The first time I heard Tane McClure was in 2001 when I purchased the DVD of The Terminator and heard her music with the group Tryanglz playing in several scenes. I would then see her in the flesh when I received the DVD of Legally Blonde as a Christmas present in 2001. Ms. McClure had the small but memorable role of Elle Woods’ (Reese Witherspoon) mother, and she was just as lovely and kind as Reese was. As the years progressed, I would become familiar with her music released under the name Tane Cain, as well as her work in movies like Assault Of The Party Nerds 2: The Heavy Petting Detective. Several years before we became Facebook friends, I had reached out to her about an interview, but things came up including her entertainment industry work and my computer crashing in 2015. We became Facebook friends in 2017, and we spoke on June 20th about all aspects of her work. I hope you all enjoy getting to know this beautiful talent.
Say hello to Tane McClure!
Johnny: Thank you for taking the time out of your schedule to speak to me.
Tane: Of course. I appreciate your interest.
Johnny: No problem. I have my questions ready to go, starting with this: As your father, the late Doug McClure, was an actor, was being an entertainer something you planned on from a young age, or had you initially had a different career goal in mind?
Tane: In high school, he had studied drama, so he enjoyed drama from a very young age. I would imagine that being an actor was probably on the radar from a young age. He won the High School Actors’ Award when he went to Santa Monica High School.
Johnny: Alright. To my next question: In 1982, you released an album called Tane Cain. What’s your favorite memory of working on it?
Tane: Well, I love music in general. Just the physical feeling of singing and belting out a song that creates emotion…That alone was wonderful to me. I really enjoyed that. Just the whole experience of being a singer was pretty exciting.
Johnny: I’ve listened to that album. I particularly liked the song “Holdin’ On”. I feel that it was a real rollicking rocker that could’ve been heard in an 80s movie. It could’ve maybe accompanied a driving scene or something.
Tane: Right? Yes, I totally agree. It would’ve been good. I did have some music that was in the Terminator soundtrack…
Johnny: That’s actually my next question. Had you auditioned for a role in the movie before you ended up on the soundtrack?
Tane: No, I didn’t. My manager at the time was Bud Carr, and he had just started being the music coordinator on a lot of different feature films. He was hired to do the music coordination for The Terminator. I was in one of his bands that he managed, so I submitted some music and it got used. (Laughing) It’s as simple as that, really.
Johnny: Alright. Was there ever any discussion of your songs for The Terminator being put up for potential Oscar nominations for Best Original Song, or was Orion focusing more on Amadeus that year?
Tane: Yeah. There wasn’t any mention of it being up for any nomination, unfortunately. I did wish that the songs could’ve been heard more in popular music. I thought that was unfortunate because they were pretty good songs.
Johnny: Definitely. I think that “Burnin’ In The Third Degree” deserved more credit than it got.
Tane: Thank you. I appreciate that. I thought so, too (laughing).
Johnny: Okay. You had made an appearance as a child on your father’s show The Virginian, but your first adult acting role came when you played Sophie Fisher in the 1986 horror film Crawlspace. What’s your favorite memory of that movie?
Tane: I just loved being in Italy and shooting at Dino De Laurentiis’ studios. That was really exciting. I was very nervous because it was my first film, but I really, really enjoyed it…The whole experience. At lunchtime, we would have almost like a formal lunch. They would serve us wine, which was really interesting. They would never do that here in California. It was nice. I enjoyed it.
Johnny: Yeah. One of my interview subjects from recently, Galyn Görg, also talked about how she loved the meals in Italy when she was working there.
Tane: (Laughing) It’s true.
Johnny: Alright. In 1987, you played Sunny in Fred Olen Ray’s Commando Squad. Did he remember you from your contribution to the soundtrack of his movie Armed Response, or did you audition for the role?
Tane: I auditioned for the role, yeah. That’s how I got it. I just walked in the door. I auditioned for it, they liked me, and that’s how I got it.
Johnny: Alright. In 1989, you played Vicky in the movie Death Spa, one of many exercise-themed entertainments in the 80s. What do you think made exercise such a topic of fascination for 80s filmmakers, even if it was framed in the context of horror like this movie?
Tane: I think there was the release of all the VHS tapes of the Jane Fonda Workout videos and all those clothes that everybody was wearing…The tights, the leggings. They were a trend in fashion as well, and because it was so predominant in the culture of that era, I think that’s why filmmakers tried to incorporate it into their films.
Johnny: Alright. In 1995, you appeared in Assault Of The Party Nerds 2: The Heavy Petting Detective, a movie which also featured two of my previous interview subjects, Linnea Quigley and Rhonda Shear. What stood out the most to you about that project?
Tane: Well, Richard Gabai, who was the writer and director of that, is quite a power to be reckoned with. We are personal friends now. I just love that it was an innocent filmmaker doing his very best to be in this business. He had a great kind of humorous attitude towards life. He did a good job with slapstick, silly comedy. I had fun with it. It was fun, I’ll tell you that. It wasn’t serious. It was fun, a lot of laughing on the set, and that’s what I really liked.
Johnny: Definitely. I enjoyed it. Also in 1995, you played Mandy in Bikini Drive-In. Do you think that an actual bikini drive-in would be successful if it were organized as a limited pop-up event?
Tane: Actually, I think it would. I do have a really interesting story about that movie. While I was shooting that movie, I was dancing on the top of a car. They were projecting lights upon my body as if I were standing in front of a screen. We were shooting this film down in Azuza. It was a real drive-in theater with huge lighting rigs that were being used to light the theater so that we could shoot in it. There were big lighting towers. While I was on the car and while they were rolling, the giant 1994 earthquake happened in Los Angeles.
Tane: The car started moving. The lights were moving. The big crane lights were bouncing back and forth and everybody started yelling. I knelt down on the car because nobody wanted to get killed by one of the lights falling down. Right after that, we stopped shooting and checked the news. That’s what happened. It was really intense, and then I drove home from Azuza. I had a red Corvette at the time. The entire Valley was blacked out and huge plumes of flame were coming out of the ground. That’s my story about that (laughing).
Johnny: Fascinating. You played Bodacia in 1996’s Baywatch parody Babe Watch, and a year later, you guest-starred on an episode of Baywatch Nights, playing Jean Starger in the episode The Eighth Seal. What was it like to go from filming a parody to filming the real thing, or at least a spin-off of it?
Tane: Oh, I see what you’re saying. It was fun, actually. I had a really, really good time. I definitely enjoyed it. The Baywatch shoot was fun, but the parody was more fun (laughing). We got a little bit more of a kick out of it while we were shooting, and a lot more laughs.
Johnny: Alright. In 1998, you played a lounge lizard character in Terry Gilliam’s Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas, a touchstone of 90s cinema. Since I’m sure you watched Monty Python’s Flying Circus as a teenager, what was it like to work with Terry Gilliam?
Tane: It was terrific. I enjoyed it. I hung out with Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Toro, and we had lunch. I’m just going to say it: Both of them are rather method actors, so they really got into their parts. We all had lunch, and everything was good, but you could tell that they had not been bathing (laughing), and they were really playing up to their parts as much as they possibly could. I just noticed there was a strong odor, especially from Benicio Del Toro, but he was really, really nice, and I had a wonderful time. I just wish I had a larger role in the film, of course, but it was fun.
Johnny: Alright. You played Elle Woods’ mother in the Legally Blonde duology. Although the role was small, it was memorable. Which of the two Legally Blonde movies do you think was the better film to work on?
Tane: Well, for me, the first one. Originally, I had a much bigger role, actually. The original script was a little bit more like American Pie. It was a little more adult-oriented, and my character, Elle Woods’ mother, gave her advice on a lot of things including boys and sex. It was funny and scandalous and a little bit more edgy. When they realized that they had more of a general audience, PG-rated type of film, they decided they should go in that direction so that little girls could watch Legally Blonde. They cut out most of that dialogue, so my part shrunk. That was kind of a bummer, but it was a successful direction for it to go.
Johnny: Okay. To my next question: You’re the third actress, after Raye Hollitt and Spice Williams-Crosby, that I’ve interviewed from the movie ReVamped, but you’re the first person I’ve asked about that project. An enjoyable vampire movie with some really kick-ass action scenes, what drew you to the movie?
Tane: Well, I’ve been in this business a long time now, and I do have nice relationships with different people. Jeff Rector is a friend of mine, so he had called me. He was originally looking for a brunette to play the role. I came in and I read, although I didn’t really need to read for it. He liked my work in other films. We read through some of the scenes, and he said, “I see you as a brunette, Tane”. I said, “Let’s get a wig”. We got one. I wore a brunette wig and he said, “That’s it. There’s Lilith”, the character that he had envisioned. Ironically, he needed a little girl to play Half-Pint, this half-vampire, half-human little girl. He was doing big auditions for that, and I said, “Well, while you’re doing that, my daughter is also an actress”, and so she came in and read, and she got the part. It was like a fun little family movie for my daughter and I to do, so I had fun doing that.
Johnny: Alright. In recent years, you’ve become a director with your own production company, McClure Films. What has working behind-the-scenes provided for you that acting hasn’t?
Tane: That’s a really good question. I really, really enjoy helping other actors to build a scene or build a character. I was always interested in producing the whole time. I was always watching director and producers, watching cinematographers and editors, everything. I shot a film called Trance that I produced. It unfortunately had a limited release, but I really enjoyed doing it. Once the film was completed, one of the things that caused me a lot of trouble with the film was we had run out of money. We had financing but it wasn’t funded enough, and it was very expensive to do the post-production. I was so frustrated with that. I decided to learn how to edit, so that I never had that problem again. I taught myself how to edit. First, I would do use all sorts of different editing softwares, and then I started to use Final Cut. I became a professional editor, and I’ve edited on all sorts of formats, but the point is that it’s so lovely to be able to see a film from start to finish. I really enjoy the creative process. I’ve never been interested in just being a singer or a model or an actress. I really enjoy the entire creative process of it, and that’s why I really do love directing. I love producing. I love editing. It’s a great feeling. I’m hoping to do some more directing, and I am. I’m doing a commercial in the next week or so, but I always direct a lot of interview-based projects. I tend to get hired for that, but I have also edited and directed and produced a lot of educational films. I like that a lot, and I’m hoping to be able to do a lot more feature film-type editing as well.
Johnny: Alright. One of your more intriguing projects as a director was a short called Inside Autism. I’m on the autistic spectrum myself, albeit on the higher end with Asperger’s Syndrome. What’s the story behind Inside Autism, and how was the reaction in the autism community?
Tane: Well, that film has done really well, and honestly, it should be on television. It’s already been seen all around the world. I was hired to produce, oh my gosh, 150 hours of content for a company called LeafWing for Professionals. They’re higher educators for teachers and therapists, and they deal with people that are educators for children or adults with autism. This particular short was inside an hour-and-a-half long feature. The actual full-length piece was sort of structured, talking heads talking to people about how to understand autism and its’ spectrum. I produced that and it was really educational for me, really intriguing. I had to learn a lot. Basically, when you’re a producer and director on educational material, I joke that although people watching it get college credit for their Higher Education and extended learning, but I don’t get the higher education credit, just credit as a producer, but I have to understand it completely inside and out, literally. This particular short, Inside Autism, was just sort of an additional piece for people who view these long educational films to help them to truly understand and feel Autism. This particular story was written by a writer, and all the people who were involved were educators, all therapists and psychologists who are trained in dealing with autism or anybody on the spectrum. In this movie, you can see that the boy’s autism was a little more severe. He had problems with touch and sound. I really enjoyed trying to bring that to light. What was really incredible is that the boy that we cast did not actually have autism, but in the casting call, he blew the part right out of the water. How he did it was, he had a really good friend who had Asperger’s, so he understood him and the behavior patterns, and he also studied a lot. He came in really prepared. Before we started shooting the film, I was very clear with the educators on all the different mannerisms. I really learned a lot. We’ve had actual schools and colleges that have called me and wanted to license the film to play in school, but LeafWing for Professionals does not want to. It is on the Internet for people to see. They don’t want to license it to anybody else, but the feedback we got on it was really good, so we hope you enjoy it.
Johnny: Definitely. I mean, I was born in 1982. When I was younger, portrayals of autism were limited to Rain Man and the series finale of St. Elsewhere. I’m just glad we’re getting a more rounded picture of it now, and I want to thank you for that project.
Tane: Aww, I really appreciate that. It means a lot to me, very much so, because I really tried to show both sides of it. There’s the kid who doesn’t like him at first, and so he doesn’t understand and he’s frustrated, and then we only see his point of view at first. The kids don’t understand, and then they start to understand him better. You start to feel for the boy with autism, and you see inside of him into what he sees and what he feels. I get chills talking about it, and I love, at the ending, how they get a connection, and it’s wonderful. I know I enjoyed it myself (laughing).
Johnny: Fantastic. On a lighter note, you also directed a short called Fun With Dick And Jerry Van Dyke. The Van Dyke Brothers are fine examples of how you shouldn’t let age slow you down. What was it like to work with them, and did they have any advice for you that you’d like to pass along to our readers?
Tane: Well, they were absolutely fantastic. It was a super, super-fun shoot. They made me laugh. They were just terrific. We shot so much that it could’ve been an hour-and-a-half long, but it was for Fox news. They have a half-hour time slot for specials, so we had to cut it down. Oh, my God, they were just terrific. Super-pleasant, super-upbeat, super-funny, and they were just non-stop making us laugh. I would say probably the best advice I got from Dick Van Dyke and his brother Jerry is just like what you just said: Stay young…Youthful thinking, youthful views, and always pay attention to what’s going on now. Don’t get stuck in the past. They were just wonderful and funny. They make me laugh. Laughter is a key to happiness in many ways.
Johnny: Definitely. In addition to your entertainment work, you’re also active in working with horses. Horses are a running theme in your life, from the cover of your 1982 album to your business Dressage For All Disciplines. Were your father’s westerns the source of your work with horses, or did it come from someplace else?
Tane: My father, yes. Ironically, my mother was also a horsewoman when she was growing up, but since my father was on The Virginian, I would get to go to the set often with him in the Summer, almost every day. He spoiled me that way. I was always around horses, and Universal Studios at the time, was a home for a lot of westerns. The big one was The Virginian. On the back lot at Universal Studios, they had a huge stable, and my personal horse, I can’t believe I was so lucky, was staying at Universal Studios in the Summers when I was able to go see my dad and be on set. I’d go to work with him, go get my horse, and ride all around the back lots of Universal. It was just an incredible experience. My dad put me on a horse when I was less than a year old, I think. He just sat me up there, so I started loving them. I’ve been around them my whole life. I’ve always ridden. My sport throughout my life was horses. I worked with jumper horses, all kinds of different horses that I could ride. Later in life…You do it because it’s one of those things that keeps you healthy and keeps you young and athletic, but I’m pretty good at it and I’ve been doing it my whole life. People would start asking me to teach them, and it’s a way I feel I can enjoy my sport even more by sharing it with other people.
Tane: Here’s the funniest thing of all: After all these years, I became a professional rider, and I actually have a sponsorship. I have a saddle sponsorship. I joke and laugh because I’m not a young person anymore, but I’m really fit and really healthy. I’m still producing, but I haven’t been acting lately, although I may be doing a project soon. I kind of go where life takes me. I’ve always had multiple talents, and when I was in my 20s, sometimes producers would say to me, “Well, what are you? Are you a model? Are you an actress? A singer?”. They would get irritated at me, like I’m supposed to pick one. I couldn’t understand that, and I’d just say, “Okay, I’m an actress who sings. No, I’m a singer who acts”. How about I’m all of the above? I just enjoy it, so if I want to do something, if I see something in front of me, and it’s something that seems interesting to me, I want to do it. The good part about it is that I have a lot of different talents that I can do. I can sing. I can act. I can direct. I can edit. I can train horses. That’s terrific, but the bad part is that sometimes you feel like a jack-of-all-trades, you know what I mean? One day you’re horse-training. The next day, you’re directing and editing. It’s a little bit crazy, but it’s made me comfortable. It’s what I like to do, so it’s what I do.
Johnny: Fantastic. In middle school, my class would visit a therapeutic riding center once a week and ride the horses. My 7th grade year started shortly after Christopher Reeve’s accident, and I was reluctant to ride a horse. Do you ever fear, when riding a horse, that what happened to Christopher Reeve might happen to you as well?
Tane: The short answer is yes. However, I try not to think about that. The more educated you are, and the more training you have with horses, the safer you are. It’s sort of like being a really good pilot. Have you seen Sully, the movie about the pilot who landed his jet on the Hudson in New York?
Johnny: I’ve been meaning to see it. I’ll probably catch it on HBO.
Tane: It’s really good. Anyway, it’s a true story. Why I bring it up is because in the film, they ask him, and Tom Hanks plays the lead, if he was afraid when everything was happening. He said, “No. You just go back to your training”. That’s really true. The more advanced you are in your training with horses, or whatever you do that’s dangerous, whether you’re a pilot or a race car driver or a skydiver, you know what to do. Your brain kind of goes into training. Every now and then, I ride a horse that’s a little dangerous. Now that I’m a trainer, I’ll get on it. If I start to feel that we’re really in danger, if something isn’t going the way it should, I have a saying that I teach my students. “Live to ride another day”. If things don’t feel right, I get off and we do something on the ground, I work with the horse on the ground. It’s safer, I feel.
Johnny: Alright. On a lighter note, I saw a picture of you dressed in the style of Queen Elsa from Disney’s Frozen when riding a horse. What was the story behind that picture?
Tane: The horse belongs to Tracey Bregman. She’s an actress from The Young And The Restless. She’s a really good friend of mine, and that was her horse I trained. It was for a benefit exposition ride for Halloween. There were a bunch of kids there, as well as adults. I did a musical freestyle to the song “Frozen”. It was just a performance. It was fun.
Johnny: Cool. You’ve kept active as a musician. If you were to launch a PledgeMusic campaign to get new music out there, which five artists would you most like to work with?
Tane: Oh, that’s a great question. Wow, wow. I’d have to think about that. Pink…I like her a lot. I think she’s powerful. Michael Buble, if I want to do something entirely different. I’d love to sing a song with Michael Buble. That would just rock my world. Red Hot Chili Peppers…It would just be so much fun. And No Doubt.
Johnny: Two more questions to go: First, what would you say has been the biggest change in the entertainment industry between the 1980s and 2017?
Tane: The Internet. The Internet has changed the industry. In some areas, it’s helped it. In other areas, it’s hurt it. For example, in acting, it used to be that you would have your head shots printed, and your agents would mail them to the casting directors. The casting directors would actually handle hard copies of photographs of you, and then they’d bring you in for interviews and auditions. Nowadays, they will see you in person, but that’s usually more of the last step. A lot of times, everybody is on Frontier Casting or LA Talent or Now Casting. There’s a whole bunch of them. What you do as an actor, for example, is you put your picture up online, and you also post any scenes that you’ve done, or your acting reel. A casting director looks through these things and picks what they want, so there’s less of a personal connection. The biggest difference, although you can still do it now, is that in the old days, there was a lot more personal handling. Your agent or your manager would call casting directors for you, and they’ll do it now, too, but there’s much less of it since so much of it is online. That’s just acting. When it comes to music, in the 80s, there wasn’t so much of a risk for music being taken or stolen or bootlegged online at all. To promote your album, you did music videos because people wanted to see you. They still do music videos now, but there was MTV and everything like that, and you would be going to clubs to promote your songs in the beginning. Nowadays, people can actually have their own record labels easily and just promote themselves online. There’s none of that big record company support for up-and-coming artists, just like there isn’t that up-and-coming support for actors as they’re moving up. In the old days, you were surrounded by very talented managers, agents, producers, things like that, and they would mold you and put you in classes. Now it’s more of a free-for-all, and almost anybody on the planet can say they’re an actor, you know what I mean? They can put themselves up on any website. The industry’s been bludgeoned is what I’m kind of saying. Even though I’m a pretty good singer, I’m not so sure it would’ve been as easy for me to get an album out now as it was then.
Johnny: Alright. Now I come to my final question. I end most of my interviews with it and it’s this: If you could go back to your youth with the knowledge that you have now, would you do anything differently?
Tane: Yes (laughing). I want to say no because I have a lovely daughter and a husband. I wouldn’t want to do anything to alter that to change my life’s history, just in case. Maybe if I made my music career a little better, it changes the final outcome of where I am now. I would not want to change that. It would become a horror movie if, all of a sudden, I changed my path and now I don’t have my daughter. I know that sounds a little, well, romantic, but I do worry about some of that. If, for some reason, someone said, “I’m going to give you a magic pill. Nothing bad will happen. Just some of your history will have changed. You will still be right where you are and who you want to be with, you and your husband and your daughter. You can go back and change the past”? First and foremost, with my singing career, I wouldn’t have given up…Not to say that I gave up, as I still sing now and then, but I would not listen to some people who put me down. That’s the first thing. The second biggest thing that I would do is that I would NOT have done some of the kind of low-rent movies I had done because I felt like nothing was coming my way. I wouldn’t have done them. Those are the two biggest things that I would’ve done differently. Basically, I would’ve believed in myself more (laughing).
Johnny: Alright. Well, that about does it for my questions. It was an honor to finally be able to speak to you. I know we’ve been trying to set this up for a while now, and I’m glad I was finally able to talk to you. You’re really quite a tremendous and versatile talent, and it was great to speak to you.
Tane: Well, I’m really, really honored that you’re aware of my career, and you’re very connected to the details of my career. In fact, some of the things you bought up made me think, “Oh, yeah. I did that”. (Laughing) It was very, very nice of you, and I enjoyed speaking to you. Thank you so very much. I enjoyed our talk.
Johnny: Likewise, and I hope you have a good evening.
Tane: Thank you. You, too.
Johnny: Okay, bye.
Tane: Bye bye.
I would like to thank Tane for taking the time out of her busy schedule to speak to me. For more on Tane’s film work, visit McClure Films. For more on Tane’s equine work, visit Dressage For All Disciplines.
Stay tuned, because coming later this weekend is an interview with the phenomenally talented actress and dancer (among many other things) Debra Lamb.