Phase9 Entertainment

KILL BILL VOLUME 2 - US interview with Michael Madsen

Did you see the need for making two films out of this, or do you think Quentin was a little indecisive in the edit room?

I think that it wasn't a product of indecisiveness in any way, shape or form. I think that it was all just the opposite. They had so much good footage and so many good scenes that they didn't want to cut anything out, and they realized that they had more than they needed for one movie. So they decided to cut it in half. It started out as a joke. Miramax suggested to Quentin, listen, man, you got a lot of stuff, maybe we should have part one and part two, and he thought they were kidding. He thought it was preposterous. Then as he thought about it a little bit longer, it started to make a little more sense. I personally think it was a good idea. It was a wise choice.

Has the story come full circle for you with the completion of VOLUME 2?

Well, sure. It'll come full circle [in the USA] on April 16 (2004) when it's released. And then we'll see what happens. By the 17th or 18th I'll figure out whether it's a full circle or not. And then I'll wait and see if my phone rings and I get another job. If I'm back in the unemployment line I don't know if that circle will have been completed or I'll just be back where I started from.

Do you owe a certain debt of gratitude to Quentin for giving you probably two of your most memorable roles?

Of course. Of course I do. I have a lot of gratitude towards him, but I try to repay him by giving him a good performance. In fact, I saw him last night after I was done and we were sitting downstairs. I said, You've done a nice thing for me. And he goes, Yeah, but Michael, you've done a nice thing for me. It's such a gentlemanly thing for him to say. That's just nice.

I was thinking, for your character in particular, it's hard to imagine the transformation of your character within one film, let's say...


The progression of your character from VOLUME 1 to VOLUME 2 just seems so completely distant.

Well, I hope that I had somewhere to go. I didn't want to just be a one-note character. Quentin wanted me to cut my hair originally and he didn't want me to wear that hat, so a lot of stuff that I did... I had to convince him that that was the look I wanted to have, and it took a while. Then finally at the end I had to chop it off for the scene in front of the church, when the Vipers go in with the machine guns. I just wanted him to appear different than RESERVOIR DOGS.

For Budd, is this a certain fall from grace perhaps... I mean he's stuck in this trailer in the middle of the desert... seems to be hiding out with a certain resignation, doesn't he...

Well, I think it was a conscious choice on his part, to get away from the life that he was in. Sometimes change can be good for a person. One can wonder what might have ever happened to Budd had The Bride not come back into his life to look for him. Who knows what he would have done? I guess maybe he would have stayed out there forever until somebody put a bullet in him some night in the club or something, but you read a lot about people who just disappear and who just go off to live a simpler life somewhere. I guess there's a lot to be said for that in a funny way.

You seem to have, not dropped out, but you've been a little quiet between pretty high profile movies...

Myself... Well, I spend a great deal of time with my sons, I have four boys, I have five boys actually, one's my stepson. But I felt as if I'd been neglecting them for a while, and I really wanted to not miss their growing up when they're little guys, and I think they need me, and I didn't want them to someday be twenty-five years old and look across the room and say, Where the hell have you been Dad? I'd be like, oh, well, well, uh, I was making movies... I don't want to live with that. So I took a great deal of time to just hang with them and spend time with them and get involved with the things that they were doing, being around when they wake up and when they go to sleep and that kind of thing... creating memories that will last a lifetime. I don't want my sons to listen to me because they fear me; I'd like them to listen to me because they love me and they respect me. That's something you have to build, you can't just say that's how it is, you gotta do it. And during that time I wasn't very wise about the things I chose to do. And I did a lot of pictures that I probably shouldn't have made. But I needed to keep a roof over my head and I needed to get groceries. It's a learning experience, all of it. I'm very much closer to all my sons now and everything is a little bit different. So I think now that my once promising career is resurrecting itself, I'm going to spend a little bit more time and be a little bit more choosy about what I pick to do. But I just hope that those choices come along, or else I'm going to go back to the B-movie world.

Tarantino seems to have a gift for casting actors that, let's say, have been under-appreciated lately.

Well, he does, and he has a way of making lightning strike. So I'm subconsciously hoping for that. I try not to predict things and I try not to put my hopes too high because it can be a far fall down when you place your expectations too high. I set the bar pretty high when I started out. That could have been the reason why I got a little frustrated along the way. But I'm a little smarter than I used to be, so we'll see what happens after the 16th.

In this film there seems to be a lot more introspection where the characters are concerned. And for Budd, as I said, he seems somewhat resigned to the fact that The Bride deserves her revenge.

Well, I'm the only one who actually comes right out and says it. But I believe that it's a fact. Let's face it, look what was done to her, Good Lord... come on. I think she's justified. I'll defend myself, I'm not gonna roll over and say, Kill me. But then again, I have to admit I understand what she's after.

Budd's not really the elegant practitioner of martial arts, he's more of a double-barrel kind of guy.

I guess he kinda did that on the spur of the moment. It just seemed like a good idea at the time. It had a kind of finality to it. And I think he wanted to prolong the whole thing which is why he used rock salt instead of buckshot. Had it been buckshot that would have been the end of the film right then and there in the desert because at that range, with two barrels in the chest, that would have been the end. But I suppose either he ran out of buckshot and maybe the rock salt was all the had laying around the trailer, or maybe he decided that he wanted to prolong the experience of doing away with her. It depends on how you look at it.

That trailer of Budd's would seem like an unlikely location for a couple of monumental showdowns.

Yeah, it does seem very unlikely, but that came out of the mind of Quentin Tarantino. Where he came up with that I have no idea. But I'm telling you, when you walked into that trailer it was like someone really lived there. I mean if you would reach down and open a drawer, the drawer was all filled with stuff that Budd would have. And you never see that on camera. Nobody's filming what's in the drawer. You never see it in the movie. It's just details like that, that they went to that length to create those details. I could have lived in there. All Budd's clothes are in the closet; there was a bed in there with blankets and the bathroom worked; there was a refrigerator and records. When you walked in there, someone lived there. But that's the environment that he created and that's the environment he creates for the actors. It's incredible, it's kind of unsettling sometimes, it's neurotic. You're like, oh my God, why don't I just stay here? I don't want to go back to the hotel.

Are those the boots you wanted too?

Oh, no. I got these in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

But they're similar, right?

Uh, the other ones were all red -- red python. I put these on in the dark the other day when I left for the hotel and now I'm stuck with them 'cause I don't have anything else to put on.

Thanks for your time.

Alright. See you later. Thanks for coming in.

Question & Answer Text Copyright Buena Vista International