Saturday, April 2, 2022

Lone Fleming Interview (Part 1)


American Fantastic Cinema has a long list of actresses made famous through their work in horror films and genres that share kinship with them. Such actresses as Fay Wray, Evelyn Ankers, Allison Hayes, Adrienne Barbeau, Jaime Lee Curtis, Linnea Quigley, and Danielle Harris have a special place in the hearts of horror fans for their contributions to the art of screaming, running and being the last woman standing. Like America, European countries like Great Britain, France and Spain have their own unique heritage of horror and the Scream Queen's that aided immeasurably in keeping those films alive decades after they were made. One such actress is Lone Fleming, the Spanish Cinema's Jaime Lee Curtis. You will know her from such films as TOMBS OF THE BLIND DEAD (1971), RETURN OF THE EVIL DEAD (1973) and A CANDLE FOR THE DEVIL (1973) to name three. She has the distinction of realizing a dream in show business not once, but twice, as she's currently enjoying a massive resurgence in film led by a devoted clutch of young directors who grew up with her work just as this writer has. The following is an interview with Mrs. Fleming who was kind enough to take time out of her extremely busy schedule to discuss her career from the beginning to today.

Venoms5: At what point in your life did you become interested in being an actress?

Lone Fleming: When I was a child, a real Tomboy, by the way, I always wanted to become either a nurse or an actress. Over time I have often wondered what these 2 things had to do with each other, lol. I did try studying to become a nurse, but I was hopeless at mathematics so that was out. Later I studied theater for one year with an American professor and was supposed to go into the theater. I was 15 years old at this time. But instead, I chose to travel and work. I said to my mother if I was to become an actress, I could do it no matter where I was. Mind you, I have done crazy things in my life, but somehow I always had luck on my side. The first thing I did on my travels was to go to Germany with some friend's and sing on the streets! We were in East Germany having a look and got picked up by the police (laughs). I think they could see we were not spies, but we did spend one night in jail (laughs). Anyway, they escorted us out of Magdeburg in East Germany the next day. At that age I thought it was great fun!

V5: How did you meet your husband, film director Eugenio Martin? 

LF: I met Eugenio the first time in the film, THE FOURTH VICTIM (1971; aka LA ULTIMA SENORA ANDERSON [THE LAST MRS. ANDERSON]) with Carroll Baker and Michael Craig. At that point, prior to shooting that one, I was about to go back home to Denmark. I was struggling to get roles. It was very difficult for me. I lived with an English girl, and we both were thinking of going back home. But then came the offer for LA ULTIMA SENORA ANDERSON. Eugenio thought I should stay in Spain and pursue acting there. I did, and little by little I started to get more work and things got better. But it was always a struggle; and when you love what you do, you can handle everything.

V5: What was the experience like being directed by your husband?

LF: Eugenio is a very good Director as he has shown throughout his career. A great Director of actors. He always took his time to talk and listen to them, to discuss their feelings, how they felt, about how to play the role. I did learn a lot with him. I only did 4 film´s with Eugenio, I think.


V5: Do you have any memories of working with Lee Van Cleef on EL HOMBRE DE RIO MALO (BAD MAN'S RIVER [1971])?

LF: I had a great time working on that film. Being Danish, it was a real challenge playing a Mexican character; and I loved the role, it was a great deal of fun. Lee Van Cleef was a very nice person, but I didn't really get to see him much so I can't tell much about him.

[Lone antagonizes Aurora Bautista in A CANDLE FOR THE DEVIL (1973).]

V5: UNA VELA PARA EL DIABLO (A CANDLE FOR THE DEVIL [1973]) is one of your best roles and one of your husband's best films. What did you think of the script and the character you played?

The story for UNA VELA PARA EL DIABLO came to Eugenio from an image he had from childhood. In Granada at that time people were very fanatical. I thought the script was fantastic. It tells so much how Fanaticism can turn to evil, using God's name. Nothing has changed one need only look at the world today. My character was myself, lol! I loved playing that role.

[The Blind Dead seek their next victim.]

V5: Where was it filmed? The setting in that village surrounded by mountains was extraordinary.

The pueblo where we shot that was in Grazalema, a beautiful place and it hasn't changed much.

V5: Considering the subject matter and the time in which it was produced, were there censorship problems getting this film made?

The censorship came after the film was shot. And yes, Eugenio had problems with it. I can't remember what exactly.

V5: In between the titles discussed above, your husband directed PANICO EN EL TRANSIBERIANO (HORROR EXPRESS [1972]). Were you offered a part in this picture? It has a large following in the USA. 

No, I was not offered a role In PANICO EN EN TRANSIBERIANO. At that time Eugenio was making that one I was in Denmark for a while. 

V5: Your most famous role was the lead in LA NOCHE DEL TERROR CIEGO (TOMBS OF THE BLIND DEAD [1971]). Can you tell me how this project came about?

The usual way. I had an agent, and I think Amando had seen me in an advertisement and called me in through my agent. I was so happy because I got to shoot with my best friend at that time, Cesar Bonet, and Pepe Tellman. We had met while working in Bilbao, and Cesar got me into photo novellas, which was very popular at that time; and that is how I started on that one.  


V5: Do you have some memories of working on this film you could share? Was the rape scene particularly difficult to do?

We had great fun shooting the rape scene. I have a lot of memories making this film. We were all together, the actors, and the crew for three weeks--we were all like family. As for the rape scene, Pepe had to hit me (laughs). He just couldn't bring himself to hit me hard enough, only a little smack. We had to do four takes and Amando was shouting, "HIT her for God's sake!" So just before they said action..... I bit Pepe quite hard on his arm and then he really hit me (laughs)! Also, Amando said they had to see my underpants being taken off! I said "No way....." Amando then said to me to think about how I could do it. I went to get a pair of white, and skin colored underpants and put them both on. So then Pepe took the white underpants down and problem solved (laughs)

[Lone and Maria Elena Arpon]

Also the lesbian scene was fun. Amando told us to do this scene yet he had never seen lesbians interact. We said us neither. He told us to invent something. So I told him to go and get a bottle of wine. Elena and I drank half a bottle each. We both got a little tipsy, so you see the scene came out perfect. I think it is rather beautiful.

[Lone and Cesar Bonet (Cesar Burner) in TOMBS OF THE BLIND DEAD (1971).]

V5: You mentioned Cesar Bonet (Cesar Burner) being your closest friend. What became of him?

Cesar was a very dear friend for many years. At one point he became my agent, too. But then he fell ill and later died of cancer. I lost track of Pepe (Jose Thelman) and Elena (Maria Elena Arpon), unfortunately.

V5: Anton Garcia Abril's Blind Dead music is fantastic.

I think half the film's success is due to his music. I saw him again two years ago in Tenerife (largest and most populated of the seven Canary Islands) where they were paying tribute to him. I told him how perfect his score was on LA NOCHE DEL TERROR CIEGO. It's a shame it's not on CD.

 [submitted by Gary Williams]

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