Back in the time when we were still naive, we stumbled upon a convention named "Weekend of Horrors" (In the following year the organization of this Convention split up. Nowadays there are 2 conventions: "Weekend of Horrors" and "Weekend of Hell"). We just attended a Halloween-event at Gaiazoo, you can read about this here. Anyways we had a look at the guestlist and my jaw dropped at the moment I saw that Michael Madsen would be a guest. This made my heart jump for joy. Madsen played in a lot of very cool movies and among these are some of my favourites (like "Reservoir Dogs", "Kill Bill" and "Donnie Brasco"). You can read all about Madsen's career in our special "In the Spotlight: Michael Madsen".
We bought our tickets for the convention, but a few days before our first convention Michael Madsen had to cancel his appearance (he had to attend shooting for "The Hateful Eight"). This news made me have a face as long as a fiddle. You can imagine my happiness when Weekend of Hell announced Madsen as a guest for their 2015 edition.
But Madsen wasn't the only big name on the amazing guestlist of WOH 2015. Among other guests were: Mark Boone Jr&David Labrava ("Sons of Anarchy"), Tobin Bell ("Saw"), William Baldwin ("Backdraft"), Amanda Bearse ("Married with Children", "Fright Night"), Corey Feldman ("The Goonies", "The Lost Boys", "Stand by me", "Gremlins"), Brad Douriff ("Child's Play") IronE Singleton, Jose Pablo Cantillo & Travis Love ("The Walking Dead"), Ken Foree ( "Dawn of the Dead") and many, many more. Needless to say Carola and I were psyched when we walked in!
When I first saw Mr. Madsen I was a bit intimidated (yes I know that in real life he is not the man he plays in the movies, but hey it's Michael Madsen...one of the coolest guys to walk this earth). I knew I wanted to meet him, but I didn't know what to choose (autograph or photo op) yet. Ofcourse I would have loved to do both, but my bank account decided otherwise. So first we attended his Q&A on friday.
Q&A Michael Madsen
During the Q&A Michael obviously talked about his collaborations with Quentin Tarantino. Their first movie-collaboration was the brilliant "Reservoir Dogs". Madsen auditioned for the role of Mr. Pink, but Tarantino thought he should play Mr. Blonde (Tarantino apparently said: "You're not Mr. Pink, you're Mr. Blonde. And if you're not Mr. Blonde, you're not in the movie."). "Reservoir Dogs" was Tarantino's debut, so the budget was low. He wanted the robbers to have a certain anonimity, so they had to wear the same costumes: a dark suit, white shirt and dark tie. Because of the movie's low budget, there wasn't enough money to buy identical suits. This is why Tim Roth and Steve Buscemi are wearing black jeans and according to Madsen this is also why Mr. Blonde is wearing his characteristic cowboy boots. There wasn't enough money to buy identical shoes and Madsen didn't own any dress shoes, so he wore his own black cowboy boots:
"When I did Reservoir Dogs, I didn't know what the hell I was doing...I
honestly didn't know what I was doing. The only thing I remember
is my pants were too tight and the only reason I had those cowboy
boots on is because I didn't have any black dress shoes. We were
all supposed to be in black, with black dress shoes. And I didn't
have any. I had black cowboy boots, so that's how that happened.
Steve Buscemi didn't have any black dress pants, so he's actually
wearing black jeans. 'Cause they didn't have any wardrobe budget.."
Madsen also talked about his relationship with Tarantino and about the atmosphere on set at his movies. He talked about how he never has to worry about the outcome of a movie, when he's in a Tarantino movie, because he knows it will be good. There is no anxiety factor.
Madsen talked about his love for western movies, like "Rio Bravo", "The Magnificent Seven", "Hang 'em High", "The Good, The Bad and the Ugly" and the original "3:10 to Yuma". He talked about his role in "The Hateful Eight" and about how they listened to music from "Rio Bravo" on set. As they were shooting the pictures for the movie posters, Tarantino played the Dean Martin song from "Rio Bravo" on purpose, because he knew it had an emotional effect on Madsen.
He also talked about his role of Bud in Kill Bill. About his friendship with the late David Carradine (Madsen dedicated one of his books to him) and about the white Stetson he wears in a big part of the movie.
"That hat, that white Stetson I wear in the movie. He (Tarantino) didn't want me to wear
that fucking thing, okay. At the beginning of rehearsal, I had just come from Mexico. I was
making a western and I bought that hat in Durango. And I had long hair and I was
wearing it to rehearsal every day. And he comes up to me and goes: "You're not
gonna wear that hat in the movie". And I said: "Yeah I am". And he was: "No, no
you're not gonna wear that hat. I don't want you to wear the hat". And I said:
"Well you know, I kinda like the hat and I kinda like to wear it". Then he goes:
"No, you're not gonna wear the hat". So I was like: "Well, ok..". And I was gonna
cut my hair off and do something completely different. And then he comes up
to me right around the week before we were gonna begin shooting and he goes:
"You know...I can't picture you now without the hat, 'cause you wear the
damn thing all the time. So now you just wear the hat...you can wear the hat.
Wear the hat in the movie". And I was like: "Ok, you know, I won that argument, right?"
And I was very happy with myself, so we shoot the stuff in the graveyard, where
basically poor Uma gets buried alive. After we did that, the next day, we were
out in Bakersfield doing the thing at the stripclub, where Bud goes to work.
And he comes to my trailer and he knocks on the door and I go: "Yeah?".
And he hands me these handwritten pages and he goes: "Here's what we're
gonna do today." And I go: "Oh great" I take it and I close the door. And I
start reading it and he wrote the scene where Larry tells me to take off my hat.
So it was never meant to be in there in the first place and he knew that it was me,
Michael Madsen, that wanted to wear the hat. And if he made me take it off, as
the character Bud, it would be very hard for me to do. And if you watch the
movie and you see me take that hat off, I'm not that good of an actor,you see.
I actually didn't want to take it off...it was emotionally manipulative,
but in such a genius way...it's a perfect story about my relationship with him.."
I absolutely loved this story, Actually I loved the whole Q&A. When Madsen is talking,you hang on his lips. At the end of the Q&A Michael talked about his dad, who died a few weeks before. He talked about how his dad wasn't fond of his acting career, because he didn't think it was masculine enough. But his dad really wanted to see "The Hateful Eight". Unfortunately he didn't make the premiere. Madsen said that he hopes his dad is proud of him and sees that he did ok. And about how blessed he feels when people recognize him. I think it's really admirable Madsen attended Weekend of Hell at all, in spite of the death of his father.
Photo op Michael Madsen
After this I decided I wanted a photo op and bought a ticket for the Saturday-session. After a good night of sleep, Carola and I made our way to the Turbinenhalle and we had a great time. Then the moment of the photo op came and by this time, I was almost peeing my pants. I was really nervous and it was the first time I stood in line for a photo op on my own. Carola didn't buy a ticket, so she couldn't join me in the line. By the time it was my turn I was sweating like a pig. Although I attended his Q&A and he seemed really nice I was so nervous. But then I walked up to him and he looked at my shirt and said: "Nice shirt, sweety" (it was a "Bob Marley"-shirt as you can see on the picture below). I made my famous strangled cat sound and shook his hand.
I am so glad I decided to buy the ticket and had a chance to meet this great guy. Thank you Weekend of Hell for giving me this second chance. In my opinion Michael Madsen is a brilliant, but very underrated actor. There are a lot of people, who do not know him unless they see his picture and I think that's a shame. Madsen played in some of the most groundbreaking movies of the last decades and he deserves to be acknowledged for that a lot more than is the case.