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BMXtreme's Grant Hansen recently had the pleasure of chatting with Bill Allen, the actor who played Cru Jones in the cult classic "Rad." As a "Rad" fanatical, Grant was stoked to speak to the man behind the legend, and we hope that you all enjoy this interview. These days Bill works mostly behind the camera as a writer/producer and collaborates on a bunch of projects with his good friend Lou Diamond Phillips. If you're over 18 and don't mind feeling a bit uncomfortable, check out whowantstobeahollywoodmoviestar.com to see one of Bill's latest endeavors.
GRANT: Hey Bill, how's it going? I'm not sure if you can hear it, but I've got the Rad soundtrack playing in the background.
BILL: That's very frightening, Grant.
GRANT: (laughter) That wasn't easy to get you know.
BILL: I believe it. Where did you get it?
GRANT: I bought it off of my web site actually (Classified section). Someone gained the rights to produce CDs of it and I got it for $20.
BILL: All right!
GRANT: So, anyway, how did you land the role of Cru Jones?
BILL: I actually landed that because of an episode of Hillstreet Blues I did. Hal Needham, the director of the film, had seen that when he was ready to cast Rad, actually that day, so he called me in. It was a pretty short audition process. So I guess he saw something he liked on TV.
GRANT: Pretty cool. What was your acting experience before Rad, other than Hillstreet Blues?
BILL: Rad was the third movie I did. The first movie I did was in Kentucky in 1982 about horse racing. That was when I was still living in Texas, and through that movie in Kentucky I wound up getting my Screen Actors Guild (SAG) card, and an agent out in L.A. So, with the money I made from the film and my suitcases, I went out to L.A. So Rad was about the third movie I did, and maybe the fifth or sixth acting job altogether.
GRANT: Was it your first title role?
BILL: Um, the movie I did in Kentucky, I played a jockey in that.
GRANT: That's a different type of riding.
BILL: Yeah, I seem to get stuck with a lot of athletic roles.
GRANT: What was the name of that movie?
BILL: "And They're Off!" It was George Clooney's first movie.
GRANT: Did you have any knowledge of BMX before Rad?
BILL: Uh, not really. I was familiar with the sport, but I wasn't an avid fan or anything. But after working in Canada with all those talented riders I really gained an appreciation for it.
GRANT: How was it working with Talia Shire, the wife of Rocky?
BILL: She was great. Adrienne, yeah! She actually produced the movie with her husband, Jack Schwarzman. She was my boss. I only realized afterwards that Francis Ford Coppola was related to her, otherwise I probably would have been nicer to her.
BILL: And of course Jason Schwarzman was on the set at the time when he was only 10 years old. And he went on to do the movie Rushmore.
GRANT: How old were you when you filmed Rad?
BILL: I was 25 I think.
GRANT: So is Laurie Loughlin a good kisser?
BILL: I had to remove her tongue from my throat a couple of times (laughter). She's great. Very professional. It's hard not to get a crush on someone like that when you're working with her.
GRANT: So ass sliding couldn't have been that bad.
BILL: Yeah, when you go ass sliding you want to make it with a girl like that.
GRANT: I heard that water was absolutely freezing up in Canada.
BILL: Yeah, we had wet suits on underneath, but it didn't really help me because it gets wet. It was so frigid … Canada in the fall, it was frighteningly cold. So cold that parts of a man disappear.
GRANT: Not the right time to put the moves on a woman then! Here's the hard-hitting question. I think Luke (Cru's best friend in Rad) was the unsung hero of the movie.
BILL: I agree.
GRANT: If you'll notice, he was ahead of Cru in the first qualifier before he was taken out.
BILL: That's true.
GRANT: And he doesn't get any recognition.
BILL: True, he kind of got robbed, didn't he? He was actually a local, a Canadian. He was an Olympic cross-country skier.
GRANT: I did not know that.
BILL: So there's some trivia for you.
Click here to read page 2 of the interview.
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