Obscurity Knocks: Episode 3 – Kurt Fuller

RW_108-MD_sc15_033_2_hires2Kurt Fuller has had so many roles in so many films and TV series over the course of his career that when the time came to introduce him onto Obscurity Knocks, I was so intimidated by the sheer volume of options I had available to me to mention that I actually starred stammering and failed to mention nearly as many of them as I’d intended. Be it Psych or Supernatural, Ghostbusters II or Wayne’s World, Miracle Mile or No Holds Barred, Fuller has been all over the place, and he’s got one of those faces that you recognize immediately, even if you can’t always come up with his name. Maybe that’ll change after you listen to our conversation. Perhaps from now on you’ll see him and immediately think, “Oh, hey, it’s Kurt Fuller from Moonbase!”

Nah, I’m just kidding. Nobody’s ever said that before, and nobody ever will. And if for some reason they do, Kurt Fuller will have my hide.

Below you’ll find details about the dozen projects I asked Fuller about during the course of our conversation, with the synopses in quotation marks taken from IMDb and the rest written by yours truly from whatever facts I could find. You’re probably getting the hang of the rules by now, but just in case you’ve forgotten, he had the opportunity to more or less bypass discussing three of them.  Being the swell guy that he is, however, Fuller ended up saying at least a little bit about all 12 of them, and thanks to using his Switcher! card, he ended up saying a hell of a lot about a 13th project. I won’t spoil it for you, but I will say that the project in question was, per Fuller, the single worst experience of his career…and I’d tell you that I feel bad about laughing ’til my sides hurt as he was telling his stories about it, but I don’t feel bad in the slightest.

1. Hurricane Sam (1990) – “Failed series pilot about a dysfunctional family seen through the eyes of a ten-year old.” Starring Ben Savage, Tim Stack, Karen Valentine, Fran Drescher, and Ray Walston.

2. Laurie Hill (1992) – Starred DeLane Matthews as Dr. Laurie Hill, a pediatrician who tried balancing her roles as a doctor, wife and a mother to her young son. Created by Neal Marlens and Carol Black, who were behind The Wonder Years and, later, Ellen. Not coincidentally, one of Fuller’s co-stars on Laurie Hill was Ellen DeGeneres.

3. Original Intent (1992) – A lawyer accepts to defend a homeless shelter from a forced eviction by a corporation. His hard work starts taking a serious toll on his family. Candy Clark, Kris Kristofferson, Joseph Campanella, and –yes! – Caitlyn Jenner.

4. Stormy Weathers (1992) – Samantha Weathers is a private eye whose late father was a police officer. She used to be called Stormy, but now she goes by Sam, and anyone using her old nickname is asking for trouble. And did I mentioned that Sam is played by Cybill Shepherd?

5. French Exit (1995) – “This movie attempts a persiflage on the Hollywood film industry, depicting two young authors (Madchen Amick and Jonathan Silverman) struggling on their way to their first successful screenplay: Right from the beginning – when they meet by means of a car accident – Davis and Zina’s relationship is one of love and hate. This doesn’t get better when they keep on getting in each other’s way while competing as writers for the same production. It gets even more twisted when the producer makes Zina suggestive offers and it turns out that Zina’s manager Alice is Davis’ former girlfriend.”

6. Pandora’s Clock (1996) – “Quantum Airlines flight 66 has just taken off from Frankfurt, Germany bound for New York’s JFK International Airport with 247 passengers aboard. After take-off, a man infected with a Doomsday Virus passes out while a flight attendant and doctor try to save the man. The pilot tries to land the plane but can’t because the people on the ground know about the virus. An ambassador and his secretary help the pilot struggle through the government’s secret attempt to shoot flight 66 out of the air. And if the plane does land, Doomsday has arrived on earth.” The cast couldn’t be more of a ’90s equivalent of a ’70s disaster movie: Richard Dean Anderson, Daphne Zuniga, Jane Leeves, Stephen Root, Edward Herrmann, Robert Guillauma, Robert Loggia, Jerry Hardin… The list goes on.

7. Moonbase (1997) – “The most dangerous criminals in the universe escape from the Off-World Penitentiary and stow away to the quiet Moonbase Waste Disposal Plant. Hidden beneath the lunar surface lies an arsenal of nuclear warheads- the inmates’ passport home to earth. Moonbase Commander John Russell launches a desperate fight to save his crew from a force capable of laying waste to an entire planet.”

8. Porn ‘n’ Chicken (2002) – Based more or less on a real club based at Yale University, one which made headlines in 2001 when members announced plans to make their own pornographic film on campus starring other Yale students. This was a Comedy Central film, something you rarely saw back then and see even less now.

9. Repli-Kate (2002) – “A scientist and his sidekick accidentally clone a journalist and decide to turn the mistake into Repli-Kate, their idea of the perfect woman, who loves, beer, football, and frat parties.” Psych fans will mostly just look at the cast and see that it starred James Roday, and comedy fans in general will see Eugene Levy, remember just how long it’s been since SCTV, and sigh.

10. Private Valentine: Blonde & Dangerous (2008) – “When fluffy, bubble gum movie star Megan Valentine suddenly finds herself broke and humiliated in the public eye, she wanders from the wreckage of a car accident and witlessly enlists in the U.S. Army hoping in vain that it will change her life.” Really, all you need to know is that Private Valentine is played by Jessica Simpson.

11. BoyBand a.k.a. We Got The Beat (2010) – “It’s 1983 and Brad Roberts is the best high school quarterback in the country. He dates the sexiest girl in town and is extremely popular, but Brad is not satisfied. He wants to prove that he’s more than just a hot-shot quarterback; Brad tries to turn his heavy metal band into the first ever boy band, and they reject him. So Brad, the jock, teams up with a stoner, and an ex-figure skater, and a couple of reject break-dancers from the Bronx to make their mark in this sweet film.”

12. Legally Mad (2010) – Directed by Kenny Ortega and starring Kristin Chenoweth, Hugh Bonneville, and Tom Hollander, this pilot – which never got beyond the pilot stage – revolves around a twentysomething woman who takes a job at her father’s law firm and quickly becomes the practice’s center. Brady is deeply devoted to her father and chose to work for him despite being offered several prestigious clerkships out of law school. She is easygoing, deadpan funny and disarms with charm. And yet she never made it onto the prime time schedule, not even with a script by David E. Kelley. Go figure.

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