MICHAEL IRONSIDE INTERVIEW
Interview conducted by Richelle Charkot
Iconic character-actor Michael Ironside took the time to sit down with us to chat about the upcoming RKSS (Anouk Whissell, François Simard and Yoann-Karl Whissell) film Turbo Kid, which makes its World Premiere at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival in Park City at Midnight Section. Ironside will be returning to our screens as the villain Zeus, a malevolent leader of the Wasteland.
Richelle Charkot: Hi, Michael, how are you? Thank you for chatting with me today.
Michael Ironside: Not a problem. Have you seen the film yet?
RC: Not yet! I'm dying to though.
MI: I just watched the final cut the other night, it was really, really unique.
RC: RKSS has a really unique and identifiable tone to their work, what were your first thoughts after reading this script?
MI: My first thought was, "Wow, this is really interesting." I had no point of reference with the filmmakers, so it was unlike anything I had read before. Chatting with them they talked about how they wanted to keep a comic book tone to the story, and in my head I imagined a very operatic space story... something very grandiose. Sort of like Sweeney Todd but without the music. In my head, a story is kind of like a mansion; a living space for the characters, and I had a very specific idea of the architecture of the narrative. When I saw the film two nights ago, it was no where near what I expected it to be, but it has larger than life dialogue. It is sort of like Repo Man or Buckaroo Banzai. It is a very charming film.
RC: I have read about how one of the initial reasons you got into acting was as a practice for your writing. Can you tell me about one of your earliest memories with expressing yourself creatively?
MI: I wrote and produced my first play when I was thirteen and wrote a novel when I was ten. I was precocious little shit. I was raised in the east end of Toronto, a really crowded, working class area in a really crowded home with family members. The only place I had to escape was in books. A teacher helped me find my place in writing descriptive narrative when they told me to read Strindberg, where there would be one line of dialogue but an entire page of cues. I wrote a one-act play from the book that I wrote about running away from home.
RC: What's the best advice you've ever been given?
MI: I used to do roofing to pay the bills, and when I was on Total Recall one of my knees gave way during a stunt. I came down and the stunt coordinator asked me why I had a particular look on my face, and I said to him, "I can't roof anymore." He looked at me and reminded me that by that point I had about 89 credits to my acting career, like, "What are you talking about?!" I think it came from growing up where I did – people didn't pursue things like acting. I always thought someone would call me out on it and tell me to go home, basically.
RC: Do you have any words of wisdom for people who feel that way; that they should suppress creative urges to pursue something more conventional?
MI: My dad once said to me that I ran away to join the circus. I was going to correct him, but then I realized that in a way I did – I was about 35 at the time. I think that if you're looking for some art form to make you feel good about yourself or inflated, you're probably sticking your head up your ass. But if you're looking for something to give you freedom and escapism, then an art form is the way to go. I've been doing that my whole life.
HorrorTalk would like to thank Michael Ironside for taking the time to chat with us. Watch for his new film, Turbo Kid, coming this year.
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