Talks & Interviews — August 28, 2017 at 11:55 pm

“When Sonny walked into the room, he took it over…”

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By Tim Tal

On August 17, Hollywood actor Sonny Landham passed away from congestive heart failure at age 76.

Landham’s film career was a real roller coaster. He started off by doing porn movies in the 70s, then managed to jump into the mainstream films and become one of the most recognizable heavies of the 80’s, going head to head with such action stars as Chuck Norris and Sylvester Stallone.

Landham continued to make low-budget films in the 1990’s, and in the 2003 he switched to politics, campaigning for the spot of governor of Kentucky, but was unable to secure the Republican Party’s nomination. Landham also ran for the Kentucky State Senate in 2004, and was nominated by Kentucky’s Libertarian party for candidacy in 2008 for one of Kentucky’s seats in the U.S. Senate, although his comments on a political radio show caused the party to rescind his nomination a few days later.

Landham’s last movie role was in 2009.

After his passing, nearly all of the websites online reported the news, presenting Landham as “Predator actor”. Partially, it is his most famous role. While mostly in his career Landham portrayed villains of all sorts, he’s mostly remembered as a member of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s team in the cult classic “Predator”.

Meanwhile, Landham also had memorable parts in “Lock Up” with Sylvester Stallone, “48 Hours” with Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy and also “Action Jackson” with “Predator” co-star Carl Weathers.

Speaking of “Action Jackson”, Dennis Hayden, who played one of the terrorists in another action classic “Die Hard”, is also in that film. Hayden went on to star with Landham in another film. He agreed to share some details with BZFilm.

“When I was working on Action Jackson, a lot of the crew, had previously worked with Sonny on Predator”, recalls Hayden. “I didn’t have any scenes with Sonny so I didn’t get to meet him on Action Jackson.”

Hayden went on to say that it wasn’t till many years later he met Landham again on the set of small film called “Fatal Choice” (1995). Hayden also said he has never seen the film itself.

“Sonny was playing one of the bad guys and I was playing a detective,” recalls Hayden. “On the first day of the shoot we all had a 8 o’clock call time. I remember when Sonny showed up, I’m telling you, the guy had one hell of a presence.”

“When Sonny walked into the room, he took it over. We had a four-hour wait, and you could smell Sonny had started drinking already, he was drinking whiskey, straight of the bottle,” Hayden said.

“He offered me a drink, I told him I used to be a party animal like him but gave it up in 1983, and I still haven’t had a drink since,” Hayden said.

“I asked Sonny if all the story’s I had heard about him on the “Predator” were true, Sonny laughed out loud with that awesome voice, and looked at me and said yes that’s all true, so we swapped wild and crazy stories while waiting for our scenes to start,” he said.

“Sonny liked to have a good time and laugh a lot, and I remember thinking how our paths hadn’t crossed before now. I could imagine how much hell we could have raised together,” Hayden said.

“I spoke to Ethan Dettenmaier from Combat Radio who’s a longtime friend of Sonny’s, and he said Sonny was the kind of guy who, if you called him for help, no matter what the situation you were in, he would be the first one there to help,” Hayden said.

“I got the same feeling working with him, the man was a man’s man, a force that will be truly missed,” Hayden said.

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