Chatting up John Waters Staple Mink Stole
By Robert Newton
“I had such a horrible time in high school,” Mink Stole recalls, “and I didn’t want to go to college. I often thought that if I hadn’t become an actor, I might have become a really good lawyer, because I like the precision of a good argument.”
Fans of shockmeister John Waters are glad that Mink Stole opted for an actor’s life among Waters’s underground troupe. Waters thrilled and repulsed audiences with Pink Flamingos and Desperate Living in the 1970s before trying his hand at more accessible fare like Hairspray and Cry-Baby in the ‘80s and ‘90s, and Stole has appeared in all his films (save for one short) since the ‘60s.
“There was only one thing that I wouldn’t do for John,” she says of her fellow Baltimorean, who got star Divine to eat dog poo in Pink Flamingos and who put a baby in a refrigerator (for two takes) in Desperate Living. “He wanted to light my hair on fire in Pink Flamingos, and originally I was OK with it. I had just broken up with my boyfriend, so I would have been up for jumping off a bridge if John asked me. As the time drew nearer to do it, though, and it sank in that there was no special effects guy ~ just a guy with a match and a guy with a bucket of water ~ I realized there was no way I could do it. John ended up doing it to Melanie Griffith in Cecil B. DeMented [in 2000]…but optically. I certainly would have done that.”
The 59-year-old Baltimore native also plays the mother of Jim Verraros’s character in Philip Bartel’s gay comedy sequel Eating Out 2: Sloppy Seconds.
“Jim was a real sweetheart,” she says of former American Idol contender. “I had a really good time on the shoot, too, which for me was kind of typical in that it wasn’t a major commitment of time.”
Meatier roles come along, too, and Stole, who is also a talented singer with eyes on recording an album with Her Wonderful Band, now stars in the gay comedy Out AtThe Wedding, which is currently touring the film festival circuit.
“I never expected to work in this sub-genre as prolifically as I have,” she explains, “but I do live in a very gay-friendly world, so it’s nice that it has worked out this way.”
Learn more about Mink Stole at her official site, www.MinkStole.com.
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