Excerpts from the interview:
Since making his feature film debut in the 1985 flick Runaway Train, Tommy "Tiny" Lister has worked on over 160 projects, quickly becoming one of the most recognizable character actors of modern cinema.
This Friday, March 8th, Lister's latest film, K-11, will be arriving at limited theaters nationwide. Helmed by first-time director Jules Stewart (Crank: High Voltage, XXX), K-11 also stars Goran Visnjic ("ER," The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), Kate del Castillo ("Weeds"), D.B. Sweeney (The Cutting Edge, Fire in the Sky), Jason Mewes (Clerks I & II) and Portia Doubleday (the upcoming Carrie) and follows what happens inside a troubled portion of a Los Angeles correctional facility reserved for the homosexual and transgender inmates. In the film Lister plays Detroit, and while it's certainly not the first time we've ever seen the seasoned actor as a convict, it's perhaps his most nuanced performance to date.
Dread Central: Well, let's talk about your current project, K-11; I don't think we have ever seen you quite like we do in this movie. Was that the appeal of taking on a character like Detroit, that it allowed you to do some different things as an actor?
Tiny Lister: Oh definitely, that's why I wanted to do this first and foremost. I've had a lot of great roles, but you always want to do something different and challenge yourself in new ways which is just what I could do with a role like this. And Jules is such a beautiful soul; she really deserves to get recognition for the risks that she takes in this movie.
But I knew Detroit was a bad, bad man so I had to really commit to that in order to make that performance believable and it was hard to get inside the head of a guy like that. But if I'm going to play the devil, l'm going to play the best devil that I can. And this cast was so fantastic, too- I really loved working on this movie; Jules really did something incredible.
Dread Central: You mentioned that Detroit is a 'bad, bad man' but at certain points in K-11 we see a bit of humanity in him as well- was it hard finding that inside a character like this?
Tiny Lister: You know, that humanity- Portia's character was the only one that could find it really; I don't know if I necessarily did. In my mind, he was abused and spoke down to his entire life and the only time he's heard the word love directed toward him is when Portia says it and so it releases all of his anger and emotion in some really scary and emotional ways. I knew this was going to be an intimate performance for me to try and pull off, but I wanted to try and not be the criminal you'd expect a guy like me to be.
Look, I've built a great career around being a bad guy but in reality, I'm just a big baby. When you grow up in Compton, you have to get that 'look' down- you know the look I'm talking about right? My look (laughs).
Dread Central: Oh yeah, I know it well (laughs).
Tiny Lister: Good, you understand then that I have a character look that's become my trademark look and Jules just went for it in K-11 off of that look. Detroit is a very sick person and when he puts his will on you, it's never a good thing.
You know, a lot of people can't handle something this honest. Jules is a rebel and she's just so out of the box and that's what I'm looking for when taking on roles these days. More movies need to stir things up and I think we need more movies like K-11 being made. On the outside, our cast may look like a circus but we're a family and that was all due to Jules. Somehow she knew this hodge-podge of actors would click as well as we did.
Read the FULL interview with Tiny here at Dread Central's Indie Horror Month.