SKSM: Could you start with telling me a little bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?
Peter Holland: I’m an actor and a playwright and a theatre director. My wife, Christina, and I own an educational theatre company called Once Upon a Blue Ridge.
SKSM: When did you know you wanted to become an actor?
Peter Holland: When I was 14 and performed in my first play- H.M.S. Pinafore, a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta.
SKSM: How did you become involved in Uncle Otto’s Truck Dollar Baby film?
Peter Holland: Last summer I was introduced to Brian Johnson, the film’s writer/director, by a former student of mine. She thought I would be good for the part and recommended me to Brian.
SKSM: What do you think it is about the story that attracts people so much?
Peter Holland: Madness. We’re troubled and at the same time fascinated by characters who are mad. What happened to make them mad? Because we spend so much time in cars and trucks and tend to give our vehicles personalities, the idea of a haunted or possessed truck is appealing. And, of course, the magic of King’s writing makes the story seem plausable and universal.
SKSM: Did you have to audition for the part or was it written directly for you?
Peter Holland: Yes. I had to read several times for Brian and even memorized a scene which he filmed.
SKSM: You worked with Brian Johnson on this film, how was that?
Peter Holland: Brian is a very talented cinematographer, writer, and director. I appreciated the creative freedom that he gave me to fully explore the character. We had a great rapport on the set.
SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when they made the movie that you would like to tell me about?
Peter Holland: There were several. One that stands out to me was when we were filming the climatic scenes of Otto and the truck. I had the big idea to cling to the hood of the truck as the stunt driver drove the truck in circles around these huge brush fires that we had set in a large field. After numerous takes from different angles with the Red camera, Brian got his drone camera out, and I had to do numerous takes riding on the hood with that camera. Finally, after many laps of the burning field, I yelled to the stunt driver: “That’s enough! Stop this damn thing!” He had a walkie talkie in the cab of the truck to communicate with Brian. After talking with Brian, the stunt driver- a talented young man named Chris Tenney- says: “ Brian says it looks so good he wants another lap!” I thought that was pretty funny- once the truck finally stopped and I was on the ground.
SKSM: Do you still have any contact with the crew/cast from that time? If so with who?
Peter Holland: They were all people I hadn’t worked with before. Most of us are Facebook friends now.
SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?
Peter Holland: I have a national tv spot that I’m doing for the Alzheimer’s Foundation this coming Wednesday. It’s about a man and his grandson and the memories they share. I’m also finishing some post production work on a short film I made last December called As I Was. The hardest thing I’m doing now is helping my wife direct three casts of my Peter Pan stage play at the high school where she teaches theatre- South Stokes High School in North Carolina. I’ve always enjoyed directing young people, but they do take a lot of energy and understanding.
SKSM: Are you a fan of Stephen King’s work?
Peter Holland: Well, of course I’m a fan. He’s our time’s Edgar Allen Poe. Uncle Otto’s Truck reminds me a little of Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart. Guilt is the trigger for the madness of the characters in both stories.
SKSM: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
Peter Holland: That I like American football- Carolina Panthers are my team! Unfortunately, we haven’t won a game yet this year (big sigh).
SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to the fans that read this interview?
Peter Holland: I hope the fans of Stephen King’s work will see this film versión of Uncle Otto’s Truck. I thought Otto was a great part- up there with King Lear, Ahab from Moby Dick, Scrooge from A Christmas Carol, or Walter White from Breaking Bad. We looked for creative ways to show the extent of Otto’s madness. Hopefully, these moments will prove to be entertaining and insightful.
SKSM: Do you like to add anything else?
Peter Holland: Just that I’m grateful to Brian Johnson for the opportunity and the faith he had in me and that I thoroughly enjoyed working with all the cast and crew of Uncle Otto’s Truck.