Dermot Mulroney on horror movies, social media and advice he gave at 27

For nearly thirty years, we’ve seen leading man Dermot Mulroney, 51, star in some of our favourite films. Now, he’s adding the horror flick Insidious: Chapter 3 to his lengthy list of credits – which includes My Best Friend’s Wedding, The Wedding Date and August: Osage County.

In his first venture into scary territory, Dermot plays a father struggling to protect his daughter from supernatural forces. Here, the handsome actor and proud dad to son Clyde, 15, and daughters Mabel, 8, and Sally, 6, speaks candidly with Hello! Canada about social media and playing for keeps in Hollywood.

Photo: © Getty Images

Do you enjoy watching horror movies?
I do. I have a teenage son, so I go to these movies with a pack of 14-year-old boys. When I got the call to do Insidious: Chapter 3, it turned out great for my personal life.

When you signed on for Insidious: Chapter 3, were you looking to add something scary to your resume?
I’ve got to be honest with you, I was. I’ve been at it thirty years and hadn’t done a horror movie yet so I was overdue! This came up shortly after it occurred to me that I should look into it. Sometimes you have to be careful what you wish for. [Laughs]

Stefanie Scott plays your daughter in the movie. When you’re working with newer actors are you ever tempted to give them advice?
That’s so funny. I ran into Noah Wyle recently, who I worked with in 1990. He told me that at that time, I told him to play the game for the haul. I was doling out advice at 27, telling him to take his time! [ Laughs] He said he remembers me saying to win the race like the tortoise instead of the hare. We’re both still here, reporting for duty.

Have you ever thought about joining social media?
I have thought about it and I’ve decided not to. Even though I have a teenage son, he’s not into social media. We’re not a family that takes pictures of our breakfasts.

Does being a parent affect how you choose your roles?
It doesn’t. It occurs to me but my kids aren’t seeing my movies anyway. They’re not that interested. So if it’s a good job and it makes sense to me at the time I’ll go for it. I play the bad guy in a project coming up, he’s definitely not a family man.

What’s the best advice you ever got from your dad?
He’s a lawyer and a law professor, not an actor. On my first job, he sent me a letter sharing his advice from a lawyer to a new actor, which was, “Represent the epitome of reality.” I just thought that’s exactly what actors are supposed to do and I’ve tried to do that ever since. Thank you for asking that, I hadn’t thought about it in a while.

Was there a point in your career when you thought, “I’ve made it”?
It may have been mistakenly, but I thought that right from the start. My first job was a lead in a TV movie and even now, I can’t believe I started at such an elevated level. I had a quick early rise. Looking back, I wasn’t as big an actor as I felt I was, but you can’t blame me for that. That very first outing I was really thrilled and have remained so since.

Would you ever star in a romantic film again?
Heck yea! I like those. I’d be crazy to turn down a romantic comedy at 50! I’d do any good one that comes my way.

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