Interview: Actress Thora Birch speaks with DJ Nurse Annabella

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Actress Thora Birch.
(Attribution: zack_wolk (modified from original file by anetode), CC BY-SA 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

DJ Nurse: Welcome Thora to Lava Lamps & 8-Track Theater!

Thora Birch: Thank you. Thanks for having me.

DJ Nurse: Yes. How are you doing?

Thora: Oh, I’m doing really well. How are you doing?

DJ Nurse: Doing great… Glad to have you on! Yeah. So, um, you ready for my crazy questions?

Thora: (laughs) fire away.

DJ Nurse: Okay. So what’s the craziest, what was the craziest party you’ve attended lately?

Thora: Oh, lately? Oh, um…That’s kind of gossipy. Uh…

DJ Nurse: If you don’t mind…

Thora: I don’t know. Like the, you know, the thing about LA is, um, you know, yeah… There’s parties and all of that, but a lot of the parties you wind up going to are kind of, they fall under the category of like work parties. Mm-hmm and they wind up being not as fun as just like maybe an evening with a bunch of friends, like hanging out in your backyard or something. That’s always a little bit more fun to me than a big, like, you know, a gala or something.

DJ Nurse: Yes…

Thora: And I’d probably get arrested if I gave you the details.

DJ Nurse: Like, oh, okay. Yeah. Sorry. I asked actor Eddie Deezen that question and he gave me a crazy answer!

Thora: I’m sure he did…

DJ Nurse: Anyways, so please tell us about your recent series Colony

Thora: Colony. Yeah. It’s um, it’s kind, it’s, you know, it’s a family drama encircled in, in a science fiction, uh, setup. So basically Los Angeles has been quote unquote colonized by an outside force, which we learn is, is an alien invasion. About them directly taking over, and they’ve created a proxy government by the people. The environment very much mirrors like a World War II era occupied France. And so the show actually delves in like, how do people really, you know, handle such a situation when you, you know, you’re kind of forced to oppress one another on an extreme level, do you fight or do you join the people who are controlling you.With an alien force looming over everyone’s head, like what is, what is even the point? So it kind of gets into some, some crazy, uh, themes, but I play Morgan a software engineer who is more on the resistance side of the equation.

DJ Nurse: (laughs) so, yeah, I’m really gonna check that out more.

Thora: Yeah! It’s I mean, it’s the themes that it covers in just the whole story itself is really, really intriguing, but also it always comes back to being like inherently a family drama within that world. So it’s kind of, it’s kind of all over the place, which makes it exciting.

DJ Nurse: Awesome. So, can you believe it’s been 23 years since American Beauty was released?

Thora: (laughs) geez. Yeah. I mean, I can, but also, like, that sounds like a large number, but (laughs). Yeah. But I can, it feels like it, it doesn’t feel like a day less that’s for sure.

DJ Nurse: Yeah. It still feels like yesterday.

Thora: (laughs)

DJ Nurse: Yeah. Gotta say I watched that movie a lot in a lot of crazy situations. (laughs) Was the weed in the movie being smoked real?

Thora: Was the, what?

DJ Nurse: The weed in the movie…

Thora: I wish…No, it was some, I think it was just straight up hemp or something or like non-tobacco. I was 16. So it couldn’t, it was an herbal cigarette, you know, rolled up something or other, right.

DJ Nurse: I’ve always wondered about that.

Thora: Yeah. It looked pretty good though. (laughs) it kind of even had a smell that was familiar, but no it wasn’t.

DJ Nurse: that’s one of the many scenes for the movie that really stuck to my mind…

Thora: Which scene was that?

DJ Nurse: Um, well that scene that involved like that like really powerful strain of weed…Anyways. And you played Empress Savina in Dungeons and Dragons the movie (released in 2000). Do you enjoy a good game of D and D?

Thora: I got into it because of that script, basically. I read the script and it was, it was so wild to me and I wasn’t unfamiliar with the world, but I kind of got into it a little bit. And I, you know, we were able to shoot that movie in Prague and they put me on top of a dragon. So I don’t know, I was pretty happy. (laughs)

DJ Nurse: Really love your outfit in that movie…

Thora: I love the outfits. I really do miss the chain mail. It’s kind of awesome. Having chain mail made for you. I gotta tell you (laughs)

DJ Nurse: Speaking of outfits, I really have always loved your outfits in the movie Ghost World

Thora: Thanks! Yeah, that was Mary our costume designer on that. She’s just incredible. She’s incredibly talented. I really gotta give her the credit on that one. Cause she found amazing pieces.

DJ Nurse: I must admit I immediately bought a leopard print skirt like your’s after watching (laughs)

Thora: Yeah. Half of those things. I was like, I really wanted to take home. I wanted the Raptor t-shirt but no, yeah…

DJ Nurse: I was gonna ask you, do you still, oh, you don’t have it?

Thora: No, no, they wouldn’t give me anything. I tried to get all of it. I was like, please, please. They’re like, no, no, no, no. Yeah. First of all, half the stuff has to go back to a vault.

DJ Nurse: The wardrobe was great among other things. I really loved the movie overall. I had it on VHS back in 2002, by the way. (laughs) planning on getting it again… So you still keep in touch with Steve Buscemi and Scarlet Johansen?

Thora: Uh, you know I write to Steve a little bit here and there… Scarlet, we stay close…

DJ Nurse: So are there any weird roles that you turned down over the years?

Thora: That I regret you mean? I mean, there’s, you know, um, maybe a couple of instances of like, you know, missed opportunities of this or that or the other, if you wanna look at it in those terms, which I don’t and um, you know everyone’s kind of like on their own path and sure there’s been roles that have come along that I looked at that other people have done better stuff with, but at the same time, no, I’m like really happy with most of my choices.

DJ Nurse: So what were your favorite memories of hanging out with Kevin Spacey?

Thora: Wow, so many, uh, definitely shooting those dinner scenes with Kevin and Annette (Benning) were, you know, both of them were, both of those scenes was so much, so much fun because there was just a really intense high energy level and going back and forth between Kevin’s style. You know, very slightly reserved and Annette who was just always in it and really on point.It was amazing to watch, you know, it was a real treat.Anytime those two were on set it was a great day.

DJ Nurse: Yeah. It sure looks like it! And I really love Kevin from that Richard Pryor movie from way back when (See No Evil, Hear No Evil from 1989) and speaking of early movies, do you have any good memories of making Purple People Eater? (laughs)

Thora: I do actually going down that water slide was a lot of fun and doing the twist with was kind of a blast. And playing Barbies with Neil Patrick Harris. That was just amazing. (laughs)

DJ Nurse: I gotta watch that again. (laughs) oh yeah. So speaking of music, like what kind of heavy metal songs are you into?

Thora: heavy metal songs? Yes. Oh gosh. Um…I’m not up on my heavy metal …

DJ Nurse: What kind of music are you into mostly??

Thora: Uh, God, a little bit of anything, you know. I’m kind of all over the place. I’ll put on anything from like some jazz and or Nina Simone. I mean, I’m kind of all over the place, but I guess generally my taste falls under the alternative…

DJ Nurse: Cool.I’m playing a lot of alternative on this episode.Any song requests?

Thora: Ooh, you’re playing. Okay. Uh, how about some Halsey?

DJ Nurse: Okay. Yeah. What else?

Thora: Uh, let me see what else Vampire by, uh, oh God, I don’t know who (laughs). Let me see. Um, that’s a good one. And then Ex Ambassadors are good…But start with Halsey.

DJ Nurse: All right. Cool. Definitely. Yeah. So, uh, do you prefer gummy bears or gummy worms?

Thora: Worms.

DJ Nurse: So what other weird snacks do you recommend?

Thora: I’m kind of standard. Like a chocolate covered pretzel is pretty good for me. Yeah.

DJ Nurse: (laughs)

Thora: Or once in a great while I’m bad I go for the Doritos. I can’t help it.

DJ Nurse: lot of crazy flavors lately.

Thora: Exactly. Yeah….

DJ Nurse: So any eighties B movies you’re into?

Thora: Oh, B movies. Oh my God. I could get in a lot of trouble. No. (laughs)

DJ Nurse: (laughs) well, anyway, it’s so glad to have you Thora and you’re welcome back any time…

Thora: Oh, thank you so much for having me and, uh, maybe I’ll see you in North Beach?

DJ Nurse: Yes, definitely. I love hanging out in that neighborhood.

Thora: Me too. It’s my favorite.

DJ Nurse Annabella hosts Lava Lamps & 8-Track Theatre Wednesdays at Midnight