Michael Madsen talks independent films, his Naperville connections
By David Sharos For The Sun September 20, 2012 3:04PM
MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - JUNE 14: Actor Michael Madsen arrives at the Closing Ceremony of the 52nd Monte Carlo TV Festival on June 14, 2012 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)
Updated: October 22, 2012 6:12AM
Naperville’s independent film festival will run through Saturday, and one of the biggest celebrities who will be dropping by is actor Michael Madsen.
A Chicago native, Madsen has been in dozens of films, some of which, like “Reservoir Dogs” and “Kill Bill,” have achieved cult-like status.
He will host “Reservoir Dogs” at 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m., “Strength and Honour” at 7 p.m. and “Vice” at 9 p.m. on Friday night at Hollywood Palms theaters on Route 59 in Naperville. Fans will have the opportunity to meet Madsen from 6 to 10 p.m.
Madsen is also in line to receive an award during the Naperville film fest.
The film legend talked to The Sun this week about his films, his interests, and his legacy:
Q: Your film “Vice” will have its Illinois premiere here at the Naperville Independent Film Festival. Tell us about the project.
A: “It’s a story about redemption. When I first read it, it hit me as a “B” movie that I really didn’t want to mess with and I thought it was stupid. I took the script and rewrote the beginning and the end and told them, if you’ll do it like this, then I’ll do it.”
Q: So what did you change?
A: “I changed the character of the women cop. They wanted her to be a blond and I changed that and other things to make her more believable. Having a girl cop is a tricky thing. I wanted this film to be about redemption, not just a bad ass cop blasting people. It’s about a man with a dead wife who doesn’t know what to do with himself. I think it’s kind of tricky and people are going to have to see it twice to get it.”
Q: A number of your films have been become cult favorites. Why has that happened?
A: “You can’t predict something like that. I do this or that, and sometimes things happen over time. In the movie “Hell Ride,” the plot made no sense but it was fun to watch. You had people in there like Dennis Hopper and the personalities of the people make it what it is. I’m glad the film is one of those cult things. There are a lot of big actors out there, big stars, that had films 20 years ago and no one cares. If I did a few that are “cult” films, that’s something where my kids and those that come after them can say I did something.”
Q: You’ve been in a number of independent films. What do these films offer that major studio releases don’t?
A: “When you do ‘indie’ films, you have the freedom to ad lib and make up things and go off script. In the movie “Reservoir Dogs” there is the scene with the ear that was not in the script. It’s something that occurred to me on the spot and I just made it up. There are just things that won’t happen when the major studio people are involved.”
Q: Why is an independent film festival like this one here in Naperville important?
A: “On a personal note, I have a dad here in Naperville and I also get to see my sister and spend some time with them. They’ll get to see films like ‘Strength and Honour’ that are more than a bunch of guns and cigarettes. It’s neat for my dad to see another side of me and say, ‘You did a good job.’ For the films themselves, it’s a chance for those films to find an audience, that’s the beauty of it. It’s sort of a redemption of its own, a do-over or a second chance.”