DRAMA QUEEN

Mink Stole.

One of the original members of John Waters’ crew that dubbed themselves the Dreamland Players, Mink Stole is an iconic living legend. She first met John in 1966. They hit it off and soon she was acting in his 8mm and 16mm experimental shorts along side Divine, Mary Vivian Pearce, David Lochary and Cookie Mueller.

Mink went on to star in 13 of John Waters’ films. He later said she was “one of the most talented members of my film repertory group.” Her resume includes such infamous characters as the evil flaming-red head Connie Marble in “Pink Flamingos,” the girl-child Taffy Davenport in “Female Trouble,” the hilariously neurotic housewife Peggy Gravel in “Desperate Living,” the corn-row having husband-stealer Sandra Sullivan in “Polyester,” the often-harassed Dottie Hinkle in “Serial Mom” and Marge the Neuter in “A Dirty Shame.”

But Mink is more than just a Dreamlander. Outside of the John Waters films, she’s been involved with more than 30 projects, from the role of a demented porn director in “Liquid Dreams” with Paul Bartel (“Eating Raoul,” “Lust in the Dust”) and the owner of a S&M bordello in “Pink As the Day She Was Born,” to the reoccurring drama teacher Mrs. Ward on Nickelodeon’s “The Secret World of Alex Mack” and voiceover work for David Lynch’s “Lost Highway.”

Rebekah Kochan and Jim Verraros.

More recently Mink has been involved in a number of gay-oriented films. “Eating Out 2: Sloppy Seconds” is her most recent DVD release. Mink stars as the mother of “American Idol” sensation Jim Verraros in what has been touted as the first gay American sequel. The film, directed by Phillip J. Bartell, also features Rebekah Kochan and Emily Brooke Hands.

PollyStaffle.com recently managed to reach Mink Stole one bright and early morning as she nursed her third cup of coffee. She talks “Eating Out 2,” jokes about her weight, sets the record straight about the “wild and crazy” days of the Dreamlanders and tries to keep mum about the personal side of John Waters and much more.

EATING OUT

CCF: First off, I wanted to thank you for taking the time to talk to me.

MS: Well, you’re welcome.

CCF: It’s an honor…

MS: (LOL)

CCF: Let’s talk about this movie “Eating Out 2.” I watched it last night and it was good. I enjoyed it.

MS: It’s fun.

CCF: Yeah, exactly.

MS: It’s no “Letters from Iwo Jima,” but it's fun.

CCF: To me it kind of felt a little like a throwback to the 80’s John Hughes movies.

MS: Yeah. And in another way, it’s almost like the Doris Day-Rock Hudson little romantic movies with a totally unbelievable series of events. And there’s always this happy ending.

CCF: And you play…

MS: I play Kyle’s mom. The fat lady on the bicycle.

Mink Stole and Jim Verraros.

CCF: Right. Kyle is played by Jim Verraros of “American Idol.” To me, it seemed like this movie had a good group of people to work with. What was it like working on the project?

MS: Well, you know, I was only on the set one day. It was a very in and out situation, but I had a good time. Everyone was wonderful. It was one of those no money, no crews, hit-and-run type movies. I was really pleased. The director Phillip Bartell was incredibly efficient, which I really thought was something. Not every director that I’ve worked with has been. Phillip got things done. I really appreciate that. That’s one of the things about working with a tiny crew, you don’t have 40 people that have to do something before you get the next shot. You just have two people that have to do something. I had a good time on this film. Jim Verraros was just lovely. The only thing about the movie that distressed me at all was the fact that when I saw it I couldn’t believe how fat I was. (LOL) Since then I’ve lost weight. There’s nothing that will encourage you to lose weight like seeing yourself on film.

CCF: (LOL) Well, I thought you were good though…

MS: Thank you. I thought it was fine. Just when I saw it I was like, “Oh my God! Who is that cow sitting on the steps?”

CCF: (LOL)

MS: I was shocked. I’m happy I have lost weight since then. People see the movie and then they see me and they think, “Oh, she must have gained all that weight for the movie.”

CCF: (LOL) Yeah, that’s what you should tell people.

MS: I do. You know, “I gained 40 pounds for that movie. It was so hard. I was eating nothing, but pie.”

CCF: (LOL) I understand there was a bit of controversy with some of the dialogue…

MS: With the word faggot?

CCF: Yeah.

MS: I don’t like the word. I think it is an unpleasant word. I didn’t want to say it. I wanted to rephrase it. I discussed it with the producer and director and they just shot me down and said, “ No, you’ve got to say it.” I think right now in this country the discussion of what’s acceptable and what’s not is a really good discussion. I’m actually now glad that I said the word because it brings up a good issue of the power of words. I think words are incredibly powerful. Sticks and stones can hurt a lot less than words. But yeah, I fought it. I didn’t want to say it. I thought, “Eww.” But it works in the film.

CCF: Yeah, there were actually a lot of things in that film that in the context of a different film aren’t going to work, but they worked in this film.

MS: And it was said with love. It wasn’t said as a derogatory word.

CCF: Right.

MS: That does make a difference. Still, it’s not a word that I would say.

Mink Stole and Jim Verraros.

CCF: I don’t know a whole lot about your personal life. I couldn’t really find much online, but are you a parent yourself?

MS: I’m not. But I’m an aunt and a great aunt and I have a huge family. I have nine brothers and sisters. I have been exposed to children and through the years have been a big sister to basically anyone that needed one.

CCF: You know, when people hear your name, they of course instantly think of the stuff you did in the 70’s - “Pink Flamingos” and “Desperate Living,” but I was looking and you’ve actually never stopped acting.

MS: I just keep plugging away. (LOL)

CCF: Yeah. I didn’t even realize it, but you've done lots and lots of stuff.

MS: Yeah, I have like two or three pages on IMDb. Every now and then somebody will go, “You need to update your resume.” And I go, “Okay.” And I have to go look everything up on IMDb.

CCF: (LOL)

MS: Because I have forgotten what I’ve done. I love to act. I think it’s really really fun. Somewhere along my career path I seem to be slotted for independent films. The breakout into the big budget films never happened. It may still. I’m not discounting it, nor would I turn it down. (LOL) Nobody turns down a big budget movie. It’s just seems to have gone that way and I know it’s partly because someone with a name like Mink Stole that used to be in movies with people that eat dog shit is not the first choice when you’re casting a Shakespearn movie. My name just doesn’t come up. Their not, “Oh, Mink Stole, I wonder how she would be in this?”

CCF: (LOL) Yeah.

MS: I would still love to do that. I would love to do drama. I say that a lot, so I’m really hoping that at some point I have a year where somebody actually calls me up. It would be fun.

CCF: Most of the stuff you do, that’s people who come to you.

MS: Mostly.

CCF: Mostly that are kind of like fans?

MS: They know my work. I don’t know that everybody is a fan. Working with fans isn’t actually that much fun because people are too tentative. But working with people who respect my work is something quite lovely.

CCF: Did you just kind of get type cast into the weird and off-beat roles?

MS: I guess. Like I said. It’s my name. If I were going to have changed it, I would have to have done it a million years ago. It’s too late for that. And I like being called Mink, so that’s not a problem. But there are still people who think I am a transvestite.

CCF: Hmmm…

MS: It still happens to me. It happened to me as recent as last year. I have a band and on the billboard at the theater we were playing, it said “Mink Stole and His Wonderful Band.” Its like, “Ugh, No!”

JOHN WATERS

CCF: Where did you get your name?

MS: John Waters gave it to me.

CCF: Oh, of course.

MS: My last name is Stole. I was born Nancy Stole, so it wasn’t a stretch. It was also the 60’s, which was the era of the Warhol Superstars; You know there was Diva, Ingrid Superstar, Ultra Violet. It was an appropriate name for the time. It was also before drag queens had fun names… So that happened later. Now it would be certainly a drag queen name. But at the time it wasn’t.

CCF: You mentioned John Waters. You’ve known him a long, long time.

MS: (LOL) Longer than you’ve been alive I’m sure.

CCF: (LOL) How did you meet John originally?

MS: We met in Provincetown on Cape Cod. We’re both from Baltimore, but we were both in Provincetown and happened to meet. We became friends. When I met John Waters he wasn’t famous. He was just this really interesting guy. I mean, I knew him before he had a mustache.

CCF: (LOL) What’s he like as a person?

MS: He’s one of the smartest people I’ve ever known. I mean literally. Also, one of the most confident, self-directed, motivated people I have ever known. He has always known all his life what he wanted to do and has just relentlessly moved forward on it. I find that extraordinary. I just don’t know very many people like that.

CCF: He comes off as like this bizarre showman and there’s such this oddness and strange sexuality about him. How much of that persona is the real John?

MS: You know, if you want to talk about John and his sexuality, you have to talk to him.

CCF: (LOL)

MS: I am not speaking for him. (LOL)

CCF: (LOL) How much of that is him?

MS: (LOL) I told you I’m not telling.

CCF: (LOL) The whole oddness of him though…

MS: He’s actually... in a one and one conversation with him I feel like I am talking to a brother. He’s certainly a showman, but he has a very personable side. (LOL) I will tell you though if you ever have a chance to have dinner with him or hear him speak, you should do it because he is incredibly entertaining. Okay, enough about John.

(Continued - Click to read Part II)


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