According to actor Steven Williams, coming to work as an actor is like going to Disneyland every day. This Memphis, TN born actor is best known for his roles as Captain Fuller in the TV series ‘21 Jump Street’, Mr X in ‘The X-Files’, ‘The Blues Brothers’ and of course as Rufus Turner in ‘Supernatural.’ I had the chance to catch up with Williams as he took time out to chat being back on set and life as an actor.
Colleen Bement: Bringing back Rufus to ‘Supernatural’ in the season 11 episode “Safe House” had been a LONG time coming. What was it like to be back on the set with Jim and the gang?
Steven Williams: It was absolutely fabulous. I like Jim a lot. I like the way he works. We have a good time. It’s like having two big kids in a toy factory for me. I’m constantly having a good time in this business. People who say it’s hard work–it’s not; they’re lying. They’re just trying to keep you out of it. (laughs). It’s an absolutely joy. You like the person (Beaver), and you enjoy their craft, and a healthy respect for him as an actor. I haven’t worked a day in my life since I started acting.
I’m so excited about it (the episode). Just delighted that they found a way to create their presence again. And, we’ve still got many more possibilties. This is done in a flashback fashion. It’s about a case that the boys run across that Bobby and I worked years ago. The boys are in the present working the case, accompanied by a journel of Rufus’. It’s a comparison about how they handle the case and how we handled it back then. Obviously we botched it up a bit because the case is still alive.
CB: I see you had a film come out recently called ‘The Trust’ where you played the role of Cliff opposite Nicolas Cage and Elijah Wood. What can you share about this cool project?
SW: ‘The Trust’ is a Nicolas cage project, and I play a cop or a security guard. It was a little one day cameo, and it’s just fun to be in a movie with the A-Listers. Elijah still looks like–well, he looks the same–like he was born like that–like a little kid. My scene was with him, and it was fun. I don’t care who it is. I don’t care who I’m working with. It can be Spielberg, Sir Lawrence Olivier; I can hold my own with anybody, and it’s a good time. And I can learn from some of the old timers, and the new people in the business. There’s always something to be learned.
CB: Of course, so many of your fans remember you for your role as Mr. X in The ‘X-Files.’ Have you stayed in contact with any of the cast and crew?
SW: As a matter of fact, Mitch and I were just together over the weekend at a fan convention. So yea, every once in awhile I bump in to somebody. William B. was there also–Mr. Davis.
CB: During my college days I never missed an episode of ’21 Jump Street.’ Captain Fuller was awesome. Taking you back to those days, what memories you can share?
SW: Oh the first memory is always nailing the project–getting the project–being the one they choose. I love that when I first arrived on the show, I was doing three shows at once any given week. I replaced Frederic Forrest as the original captain. He and the producers went their ways and they brought me in. So I was shooting my current episodes and re-shooting the shows that Forrest had done at the same time, in the same week. It was quite a workload. I was pretty proud of myself. Meeting all the young people–I knew Holly (Holly Robinson) from a movie years ago with her, and I and LeVar Burton, and Paul Sorvino entitled ‘Dummy.’ It was a true story about a murder case in Chicago. It was a joy to reunite with Holly. And these talented young kids like Peter DeLuise, and incredible talent Johnny Depp, and incredible talent Dustin Nguyen who is running his own movie studio now in Vietnam. It’s just delightful to know these people. Oh, and Vancouver became one of my favorite places on the planet. The city was fabulous and the mortgage was getting paid. What else can a man ask for?
CB: I see your filmography goes way back to 1975. How did you get started in the biz?
SW: I jokingly and seriously say at the same time that I got into the business to get laid. I was a salesman. I was doing ladies apparel in the garment district on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, which is like Rodeo Drive here. And of course I was in a suit and tie everyday, and I used to get a lot of female ad agency executives in to the shop. They would all mention that I had the physique to be a model. My best buddy was a photographer at Playboy and shot a wonderful portfolio, quit my job, and I hit the streets as a model. Made my living as a model. Then someone asked me to do a play–the Deerfield Players. This guy asked me if I’d acted and I said sure, sure–yet I hadn’t acted a day in my life. I did this play called “Slow Dance on the Killing Ground.” I nailed it. I got great reviews and the last line of one of the reviews was we will surely see Steven Williams again. And after that, things started to snowball. The movie industry came to Chicago with the movie Blues Brothers, and that is what brought me to Hollywood. I moved in to LA and as they say, history continues to be made. It’s not nearly over.