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By Julie Wohlberg in New York City

CC:How were you first approached for the role of Mr. Blonde, and looking back, how does the role stand out in your career?
MM:I had done some scenes with Harvey (Keitel) in Thelma & Louise, and unfortunately those scenes were cut from the final movie. I was very disappointed, because I thought we had worked very well together. So, when they were casting for Reservoir Dogs, I think he remembered the work we had done together, and he suggested me to Quentin (Tarantino). Looking back, I think it's one of the roles I'm better-known for. It's funny to me, I have sort of a double persona in public. I'll see a family walking down the street, and the kids will all want to run over and shake my hand, because I played Glenn, the father, in Free Willy. The parents, though, will remember me as Mr. Blonde from Reservoir Dogs, so they'll keep their distance, almost like they think I'm really like the character I play in the movie.
CC:Ten years later, the film has become sort of a cult phenomenon. Did you, or did anyone else, expect that the film would reach this level of success?
MM:No, I really don't think anyone could foresee the level of success the film had. I think it was very well done, but I really don't think any of us expected that it would be this much of a success so many years later.
CC:Because of its level of success, Reservoir Dogs has gained quite a hardcore following. What's the weirdest experience you've ever had with a fan?
MM:I haven't had many weird experiences, really. People tend to be very respectful and friendly when they see me. Occasionally they'll throw out a line that they remember from the movie, but that's about it.
CC:A lot of fans remember the ear scene as one the film's defining moments. How much of that was choreographed ahead of time, and how much of it was impromptu?
MM:Actually, Quentin wasn't sure what he wanted to do with that scene, and neither was I. I wanted to use the song that was used, but at the time Quentin wasn't sure he'd be able to get the rights to it, so we were looking into other options. I wanted the song to be played from some kind of stereo in the room, but because we weren't sure we could use it, I ended up listening to it through an ear piece. The whole scene was shot in one afternoon, and the dance wasn't choreographed.
CC:How was working with Quentin Tarantino as opposed to working with other directors? Was he more controlling over his scenes, or more prone to let the actors express their creativity?
MM:Quentin is very enthusiastic about any project he works on, and it really rubs off on the cast.
CC:You just finished working on another project with him. Has he changed any in 10 years? What can you tell us about your latest part?
MM:I just finished another project with him, Kill Bill, where I play Bill's brother. I don't think he has changed. He has a great and unique style.
CC:You also just finished working on the James Bond film, Die Another Day. What can you tell us about that role?
MM:Well, the role I have in the film is a small one. I always wanted to do a James Bond film, and they offered me a part where I die, and I didn't want that role, so they gave me a smaller role, but a recurring one, so that opened up the possibility for a larger part in the future.
CC:You say you have a dual nature in terms of public image. You've been cast as characters across the board, but many of your characters have had dark and mysterious personas. Is that at all a reflection of your true personality? Which character do you think most closely resembles who you truly are?
MM:No, not at all. I'm not the dark and mysterious person at all. In terms of my roles, I don't think I've played a really "me" role yet. It's a tough question. I'd like to say I most closely resemble Glenn, but he was perhaps too much of a Disney Dad, and I don't know that I'm that flawless. I have four sons, and they're the main focus in my life, but I don't know that I'm exactly like Glenn. No, I don't think I've played that role yet.
CC:How has being a father affected your acting career? Do you think it's affected your choices of roles? Does acting interfere with fatherhood?
MM:Well, I certainly draw the line on what roles I take. My children haven't seen some of my more adult films, and I'm not in any hurry for them to. I think that being a father has in a way hurt my acting career. I don't think that it's at the point where it could be, because I've been focusing on raising my children, but I wouldn't have done it any other way. My kids will always come first.
CC:You had what seemed like overnight success with Reservoir Dogs. How was the start of your acting career?
MM:Well, I did some work before that, but Reservoir Dogs was definitely the role that got my name out. I think I was fortunate to have a role like that to get me out there, because it's a tough career.
CC:What advice would you give to someone who is starting out in that field?
MM:Well, first, I would tell him to make sure that he really wants to be an actor. If there's any doubt about it, then it's not the right career for him. There will be a lot of disappointments, especially early on, but even later. No one is going to do anyone else any favors. That's why they call it show business, because it's a business. If he's absolutely sure that he wants to act, then I'd suggest going for it, but preparing for the hard work and many disappointments that he will have before he ever gets a good role. And he may not. There are thousands of kids out there who want to act. Some can, and some can't. Even those who can may never get noticed, and that's just the way the cookie crumbles.
CC:Fans are wondering if there is any truth to the rumored film about the Vega Brothers. Is there, and what can you tell us about it?
MM:Quentin and I have talked about doing a film about the Vega brothers. He has the idea in his head, where Travolta and I would play club owners in Amsterdam. I do see the film being made. He just has to finish work on Kill Bill and the World War II movie he's working on, so it won't be for another 2 or 3 years, but I do see it happening then.

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