Mistress of the Universe: Under the Spell of Meg Foster

By: Jase Peeples

Best known for her captivating blue eyes and generous appearances in genre films, Meg Foster became an instant icon for geeks everywhere when she donned the cape of Evil-Lyn in 1987’s live-action film Masters of the Universe.

As the movie celebrates its 25thyear, Gay.net caught up with the legendary lady to chat with her about playing Skeletor’s right hand woman, her gay fan following, and the possibility of returning to Eternia.

Gay.net: When did you discover your love for acting?
Meg Foster: I became involved in theatre when I was a student at an all-girls boarding school in the 1960s. Now, because we were all girls, we often played the parts of men and it was such a liberating experience to become so many other people in a way I never could have anywhere else. For many of those parts we’d have to take our hair, pin it up, bind our breasts, and put on things like tuxedos. Keep in mind this was a time when it wasn’t even common for women to wear pants. It was all wonderfully free. In that environment of boarding school theatre I experienced a freedom I’d never known and it was amazing. I learned that theatre changed people in fascinating ways and that transformed my outlook on everything.

Were you familiar with Masters of the Universe before you played the part of Evil-Lyn?
Only a little bit. I was never a very big television watcher, but I was certainly aware of the cartoon and the toys and, of course, how popular they were at that time. I will say that I was so happy to do it because, at its heart, it was a movie for children and I hadn’t done anything like that before then. I was thrilled to finally have that chance.

Once you found out you’d landed the role of Evil-Lyn did you watch the cartoon or read any of the comics to prepare for the part?
No. I didn’t want to go into shooting with any preconceived notions. I knew I’d be working with a director who had his own vision and I didn’t want any other interpretations of those characters to cloud that. Once we began working on the film it all solidified very quickly and I think that’s because we were all so open to (Director) Gary Goddard’s vision. We were all very much in the moment and I think that helped ground the film’s humanity because that’s what it’s about. It’s a film about humans. Humans from Eternia, but still, humans nonetheless.

Evil-Lyn’s costume is, hands down, the most fabulous of the entire film. However, fabulous fashions aren’t always the most comfortable. Was it difficult to work in that costume?
Well, let’s just say it certainly gave me posture. (Laughs) I will say the cape, though gorgeous, was quite heavy and pulled my shoulders way back and there were so many layers to the outfit that it made sitting rather uncomfortable – especially in the pelvic area. So, I got used to standing quite a bit and had to come up with creative ways to stand between scenes. However, I simply let all that inform the physicality of the character – the way she walked; the way she moved; the way she stood. In that aspect the costume was a tremendous help and it really was so beautiful.

When you were filming Masters of the Universe, did you ever think fans would still be talking about the movie 25 years later?
Not at all, but I’m thrilled and so humbled by it. I certainly didn’t have any expectations at the time. I simply did my work and went home. However, once I began appearing at conventions I realized how much love people have for what we did and that’s so very touching. In fact, I didn’t know what to expect when I went to my first convention. I knew there were fans, but I had no idea how alive all of this was or how it still brings so many people together. It’s very tribal, because people congregate from all over the world at conventions and we all know something about each other because of our love for this art and these wonderful characters. It’s so familial and I feel that every time I walk through the doors of a convention. It’s a place I never knew I belonged until then and I’ve learned so much about myself through my fans.

Speaking of your fans, there are quite a few gay men among your admirers. Were you aware of your gay fan following in the past?
(Laughs) I had no idea. At least not until I started doing conventions and these beautiful young men were coming up to me and telling me how fabulous they thought I was. They’re all so very sweet. Well, all the fans have been really sweet, but my gay male fans have been so kind and so loving and I’ve been so happy to hear their stories. It’s very humbling to hear how my work has touched them. I’m so pleased about it.

Why do you think gay men have connected with you and your work?
I’d like to think it’s because I have a fierce sense of self and, whether you realize it or not, as an actor that comes through your work. I was a glorious tomboy in my youth. I'd be playing football one moment and the next I would be playing with dolls in the forest and I’ve never shied away from being true to who I am. I think for many young gay people, they have to learn from an early age to have a fierce sense of self as well if they’re going to survive. I grew up at a time when the world was very different for little girls and I will say that when you’re cultivating that fierceness in yourself, you sense it in others as well and there’s an immediate connection.

You recently finished working on a new project, the soon-to-be-released horror film The Lords of Salem by director Rob Zombie. What was it like working with another icon of the genre?
Working with Rob Zombie has been an incredible experience. Each day was like walking into a labyrinth. You would walk into a scene and not know exactly how you were getting out, but when you did, you knew you were going to come out a different person than the one who walked in. It’s not something I can easily explain, but I will say that the vibration of the whole environment he creates is electric. No part of the experience was negative. It’s all been so positive and I’m ecstatic to have been a part of it. I’ve never experienced anything like it.

The possibility of a new Masters of the Universe film has been rumbling around the rumor mill for a while now. If the project were to happen, would you have any interest in returning to Eternia?

I would be if I thought it was right – and if they wanted me. But I certainly couldn’t be Evil-lyn again. She doesn’t age. Perhaps I could be another witch or a ratty old woman on the side. (Laughs) But yes, it would be fun to visit Eternia once again.