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Lou Diamond Phillips Is a DVD's Best Friend

15 May, 2003 By: Brendan Howard

The long, hard road to Columbia TriStar's Lou Diamond Phillips DVD three-pack wasn't that long or hard.

Phillips ran into a few execs from Sony at a charity event, and in the course of a conversation, they realized how many Sony titles there were in which Phillips had big roles.

“They went, ‘Man, we oughtta' think about doing a package,’ Phillips said.

Soon, the three films were picked -- the Ritchie Valens biopic La Bamba; the actioner The Big Hit, starring Mark Wahlberg; and the horror film Bats.

The DVDs were already being sold as extras-filled singles, so it was easy to put them together.

The set streets May 27 at $36.95.

Phillips' characters in the films include the rags-to-riches musician Valens, the cut-throat but funny villain Cisco in The Big Hit, and the cowboy-hat-wearing, no-nonsense sheriff in Bats.

With such a wide range of characters under his belt, does Phillips have a preference for heroes or villains?

“A lot of the time, the villain tends to be more colorful, but it all depends on the writing,” he said.

Director Che-Kirk Wong was certainly looking for a colorful villain for The Big Hit.

“Kirk used to say, ‘You be funny today.' And I'd say, ‘But, Kirk, I'm killing people.' But he'd say, ‘No, no, be funny!”

The most important of the three for Phillips, of course, is La Bamba.

“That's always going to be my Cinderella story, the film that introduced me to Hollywood moviemaking. It was my big break,” he said. “[And] it's a perennial. It's on TV all the time, and people are continually rediscovering it.”

All three films sport audio commentaries: director and Phillips on Bats; director, producer and screenwriter on The Big Hit; and director, producer and cast on La Bamba.

While Phillips himself doesn't have time to listen to audio commentaries -- he begged off, saying his three kids have kept him too busy even to watch the director's cut of one of his favorite films, Blade Runner -- he does have time to record them.

“I like doing commentaries, especially if I like the film,” Phillips said. “There've been a few disappointing [films], and [doing commentaries] would be bad. I'd be pointing out where the film went wrong, what should have been.”

Phillips also said he focuses on behind-the-scenes content for his commentaries.

“That's the stuff people just don't know. You hope they get what you're doing with characters and stuff, but what they don't know is who's mooning or passing gas,” he said, laughing.

Phillips' next starring work will be in the horror film Red Water, from Sony Pictures Television, which is scheduled for a premiere on the cable channel TBS Aug. 10. Kristy Swanson (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and rapper Coolio co-star.

Phillips' next role in a Hollywood film will be for the Harrison Ford cop actioner Hollywood Homicide, which is slated for July release.

In Homicide, Phillips plays “Wanda,” a male cross-dressing undercover source for the detective played by Ford.

“I've had people a little freaked-out [about the cross-dressing],” he said. “I make a very pretty girl. I've got nice legs.”

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