The good vil­lain

Hol­ly­wood ac­tor Michael Mad­sen who is noted for his bad guy roles, is in the cap­i­tal city to film a Malaysian movie.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - MOVIES - By ALLAN KOAY

IAM seated next to Mr Blond, and I’m scared that he might take out a ra­zor and slice my ear off. He’s a big guy; his hands are big. And all the time, I hear Steal­ers Wheel’s Stuck In The Mid­dle With You play­ing in my head.

I can’t help it. That was such an iconic scene in Quentin Tarantino’s Reser­voir Dogs. Michael Mad­sen has had so many mem­o­rable scenes in other movies, but the tor­ture by Mr Blond is prob­a­bly the one that gave him cin­e­matic im­mor­tal­ity. His char­ac­ter is cool, charm­ing, hu­mor­ous and so de­tached that it makes him even scarier.

A cult movie icon, Mad­sen is cur­rently in Kuala Lumpur for a role in Malaysian pro­duc­tion, Prince Of The City. Pro­duced by Axis Line En­ter­tain­ment, the movie also stars Ju­lian Cheah, Aaron Aziz and Je­han Miskin. The shoot is un­der­way and will be com­pleted on Oct 14.

Seated in Over­time, a restau­rant-cum-club in Pav­il­ion KL in the cap­i­tal city on a late evening, Mad­sen is cool and laid-back, like many of the char­ac­ters he has played.

In his trade­mark raspy voice, he de­scribes the day he’s had: “We had a five-day scene to shoot. It took a long time, about five to six hours. But there were a lot of tricky shots. We were in a small space, so it took a long time to shoot.”

Mad­sen plays Ben Carl­ton, a shady New Yorker who helps Cheah’s lead char­ac­ter, Prince Amara, to clear his name af­ter the later is framed for a mur­der by his own brother.

Mad­sen re­veals how he ended up mak­ing a movie in Malaysia.

“Ju­lian had been think­ing of me for this for a long time,” he ex­plains. “If some­body has that kind of faith and be­lief in you, you gotta wanna show up and do the right thing. I was sup­posed to be here like a week ago, but my sched­ule kept chang­ing and I didn’t think I was go­ing to make it.

But he waited for me. In Hol­ly­wood, man, no­body does that. You don’t show up on time for some­thing, they’d just move on. But he waited for me, and I re­ally re­spect him for that. He didn’t have to do that, but I’m glad it worked out.”

Over his long ca­reer, Mad­sen has played a lot of bad-guy roles that it’s some­times easy to for­get just how varied the char­ac­ters are which he has brought to life on screen. He has played a fa­ther in Free Willy and a cop in Species, among oth­ers. In Prince Of The City,City he once again takes on a vil­lain­ous role, but one with a dif­fer­ence.

“This has a dif­fer­ent kind of end­ing,” says Mad­sen. “I thought it’s an in­ter­est­ing way to end it. It’s not the usual kind of end­ing, it’s not pre­dictable. I don’t get tossed out of a win­dow or any­thing.”

But that wasn’t the only thing that drew him to join this pro­duc­tion. “I al­ways like to get out of the United States. I al­ways like to shoot stuff in this part of the world, mak­ing pic­tures,” he adds.

This is not the first time Mad­sen has been to South-East Asia. Three years ago, he had a role in a Philip­pines pro­duc­tion, Road Raiders, di­rected by Cirio San­ti­ago (who sadly passed away shortly af­ter the film was shot). He re­turned to the Philip­pines last year to pro­mote the sci-scifi thriller Out­rage di­rected­di­rected by an­other Filipino, Ace Cruz.

“The time I’ve spent here, it’s al­ways been good,” says Mad­sen. “I like the weather.” Doesn’t it get a bit too hot some­times? “Yeah, but I have a girl on the set who waves her notebook!” he says with a laugh. “Puts some breeze in my face which is very sweet.”

In Prince Of The City, he dons a suit for both in­te­rior and ex­te­rior scenes. I tell him that wear­ing a suit in our weather can be hell.

“That’s why they have fans. And every­time I have a break, I make it into the air-con­di­tioned room!” he says with a laugh again.

Then he lets us in on the se­cret of play­ing bad guys: “If you’re gonna play a crim­i­nal ... the real per­son doesn’t re­ally think of him­self as a crim­i­nal. He thinks that every­thing he does is all right. You can’t start think­ing that you’re do­ing the wrong thing, you have to think that you’re do­ing the right thing.”

But he does ad­mit that he is get­ting bored of bad-guy roles. “Un­less it’s writ­ten re­ally well,” he says. “And this one (Ben Carl­ton) is writ­ten well, with good di­a­logue. Kelvin (Wong) for his first screen­play, I thought he did a good job. I usu­ally rein­ter­pret things, and I never re­ally say ex­actly what is writ­ten. But I make sure that I stay on the right sub­ject. I think I’m a lead­ing man trapped in a bad guy’s body.”

But de­spite hav­ing sliced some­one’s ear off on-screen, Mad­sen has said be­fore that off­screen, he dis­likes vi­o­lence.

“I don’t ap­pre­ci­ate vi­o­lence to­wards women and chil­dren,” he ex­plains. “And I don’t play parts where I do any­thing to women and chil­dren. When you watch TV, there’s a lot more vi­o­lence go­ing on in the world, a lot worse than there is in any movie. This is en­ter­tain­ment at the end of the day. I don’t re­ally have any po­lit­i­cal view­points on this, but I think it’s a part of life. But I don’t seek it.”

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