When you randomly run into Lea Thompson at a Hollywood event just days after she appears in an issue of Marvel’s “Howard the Duck,” you realize there may never be a better time to talk to the actress about her experience on the notorious 1986 movie starring the feisty fowl.
And thus, CBR got Thompson’s take on her very meta reunion with her feathered former leading man in this week’s “Howard the Duck” #8. The actress was as game as ever to reveal the details.
Produced by George Lucas, the 1986 adaptation was a critical and commercial failure, yet has maintained a cult following among fans of Steve Gerber’s character (it was released on Blu-ray in March). But 30 years after the oft-maligned film hit theaters, Thompson admits she has no regrets, and was tickled to be offered a chance to tweak the movie’s off-kilter legacy with writer Chip Zdarsky and artist Joe Quinones.
CBR: I heard about your comic book cameo in “Howard the Duck.”
Lea Thompson: Oh, I know, isn’t that incredible?
How did that all come about?
They just asked me! And I said, “Is there any money?” And they said, “No.” And I said, “Well, why should I resurrect ‘Howard the Duck’ for you?” And they said, “Because it’s fun.” And I said, “Exactly. I’m in.” [Laughs]
What was fun about it for you?
You know what? It’s so interesting the kind of bullying you get from the world about things sometimes. So for years and years, I’ve been bullied about doing “Howard the Duck.” So people are always like, “I hate to ask you …” and I’m like not the kind of person to shrink away. If I did it, I own it. It’s just really fun to see people having fun celebrating “Howard the Duck” in all its great silliness and blemishes.
What was the experience like, being part of the comic book? Did you have to really do anything? Or was it just like signing off on what they had Comic Book Lea Thompson do?
I don’t even know. I mean, I don’t even know. I just said that they could use me, and I took a couple pictures. I met the artist at [Wizard World] Comic Con in Philly this weekend, and so I took a couple pictures for him in different poses. So I hope he would make me look like me.
So I may be as surprised as you are when you read it. I hope they don’t do something mean to me. I said, “Please! I mean, I’m donating my time and my likeness, so do something nice for me.”
Tell me about your favorite memories of the “Howard the Duck” experience. What was fun about making that movie?
Well, it was a really funny script, and it was super, like …I really love iconoclasts. I love people who like do something a little weird, and “Howard the Duck” was kind of the poster child for like kind of odd ducks – or, like, my favorite people – so it was really fun.
What was really fun was I got to play a rock star, which everybody wants to do that! I got to play a rock star at 23 in this mega-movie. It was a really fun experience from that perspective for sure.
And those ’80s rock-star outfits!
Oh, my God, and my hair and the whole schlemiel. Yeah. I really love my “Howard the Duck” fans. I see a lot of them, and they’re so cute. It’s really nice.
I’ll admit it: I just bought it on Blu-ray.
Oh, my God. See? That’s the thing. They make fun of it, but they released it on Blu-ray!
You still carry it close to your heart, even if it’s goofy.
Yeah, yeah. I’m a punster. It’s really all about puns. Americans don’t understand puns the way that British people do.
You’ve worked with so many great filmmakers over the years. What was interesting about George Lucas?
Just that he’s George Lucas, and he’s the coolest. I got to see Skywalker Ranch. And he was recently quoted as saying, “It’s too bad we didn’t make ‘Howard the Duck’ now because the technology would have been a lot easier.”
It could happen! I think there’s still a chance that they might have something for you to do at some point. You could show up in a reboot.
It would have to be J.J. Abrams, if they made “Howard the Duck.” It would take somebody with that kind of guts to put me in it.
Marvel Studios owns Howard now, and Marvel’s doing pretty well. They might do something cool.
I think they will. I hope so!
I want to ask you about that whole “Back to the Future” tour that you did last year to celebrate that movie’s 30th anniversary. We talked about it in the midst of it all, but what was that like coming out of it and just getting waves of fan-love everywhere you went?
It was crazy. It’s such a great feeling. I mean, of course I don’t feel that old, but to think that my work that I did 30 years ago still really touches generations of people. My mother-in-law shows it to her daughter, and her daughter, and her daughter. Four generations of people can watch the movie together and get something different from it, and yet really enjoy it. I mean, that feels like an accomplishment.
And I’m not embarrassed about any of my work in it. Usually there’s like one scene where you’re like, “I should have worked harder. I should have slept more.” But no, I mean, Bob Zemeckis set out to make a perfect movie, and he did, which is super-rare.
Have your daughters seen “Howard the Duck”?
No. After the love scene with the duck, they turned it off. They will not turn it back on.
Thompson returns in Marvel’s “Howard the Duck” #9, on sale July 20.
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