WAMG Interview: Actor Sam Jones – Star of FLASH GORDON (1980) – Sam Will be Signing Autographs This Sunday in Belleville, IL
Sam Jones, star of the 1980 classic FLASH GORDON (and TED and many other action films) will be signing autographs from 1pm-5pm on Sunday May 23rd at the ‘I Had That’ Collectibles Shop in Belleville, IL That’s located at 120 East Main Street in Belleville, IL. The ‘I Had That’ Facebook page with updates and more info can be found HERE. The Lincoln Theater, which is across the street at 103 Main Street will be showing FLASH GORDON at 12:30 and 3:30. Admission for the movie is just $2.
Jones made his screen debut in Blake Edwards’ comedy film 10 (1979). In 1980, he was cast in the iconic role of Flash Gordon in the cult classic of the same name. A solid acting career in mostly television roles followed. Jones came back to moviegoers attention, making a cameo as a version of himself in the comedy film Ted (2012). A former US Marine, Sam Is the CEO of Inner Cordon, Inc., an international security company providing diplomatic and executive protection for high profile clients around the world. But now, Sam is out promoting the 40th anniversary of FLASH GORDON.
Sam Jones took the time to talk to We Are Movie Geeks about his career and playing the iconic role of Flash Gordon.
Interview conducted by Tom Stockman May 17. 2021
Tom Stockman: Do you enjoy doing these autograph appearances?
Sam Jones: I love doing them. They are incredible. You need to come by. It’s so great to see the passion and excitement of the fans. Every time I do one, it’s a huge day for me as well as the fans.
TS: I will be there on Sunday. I’ve got my FLASH GORDON poster all ready for you to sign.
SJ: Oh good.
TS: They’re showing FLASH GORDON in a movie theater right across the street twice that afternoon.
SJ: Yes, I think I’ll have time to walk over and speak at that as well.
TS: Are you surprised at how deep the cult following is for FLASH GORDON 40 years later?
SJ: Yes, it’s amazing. You never know. I always refer to FLASH GORDON as a triple blessing. The first is just getting hired in this industry. And number two is that it was successful and the third blessing is its longevity. I love the fact now that now, when I’m at my table for these autograph shows, I will meet the the daughters and sons and granddaughters and grandsons of people that originally loved the film. That’s how long it’s carried over. It lives.
TS: How did you get the role of Flash Gordon?
SJ: The process started in 1978. We were in Mexico and Hawaii shooting the movie 10 with Bo Derek. I got a call to go back to LA to meet with Dino DeLaurentis. That started the whole audition and interview process. I flew to London for 30 days of screen testing. We didn’t have video back in those days so you had to audition with a film crew. I got there in June of 1979 then after 30 days of screen testing, Dino told me that I got the part.
TS: What was Dino DeLaurentis like?
SJ: He was a character, a force to be reckoned with. He was this little Italian guy that wore these wrinkled silk suits . I never understood why they were always wrinkled until one day in the early morning when we were starting production, I realized that he was wearing the same suit he was wearing the night before. I was told that he works so hard at that at the end of the day, he’d go back into his office and worked some more, then fall asleep in his suit. Then he would wake up and go right back to work. He may not have done that every day, but he did it often. He was quite unique. He really had his handprints on everything.
TS: He must’ve liked you. How excited were you when you scored that role?
SJ: I’m not sure if it was so much excitement at first. I am a Marine at heart. A Marine first and an actor second . I don’t like to get placed in a pending mode where someone is going to get back to me. I need to know now. Do you want me? Yes or no? I didn’t want them to extend the decision-making over a long period of time. So after 30 days of screen-testing Dino introduced me to someone in his office, I think it was one of the other writers, as the new Flash Gordon. It was something of a quenched celebratory moment more than a big celebration.
TS: There’s a couple of real beauties acting alongside you in the film, Melody Anderson and Ornella Muti. What were they like?
SJ: Incredible. Both wonderful women. Melody was like a sister to me. She lived with me and my girlfriend at that time for months. We’ve been close friends forever. Ornella was great too. She had her husband with her during the filming. I got along very well with her.
TS: Did you do your own stunts in FLASH GORDON?
SJ: I wouldn’t say I did all of my own stunts, but I did all of my own fighting. The stunts I would leave to the professional stuntmen. Some scenes, like the fire gags, I did. I’m not sure I can roll around on the ground like that anymore but most of the fight stuff was pretty basic.
TS: You have five children. Did they enjoy watching their dad as Flash Gordon when they were growing up?
SJ: Yeah they’ve liked it though none of them were born when I made the film. Really though, when TED and TED 2 came out, I think they were really more impressed because all of their friends were impressed.
TS: Did you get to meet Freddie Mercury or any members of Queen (who composed the FLASH GORDON soundtrack) when you were filming FLASH GORDON?
SJ: I did not, but most of the rest of the cast did. There was a nightclub in London called Tramp. I didn’t go there as much because I didn’t have much spare time since I was in every scene of the film. I know Mercury and the Queen guys were there, but I missed them when I did go, but I did meet some cool people there like Rod Stewart and Bianca and Mick Jagger. It was quite the hangout,
TS: You are hilarious in the Ted movies. Were those as much fun to make is it look like they were?
SJ: Yes they were so much fun. It’s a little strange when someone asks you to play yourself. You’re not sure if you’re playing parts or pieces of yourself.
TS: Are you still doing professional security?
SJ: Yes I’m still putting teams together. I miss some of the hands-on aspect of that. I’m doing some consulting when I have time, but right now I’ve been doing these personal appearances almost every weekend.
TS: Thanks so much for your time. I will look forward to meeting you this Sunday.
SJ: Thank you. I will see you then