Rik Mayall – Horrible, Uncontrollable and Loud!

by Rik Mayall Interviews And Articles Archive Blog

For Look In, 19th October 1991

In the hilarious new movie Drop Dead Fred, Mayall plays the hyperactive, naughty, imaginary friend of Elizabeth (Phoebe Cates). He throws mud pies, breaks windows, chops people’s hair off and picks his nose. He told us all about it…

Is Drop Dead Fred your Hollywood debut?

“Yes it is.”

How different is it working in Hollywood to England?

“It’s another world. The Americans on the set were complete film buffs, they know everything to do with movies. There’s me from little old England who’s just happy to perform and throw mud pies around.”

Did you have to prepare for the film in any way?

“Yes, because Fred jumps about all over the place and manages the most amazing contortions, I had to be fit as a fiddle. I spent six months before the film in the gym. I went three times a week, and no I didn’t carry on after the film finished.”

What was it like working with Elizabeth?

“She was great. She was a complete professional and she was only six years old at times in the movie! She’d tell me where to stand and I’d protest, convinced that she was wrong, but she wasn’t and so I had to sheepishly do as I was told.”

Fred is a pretty horrid brat, how did you make him like that?

“Oh that was quite easy for me, I drew on my experience as a seven year old.”

Did you enjoy making the film?

“Yes, it was fun, but I must admit I prefer TV and theatre. In a TV studio and on stage I can have a live audience in, and that way I can tell whether they think the jokes are funny or not.”

Did you throw mud pies and break windows when you were a kid, like Fred?

“No, I was far too much of a coward. I was the kid in the corner who egged everyone else on to do naughty things.

What did you do at weekends in the States?

“The Americans work so hard – 12 hours a day, six days a week – and on a Sunday they’d go to the movies! Can you beat that for pure enthusiasm? I’d do other things.”

What’s it like being a Hollywood movie star?

“Oh dear, I never had any burning ambition to make it in America. I don’t want to be a star because I like my private life kept private.”

What do you like about being a comedy actor?

“I like being able to act out my fantasies. I can be what I like, who I like and as obnoxious as I like – if I choose.”

What was it about Drop Dead Fred that appealed to you the most?

“I liked the idea of being horrible, uncontrollable and loud!”