Lou Diamond Phillips is looking forward to meeting his fans next month at the Colorado Springs Comic Con Aug. 25-27, 2017. Hear about how this award winning actor borrowed a bellhop’s uniform just to meet Robert De Niro. Find out about his latest projects, his time on “SGU Stargate Universe,” and how he prepared for his role on “Longmire.” Grab that chance to meet Phillips up close at the second annual event at the Colorado Springs Event Center.
Colleen Bement: What are you looking forward to at this year’s Colorado Springs Comic Con?
Lou Diamond Phillips: Meeting the fans is always the biggest thing for me. It’s one of the fringe benefits from doing theater as well. I like to actually stay in touch with the audience, to give a little bit back, and to share some quality time; even if it’s just a few minutes to shake a hand or take a picture. It’s always interesting because I think people get a certain perception of you when they see you on the screen. They have these assumptions, hopefully, good ones, and to get out there to be a real person and to actually have a genuine human interaction is always gratifying to me. And to say thank you to the people who have supported me for such a very long time.
I’ve actually been to Colorado Springs before. One was a couple of years ago, and the other one was probably 20 years ago, and they were both education related. I spoke at a college there, and I was a speaker at a fundraiser at local high schools. It was to continue to support and promote education and higher learning, and certainly literacy. This time I’m hoping to see more of the town.
CB: In “Longmire” you play a Native American. Did you do research on what life is like on a reservation?
LDP: Absolutely, and the thing about it is when I do research for a role I try to be very specific about that. A lot of people just assume, oh, you’re going to play Indian, and leave it at that, which is a very general approach. I know from playing a number of different nations that there are distinctions; there are idiosyncrasies that are specific to each tribe. I try to pay honor to that and have respect for that. It goes back to when I played a Mexican Navajo in “Young Guns” and a Lakota in “Renegades.” As soon as I got the job on “Longmire” I flew up to Lame Deer in Montana and visited the Cheyenne reservation up there. I did a ceremony. My good friend Marcus Red Thunder who was not only our technical advisor on “Longmire,” he’s one of the inspirations for the role of Henry Standing Bear. To meet the people and visit some high schools and some senior homes, and went through a ceremony got a blessing from one of the elders there Charles Little Man. I met with the tribal chief, and as a result after a couple of years ago after “Longmire” had been running for a few years, I spoke at the Lame Deer High School graduation and went through a naming ceremony. I was adopted into the Cheyenne Nation, so I take representing any individual community very seriously. I wanted to get it right, I think that adoption was their way of saying yeah, you did OK. I think if we’re going to represent people on screen we should do it right, and bring respect and honor to them.
CB: Tell your fans about your other films can you talk about?
LDP: Yeah a few things that are in the hopper, and to be honest there’s a real big question mark on what’s next. It’s very bizarre. I just did a little cameo in “Graves” which is the Nick Nolte comedy on FX. That was directed by my good friend Megan Griffiths who had written and directed the “The Night Stalker” where I played Richard Ramirez. Not because it was another serial killer, but because it was on the other end of the spectrum. I got to go do some comedy; which was great. She said I finally wanted to get you on camera doing all the stuff that you do in between takes! (laughs) That was a wonderful experience. I do a three episode arc on “The Ranch” with Ashton Kutcher, Danny Masterson, and Sam Elliott whom I adore, and I got to play a love interest with one my teenage crushes Debra Winger. Plus a couple of scripts of mine are getting a little traction so I’ll get the financing for those, and hopefully directing one or more of those in the next year or so. I was very fortunate to have directed the second episode of the sixth season of “Longmire” so it just reminded me of how much I love that. For the time being some family time; catching up with the kids.
CB: Taking you back a few years, you were great on “SGU Stargate Universe” and the series was cut too short. What do you miss most about your experience on that show?
LDP: I miss all of the cast. All of those people were just so fantastic, and I’m still in touch with a lot of them. David Blue is a good friend and Louis Ferreira; I love his work and I ran into him not too long ago. Carlyle, I have such respect for that guy. It was such a lovely, lovely experience in Vancouver; one of my favorite places in the world; it’s where I met my wife Yvonne, so it’s always wonderful to spend time there. I think we got the rug pulled out from us a little bit. It was just hitting its stride where people were accepting it for what it was. It wasn’t the original “Stargate;” It wasn’t Atlantis; it was kind of its own creature with its own tone to it. They had a plan for a much longer story. As a matter of fact, Telford was going to be more involved and evolved from the guy who was just the jerk to somebody who actually had a relationship with everybody. That was a bit of a shame. It reminded me a little bit of my experience on “Wolf Lake” where the universe kind of conspired against us and cut that short before it got a chance to grow and breathe. It was a couple of years that really enriched my life with a lot of relationships and a lot of nice memories.
CB: Did you really barrow a bellhop’s uniform to try to meet Robert De Niro?
LDP: It is 100 percent true. I didn’t try; I actually met him. Long story but ultimately what happened was I got a bellhop’s uniform from the hotel that I was staying at; a different hotel from what Mr. De Niro was staying at. I ordered a bottle of champagne and wrote him a note because “La Bamba” was screening right after “The Untouchables” at the Deauville Festival. I was inviting him to come see the film. He was such a huge, huge hero of mine, and I actually got away with it. I got out of the room not knowing who I was and later sent him a note saying I don’t want you to hear this second hand because I wasn’t trying to put one over you, I just wanted to meet you. It’s me; I’m the lead of “La Bamba,” and if you get a chance to see it, please do. He was so tickled by the fact that I had the balls to do that, he got a hold of me, we had dinner and we ended up becoming friends. This is why I’m one of the co-owners of the Tribeca Grill in New York to this day.