Actor Rex Linn spent Tuesday in and around the Oklahoma History Center, first talking up the museum's future Oklahoma Museum of Popular Culture (OK Pop), then to chat with guests about his career in a question-and-answer session ala “Inside the Actor's Studio.”
Linn is donating all his movie and TV memorabilia to OK Pop, including props from his recently canceled TV series “CSI: Miami.”
Linn played Detective Frank Tripp and wound up with a pair of David Caruso's dark sunglasses of his own.
The tall, rangy actor strolled into the museum sporting well-worn cowboy boots, jeans, a purple shirt and white tie with purple accents. He had a leather jacket slung over his arm.
Earlier Tuesday afternoon, he stood in front of a legislative panel with the center's executive director, Bob Blackburn, and explained why this planned museum will be a success, and why Tulsa is the perfect site for it.
Though the new OK Pop museum isn't scheduled to open until 2017, the History Center has been planning it for some time. It has had several exhibits that will have a permanent home in the new site, planned for 75,000 square feet in the Brady Arts District in downtown Tulsa.
Some of Linn's movie props are already on display at the History Center in the “Oklahoma @ the Movies,” display. They include keepsakes from his action movie, “Cliffhanger” and a his copy of the script “Django Unchained,” Quentin Tarantino's new Western, coming out late this year.
Before his question-and-answer session with the audience, the actor, born in Texas but an Oklahoman by choice, talked about his career and his future.
“They told us ‘CSI: Miami' was canceled on Mother's Day,” he explained, seated in a quiet office in the History Center. “We had a good run. It was on for 10 years, and for five of those it was the most watched show in the world. I knew it wouldn't last forever.”
Rex and Quentin
These days though, Linn is back where he started.
He goes to auditions and meetings, trying to find a part he likes, where the movie makers like him too.
He's on a lucky streak now. Along with “Django Unchained,” Linn can be seen in movies “Atlas Shrugged II” and in 2013's “Devil's Knot.”
He's excited about all his films, but working with Tarantino was interesting in a different way.
“My agent called me and told me Quentin wanted to meet me,” the actor said. “I figured it would be about a five-minute meeting and that would be it. We were together for an hour.”
Linn and Tarantino met three more times before Linn was cast as Tennessee Harry.
“Quentin has more enthusiasm than anyone I've ever met. There is always some kind of chase scene or action scene going on inside his head,” Linn said.
The director told Linn that though he didn't know exactly what he wanted him for, he would get something.
When Linn got the “Django Unchained” script, he discovered some of the funniest scenes were meant for him.
Then, the director did something strange.
“Quentin told me that he liked the scene so much he wanted to be in it, too, and that he would also be taking some of my lines,” Linn explained. “So, you'll know the scenes when you see them. We'll be on the screen with Don Johnson and Jonah Hill. The scenes may not be long, but you will remember them.”
Linn's career seems to be that way. No matter what he does, people remember him.
“It's not my movie. I'm just happy to be in the movie. I mean it's the most anticipated movie of the rest of this year,” he said. “It's a dream come true.”
Linn has a smaller role in “Devil's Knot,” a drama directed by Atom Egoyan. It's the story of men charged in the murders of three young boys in West Memphis.
“I don't have a big role, but it was wonderful to work with Atom. He is an actor's director,” Linn said. “I play kind of a villain in it.”
Revisiting his life
Linn was happy to be back in Oklahoma City, and is happier to find a place to keep all his mementos.
“I was looking around my house at my stuff, and I realized I have some stuff that is in storage and I don't have anywhere to keep it all,” he said. “This way, I can keep them out in public.”
And, maybe one day, something of his will inspire someone to become an actor.
“I can't wait to go through all the stuff in storage and reliving the memories.”
He may have to wait a bit before he starts his walk down memory lane.
He has a meeting scheduled Thursday with Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson for a project with them.
“I'll be flying home Wednesday and reading lines,” he said. “It's what unemployed actors do.”