On ‘Willow,’ Helen Slater Crush

January 17, 2023 0 By Cypher9ja

Coming as a pretty big surprise, as Willow (Warwick Davis) and his crew are on a quest to rescue the captured Prince Airk, they find themselves captured and imprisoned in cages next to a guy who sounds an awful lot like Christian Slater. And, then when we see who this is, a warrior named Allagash, he is very much played by Christian Slater. It turns out Allagash once adventured with Val Kilmer’s Madmartigan and this whole idea was pitched to Slater as reprising a role from a Willow sequel from the early 90s that was never made. But it does feel like a movie Slater could have made around that time when he was starring in movies like Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and Young Guns II. (Both of these movies are mentioned ahead.)

Speaking of Slater’s past movies, then there’s 1985’s The Legend of Billie Jean about a young woman (Helen Slater, no relation) and her brother (Christian Slater) on the run after a sleazy man assaults Billie Jean and her brother accidentally shoots him – featuring a pretty kick-ass Pat Benatar song. (If you have not seen this movie, I highly recommend it.) Anyway, I kind of only brought this up in passing, but Slater obviously hasn’t talked about it in a while and reveals that, yes, at the time (he was probably 15 when filming the movie) he had a huge crush on his co-star and movie sister, Helen Slater. (If you watch the movie, yeah you’ll probably pick up on this fact.)

But, first, let’s celebrate the 34th anniversary of the release of Gleaming the Cube, which happened to be the day we spoke.

As I was waiting, I was scrolling through Twitter and this fact popped up. Congratulations, today is the 34th anniversary of Gleaming the Cube.

Is it? Holy moly! That’s crazy. That is nuts. It’s 34 years? What the heck?

Yeah, that can’t be right, but the math is correct.

Can’t be right. It just doesn’t make any sense. Doesn’t make any sense! Wow.

When I was watching Willow, I had no idea you were in it. When you show up, we hear your voice first and I was like, wow, someone is doing a killer Christian Slater impression right now.

Well, see, that’s fun, right? It’s nice that you were able to be surprised. It’s so hard in this business nowadays, with information just being so thrown out there, just showing your face, to still get to be surprised by something. It’s fun.

Allagash reminds me a little bit of Arkansas Dave Rudabaugh from Young Guns II.

Okay. Yeah… Well, look…

Am I off base?

No, no, no. Look, I mean, sure, there’s a sneakiness and there’s a slyness. Sure, without a doubt.

And he’s a fun-loving adventure guy.

There are elements of Will Scarlet in there. I think there are all aspects, or little nods and hints, to other characters that I’ve played. And this was an opportunity to build a character from the ground up. And I believe Jon [Kasdan] was interested in me contributing ideas and coming up with characteristics for this guy, that I was thrilled they were so open to. That made me really, really happy.

I was reading Jon pitched it to you as your character was in the movie that was never made, starring you and Val Kilmer, in 1992.

Right, right. Yeah, I like that scenario. I do kind of recall him mentioning that. And I think that was just a nice element, because Val and I have a history together. We’ve worked together several times. I’ve always had a great deal of respect for him, and admire him greatly as an actor and as a person. He’s quirky, he’s offbeat. He always brings something very unique to every character that he plays…

I mean, you have very similar attributes.

Yeah, there are aspects. We, hopefully, compliment each other. And I think Allagash is the type of guy that Madmartigan would have attracted into his universe. These two guys, you could see them hanging out together. Both a little offbeat, both a little quirky, both going on these adventures and hunting for the treasures. Both being a little out of their minds, to take crazy risks. And then you put somebody like Allagash in a crow’s cage for 10 years, he’s really going to be nuts. So I loved all of that, too. I loved those aspects of just the guy, getting to play a character that has been through so much, and made such a huge sacrifice to protect Madmartigan, really. I thought all those aspects woven in there were fantastic.

I think I was 13 when Willow came out. Obviously, this show features a lot of younger characters, but for people who were around for the original, you do provide a gravitas for people like me since Val isn’t in this. Does that make sense?

Totally. And look, even Warwick and I talked about it. Look, I was 16 when the movie came out. We’re lucky guys! We were born at a pretty good time. I was seven years old when Star Wars came out. So that just made such an indelible impression on me, and the whole of fantasy and science fiction and adventure and just swashbuckling. All of that stuff just embedded into my brain. So to get the opportunity to do something like this was great. And yeah, like I said, Warwick and I talked about it. Because he and I are of the same generation, and we were both around at that particular time, experiencing that spirit for the first time.

Warwick, someone who’s literally in Star Wars.

Yeah, exactly. I mean, we get to try – and because we know that energy and what that vibe was – to try and bring elements of that into this kind of story was very exciting, I think, for both of us. And we loved working together. I loved working with him so much. It was just the best.

Will we see Allagash again? Because I don’t feel it’s definitive.

Yeah, it wasn’t definitive. Look, Jon and I have certainly had discussions about this.

Allagash seems wily. He’ll figure a way out.

Look, I don’t think Allagash made this sacrifice for no reason. I feel like he’s the type of guy where there is always a little bit of an agenda. And we didn’t want to be … is it presumptuous? While we were filming, to do one of those things where you leave everybody kind of… I mean, we did kind of leave everybody hanging.

Yes.

But we didn’t reveal one way or the other what happens. So are there plans, and ideas, and concepts, and thoughts, about what could happen? Or could have happened? Of course.

My girlfriend’s parents live in Vermont. We were just there. And anytime I’m there I think of Binx from The Legend of Billie Jean because no one loves anything more than Binx loves Vermont.

Right! Right! Yes, with the snowmobile! Where we were at the end of the movie. Right?

Yeah, the red snowmobile. He’s looking for trouble again.

Looking for trouble! Yeah. [Laughs] I can’t believe we didn’t make a sequel. It’s amazing, right?

I love that movie, by the way. I know a lot of people who have seen that movie for the first time just in the last couple of years…

Oh, yeah? That’s great. I mean, Pat Benatar!

Oh yeah, “Invincible.”

Oh, my God. I know. I mean, it’s great stuff.

Peter Coyote is in that movie.

Peter Coyote! Peter Coyote. Oh, my gosh. Yeah. Fantastic. Great, great performances. And Helen Slater…. [Sighs] I mean, that was… I thought she and I were meant to be together. I mean, I thought, “We wouldn’t have to change our last name. We’d just get married.” And she was Supergirl! I was very excited.

Did you actually have a crush on her? I’ve always wondered that.

Oh. Oh, God. Dude. Yeah.

Okay…

Yeah. I mean, from the first moment we had that scene where we are swimming in that swamp, right?

Hey, just a couple of siblings. Just brother and sister.

No, no, just brother and sister hanging out, playing and splashing, and having a great time. Yeah, it was unbelievable. Oh, my God. No, I had nothing but love for her. [Slater holds up his coffee cup as a toast.]

Well, I’m out of time. Congratulations again on the anniversary of Gleaming the Cube.

Oh, yeah! That’s amazing, dude. Amazing.

You can contact Mike Ryan directly on Twitter.