Bill Parks Interview
Bill Parks stars as ‘Chicken Truitt’ on The CW’s Hart of Dixie. We spoke with the actor about his TV work and how his grade school drama teacher got him into show business.
You’ve done a lot of lot in the entertainment industry, ranging from stage to television, commercials to films. Can you talk about what has been the most rewarding format for you?
I’d say television has been the most rewarding because the turnaround from filming to airing is generally pretty quick. As opposed to film which can often take a year or more to get released. When the film finally premieres, sometimes I’m thinking, “Oh, yeah. I remember working on that.”
Can you talk about what it was like filming that Snickers commercial with the legendary Aretha Franklin and Liza Minnelli?
Liza was a hoot. She was just a ball of energy…so much fun. Working with Aretha was like walking on egg shells. First off, the crew was placing bets as to whether or not she would even show up. When she did, no one was sure how long she would stay or how many takes we would get. I ended up sitting with The Queen of Soul in the back seat of an old car that was probably salvaged from a junk yard the day before. Her door was bolted shut and the window didn’t go down, so after each take, she would pass her half chewed Snickers bar to me which I would hand over to the crew. #R-E-S-P-E-C-T
Was there a particular person in your home state of Delaware who influenced you to enter into music and acting?
Yes, my grade school drama teacher, Deborah Dehart, was always inspiring me to perform in plays and musicals.
Were you excited to learn that the Truitt brother on “Hart of Dixie” were going to get to sing in a recent episode that aired on The CW? Were the folks behind the show inspired by the fact that you play banjo?
I was so excited to be doing music in season 4! I loved going in to the studio and recording songs before filming the episodes. Between season 3 & 4 director, Brandi Bradburn hosted a Hart of Dixie hiatus hoedown with a live bluegrass band. Matt Lowe & I sang Rocky Top & Wagon Wheel. Though it hasn’t been confirmed, I am convinced that that was the night Leila Gerstein & David Paymer were inspired to create the Truitt Brothers band.
Following up on that, will viewers of “Hart of Dixie” get to see the brothers performing at the Rammer Jammer or anywhere else in future episodes? And if so, can you talk about whether George Tucker will still be in tow as their manager?
Yes, the season 4 finale has a big musical number! You’ll have to tune in to find if G.T. continues to manage The brothers Truitt!
I understand that you have two rescued pitbulls, are you also perhaps involved in any rescue efforts for this much misunderstood breed of dog?
I do have 2 rescue pits named Peanut & Kenny Powers. I often work with an organization called Diamonds in the Ruff. Pitbulls are such a sweet breed. They are extremely kind, sensitive, & loving!
I understand that you performed a unique act at the Apollo Theatre. Can you talk about what that experience was like?
Performing on Showtime at the Apollo was definitely a once in a life time experience. Adorned in a red and white Adidas jump suit, sporting a ginger Afro, I juggled a bowling ball, a torch, & a machete to the tune of Rappers Delight. Still not sure why I got tap danced off the stage.
Looking back at your voice over and commercial work, can you talk about what was the best and what was the most unusual experience you had?
The best was hanging out with the legendary Joe Montana while filming a Skechers commercial at the Santa Monica pier. The most unusual was an Aflac commercial where I playing a pet store employee and Gilbert Gottfried was trying to hold onto a plucky duck that he was attempting to return because it was too noisy.
Out of all the theatre productions for which you have been in, which would you say has been your favorite? And in that same vein, if you could appear any theatre production that you haven’t already done, which would it be and why?
I really enjoyed being in the off Broadway production of Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat. The songs and the sets were wonderful! I would really love to play Thénardier in Les Misérables.
You’ve done a mixture of comedies and dramas on TV. Do you have a preference? And, can you talk about any particular guest role that has been the most memorable?
I love doing both comedy & drama. In general it is more fun to be on the set of a comedy. While working with Kiefer Sutherland on Touch I was pretty much covered in fake blood all week, so it was quite uncomfortable and cold. But it was awesome to work with a seasoned pro like Kiefer who knows exactly what he wants and needs from everyone on set.
Which TV shows, if any, are you currently watching?
Well after watching Breaking Bad I have been having trouble really getting hooked on anything, but I am getting caught up on Orange is The New Black.
Can you share any funny behind-the-scenes moments from filming on Hart of Dixie? Is there any one particular actor on that show who does practical jokes?
We have a blast on set. Wilson Bethel is constantly making everyone laugh much to the dismay of the AD whose job is to keep filming on schedule.