Michael Madsen figures it's time for an image make-over. His Reservoir Dogs Mr. Blonde thing doesn't wear well anymore. Ironically, Madsen's role as Budd in Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill series just might help him. What might be effective in wiping out his Mr. Blonde association is a scene in Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (opening today) in which his character buries alive the Bride (Uma Thurman). "I'll always be the guy who cuts off the cop's ear," admits the 45-year-old actor, referring to the Reservoir Dogs sequence. "I've been trying to get away from that tag for a while, so I'm hoping it will be Budd that does it. He has a pretty good shot at it. I think he outdid Mr. Blonde." Only time and fans will tell, but one thing is certain: Moviegoers who saw that classic Reservoir Dogs Mr. Blonde moment can't listen to the song that accompanies it in the same way. "Yeah," says Madsen, smirking, "Stuck in the Middle With You. I can't listen to it the same way either." So while he waits to see if Budd eclipses Blonde, Madsen reports he's looking forward to starting the Tarantino Second World War film, Inglorious Bastards. "My name's gonna be Babe Buchinski," he says. "Buchinski was Charlie Bronson's real last name, so that's an honour. And there are two main characters, which would be myself and Tim Roth. And one betrays the other one at the end, but Quentin said he hasn't decided which one." Meantime, Madsen is trying to raise money to start shooting Pretty Boy, his 1930s gangster picture profiling the life and times of Pretty Boy Floyd. He's also preparing to release a book of his stories, called 46 Down. Uh, 46 Down? "My name was the answer to a crossword puzzle in The New York Times. It was 46 down," says Madsen. "So I thought that would work." And what was the clue to 46 down? Madsen grins sheepishly, "It was like, 'The guy who cut the cop's ear off.' Yeah, real subtle."
© National Post 2004