Interview: Actor Clint Howard loves The Wraith

MTV kicked off the Clint Howard appreciation trend more than a decade ago when they presented him with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 1998 — not that the honor meant that he was going to fade away any time soon. The instantly recognizable character actor has appeared in no less than 50 movies over the past dozen years (a bunch of them directed by his Oscar-winning big brother Ron Howard, American Graffiti), not to mention a slew of television shows and animated movies where his distinctive, gravelly voice leads the show.

“I don’t want to let on any state secrets here, but I really enjoy gainful employment. I really like it when someone asks me for my social security number with the intent of giving me a paycheck,” Howard said in Rughead Speaks: An Interview With Actor Clint Howard, a featurette on Lionsgate’s new edition of one of Howard’s films, 1986’s The Wraith (released on March 2, 2010).

A 48-year veteran of the film and TV industry (back in the 1960s, he worked with such talents as Danny Kaye, Red Skelton, Henry Fonda, Jean Arthur, an interstellar Captain named “Kirk” and a grizzly bear who answered to “Gentle Ben”), Howard is all-too-proud of his longevity in the business, as well as his wildly varied career.

“I honestly don’t really care if it’s a horror movie or a comedy a big budget movie or a little budget movie,” he said. “The difference is that the big budget movies pay more and the craft service is better.

“I’ve enjoyed working with the A-listers, yes, but then let’s bring on the B-listers … and the C-listers,” he added.

As for The Wraith, a silly but fun supernatural thriller/car racing hybrid starring Charlie Sheen (Platoon) and Sherilyn Fenn (The Scenesters) and featuring Howard as a mechanically minded, Eraserhead-haired gang member, he only has pleasant memories.

“I’ve been working in the business a long time, and The Wraith is one of the movies I’m proud that I got to work on,” he declared. “I always wonder, though, why would Rughead be hanging out with such a gang of knuckleheads? I don’t know, maybe they had good drugs or something…”

About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.