Interview Dana Barron
We would like to thank you for the opportunity to do an interview with you.
Dana: ĄFantastic Iím looking forward to it!ď
Weíve collected a lot of questions mainly from fans from Crossbow.
Was the filming of ďI know youíre aloneĒ scary?
I was very young and when you are making a movie, you are not necessarily see all the scaryness through the film. You are filming it in little bits and pieces. So at one point the killer was thinking about possibly attacking me and they changed their mind in the filming because he was only chasing young brides. So I think the scariest part for me was being in the amusementpark and the scary house.
Afterwards when you watched it back was it then scary?
The only part that bothered me was that the killer goes into a movietheatre in the beginning and stabbed someone in the back through the seats. And I think that bothered me more than anything. The rest was all funny because it was all fake. And there was a lot of silly stuff and jokes and I wasnít attacked by the killer.
How did you get your role in Beverly Hills 90210?
When you are an actor you audition and I was doing a lot of auditioning. I was auditioning in California, living on my own. The problem was that a lot of people think I was a child actor. And I was very very young but in a lot of movies I was actually older playing younger. So I was in my late twenties playing sixteen. I was living in California and in New York. I was auditioning right before I was about to get on the plane. It was a lot of fun to play the part. It was a kind of a free spirit person and I did that and jumped on the plane and they had me come back to film, so I got the part. Itís all through auditioning.
Was it hard work or lots of fun?
It was hard going into a show that was already airing four years. And they were very succesfull. Hard to try getting in the rhytm of filming because they were doing everything very quickly.
And I usually study and rehearse so they were very quickly they memorise their lines almost right before they would shoot and didnít really want to rehearse very much. They just wanted to do the lines on the set and not having any rehearsels. And I wasnít used to that.
Am I in touch with anybody was one of the questionsÖ Not reallyÖ I actually grew up in New York city.. Luke used to be there.. Gabrielle Carteris.. we saw each other on auditions and commercials. I have seen Tori Spelling, years ago there was a clothing line, she made it for her daughter.
I really havenít kept in touch.
Do you have special anecdotes? I remember that how excited I was that it was a very popular show. And for the first time, when I would go out, a lot of people recognise me and would come up to me and I was one time with a German actor, well known, it was a soap opera German actor, and one time we decided to go to the Louvre in Paris, and we were more popular then the Mona Lisa at that time. It was like a huge dwell of people coming after us like when they see the Mona Lisa for the first time: ďLook there is the famous painting!Ē
And what I also liked was making my own clothes during that time. A lot of clothes I wore I had redesigned or made myself.
What kind of roles do you like most?
I did a show called ďMagnificent sevenĒ and also in Crossbow was a lot of riding on horses. And doing combat fighting. Iím a black belt in taekwondo and martial arts. So it has been in my spirit and in my soul to be able to fight and I did learn sword fighting on Crossbow. And Iím riding horses since I was very little. And Iím also part Cherokee Indian. Itís part of my culture and I love it. I like being outside and I like having action. Both characters of these shows were fighters, they fought for what they believed in. I like that kind of character.
What did you do before Crossbow?
Well I started acting when I was ten. I did one modelling job with a bunch of other kids. But mainly commercials and voice-overs. And then I did broadway when I was twelve.
My first movie was by eleven started doing filmwork mainly and televison.
How did you get in the acting scene?
Iím the fifth generation of performers in my family. My father started the first acting school for television and commercials in the world. So he had an acting school.
My father was on broadway and he worked for Charlie Chaplin, a very famous actor. And my sister was older and very pretty and she was going in acting and I was the girl next door that had brown hair and brown eyes nothing modelling looking at all and I go to her and watch her do auditions and I thought ďI could do the same thingĒ and I asked my dad If I could try and within a year I was getting jobs right away. My father and my family didnít help me to get jobs. It was really about getting the right manager and the right agent and being devoted to the work and audition.
How was travelling to France? Did your family travel with you? Did you need a translator?
No I was and adult. Playing once again a child. So I didnít need parents to accompany me. I did actually fly with my mom for a week or so to Paris. I thought she wanted to see Paris with my friends. I was travelling back and forth since I was 4 years old. So I loved France.
I studied French at school: High school, college and elementary school and by the time I was finished I spoke 75% fluid. At the end of the summer after we did the filming I dreamt in French! I dated a few Frenchman. The reason I spoke French too is that my family we are big skiers, we use to race in Canada, in Montreal. It is French but with a different accent. But it is kind of different. I had no problems communicating and I still have friends on that show that Iím still in contact with. From people who are French to people who are English and when I go back to London, I lived in London, I see them and call them. Itís fun. I actually sent two Christmas cards to people from the show.
When you were filming, were you staying at the same place?
We went to a lot of different little towns and auberges to eat, drink and stay. Sometimes it were castlesÖ And we did stay in Lyon for a while. But other than Lyon we stayed wherever we could close to the filming. I was filming all summer and I came back in the winter and it was fun to shoot that one other show because it was snowing and very cold, but fun to be in France in the winter.
How was it for you to go back in the winter to France and make an episode in the deserted abbey of Senanque with the cold and the snow?
You know, if you look at the episode closely, Iím hardly in it. I donít really understand why they needed me there. It was interesting. I guess because my father (Stefan) had a bigger role. I didnít spend that much time in there. Not more then a day really. And I remember there is a scene that I am busting out of a coffin and that was fun to film cause it was very snowy that day. But it wasnít bad because I didnít have much to do there.
How busy was the schedule?
We came together a lot and had time to have dinner in little auberges and stuff like that, little taverns, it was always wonderful to spend that time with friends. I know a couple of times I visited Paris with a friend. We werenít too far out from the main cities. We spent a lot of time, because everybody was away from home, so we spent a lot of time together as a crew. One funny story: when Roger Daltry came to do one of our shows (The Alchemist with David Warner), usually everybody would go out to dinner, but no one was inviting him out to dinner. And he finally said: Why isnít anyone inviting me to dinner, why isnít anyone coming up to me? We were like: Youíre a star, we didnít know if you wanted to be invited by anyone of us. He said: Ofcourse, I wanna go out with the crew!! I wanna be out with you guys! It was fun. He was a superstar, so we thought he didnít want to be bothered, but he wanted to be bothered!
What was the influence of Crossbow on your further career?
It definitely helped when I got the television series Magnificent Seven, because I already rode horses and fought. I rode horses in Magnificent Seven. I had to do a lot of roping and tricks on horses. Also I loved to fight with the wooden staff, I didnít learn that with martial arts. I know with kung fu they teach the staff work. My son is learning the staff work now and he is getting quite good. I had to learn everything there. As I watch it back, I think now I thought that I was really good back then. But when I see experts, Iím really very slow.
Which episode do you especially like?
The Reunion, when I see William for the first time. The one with the quarter staff. Itís a lot of fun, I enjoy the action and learning how to do that. There was one episode where there was a scene with people that were trying to hurt me with the sword. And I have a certain routine. Like I said I was my own stunt person. And I forgot the routine and I remember that moment looking at the guy when I was literally dodging for my life. He was coming at me and I love watching that scene, cause I can see the look in my eyes, like Oh my gosh, what do I have to do? And then I diveÖ it is very much fun knowing what I was thinking at that time when I almost was choppedÖ. There was a lot of danger in stunts, but I felt confident, doing those martial arts for many years back then. Iím glad I did it. It made the series much more important to me.
Do you know what happened to your character when you did not return after the last episode you played in?
I donít remember specific conversations about my character, I know that they decided to go off in a direction with William Tellís son, played by David Barry Grey, and I think thatís where they were concentrating on. And they wanted not a storyline with my father and I, but with William dealing with his son. So they are taking it in a different direction. And thatís what I was understood.
Would you like to do such a role as in Crossbow again?
Anytime! It was one of my favorite experiences ever and I love New York, my home. It was the first time I remember flying on the airplane crying that I had to go back. I had such a wonderful time with the cast and the crew, and such a wonderful role. To be able to work in castles and such history, and I created bonds and friends that do, 30 years later, still exist.
People ask me what are my favorite characters, Iíve done 80 roles at least, and the role in Crossbow is one of my top three.
What are the things you have in common with Eleanor?
Well, obviously: adventure. Sheís very adventurous, she is not a girly-girl. Iím very tiny, I donít dress masculine, Iím definitely someone who likes being outdoors and being athletic, more then painting your nails. I share with Eleonor the wild-child spirit.
How was it to work with legendary actors as Conrad Philips, Brian Blessed and others and are you in contact with any of them?
Unfortunately.. shortly after the show I visited Conrad Phillips in England, he lived outside of London, so I kept in touch with him, but then we lost touch. I adored him, we were very close. Will Lyman, I have not stayed in contact with. Valantine Pelka, I did a scene with him in The Pass, he is one of the people I stayed in touch with, Iíll send cards and when I go to London I see him. When I saw Roger Daltry in New York city filming, I stopped by and said hello to him and he said: oh yes ofcourse and he immediately remembered me. There was a guy named Christian Duguay, who was the second unit director and film photographer and camera operator, especially in steadycam. I stayed in touch with him for a while, he and his brother, they lived in Canada, and I used to go to Canada a lot. There was also some producers I stayed kind of in touch with.
At some point there were some stories that they wanted a relationship going on in the series between Eleonor and William Tell.
I never ever heard of that. Only in the Alchemist Tell is rescuing me from Vogel. Thatís the closest thing we got. I canít see it was going in that direction and if it was, I didnít know about it.
Did you learn horseriding during Crossbow or did you already do that before the series?
I went to horsebackriding campus as a child. I knew how to ride and I used to take people who had payed money out for a horseride. So I was very young riding already. And the funny thing was, as I said I am little, barely 5 feet, and the horses were huge. Also they were workhorses. One horse, his name was Hannibal, they always spoke French to him, like Ąallezď to go and Ąarretď to stop. He understood English too! The horses were so well trained, they would literally do voice-command. You wouldnít have to kick them, they were amazing, they were so well trained by Mario Luraschi, he was brilliant. And to get the horses even to fall.. it was magical. About my horse: he was a bit of a pig.. my little legs were right beside his tummy and he was always trying to eat. It was always a struggle to pull him up. And his mouth would then be full of green plants, then they had to stop and take the foam of his mouth. It ofcourse didnít look nice with a horse on film with dripping foam of his mouth. It was a great horse but he just loved eating all the time.
Did you always have the same horse? You rode a Friesian and an Andalusian horse. Was the Friesian for easier scenes and the Andalusian for speedy scenes?
Weíll, Hannibal was a work-draft horse, normally they are used for filming and pulling, mainly I used him. There was one, or maybe two times, that they had this other girl ride for me, and there was one scene that they were racing very fast and they let her do it, I felt that I could do it, but they let her do it. I think that that is the part that there was another horse. She was a very good horserider and I think they felt more confident to do that with all the stuntriders. There was a scene were I was fighting with the broad sword on the horse and I felt very comfortable riding, I had no issues riding.
Do you miss France?
I lived in London for a while, and now that I have a youngster, I planned to take him back to Paris, we were gonna go last year, but the trip had to be cancelled. But definitedly, cause I do speak French to him, and he wants to go, because he wants to taste the incredibele European foods, bread and cheese and everything I keep telling him about. And also, I almost moved to Cannes at one point. Although I like the Paris Ė Lyon area better, Cannes is really beautiful, but I donít know If it would be my first choice. Because of the back and forth travelling, I eventually decided not to move.
How long did it take to shoot the scene in the river with the treasury wagon?
I honestly donít know because itís a long time ago.. itís one of the most beautiful areas in all of France,
but funny story about is, I learned what nettles were for the first time. The plant that stings you when you
sit on it. I sat down, my pants were leather, but I used my hand and they swelled up.. Nettles, I had no
idea what they were, but I learned quicklyÖ But the countryside is beautiful. The riverscenes were a
dream come true with all the action. Itís all fun and I was very very lucky.
Can you tell us something about the actors you were working with?
Roger Daltry was the main person I talked to in that episode, but David Warner was fun over the years to
see his amazing career. I was too young to know and understand him as an actor, I knew who Roger Daltry
was, but I didnít know David Warner at that time. But everytime I would see him, I was like: Omg there is
David, omg there is David!! He is a briliant actor and he was very serious doing the role. A lot of people
back then took it seriously, well obviously Roger Daltryís part is very silly, he is been mentally trapped by
a long time. It was an honor to work with people of that caliber. Brian Blessed was so much fun.
I have a giant foto-album, almost like a diary, and I took pictures with Brian,
he was very cheeky and very fun and makes plain jokes and just laughing. And it was a great time beiing
with him. And there is also Brett Forrest (ďGrendelĒ), who played one of the bad guys, and was Riff Raff
in the original Rocky Horror in London, so he was an accomplished actor too, so as Brian who was in
Flash Gordon. It was amazing and fun to work with.
Do you have some other comments?
It was the first time I was outside New York for a long period of time, and being around such incredible
actors, as Jeremy Clyde, with whom I have been in contact for quite some time afterwards. It was a special
time, I think for most people. Being around, at my age, fun crew, fun actors, magical place, historical placeÖ
Working with horses, working with swords, it was a dream all
Do you have some anecdotes about the stickfighting scene?
It was fun, I was not that good as I thought I was. It was extremely memorable, especially the one I almost got
killed (laughter). I did do a lot of sword fighting on a horse in other scenes.
Where there other scary or dangerous moments during Crossbow filming?
The horseriding was never scary. At camp when I was very young we did emergency dismounts. You go off in
full galop and then stop immediately and then on again. So it was never scary.
We know there was a guy with a truck with clothing and weapons, George the Armorer. Was it possible for you
as an actor to choose your own clothing or weapons?
No, the wardrobe people chose always the same, I wore the same thing everytime.
Except for The Alchemist, where they changed me into a dress, because David Warner wanted me possibly as
his wife. Other than that I wore the same costume. They made sure the pants fit well. In the summer it got
hot a little bit, because I was wearing leather and a leather vest. But I liked my outfit, it was warrior like.
I didnít choose my weapons, they made me fight with swords or the wooden staff.
A sword was very heavy, so it was therefore mostly the wooden stick.
Is there something important you learned during Crossbow that helped you later on in your career?
Yes, itís in Magnificent Seven that I was able to ride horses and rope. And in life I was helping my kid to use
the quarter staff and eventually in kung fu he has learned more than I have.
That always stayed with me, itís part of the spirit of Eleonor.
Was recording The National Lampoons Vacation as much fun as watching it?
It was once again over the summer. One of the reasons why I got the part of Eleonor was the producers had
seen me on Vacation. It was fun because we were on vacation filming vacation!
And that is the same thing with Crossbow. And that gives a certain happiness.
Who can ask for more if you are on vacation in Colorado, Utah, Arizona and California, four different states!
So we were all having a great time.
Was the reason that you were not in The Christmas Vacation that you were busy with Crossbow?
No, what happened was that after the first vacation they filmed European Vacation. Anthony Michael Hall,
who played my brother, was filming Weird Science, and because he couldnít do it, the director at that
time said they should get two different kids, because the same girl and a different boyÖ
so Amy Hackerling made that decision and I was told later by the producer Maddy Simmons,
who I end up working with as an executive producer at National Lampoons, I was producing at
National Lampoon later, he had always felt it was a big mistake to change the kids.
It was a joke that each time they had different kids. And I am very close with Anthony Michael Hall,
who lives seven blocks away.. I cooked Thanksgiving dinner for him! So we are still family.
How are the changes in movies these days comparing with then?
Oh definitely, especially with Lampoons Vacation, you get away with a lot of things you can never do
these days. You have a young teenager who is smoking marihuana, sexual issues
(like ďmy dad is the best kisserĒ) and a scene where people are stealing our hot cabs and so on.
Things you would never do these days in a film, people wouldnít appreciate it nowadays.
Itís a different type of humor now. Also there is a lot done by editing on the computer these days,
it looks like filming but it isnít. Itís much cheaper and what works for actors is in the 80ís and 90ís
you wouldnít get a lot of time to shoot a scene over and over again, that was too expensive.
And now with the video you are able to do it over and over again and not to worry about the expenses.
But time is money, time is limited. People salaries are expensive. But filming isnít anymore.
Thatís a wonderful benefit to acting.
What would you like in the future?
Well, I have such a long career, that I have done every part or character I wanted to do.
And there isnít any other type of role that I can think of that I would like to do.
So Iíve been lucky that I have played all the characters that I wanted to play.
I Ďve won an Emmy award for my acting work on television.
Iíve won the best award you can get for a television movie.
Iíve won quite a few awards for acting. So people have recognized my work and that is complementive.
The future is the future, I donít know. I have recently invested in a health food restaurant,
which is very important to me. They talked about doing a National Lampoons Vacation night,
so that fans come and greet me at the restaurant. I really believe in health food. We are working
with Ellen de Generes her chef. He is her personal chef in vegan food.
Elovate is the name, easy to find on the web if you are interested. http://www.elovatekitchen.com/
Itís a special place now for me. Other things I do is that I am a mother, heís almost 10 now.
And I am on real estate.
Is your work easy to combine with other things in life?
I was in school and when I was filming Crossbow I took off in the summer and went back to university,
it took me many years to finish because I was always filming and then go back to school..
Iím a type of person that I donít believe in ďalmostersĒ, ďI almost finished collegeĒ,
ďI almost got my blackbeltĒÖ It took me years to get my blackbelt, it took me years to get my degree,
but once you get it, you feel you have accomplished something..
You donít wanna be an almoster in lifeÖ and in acting, I didnít almost get the roles I wanted,
Iím just lucky to have roles like Crossbow. Itís a dream job, those are the things that make acting
so nice and all the time you put into itÖ I worked a decade by the time I got Crossbow
but all that work was worth it to be able to get roles like Eleonor in Crossbow.
That was a beautiful end to a beautiful interview! Thank you very much Dana Barron!
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