Doug, can you tell us how you
first heard of and became interested in this movie?
I first heard of the project when Britt and the producers
came to town (Toronto) and began scouting sites and setting up auditions.
What were your initial impressions
of the PT Boomer character?
I’m used to playing strong characters but because
it was a family movie I realized that Boomer would have to be a misunderstood bigger than life guy with an obvious comedic
twist. He had to be scary but sympathetic … he knew all the principle characters from childhood … like most bullies,
Do you recall if there was an
audition for the part? If so, can you tell us about it and were there other contenders?
There were at least two auditions and yes, there were many
others in the running for the part including actors from the U.S. and Britain but other than those locally I don’t know
who they were. It was Britt who chose me.
Was working on Thomas and
the Magic Railroad any different than anything you’ve experienced as an actor before or since?
Every movie is a unique experience because of the personalities
involved but the routines are the same … The greatest difference of course was The Isle of Man. Some of the green screen
work was new to me … you're performing in isolation.
|Below: from deleted PT Boomer chase scene screener
|PT Boomer atop D-10 - Doug Lennox filmed the sequence in Green Screen
As an actor, did you have a lot
of creative input and improvisation in your portrayal of PT Boomer? Did Britt Allcroft work with you in getting the character
Britt was wonderful to work with and open to any ideas
or interpretations I came up with … I believe it was her first directorial position so she was on a heavy learning curve
herself … she’s a very strong woman.
In addition to sharing
a few key scenes with Peter Fonda, you also had a few with actors Russell Means (Billy Twofeathers) and Cody McMains (young
Patch). Were Russell and Cody great to work with?
As you know, Russell is an icon within the aboriginal struggle
in North America so it was great to meet him on that level … as a performer he was a pussycat … as a friend, very
human …. Cody was a great kid and on the brink of a breakthrough … both were delightful not only to work with
but also to hang out with. I had some good times with Cody’s dad.
The Isle of Man is said to be
a beautiful place to experience. Did you enjoy your stay there during filming and able to meet the residents and explore the
Island? What part of the Island was your favorite – or were fans to visit, what area do you recommend?
The island is fascinating and incredibly beautiful with
a remarkable history made unique by its Viking influence on its British heritage … The museums are elaborate and the
castles, some dating to post-Roman times as well as the defenses built by Henry VIII and the withering mounds and ruins of
Celtic churches are still alive … It’s a very compact place so it’s all one wonderful memory … the
residents are amazingly hospitable and I met a gentleman named John (sorry, I can’t remember his last name) who was
visiting his family estate while I was there .. we met in the hotel bar with his parents and he made it an issue to show me
around the entire island during my time there … very classy guy!
|Photo posted to SiF with permission of Doug Lennox
|Doug Lennox & Peter Fonda at "Grandpa's Cottage", Port Cornaa, IOM - Aug. 1999
Did you travel down to Pennsylvania to
film any of your scenes there?
Actors often have doubles
perform risky scenes for them. Were any used for any of your scenes e.g. with the motorcycle?
I wrecked my left knee in a motorcycle accident while in the army so
it couldn’t take the weight of the bike, so all moving motorcycle scenes were done by a stunt person (a woman)
Can you tell us about what
it was like filming the green screen sequences in the Toronto studio?
My scenes on top of the train and falling off the bridge were all done
against green screen … what can I say … I was in a body mold with a harness and … it was different.
Can you tell us about filming
the barge scene? We’re told that the set dressers may have used an oatmeal mixture to make the ‘sludge’.
The barge scene was shot in the same location as the green
screen in Toronto … The sludge was messy and wet and in a tank built for that purpose … it might have been oatmeal
… it took about four takes …. I had to fully submerse myself for each take.
|Below: from deleted PT Boomer chase scene screener
|An unimpressed PT Boomer in the sludge barge
Do you have any special memories
that you’d be able to share of working on the movie?
Just the joy of meeting and working with new people in
a magnificent environment.
Can you tell us about what happened
after you found out about your character being cut?
I received a phone call from a producer in California which
struck me like a body blow but I appreciated his directness and honesty … he told me that Boomer was too powerful and
scary for the child audience … This was after throughout the shoot the AD’s , the cinematographer and others on
the crew would take me aside and tell me that I was the best thing in the film … a star vehicle .. so I simply had to
accept the disappointment. I still wonder about the politics … but now it's ancient history …. And the movie flopped
… I can’t help wondering if it would have been less of a failure with Boomer intact? I still had the real experience
on location and was paid well!
Were you surprised at the sudden
interest in your PT Boomer character back in 2007 after all of these years?
Surprised is an understatement …. Amazed at the depth of interest
in all things Thomas … It’s not an unpleasant experience, just the opposite … I’ve had dozens of international
emails curious about my role in the film, all from very understanding intelligent and kind people.
In closing, and this may seem
odd, but given that it’ll be the 10th anniversary of the movie (2010), and what we have discovered of what could have
been, is there any special message that you’d like to say to the fans?
I am moved by the very sincere curiosity of the movie's
fans. It’s hard to believe that 10 years have passed …. Thank you for your interest both in Boomer and myself
… Although I don’t dwell on what might have been … making a movie is a collaborative and creative process
in the hands of those who conceive and control it … as an actor I am simply a foot soldier, but still proud of my contribution
and warmed by the curiosity.
SiF wishes to thank Doug for sharing his insight
about his contributions to the movie - albeit uncredited but in the end rediscovered! Doug, we wish you
all the best in his endeavours as actor, author and radio host :) Visitors are invited to check out Doug's Website to learn and see more of his other work and projects.
We were very saddened to learn that Doug Lennox passed
away in his sleep at his Toronto home sometime during the evening of Saturday, November 28, 2015.
staff and fans will remember Doug as a down-to-earth gentleman who was patient and happy to share his thoughts about his role
in the making of Thomas and the Magic Railroad. Doug sincerely supported the Restore the Magic Campaign for the release of
the Director's cut of the movie. We certainly hope that fans will one day see his scenes from the movie restored as a testament
to his talent as many cast and crew from the movie confirmed.