Patrick Warburton on The Woman Chaser — and Dragonard
PW No, this isn't about a guy chasing women. I guess that's the way you sold a pulp novel back then, putting a man with a topless woman in a convertible on the cover of a paperback with a title like The Woman Chaser — even though Willeford's interests were much more psychological. I was  years old, playing this role had my sexual interest at an all-time low. I didn't get it. Meanwhile the actor, Patrick Warburton, was probably knocking one off in his dressing room once a day back then.
PW Well, I was eating whatever the fuck I wanted, cuz this guy is a chain-smoking, whiskey-drinking car salesman. I got heavier than I'd ever been in my life, about 250 pounds. My wife was not pleased. [This character] was certainly an odd fellow, a misogynist.
SFBG How did you get involved?
PW My agent said "Here's a script," I met Rob, and we clicked. What's interesting is it was right after the ninth season of Seinfeld. Anything else coming my way was because of that. But [Devor] had never seen an episode — I still don't know if he has.
SFBG The movie does an incredible job recreating 1960 L.A. on a budget.
PW It was a grind. We'd procured a handful of permits, but mostly just ran into locations with our guerilla crew and stole shots. Rob really did have a vision. When you're working long hours, you're not getting paid a dime, you're working with a director who has such a specific idea what he wants — he's going to be a little bit of a pain in the ass. But it's an experience I've come to appreciate over time. Because I've been on the other side, where you can't believe what a piece of garbage you're a part of. That movie was what it was wholly because of Rob. He's truly an artist. You don't get such opportunities very often in this business. We've talked about [working together] again, and the right thing hasn't come up. But I would love that more than anything.
SFBG: On another subject, I must quote 12 words of dialogue: "Sometimes being a slave is a man more dignity than being free!" So ungrammatical, for starters. Please reveal every last thing about Dragonard.
PW Oh, God. It was the first thing I ever did, and I knew after that experience ... well. You have to be able to accept it. The most you can ask for [in this industry] are experiences where you learn and in the end get a great product. Like doing The Dish (2000) in Australia was great. I spent quality time with Sam Neill and Geoffrey Wright, then this delightful film came out of it. But with something like Dragonard, if you're going to grow as an actor, you've got to just shit it out. You've got to say, not only is this the most awful movie ever made, but I am the worst thing in it.
THE WOMAN CHASER
Feb. 25–March 3, 7 and 9:15 p.m. (also Sat/26, 2 and 4:30 p.m.), $$5–$9.75
3117 16th St., SF