Dylan Walsh As 'Nip/Tuck's' plastic surgeon Dr. Sean McNamara, Dylan Walsh has perfected the art of knife-wielding, a skill that prepared him well for the upcoming remake of the 1987 cult classic 'The Stepfather' (also starring Sela Ward and Penn Badgley).

The child of Foreign Service parents, Walsh spent his youth globe-trotting before settling in Annandale, Va. A former Shakespearean theatre and TV performer, the 45-year-old actor earned widespread renown for his role as Dr. Peter Elliott in 1995's 'Congo.' Since then, the actor has been seen in such diverse genres as war ('We Were Soldiers'), comedy ('Just Add Water') and romantic drama ('The Lake House').

After thoroughly creeping us out in 'The Stepfather,' the genial actor spoke to Moviefone about globe-trotting as a kid, the difference between a Thriller and Horror film, and why playing a serial killer was too fun to pass up. Dylan Walsh As 'Nip/Tuck's' plastic surgeon Dr. Sean McNamara, Dylan Walsh has perfected the art of knife-wielding, a skill that prepared him well for the upcoming remake of the 1987 cult classic 'The Stepfather' (also starring Sela Ward and Penn Badgley).

The child of Foreign Service parents, Walsh spent his youth globe-trotting before settling in Annandale, Va. A former Shakespearean theatre and TV performer, the 45-year-old actor earned widespread renown for his role as Dr. Peter Elliott in 1995's 'Congo.' Since then, the actor has been seen in such diverse genres as war ('We Were Soldiers'), comedy ('Just Add Water') and romantic drama ('The Lake House').

After thoroughly creeping us out in 'The Stepfather,' the genial actor spoke to Moviefone about globe-trotting as a kid, the difference between a Thriller and Horror film, and why playing a serial killer was too fun to pass up.

When you got this role, had you already seen the original 'Stepfather' and if not, did you watch it for reference?
Out of respect to Terry [O'Quinn, who played Walsh's role in the original], I actually never watched it because I was afraid I would subconsciously try to mimic him. I'm very impressionable with these things. Most actors are too impressionable and even when you don't want to use someone's work, you'll find yourself doing it anyway. I still haven't seen the movie to this day, but now that we've wrapped up with our version, I'm ready to see it. I'm curious what Terry thinks about us taking this franchise over.

Did you do any research on serial killers?
I did. The original movie was very loosely based on John List [who murdered his wife, children and mother in 1971]. I read what List said in prison -- his whole explanation -- which is insane. I also looked into Ted Bundy who was a charming guy and was able to lure [his victims] into his insanity.



David Harris is your most evil character to date. Is that what attracted you to the movie?
I just thought it would be fun. It's partly just a romp as an actor to go in and play this guy who, for most of the movie, is charming and sweet, but simultaneously making the killer in the guy credible too. My six-and-a-half-year day job on 'Nip/Tuck' was great, but you're playing that character for a long time. [With 'Stepfather'], you're not going in and just playing these careful, little naturalistic scenes. This is a thriller. We'd be kidding ourselves if we said this was some art house film about a troubled guy ... Sooner or later, I had to be chasing her with the knife.

And at the same time, your character, in essence, wants what every father wants: A happy family.
And he is sincere when he says, "The most important thing is family." His insanity comes when he doesn't get the perfect family he wants. It's important to understand his vision of a perfect family is already wrong. I think it would come more from the 1950s.

It feels more like a psychological case study than a horror film.
That's exactly right. We kept saying "thriller" and not "horror." I take pride in the fact that there's a good portion of this movie that really is just psychological suspense. We always knew we were targeting a PG-13 rating and ... not [go] off into some kind of slasher mode. There's a lot of movies in this genre that are cheesy, and we talked about how to keep it edgy and suspenseful without being cheesy.

Season 6 of 'Nip/Tuck' recently debuted. At this point, do you still make a big deal of watching the season premiere?
We used to do that the first four years. The premieres were important to FX and it was fun to take some time away from the set and celebrate it ... In the last couple of years, though, we still have a good audience, but we finished shooting it in June so these next two seasons are in the vault. 'Nip/Tuck' has a life of its own at this point; I almost feel like I've let go and it kept going.

Watch a clip from 'Nip/Tuck'


Do you have an answer when people approach you on the street asking for medical or plastic surgery advice?
I do, but it really is in a flirting tone. The first couple of years I would do a double take because I didn't know whether they were serious. I wanted to tell them, "Look, are you an idiot? I'm not a doctor." But [then] you understand that they're really just coming up to tell you they like the show.

You're currently shooting a movie about the famous horse Secretariat. What can you tell us about it?
I play the husband of Secretariat's owner [played by Diane Lane]. I have to play a guy that I myself wouldn't like. He's a little bit stuck in the 1950s and keeps telling his wife, "Never mind this little dream about a horse. You need to come home and take care of the kids and cook dinner." The challenge is to pull that off without him seeming like a villain.

Can we start a horse movie feud by saying why this will trounce 'Seabiscuit' at the box office?
[Laughs] Wow, that's a good question because I think that's out there as the model. I thought they made that movie really well. I'm not good with thinking in a competitive way. I do feel the pressure of it sometimes, though, like how did they pull some of that stuff off? I'm going to leave that whole competitor thing on [director] Randall Wallace.

What was it like spending the first decade of your life in multiple countries around the world?
I was seeing different cultures and a lot of poverty. I was in places like Ghana, Jakarta and Madras, India seeing these vastly different cultures and religions. I myself am not religious and I think one of the reasons is I saw so many different kinds of worship that didn't cancel themselves out. But for me personally, I could never conceive of how you picked one.