Rider Strong, star of hit 90s kids TV show Boy Meets World talks exclusively about his upcoming DVD release Borderland, life after Boy Meets World and life in the low budget horror world.
Pure Movies: Borderland is getting released on DVD here in the UK on 15 February, can you give us a little synopsis; tell us about the character you play?
Rider Strong: Well, it’s about three friends who have just finished college and head down to Mexico for a weekend of partying and having a good time. Everything sort of goes a bit bad for them as one of them gets kidnapped for a human sacrifice. It’s actually based on a true story, in the 1980’s a few college students went down to Mexico and one of them got kidnapped [it’s loosely based on Adolfo de Jesus Constanzo, the leader of a religious cult that practised human sacrifice. They kidnapped and killed Mark Kilroy, a University of Texas Junior, in 1989]. I play the one that gets kidnapped, this nice guy/virgin who gets taken trying to have a nice time with his friends.
How did you prepare for the role? Did you have a few wild weekends in Mexico yourself when you were younger?
You know, not really, except in the shooting of this movie. We actually shot it in Tijuana which is one of those border towns that are a bit crazy… it’s not really Mexico, it’s not really the United States. It’s a bizarre space where everything kind of slips through the cracks and everything is vaguely legal so during filming we were just shooting on the streets, we would rehearse on the street. We would be in character and walk around and that was really where I would get a taste for what it was like. It’s not like the rest of Mexico. I’ve been to other parts of Mexico which are beautiful and awesome but when you hit those border towns, on both sides of the border it’s a very different place.
There’s a scene in the film where you all take mushrooms. Have you yourself ever taken mushrooms? Would you even tell me if you did?
No I’ve definitely done mushrooms! I mean my name’s Rider, I grew up in San Francisco California and definitely grew up with that environment around me. It was quite funny actually because the worst part about mushrooms, of course, is the taste so when we had to do the scene in the movie where they had to take mushrooms we had to down a load. They had been, like, fried up… it’s the worst thing about doing mushrooms.
So what’s next on your agenda? Have you got a big 2010?
2010? I’m actually moving into writing and directing. I’m doing some stuff with my brother. We’re gearing up for the financing for a feature and we’re making another short film. I’m moving in that direction. Acting is always there and I enjoy it but it’s kind of got a little unfulfilling lately. You know, I’m in the low budget horror world… I have a whole lot of other stuff I want to do.
Now, I’ve got to ask at least couple Boy Meets World questions I’m afraid. First things first: did you, like, I’m sure, most of the shows male viewers, myself included, fancy Topanga at little bit?
Did I ever? No! When I met Danielle [Fishel] she 12, I was 13 and it was much more like a brother/sister relationship. There was actually one episode where we had to make out and it was very uncomfortable. So no, Danielle felt much more like a sister for me.
Can you tell me why she was called Topanga? Didn’t you think it was weird choice?
No it was always based upon an actual canyon in L.A. So they named her after that. It’s kind of less than usual for someone not from L.A. Danielle has been kind of branded by it though. People still refer to her as Topanga.
Would you say you’re the most successful member of that show?
Depends how you judge success I guess. I think I had it a lot easier to move on to other things. Ben Savage was the star of the show and he and Danielle, their relationship, was the star of the show. Because I was more on the peripheries it was much easier for me; easier for audiences to move on. We’ll see though, I wouldn’t be surprised if Ben Savage popped up in some films. I still get more recognition for Boy Meets World than anything else I’ve done.
So it’s affected your career positively?
I think it’s been great in most ways and there have definitely been some negative things. You know I’m never going to get an Oscar making something I wouldn’t ever want to be associated with. But I managed to get Cabin Fever and I think because of that I was able to get Borderland and other sort of horror stuff. It’s always a game of trying to shake up expectations. I don’t really blame anybody because the reality is that acting is always a gamble.
Borderland is available on DVD from 15 February 2010.