Kevin Smith has announced who will be playing the villain in his upcoming low-budget horror film Red State which is targeted to begin filming next month. Veteran actor Fred Phelps will be playing what Smith has described as a “Fred Phelps-like” figure who will be chasing after a group of teens after the two somehow meet and not exactly hit it off.
Smith has previously stated that he wanted the cast to be completely unknown, as “I don’t want to cast anybody that anybody knows because that takes you right out of the flick.”
For those who have managed to stay unaware of Phelps, he is the head of the extremely fundamentalist Westboro Baptist Church. With barely a couple of dozen members, the group has earned national media attention for protesting the funerals of military men killed in the line of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan under the belief that their deaths are God’s punishment on the United States for violating various passages cherry-picked from the Bible. As I am vehemently opposed to everything that they stand for, I will not be providing a link to their hate-filled website.
I wouldn’t exactly call Parks an unknown. For a certain segment of cinema-goers, those specifically who are Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez fans, will remember the actor from his appearances in From Dusk Till Dawn, Kill Bill and Grindhouse as Texas Ranger Earl McGraw. (And yes, that means all those films exist in the same cinematic universe. Wrap your head around that one for a while.) But Parks’s resume stretches all the way back to some television work in the early 1960s.
Personally, I think he is a great choice. His work in Tarantino’s and Rodriguez’s films always exuded a menace kept in careful check, a calm consideration that could be shattered without warning. I expect that Smith will still go with unknowns for the balance of the cast though.