TV Guide Online: So far, we've seen graboids (the aforementioned human-munching nightcrawlers) that live underground, graboids that fly, graboids that live in the Old West... graboids pretty much everywhere! As an expert in the field, maybe you can tell us where they are likeliest to turn up next.
Michael Gross: As graboids are capable of morphing into other life forms, they are likely to pop up almost anywhere. They are quickly located, however, because their behavior never varies: They will use any manner of subterfuge to accomplish their goals, gobbling up everything in their path and leaving destruction and heartache in their wake. Sounds like the American pharmaceutical companies!
TVGO: When you see Tremors 1 costar Kevin Bacon in his recent cinematic masterpieces, do you, like us, sense that there's a part of him that wishes he were back in the desert, using his own butt to play keep-away with a bunch of supersized fishing lures?
Gross: Blockbuster movies have their place, but having played my share of men in coats and ties — doctors, lawyers and politicians — I guarantee you that suiting up in [camouflage] gear with a large-bore weapon at my side, along with the thrill of chasing a pre-Cambrian life form, is not easily duplicated. Ah, the smell of gunpowder in the morning! I'm sure Kevin Bacon, in his heart of hearts, must feel the same way. I can't claim to read his mind, but, being only one degree from the guy, I think I know him pretty well.
TVGO: Having been "married" to Reba McEntire [on-screen in the first film], do you have a lifetime backstage pass to all her concerts?
Gross: I just stand in line with the rest of 'em.
TVGO: If you were to mix a cocktail as an homage to ass-blasters (the flying graboids introduced in Tremors 3), what would be in it?
Gross: The ass-blaster, as you probably know, owes its propulsion to a volatile mix of gases which ignite when in the presence of oxygen. To duplicate the aforementioned phenomenon, I suggest ordering nothing from the bar and just gulping down the bowl of salsa they serve with the tortilla chips.
TVGO: Is there special training for actors who have to say words like "graboids" and "ass-blasters" over and over again?
Gross: I recommend a sound foundation in the recitation of verse, especially iambic pentameter. The sonnets of Shakespeare are particularly useful, along with Burt's favorite poem, Ulysses, by Alfred Lord Tennyson. That's the one whose final line reads: "To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."
TVGO: Be honest here: When you showed up the first day on the set of your upcoming feature, Mrs. Harris, did you bring graboid tentacles as start-of-production gifts for your costars, Ellen Burstyn and Annette Bening?
Gross: Have you been talking to those two? They still have a "chip on their shoulder" concerning that incident. Women can sometimes be — oh, I don't know — squeamish in the presence of oversized tentacles. Some get over-excited, some downright hostile. I think Freud had a phrase for it: "graboid envy."
TVGO: If Family Ties were still on the air, what would your character, Steven Keaton, be doing this election year, and would it involve shackling young Republican Alex (Michael J. Fox) in the basement?
Gross: Steven would be working with Burt Gummer to elect whatever candidate promised to rescind the Patriot Act. They would find themselves on the same side of this issue, as neither the liberal Keaton nor the libertarian Gummer want the federal government asking what books they purchase or take out on loan from the library. What next, checking out Burt's compound to see if he had a surplus Minuteman missile?! Last time I looked at the Constitution, that was protected by the second Amendment. Alex would not be a factor: Having been convicted of involvement in the Enron scandal, he would be in prison and, as a convicted felon, unable to vote.