited... Uh, we'll put it together in post. So all this obviously that I'm saying right now is gonna get cut. Um, but we--
Kyle: It's gonna be replaced by a still of a dog.
Keith: Yeah, heheh--