Interview: Tom Arnold of Restitution

In the nifty little thriller Restititution (DVD $26.95, Monterey Media, released on Nov. 8), Tom Arnold makes a memorable supporting  turn as the lively next-door neighbor to leading man Mark Bierlein. A journalist who’s pulled into a small town off Lake Ontario to write a book about a murder that went down a year ago, Bierline is a little more than thrown when he meets Arnold, who’s all about fast-talking, big hugs and a lot bit more that comes to light by the film’s finale. Arnold spoke with Disc Dish about his role in the film and the myriad other projects he’s been involved in over the past year.

Disc Dish: How did Restitution come your way?

Tom Arnold: The usual way—somebody sent it to my manager and I read it. I was interested from the beginning; they did a really good job with the overall story and the mystery.

DD: You had a lot of fun with your character—the nutty next-door neighbor.

TA: I actually called the [co-writer/director] Lance Klawas and told them that it’s not for me to make the decision, but if you’ll let me mess around with the character, I can add in a little more, a little extra.

Restitution DVDDD: With all your character’s talk of soft erections and gay hugs, I got the feeling that you injected some of your standup act into the role.

TA: Well, he had to show some humanity! Lance and [co-writer/star Mark Bierlein] were cool with the fact that my character was more comfortable, more natural. It brought out a little something different in the leading character, too. To me, my character had to be a bit of a truth-teller. Whatever he says, it’s got to be true by the end of the film. Whatever minor notes or suggestions I made, they worked, I hope. I think they were grateful.

DD: Script-doctoring aside, maybe it’s time for you to direct a film of your own.

TA: One time a few years a back, I was offered a horror movie to direct, but it wasn’t the right time for me. If the opportunity arose now, I would certainly consider it. I know what directing entails. Well, not everything, but I see a lot of my friends heading that way and I directed an HBO special for my ex-wife years back, so I know I could do it.

DD: What else have you been up to lately?

Tom Arnold shows his concern in the thriller Restitution.

TA: I just finished shooting an episode of Sons of Anarchy—I’ve done a few of those over the last couple of years. And I’m been doing a bunch of different smaller parts in smaller movies. One that I did a year or so ago, Pool Boys, was just released on DVD now. It’s silly fun from the American Pie people. What else? We’re just finishing post on a post for Fox Sports. I’m also doing stand-up a week a month on the road. And I’m working on another book.

DD: You’ve got a lot of things going on.

TA: Yeah, but the truth is I’d love to do one job—get on a series for seven years or something and then get to come home and be with the family. I find a lot of work, but I’m not thought of as the kind of guy to be sent up for a series.  My agent kind of has it easy—I don’t get a lot of auditions and meetings. I need more of those and more opportunities! People remember me a certain way, but I’ve been getting darker lately and would love to get that out there. But I don’t expect results—I know better than that.

Read our review of Restitution here!

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.