Tony Bottorff made a noticeable entrance the other day when he rode into the parking lot on his 2015 Harley Sportster and tossed the keys to the valet. A risky move to trust that much horsepower to a teenager in a red vest. Needless to say, they didn’t attempt to move it and the bike sat in full view of the entrance to Abacus, our Dallas dinner spot on McKinney Avenue.
Bottorff’s newest comedy, Long Term Parking, is quite a “tail wagger.” We sat down to discuss the movie and his career.
RW: The role you play in this film is a departure from your other roles in film. Did you need to do anything to prepare to play this part?
TB: I wish I could say I did, but I let this one develop organically. I had Boston worked up fairly solid but knew from past experience that Paul Bright (film director) knows what he wants, so the first day of shooting kind of set the tone for Boston. Had I known it was going to be 38 degrees with a 30 MPH wind during my make out scene with Lisa (Sosa), I would have practiced bumping uglies in a meat locker with an industrial fan blowing on me.
RW: That’s quite a visual. Did anything go wrong during filming?
TB: Oh yeah. The weather would be hot one day and butt ass freezing the next. I think we all got sick before it was done. The one I remember was shooting with Gary Mahmoud in his office. I had to drink shots of Jameson, and trust me, I’m a cheap date when it comes to drinking. I’m asking Paul if we have some apple juice or something and he says, “I’ve got a case of Jameson, enjoy.” So I’m getting toasted before lunch, they’re fogging the office with this fog machine so thick it looks like the steam room at the YMCA, and Gary Mahmoud is killing me with his improv. I can’t keep a straight face to save me. I’ll tell you something, this was one of those film shoots where there was as much comedy between takes as there was during the shot.
RW: Can I spill the beans and tell people your character is a dog?
TB: I’m not a dog.
RW: Okay, partly a dog.
TB: Boston Nightly is a gumshoe bounty hunter who’s a true ‘guy’s guy’. He doesn’t sweat the small stuff and takes things in stride, loves his Jameson, neat, and his women hot. Nothing gets him worked up, not even looking down the wrong end of a gun barrel. He’s got a fun sense of humor, even when the jokes on him, which given his dog tail, is most of the time in this film.
RW: So you do admit your character has a dog tail.
TB: And teeth.
RW: This movie is very irreverent. What was your first thought when you read the script?
TB: My first thought? Well, I get an email from Paul saying he’s doing a film and I’d be PERFECT for the role of Boston. So I can’t wait to read it, right? I start reading and I’m killed on page three. I’m like ‘what the hell?’ I kept reading and was laughing out loud with the dialogue. My second thought, “Hey, I get to have sex in this! Bring it on!”
RW: What was it like to work with the other actors?
TB: It was awesome! This is my third film with Paul, and he never fails to assemble a great group of actors. Lisa and I had great chemistry! She would crack me up with her delivery even on the third take. And David Young and Gary Lee Mahmoud are comic geniuses. I would bust a gut laughing every day. Seriously, I couldn’t hold it together every time David would say “Do the dingus.”
RW: Should I ask?
TB: You gotta see it. Joel Hudgins, Brandon Gallagher, Dan Murphy, and Mary Farrar are awesome. And Natasha Straley, wow! She’s got perfect comedic timing and I get love scenes with her too? I’m like, thank you Mike Kearby for writing this!
RW: Mike Kearby’s original novel of the same name has a devoted fan club.
TB: I read Mike Kearby’s book several times before the shoot started. The guy writes so expressively. I mean, he’s got more names for bullets than guys have for their Johnson. The book is never boring and his fans have got to be just as awesome! He’s a cool guy. He came to the set when we shot at the bar. He’s the kind of guy you’d like to have a drink with and swap stories.
RW: Sounds like you’ve got a lot of stories to swap.
TB: Oh yeah. But not to print. It was a fun shoot. When you have a great group of actors that enjoy what they do and a director that let’s you have fun exploring the characters, you don’t want it to end.