Michael Gross has opened up about working through a painful injury on the latest Tremors film.
Tremors: Shrieker Island, the latest instalment in the franchise, is released on DVD next week – and sees the actor reprise his role as survivalist Burt Gummer.
The first film, following a group of people attempting to stop attacks from a bizarre, giant creatures that resemble worms, was released in 1990 and is still going strong today, with fans desperate for the latest adventure.
Speaking about still playing the iconic character after three decades, the 73-year-old admitted things have gone awry behind the camera – resulting in him needing surgery.
‘This is not a fun thing but I always hurt myself on these things,’ he told Metro.co.uk. ‘I injured myself [filming the latest movie], I actually tore a tendon area called the rotator cuff on my shoulder in a fall I did that I had to perform…
‘That was about two weeks into filming, and so I had to go an additional few weeks with this thing that needed surgery but we couldn’t do surgery, I had to finish the film.
‘So I was popping quite a lot of painkillers while working through the last couple of weeks, with this injury. I finally have since had the surgery and I’m actually still going through physical therapy now to get my range of motion and my strength back on my left shoulder.
‘I always find new and interesting, and inventive ways to hurt myself.’
Michael also revealed that some ‘mistakes’ are a lot funnier – with there being enough content to fill a blooper reel.
‘Sometimes the mistakes are often very fascinating. I don’t know if they’ve included any of our bloopers,’ he continued. ‘But naturally there are accidents or things that happen incorrectly that I think are quite a lot of fun, maybe a little embarrassing at the time, but fun for fans to watch.
‘I can remember certain times when things completely went wrong. I once was trying to perform a stunt and landed completely on my back in a mud puddle, looking completely awkward. And I could not get up by myself because I had flamethrower tanks strapped to my back and they were quite heavy.
‘So I landed on my back and I was like an up-ended beetle on his back, unable to get up and unable to extract himself from the mud. And of course we had to stop everything, and change my clothes, get me into clean clothes and clean the mud off of me, and the flame thrower, and all this sort of stuff.
‘And I was so angry at the time, because I had made the mistake, lost my balance, fell over, it took time away from the filming. But then, within an hour or two, I said, “well I hope we include that in a blooper” because it was humiliating at the time but everybody could use a little bit of humility from time to time.’
We’ve all been there.
Despite the injuries, Michael has been returning to the character of Burt Gummer for 30 years now.
Fans have been watching on intently, as obsessed with the franchise today as they were when the first film – with Kevin Bacon and Kevin Ward – was released.
Lifting the lid on why he keeps coming back to the series, he said: ‘Bert is a marvellous comic character. Comedy is, after all, about exaggeration and extremes. And he’s nothing if not extreme. And he’s obsessively compulsive and and paranoid, but taken to the point where it’s comic.
‘I love the character because it’s like mining comic gold, it’s like a goldmine of possibilities because of that extremity.
‘One of the things that has kept me coming back for these past number of years, now 30 years, is presenting him with emotional challenges as well as simply challenges with monsters.
‘As much as I love monsters, it gets a bit old. You shoot a gun, you destroy something, they blow up. That’s all fun for a while, but I keep thinking, what are the monsters he fights within himself? What are his own personal monsters? That’s something we keep trying to incorporating every time we do a sequel.
‘So I keep returning for him.’
However, while viewers can’t get enough of the actor – who has also starred in Family Ties and Naughty Or Nice – he is not that keen on watching himself back.
‘It may surprise you to know that I have not yet seen the [latest] film because I don’t like watching myself, so I will eventually get around to it,’ he laughed.
‘I have the pleasant memories of making it, I’m just afraid that watching it will disabuse me of those pleasant memories. So, I watch it only with reluctance.
‘Among other things, every time we make a new one, I particularly go back to the old ones to refresh my memory, to get into the spirit of things, to see where we left off and where we could to better.
‘I’m a little self-critical so it’s difficult for me to watch anything without that self-criticism and saying, “Oh I wish i’d done that a little better.” Film is forever, we don’t have a chance to go back and fix it.
‘There’s something that makes me very uncomfortable about being frozen in time like that.’
Tremors: Shrieker Island is available on Blu-ray and DVD on November 16 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.