VANCOUVER -- If the mysterious "Hollywood star whackers'' that Randy Quaid and his wife say forced them to flee to Canada are still after the couple, they won't have a difficult time tracking them down.
In fact, Quaid and his wife Evi appear to be publicly taunting them. Tonight. At the Rio theatre.
When they were arrested in Vancouver last October, the couple described a murderous plot involving shadowy accountants and lawyers bent on robbing wealth from movie stars. Suicides and accidental deaths in Hollywood were really murders, the Quaids claimed, and they were next.
The Quaids insist they are afraid for their own safety, but those fears haven't kept them from feeding off -- and feeding into -- the tabloid headlines that have followed them since their arrival in Vancouver.
Last month, Randy Quaid took to the stage at a popular downtown music venue to debut a song called "Star Whackers,'' a frantic rock number about the supposed plot to kill him and his wife.
And this Friday, Evi Quaid will screen a film titled -- of course -- "Star Whackers'' at a local movie theatre before she and her husband answer questions from the audience. The film is billed as a "cash cow'' docu-drama starring Randy Quaid in three roles -- presumably, at least one of those roles is Quaid himself.
The Quaids' antics have earned them comparisons to Charlie Sheen's bizarre, unpredictable behaviour in recent weeks, and their enthusiastic marketing of the very "star whackers'' they claim to fear has suggested they may even be in on the joke.
But Evi Quaid bristles at the suggestion there's anything amusing about the self-described "hell'' the couple has been through -- and she insists it's no joke.
"No, it's a serious, painful, daily thing to be pursued so maliciously,'' she said during a brief interview between rehearsals for Friday's show at the Rio Theatre.
"And as artists, we have no choice but to express ourselves as art and through our art. And we're funny people, so you express your pain through humour.''
The Quaids were arrested in Vancouver on a warrant from Santa Barbara, Calif., where they face charges of felony vandalism.
After their release, they immediately sought refugee status, arguing they could be killed if forced to return to the U.S. They claimed that's what happened to actors Heath Ledger, who died of an accidental drug overdose in New York City, and David Carradine, who was found hanging in a Bangkok hotel room.
The case took an even more bizarre turn when Evi Quaid revealed her father was born in Canada and, consequently, she was eligible for Canadian citizenship. She officially became a citizen in February.
Evi Quaid has said the film she's showing on Friday is about their recent troubles in the U.S. and Canada, but she's said little else about what the audience can expect. The version playing this week is a "work-in-progress and highly experimental with nudity (and) adult language,'' according to a description on the theatre's website. The audience will also see "Real Time,'' a 2008 Canadian film also starring Quaid.
At the rehearsal earlier in the week, silent clips from the film were playing behind Quaid as he practised a new song with his band. It was difficult to guess what was happening in a scene that showed Quaid lying on the ground talking to the camera with a frightful look on his face.
"The power of song and the power of film and the visual medium,'' Evi Quaid responded when asked what she hopes the audience takes away from the event. "We're artists. I want them to have a great night, and I want the hell we've been through to serve our art at this point.''
Randy Quaid's new song debuting Friday, titled "Mr. D.A. Man,'' is a mellow country ballad about a district attorney in California the couple feels has wrongly targeted them.
"You get your kicks arresting the well-known on trumped-up charges that are overblown,'' sang Quaid during rehearsal, standing alongside his band, the Fugitives. "Must make your ego swell with pride, when the story breaks out nationwide.''
The Rio has nearly 450 seats, and theatre owner Corinne Lea is hoping for a full house.
Lea said she expects the audience will be a mix, with some people showing up to see whether the Quaids have lost it, and others who've been drawn in by their conspiracy theory.
"Are they actors gone mad, or is it the decadence of Hollywood? That's a question people have,'' said Lea. "I also think there's a lot of people who think, 'Maybe they're not so crazy.' There are a lot of people who like conspiracy theories, and there are a lot of people who might feel there is some validity in what Randy and Evi have to say.''