One can't imagine Invasion of the Girl Snatchers without the ace performances from David Roster (Freddie Fingers) and Chuck Rubin (Aph). Both men were experienced stage actors in Louisville before they landed roles in the now-legendary sci-fi sleeper classic.
The casting call for Invasion of the Girl Snatchers occurred via a newspaper ad. David Roster recalls, "It was Chuck who came to me one morning and pointed out the job ad in the Louisville paper about auditions for the film. We had just completed a summer of Shakespeare in Central Park together and we were both looking for work. When we discovered the auditions were being held in some motel room, I figured it was porn of some sort, but we were out of work so we went.
"Lee (Jones) was there along with Carla as I remember. They were quite serious about the film. 'Serious' meaning that they brought across the idea to Chuck and I that this was a dramatic/heavy sci-fi-type flick. They wanted us to read the scene with a couple of other actors that had shown up so we had a chance to look over the script. They wanted me to read for Freddie, whom they described as a gangster-type from Chicago. I read the dialogue and thought that I really couldn't make the guy a straight character.
(FREDDIE'S SO COOL, HE HAS HIS OWN SNAPPY THEME SONG. REAL AUDIO: 112 KB. ALSO AVAILABLE AS MURKY WAV FILE: 150 KB.)
"Before we read for them, I asked Lee if the script was supposed to be a comedy. Lee said, 'Well, it could be. What do you think?' I went for a pot-smoking-hippie-gangster from Chicago. I guess they liked it. Chuck and I got a phone call over the next couple of days. It was my first film. The price for doing it for me was $750.00 as I remember."
While David was allowed free reign with his character, Chuck Rubin's role as Aph required a different approach. His character was designed to be a figure of magical grandeur, with very complicated and sometimes mystifying dialogue. Chuck explains, "The long and wordy speeches were a lot like Shakespeare. I thought, 'Hmmm. I can do this.' Remembering dialogue is easy. You just read it over and over until you remember it. Aph was hard to envision. I don't think I really ever knew what he was all about. I was just having fun."
(FREDDIE MEETS THE LOQUACIOUS APH. MPEG MOVIE: 1.7 MB)
Invasion of the Girl Snatchers was originally called The Hidan of Maukbeiangjow
, a title that reflects the paranormal/spiritual interests of writer/producers Carla Rueckert and Don Elkins. "Carla was a sweetie," recalls Chuck. "Just a real nice person. Don Elkins was nice but a little strange. He was a commercial airline pilot who was pretty sure he'd been to other planets. Maybe he had been."
Regarding the meaning of the original title, David claims, "I only remember the one title of the film: Hidan of Maukbeiangjow. Girl Snatchers I heard about years later. Sitting down with Lee, Carla and cast members early in the filming, I was told by Lee about the title. Lee not only believed in visitors from outer space, but also told us that there were other planes of existence. (uh-huh) Maukbeiangjow was an ethereal plane that was in contact with us. (yup) Further that the Hidan was a principal evil being of Maukbeiangjow that was quite real. (oy) I ventured to ask if Lee himself had any evidence of this or had visited these other 'planes of existence.' Lee only looked at me rather blankly, then at Chuck and slightly smiled, never answering. I really wanted to score some of whatever it was that he used to relax with."
Both Chuck and David have vivid memories of the woman originally slated to play Ruthie, a character who is topless throughout the majority of the movie. The actress' name was Pepper, and she was later replaced by Carla Rueckert. Chuck remembers that Pepper was "tall with black hair and huge breasts. She was supposed to be sexy. I believe she was a friend of Lee Jones from Atlanta." David's recollection was a mite more specific. "Chuck Rubin hadn't done any scenes as yet, but was looking forward to THE BIG NUDE SCENE. At that time we didn't have 'The Girl' as she was called in the script. Then came Pepper. We were invited to someone's office to meet her and others and I thought Chuck's eyes would never be the same. Pepper was rather a full figured lady. Chuck leaned over to me and said in a not-too-whispered voice, 'I'd drag my balls over five miles of broken glass just to beat off in her shadow.' I thought Hugh Smith would have a stroke. As it turned out, Pepper backed down from the scene. Carla to the rescue!! I think Chuck was rather disappointed, but the real spirited Carla came out and loved the exposure, as it were."
Regarding the cast, Chuck adds, "The red haired girl's husband hung around so much that they put him in the movie as a thug. I remember him negotiating more pay."
David has not seen Invasion of the Girl Snatchers since its original 1973 screening. Chuck Rubin says the film debuted at the Bard theatre on Bardstown Road. "The main thing I remember was my first scene," states Chuck. "Evidently I thought it was near the end of the movie and I stared straight into the camera to make a point. It just looked silly. But I liked watching the parts me and Paul and David were in."
Chuck Rubin never appeared in any other movies after Invasion, but he did continue performing in regional and community theatre productions. David, on the other hand, worked on Billy Girdler's The Zebra Killer not long after Invasion wrapped. He starred in Zebra Killer and also worked as a member of the crew. "I was the sniper in the opening sequence, surrounded by all the cops," says David. "They said that they cut some of my scene out because I was too vulnerable and made Hugh and Austin look like bad guys. I was ahead of my time. Originally, my character was some street perp that Austin's character was supposed to know. They felt that it made Austin and Hugh look too bloodthirsty. When Bill went union it was more than worth it for us crew/actor types trying to make a living back there. Bill Girdler wanted me to work crew for him and I had gotten to know the Asman brothers from their work on Girl Snatchers and together we were trying to get me another film role. Bill and I got along pretty well when we first met and I told him I needed the work. So I started to work crew on the film with the verbal contract of a speaking role. He wrote it out and we shot it one afternoon. I think he wanted a scene with a lot of cops shooting. The Louisville cops were gung-ho to be in the film and when we got them for an afternoon we did the shot."
Chuck and David seem fond of their debut film appearances in Invasion of the Girl Snatchers, although their affection bears a hint of apprehension when they discuss the final product. As Chuck surmises, "Making the movie was a lot of fun but the finished product was pretty bad. OK it was REAL bad. But it was FUN."