Greg Kiernan here again and this has got to be one of the most exciting blogs I've posted yet - I had the chance to meet up with the star of the upcoming Blue Damen picture "Recalculating" (production set in Elgin over the next few weeks!). This particular actor may not be a "name" as it were but he is certainly a face. He's that tough cop you see in movies and on television, he's that character actor with a career that expands over thirty years and he's that guy with lots of experience and very little regrets; he's Ron Dean, actor. And here's the conversation I felt lucky to have.
Greg: So what first got you into acting?
Ron: All the pretty young actresses.
Greg: Oh yeah?
Ron: Yep. It got to a point where a drama teacher said to me "You might as well become an actor if you're going to spend all you time chasing actresses." So I did.
Greg: Well, I guess that's as good a reason as any.
Ron: Yeah and it's worked out well.
Greg: So did you have any formal training? Where'd you go to school?
Ron: I went to Dekalb and then to Wright. But I didn't study and take many acting classes. I worked a few odd jobs, being a doorman and at one point I drove a penny cab.
Greg: Penny cab?
Ron: Yeah, it's like a rickshaw thing only instead of running and pulling it, the thing is attached to a bicycle and you ride it.
Greg: Oh, cool. I've seen those.
Ron: Yeah, I remember the day I finally got it I was so excited that I parked it on the street, ran up to my girlfriend-at-the-time's apartment and told her I had a surprise. But when we got back down to the street it was gone! She started to worry, saying that it had been stolen but then I spotted something just down the road. I run over to find that it had just been moved - by two little pig-tailed girls. And they were calling out to everyone in the street "Look what we found! Look what we found!"
Greg: Ha ha. That's cute.
Ron: Yeah, so that was my gig for a little while. But then I got an agent and started acting. Work was only here and there but I managed to maintain until got some bigger roles.
Greg: What would you says was one of you bigger roles, or maybe your biggest?
Ron: I would say my first big role, or at least one that people seem to acknowledge the most of my eighties' roles would be Emilio Estevez's father in "The Breakfast Club." But I really liked my role in "Above the Law" because that was the movie that boosted Steven Seagal's career and I was a part of that.
Greg: Nice. And you were also in "The Fugitive" right?
Ron: That's right.
Greg: So I says to my friend "I'm going to talk to a Hollywood actor tonight" and he sounded impressed until he heard your name (he didn't recognize it). So I says "Did you ever see 'The Fugitive" with Harrison Ford?" He says yes and I ask 'Remember that scene in the beginning in the interrogation room? That's this guy!" Then he was impressed again.
Ron: You're like my PR guy.
Greg: Nice. You were also in "The Dark Knight"- another awesome movie. You may not be super famous, but there's something to be said about being a recognizable character actor that seems just as cool.
Ron: Thank you very much. You're a nice guy.
Greg: So let's talk about "Recalculating" for a minute. How did you get involved and why interested you in this project?
Ron: My agent contacted me and said that this a job offer and an opportunity to work for a little while and I took it. What interested me about it was Gwydhar and the group of young filmmakers she had assembled; there's something very satisfying about working with young, energetic people who have generated the money for a film and organized themselves enough to produce it. I know that I can add my two cents to the project and my work will be appreciated.
Greg: And I'm sure that your performance will serve to elevate the overall quality of the film.
Ron: I think so. It's always exciting to work with new people. Recently I worked with Tom Whitus and his crew on the film "Sam Steele and the Crystal Chalice" and also John Burgess on his movie "One Small Hitch". All those guys were terrific.
Greg: One last question -- what advice would you give to a wannabe screen writer like me? Should I move out to LA?
Ron: I'm an actor so I did live in LA for many years - well, actually I was back and forth from Chicago to LA for a while. An actor has to be on the set with the other actors and the crew, but a writer can write anywhere. So maybe stay in Chicago for a little while and try to get something produced. After all, a script is nothing until it becomes a movie. But a play is easier to get made, especially a short play. So that's something I would advise, doing something like that in Chicago.
Greg: Great. Well, it was a real pleasure talking with you. It's not everyday that you meet a quasi-celebrity.
Ron: Who you calling quasi?
Greg: Oops. Probably best not to mess with someone with this kind of rep. It was nice talking with you, Ron. Thanks again.
So that was Ron Dean, ladies and gentleman. I was difficult for me to capture the presence the man has through this media; there are some cases where simple words fall short. Just rent the movie "The Fugitive" and watch the part where he sinisterly asks Harrison Ford "Do you own a gun, doc?" Then use your imagination.
Until next time, see you in the movies!