Just when you thought the summer was over, we’ve got one more thing to take of around Camp Hope; an interview with your new friend and counselor, Tom “Lars” Hodges (also from Revenge of the Nerds II and Lucas). Hodges played the scene-stealing, dancing fool from “far away” that manged to pull off an uncanny Andy Warhol during the Apache Relay. So check it out Heavyweights-heads, the interview I never thought I’d get to do, Lars! If you missed it, check out the first half of our Heavyweights interviews here.
Just to get this out of the way…Heavyweights 2, would you do it?
Absolutely. I think any of us who don’t have the career of Ben Stiller would jump at the chance! I have thought, from time to time, what might make a good sequel? Somehow, I always picture that Lars is now very fat. Perhaps that’s because I don’t want to work out and get back in shape… Ha!
How did you get involved with the film?
I knew Steve Brill from around, though most specifically from a movie we both worked on called GOING OVERBOARD. It was Adam Sandler’s first movie and it is AWFUL. That being said, it still had Pete Berg, Billy Zane, Milton Berle, Burt Young and some other notables. Anyway, I went in and auditioned for Steve and Judd and they liked what I did. Simple as that.
Is it crazy to see what an empire Apatow now is?
Absolutely insane. Judd is a super nice guy. Average and goofy. I think if a person who didn’t know him met him at a party, they would never guess he is as successful as he is. I sure would love to be in another of his movies. Maybe you can have your peeps start a letter writing campaign?
What were you doing before the film?
Well…like, right before? Um… I mean, I was pursuing my acting, remodeling my house which I had purchased just a couple years prior. Oh, the summer before, I actually worked at a summer camp in Vermont. That was a blast. I was a cook at a camp called Farm & Wilderness. It was founded by a nudist Quaker (Really! Not kidding about that.)
Was that you doing the snore? Or did a sound-effect guy dream that up?
Me, as far as I know. I remember working with my friend Valerie Breiman on snore sounds prior to the audition. I think I found just the right one.
Everyone I talk to who is around my age knows, and loves Heavyweights. What do you think it is about this movie that makes it so special?
I don’t know. It certainly was considered by Disney to be a flop at the time. I think it’s genuinely funny which helps. And Ben Stiller is great as always. The most difficult part of my job was to keep a straight face as Ben started his inevitable improvs during a scene. This guy is so smart, some of his humor completely went over my head. He would go on these riffs that left my head spinning. I also think there is an incredible sweetness to the film that, combined with the humor, really made people leave the theatre with a smile. I have found that another movie I was in, LUCAS, seems to have also had a long-lasting effect on people. Cool.
Has there ever been any talk about a Special Edition DVD with commentary?
That would be great, but it’s not a conversation that I would ever be part of until after the decision was made. I think people should write to Judd and Disney if they’d like to see this happen. Same with a sequel.
Were the kids from Camp MVP really douchebags?
Yes. Every actor that plays a role is exactly like the character they portray. (I’m rolling my eyes right now.)
Were those your original moves you were pulling at the dance?
Uh, HELL YEAH! I don’t know where exactly I culled the inspiration for the Lars dance, but that was me, baby. What you DIDN’T get to see in the film was a choreographed aerobics routine that I had to learn. I had to drive to some dance studio a couple times a week to learn the moves and then…hmmm, I can’t even remember if we ended up shooting the scene. Either way, it wasn’t in the final cut.
Are the residuals still pouring in?
I still get a check every now and then. Always enough for a few IN ‘N OUT burgers. What else does one really need in life to be happy?
Have you ever pulled the Heavyweights card to get women?
Yes. It’s incredible the power of Heavyweights in getting laid. It’s usually my opening line. Well, used to be, because now I’ve found my true love. And if they hadn’t seen the movie, I always carried a DVD around with me as well as a portable DVD player. I wouldn’t make them watch the whole movie, that would be ridiculous. Just my scenes. It’s amazing how hot my swim trunks get the ladies (or got…as I am now off the market. Except for Jennifer Garner and Lucy Liu. Or Penelope Cruz. Other than that, off the market. Oh, and Anne Hathaway.)
Did you get to keep your Perkis uniform?
Had I known how valuable it might become, I would have. Alas, I did not have the foresight.
What have you been up to since?
I have been farming organic tomatoes and celery in Northern Alaska. It’s not the optimal location, but the land was cheap and I am trying to make a go of it. I am thinking of branching out into hybrid radishes and I am currently experimenting, trying to come up with just the right shade of signature red. And masturbating with my left hand. Tom with his fiance.
Last up, what’s your fondest memory from being involved with Heavyweights?
When I was working on the movie in Hendersonville, NC, I remember going to this restaurant at the top of a hill. I think it was called the Smokehouse or something. They had the best prime rib sandwiches with horseradish sauce. My mouth is watering now. We would drive up there for dinner and laugh as we passed Ben jogging his five or ten miles a day. Hmmm…maybe his dedication to his craft is why he is still working and I’m growing vegetables… Perhaps. In addition to that, I fondly remember the geese who lived on the property where I stayed. Except for having to sidestep their enormous poops, they were a real joy.