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Ogre: Still crazy after all these years Print E-mail
Written by JON SINGER; side photo by BARRY BRECHEISEN   
Sunday, 28 August 2005
"Ogre!" "Ogre!" "Ogre!"

The crowd chants as the biggest and scariest jock of "Revenge of the Nerds" holds a helpless victim off of the Alpha Beta frat house.

Then, the movie's plot begins. Ogre yells, "NERDS!" as he spots lowly Gilbert Lowell and oblivious Lewis Skolnick across the campus. Ogre is so flustered that he drops the poor, nameless victim two stories to the ground.

For everyone who's ever been called a nerd, geek, or dork, a hero is born in Lewis and the nerds, and an anti-hero in Ogre and the jocks.

Donald Gibb, who gave life to Ogre in a magnificent performance. He perfectly straddled the line between reality and caricature. Ogre is just believable enough for audiences. Everyone knows an Ogre in their group of friends.

Gibb, didn't have to look far for inspiration.
"I think a lot of Ogre was me," Gibb says. "Whenever you play a character there's always some of you in that character. I was in a fraternity in college and I think I drew off a lot of that crud."

Catching the role was a big break for Gibb. He had previously done bits in "Magnum P.I.," "Lost in America," and more, but "Revenge of the Nerds" was his first time in the spotlight.

"I really had just started acting, I was actually a stuntman," Gibb says. "['Nerds'] pretty much put me on the map as far as comedy goes."

Gibb's chance at playing Ogre didn't come easy. He had a little luck on his side. Or, let's just say he had friends in high enough places.

"I read for them, and I didn't think I was going to get it," Gibb says. "Then a stunt coordinator, who was a friend of mine, called me up and said , 'Listen, man, if you shave that beard off they want to see you.'"

The beard made 28-year-old Gibb look too old, so he promptly shaved it off and read for the part again. And a third time. Finally, he got the part.

From the start and with leeway from director Jeff Kanew, Gibb molded Ogre from afterthought to American cinematic icon.

"I think they really thought they were hiring a stuntman, so they didn't think too much until I started doing the movie," Gibb says. "Then they realized that they had something pretty funny and they started adding stuff to my part."

The classic crazy hair and look was all Gibb's doing.

"I started frizzing my hair up every day, it just started happening," Gibb says. "I just became Ogre, and [Kanew] pretty much let me do whatever I wanted."

"I tried to make Ogre as crazy as I could, within limits," Gibb says. "If you cross the line between funny and then you go over to ridiculous, people don't laugh anymore, it becomes pathetic."

As much as a jock icon as Ogre was and still is today, "Nerds" fans must keep in mind that he became a Tri-Lam in "Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise." Gibb thinks Ogre was always a nerd.

"I think [producers] figured Ogre was a nerd, basically through the whole thing," Gibb says. "I wanted to make the character a jock, but one who didn't really understand what was going on. So they kind of went with me on that."

Today, 50-year-old Gibb hangs out in Chicago. Though he's lived in Los Angeles most of his life, he's got a business and a girlfriend in the Windy City.

"It's a big city with nice people. I don't really dig the winters, I'm used to California, 58 degrees, 78 degrees," Gibb says. "This minus-5 stuff I'm really not too hip on."

Gibb has started selling Ogre Beer with a partner in Chicago. The beer is in about 200 stores in the greater Chicago area. Plans are to go national in the near future. Until then, he is taking a break from acting, although he acted a part in the drama "Lightning Bug" about a year ago. It has since been in several film festivals.
Gibb can't go anywhere without being recognized as Ogre.

"It's just absolutely beyond belief," Gibb says. "If you're with me, you just can't believe it, everybody recognizes you."

To see Gibb for yourself, visit Trader Todd's at 3216 N. Sheffield Ave. in Chicago. The bar is owned by Gibb's beer business partner, and Gibb frequents the bar often. Be sure to tell him Lumino sent you!

Top photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox

Comments
Matej
Written by Guest on 2007-08-03 13:58:12
yes :grin
Written by Guest on 2008-08-07 05:30:18
:x poop
Everybody loves Ogre!!!
Written by Guest on 2008-12-22 11:38:33
Donald Gibb is a wonderful actor, and I hope someday to meet him and have a beer with the one and only OGRE!! I will get this beer , whatever it takes, and next time in Chicago, drop by Traders Todd's!Thanks for the great article!
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