Wayne Newton and I talk about Hoodwinked Too, Vegas Vacation, and the Mob Bosses
by Daniel Engelke
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A few weeks ago, as I was constantly refreshing my email, I came across a subject line that caught my eye:
While I quickly verified that it was “the” Wayne Newton, I sent off my address for the DVD of Hoodwinked Too.
In the film, Wayne plays the lounge singer harp Jimmy 10-Strings. Full of the same antics as the previous film, Wayne’s performance is both comical and satirical. Enough from me though, here’s my interview with Jimmy 10-Strings himself, Wayne Newton!
FM: Hi Wayne. Great to interview you! We’re here to talk about your role in Hoodwinked Too. You play the lounge singing harp, Jimmy 10-Strings. Though you have the perfect persona for the role, can you tell us how character came to fruition?
Wayne Newton: Quite a stretch, right? (Haha) Well, one day Mike Disa, the director, called me up and said he had a character for me.
“Here’s the thing: he’s a snitch”, Mike said.
I told him that I wasn’t sure how I felt about playing a character like this. In my career, I knew there wasn’t much longevity when you had that label. So Mike and I put our heads together and took a cue from Sinatra. I knew that Frank would only disclose information if his life or someone elses was in danger. So, instead of making Jimmy 10-Strings an unlikable snitch, we allow him to have his cake and eat it too.
FM: It definitely seems like you saved Jimmy 10-Strings from any unfavorable acts.
Wayne Newton: That I did. I saw Brad Garett’s character, the Giant, as a composite of all the bosses I’ve had in the past. Naturally, I placated him at all costs. If you didn’t, you were out of a job or dead and neither of those appealed to me.
FM: I think you made the right choice. Though it is obvious that Jimmy 10-Strings is Wayne Newton, the appearance of the character is anything but. Did you have any say in the rather comical harp-like body structure?
Wayne Newton: Actually, no. By the time I had to record my voice, was almost finished. In fact, they had to have all my lines done within a week! Mike made it easy though. For example, right before Jimmy 10-Strings is taken hostage, Mike asked, “What would Wayne Newton say here?” I, being Wayne Newton, knew exactly what to say.(“Haha”) So it was fun being able to, well, play myself.
FM: So does that mean we should expect to see Jimmy 10-Strings in Hoodwinked 3?
Wayne Newton: Well after the movie was released I asked Mike if we had to kill off Jimmy 10-Strings. He told me, “As long as there’s a Hoodwinked series, there will be a spot for Jimmy 10-Strings.”
FM: Finally, still being somewhat young, my first memory of you was actually your role in Vegas Vacation. I was later given a proper introduction by my mother and grandmother, but can you tell me what you remember from working on set?
* Wayne laughs.
Wayne Newton: At first it was a very odd script. When we were first going over the film, there were some things I wasn’t sure about. For example, they wanted me to tell Beverly D’Angelo that I wanted her to be a “Newton bride” and that all she needed was a, “Boob, butt, and nose job.”
I didn’t really feel too comfortable with that. I’m fine with Wayne Newton having an affair with Mrs. Griswald, but when you display the character in that life it becomes distasteful.
So I proposed another idea: what if I gave them a lock of my hair! Honestly, it’s the thing that everyone asks me about and seemed like the perfect gimmick. So my wife cut off a lock of my hair and that ended up being in the ring box I give to Mrs. Griswald.
FM: Awesome. Wayne, thank you so much. Hope to see you in Hoodwinked 3!
Daniel Engelke is a recent graduate of Columbia College Chicago’s Film & Video program. He resides in New York as a freelance writer and videographer. With expertise in French & British New Wave Cinema and Italian Neo-Realism, Daniel also works as a director and intern for Edward Bass Films.
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