Lou Diamond Phillips - who first came to fame playing singer Richie Valens in La Bamba, and currently stars in A & E's Longmire, is taking a creepy turn in the title role of his latest film: The Night Stalker.
He's playing real-life serial killer Richard Ramirez. The resemblance is uncanny:
"It's a little frightening, it's a little scary, my 80's mullet was kinda perfect,” Phillips joked.
"We helped him out a little on the mullet,” Director Megan Griffiths added.
Evening talked to the actor and director during this thriller's recent premiere at Seattle International Film Festival. This was a homecoming for Seattle director Griffiths:
"I've done four out of five movies in Washington State, primarily in Seattle, it's the best place to make a movie,” she said.
“I'm thrilled, not only for Megan who is a hometown girl, but this is one of the coolest places on the planet, man,” enthused Phillips, who prepped for this role by studying what he called the 'Holy Triumvirate':
"I watched Silence of the Lambs, which is an obvious. I watched Charlize Theron in Monster, and that was so raw, and so emotionally available, and then strangely enough I watched Taxi Driver," said Phillips.
The work pays off in a spine chilling performance.
Phillips thanks his ancestry, a mix of Filipino, Scotts-Irish and Cherokee, for giving him versatility as an actor.
"I feel very fortunate because I've played leads throughout my career and being ambiguously brown, it's like the UPS motto - what can brown do for you? I've represented many different communities. Right now I'm playing Northern Cheyenne in Longmire," he said.
And both he and Griffiths agree that including a variety of voices in movies is just good storytelling:
"I think that the real loss when there's not that diversity is you're getting such a slim perspective of the world," said Griffiths when asked about the ongoing debate over Hollywood's lack of diversity.
Phillips added: "It is incumbent upon those in power, those who are the decision makers, and when Megan was able to make the decisions on The Night Stalker, we have a crew wherein the majority of the key positions are filled by women -- and that's because of her. That's because she is the change. And I am so proud of her for doing that."
Director Megan Griffiths will attend a third Seattle International Film Festival screening of The Night Stalker Friday, June 10th at AMC Pacific Place at 3:30 pm.