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Interview: Bob DeSimone (Billy, Friday The 13th: A New Beginning)

Writer Steve De Roover of www.moviepulp.be / www.dvdinfo.be has been steadily collecting interviews of Friday The 13th alumni over the years and has agreed to let www.fridaythe13thfranchise.com publish these interviews for fans to read and enjoy. Below is Steve's interview with Bob Desimone (Billy, Friday The 13th: A New Beginning). Big thank you to Steve for letting us share his interview with Bob!

Bob DeSimone Interview
(Steve De Roover) How did you get involved in the movie-business and in the fifth entry of Friday the 13th?

(Bob DeSimone) I was in an improv group and from there went into Stand Up Comedy. Wound up at many of the clubs in and around L.A.

Was a headliner at the Comedy Store, and filmed 10 episodes of "Make Me Laugh" in the 70's. Naturally, I wandered into film.

And, having Tom DeSimone (Director) as a brother, didn't hurt.

(Steve De Roover) Friday The 13th will celebrate its 30th anniversary. What is the enduring appeal of this horror franchise?

(Bob DeSimone) To tell you the truth, I'm not a big fan to those movies. In fact, I only saw the entire Friday The 13th Part V, ONCE. That was at the wrap party. I have to tell you, it's amazed me how these films have endured. I'm still getting autograph requests all the time. To answer your question as how these films have endured, I would think they carry something special. Maybe the "Campiness," or just the total "Body Count" appeal that has people wanting more and more of them.

(Steve De Roover) You worked two times with director Danny Steinmann. How was it like to work with him?

(Bob DeSimone) Danny was great! In fact, I would have had a much bigger part in Friday The 13th Part V, but he didn't know where to reach me. When I did the other film with him he told me he wanted to use me in anything else he did. That he felt having actors he could depend on made his job easy. Well, for some reason we lost touch. I was just about out of the business when my brother noticed they were casting this film. He called and told me to get in touch with Danny...I don't know exactly how I found his number, but I called. Turned out there were no parts but little ones. He gave me, "Billy". Then, when we started shooting, he made Billy 'the asme guy' who was in the ambulance in the beginning. He kept trying to give me more work in the film. The scene in the car just called for the guy to drive up, call for Lana and wait, and in waiting, start doing the coke. Danny asked me If I'd like to improvise in this scene. Of course I jumped at the chance. So, after the stuntman drove the car up, he got out, I got in, they set the camera and I yelled for Lana. After that, they took the driver side door off, set up the camera again, and let me do what I wanted...

So that whole "bit" was a ONE shot thing in the car, doing the coke...it was fun...I also remember it was COLD that night...Well...California Cold.

(Steve De Roover) Did the success of Friday the 13th Part V open any doors for you? And do you have some special memorable anecdotes about shooting the fifth movie?

(Bob DeSimone) Well, I wasn't looking for any doors to open. As I said, I was just about to leave the business. Yeah... there was one little scene that happened when we were shooting the car scene. I forget the girl's name who played Lana, but we were all sitting inside the building (Rock Store, a famous little place on Mulholland Highway where they shot the scene) keeping warm. Danny was asking me how my brother was doing, and we were chatting. I was telling him how I visited Tom on the set of a movie he was doing because Ray Sharkey was doing a scene, and being a big fan of his, I wanted to meet him. Well, I was telling Danny that when I got there Ray was so high on heroin that it was almost impossible to get the scene shot. Nevermind getting to meet him. As we were talking the girl who played Lana said, "Ray? Are you talking about Ray Sharkey?" I said, "Yeah...really sad...such a good actor, but so messed up on junk"....She came back with, "You mean, Ray Sharkey, my husband?". Oh man!!! Danny and I were speechless.....I apologized, she said he just had a little problem with Valium and we left it at that....Not a pretty story.

(Steve De Roover) After Friday the 13th Part V you made only one movie. Why did you quit acting and what are you doing now?

(Bob DeSimone) Well, I came to California In the 60's...(You can check my career out on Wikipedia) as a drummer. Played professionally for many years, under contract to Atlantic records...etc. Had a great time! That all came to an end, and I lost my taste for the music business at the end..and that's when I drifted into comedy. Same thing there...I tasted some fame, had some fun, but needed to make more money, and basically...more of my life...

I'd been knocking around for many years, in and out of show business in one way or another. I started my own business in 1983 and its gone on to be quite successful, I married in 1994, have wonderful wife, and two beautiful girls...We live in Santa Rosa Valley, which is a part or Camarillo. I'm very happy, spend most all of my time with my family, and am back to drumming again. Not on the level I did years back, but locally and I just love it!

(Steve De Roover) At the time of Part V there was a lot of controversy about the gore in the previous Friday the 13th films. Was there any kind of pressure on set about this?

(Bob DeSimone) I really couldn't answer that...as I've mentioned, I wasn't all that much into the films. I wasn't privy to the going on as far as censorship.

(Steve De Roover) Some fans and critics call Part V one of the worst in the entire franchise, due to the fact that Jason isn’t the killer. Other enjoys it for sleaze, the kills and the nude scenes. Do you understand the backlash and what is your own point of view?

(Bob DeSimone) Yeah, well..this is what I mean about the films being Camp! Let's face it...None of them are works of art, in fact to watch one is a study in Cult, Horror, Camp and any other sleazy title you can think of. If you take these films too seriously you're missing the point entirely. I don't think anybody, cast or crew ever really took it seriously other than making the film, getting as much gore in as possible, some humor inside and otherwise in...and get it out to the public.  But I gotta tell ya, I hear from people from all over the world...it really amazes me how these films have hung in there!

(Steve De Roover) The movie is almost cut to shreds due to the courtesy of the MPAA. Everybody says the footage is lost, but after the first box set there is again some new footage found for parts IV, VI, VII and VIII. Do you think it’s true that all the footage for Part V is gone and how did Danny Steinmann and you did react on the cut imposed by the MPAA?

(Bob DeSimone) Wish I could answer that for you, but I have to go back to...."I wasn't all that in to the films"..so, I'm really in the dark there....I CAN say I would think Danny would have been upset. After all, he was the director.

(Steve De Roover) You were involved in the Crystal Lake Memories book and also in Daniel Farrands great documentary His Name Was Jason. Why weren't you in the new Deluxe Edition of Part V? Will there maybe be a Blu-ray edition of Part V?

(Bob DeSimone) I couldn't tell you. I did shoot something in the past year...I think it was, "His Name was Jason"  but, you know..when they shoot these things, they don't always have the final title..so, I'm not sure what it was....I don't know what's up with the Blu-Ray...guess we'll have to see.

Thanks for your time and success in the future!
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