The HUMAN CENTIPEDE series comes to a close with the shocking (for all the right reasons) FINAL SEQUENCE. We got the chance to quiz star DIETER LASER about his role in the controversial films…
STARBURST: What was it that drew you to the first Human Centipede film?
Dieter Laser: I got an e-mail from Six Entertainment by the producer Ilona Six who invited me to a meeting with writer/director Mr Tom Six in the lobby of the Berlin Hilton. Tom had seen me in the German movie Fuehrer Ex and wanted to offer me the leading part in his film The Human Centipede. He told me the whole story in the real time the film would take; very vividly, very detailed, even with some precise camera angles, full of visionary passion and at the end of the story I said “I love your passion, I’m very impressed by your competence, we have to do this!" Five minutes later, Ilona and I had a deal by handshake. But when the script arrived at home I got shocked! Sewing people together by a retired surgeon had been no problem for me in Tom’s storytelling. Dr Heiter might have become very revengeful and mad due to the German law which forces even the most famous scientists to retire at the age of 65 and to migrate to other countries. But only now while reading the script, I realised the consequences for the digestive tract of The Human Centipede! Only now I saw what the audience would see in their mind’s eye: human shit floating from ass to mouth. "Embarrassing! I have to lose a reputation in German film and television, not to speak about the theatre!" After some lament, I sat down on my ass and started to work on the character. That happens mostly in my kitchen during the silence of the early morning hours. Then I discovered the deeper layers of Tom’s script: before his retirement, Dr Heiter’s speciality had been separating Siamese twins. Wasn’t it "The Angel of Death" the German mass-murderer, Dr. Josef Mengele, who experimented with twins? What about kicking these criminal clowns into their balls? To expose these ‘anal retentive’ Nazi doctors to ridicule! I had found my narrative key for the character. Phone call to Tom: “may I call him Joseph?” And the fun started!
How did Tom pitch the third film to you, particularly since you’re playing a new character?
After the postproduction of Human Centipede II, Tom and Ilona gave me and my wife (who is also my manager) the privilege and the honour of a private screening in a London cinema (only the four of us), and afterwards they offered me the leading part Bill Boss in Part III. Same procedure as with Part One: Tom told us the whole story in real time, full of visionary passion and at the end of the story, I was so impressed and excited that again it took only a couple of minutes to have a deal with Ilona by handshake. Tom always involves me in fleshing out the character and we started the very same night celebrating and brainstorming.
The character of Bill Boss is completely over the top and very sadistic, did you have fun with that role?
Same pattern as with Dr Joseph Heiter. After I had found my guidance - my narrative keys for Bill Boss: ‘the cartoonish alien’ – ‘the desert-snake’ – ‘the ageless evil’ - a ‘creature from beyond’ in the disguise of a ‘comic-strip warden’ - then, with these narrative tools, it became pure fun to realise Tom’s vision. To play as much over the top as possible, the yelling monster, the stupid badass, the mean coward, the sadistic butcher, the heartless idiot, the liar and cheater, the criminal imposter etc.
What was your response when you saw the finished film?
I saw the film the very first time at the premiere in Los Angeles because I never ever give it even only a glimpse during the shooting period just to keep my vision as unlimited as possible. I loved to watch the final result on the big screen - Tom and I have precisely achieved what we have had in mind.
Was it true that you walked out just before filming was due to begin? What was the story behind that?
Sir Tom, Lady Ilona and me, we are a dream-team and never ever had any differences on location - work just flows fearlessly and smoothly in a very polite, even tender atmosphere - Tom is genius! But as it happens, even in a dream-team creative differences can appear during the long, long process of pre-production and the long, long waiting time for the script. When the script finally arrived, I took the ‘100% Politically Incorrect’ one hundred percent too seriously. I was blindfolded, only saw the extreme horror, didn’t realise the comedy in it, was shocked to the bones, afraid and stubborn and it escalated into my refusal to play the part. Thank God, Tom did not give in, he didn’t change the script; but he also didn’t give up to try to convince me and finally he managed, in a four-hour meeting in the Sheraton Restaurant at the Airport of Amsterdam, to open my eyes for the hilarious, vitriolic comedy in his THC3 script and this meeting triggered the beginning of a wonderful creative time by developing together the character Bill Boss. Sheraton Restaurant Airport Amsterdam became our historical and ritual meeting point: same time of day, same table and a ‘crazy actor’ who isn’t ashamed to play at this table different versions of all his scenes in the script; offering his director several choices - under the astonished, slightly amused and slightly worried eyes of other guests who sometimes came to our table and asked Tom if they could be of some help. Those meetings even intensified our friendship and our artistic understanding and led in the end to a virtually ‘wordless’ communication during the shooting because our common goals were already precisely defined and even practiced, by Sheraton ‘table-dancing’ up to the tiniest details. Thank you Tom Six!!!
The film deliberately goes all-out to be offensive, what was the most outrageous part or line for you to perform?
After Tom had opened my eyes for the comic-strip and after I had found my narrative keys, even the chewing of clitorises or the raping of a woman in her coma wasn’t a problem anymore.
If you had to be stitched into a Human Centipede, who would be the worst person you could think of to be behind, and who would you want to be behind you?
If somebody would force me with a gun to answer this question I would say, "let me be between two women".
THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE III (FINAL SEQUENCE) is screened at selected UK cinemas from July 10th, and released on DVD/Blu-ray and VOD on July 20th.