It’s been a fairly long while since I’ve felt an earthquake in Los Angeles. Maybe even several years, because I can’t remember exactly when the last one happened. However, last week during the press junket for Hell Ride, we had a 5.6, and being on the 14th foor of the Four Seasons Hotel, I definitely felt it. It was my own personal Hell Ride. Vinnie Jones looked out the window at a guy on a cherry picker across the street and said “Oi! Can you imagine how big that guy’s asshole is right now?! I bet he just took a shite in his pants!” Yes, this definitely wasn’t your normal press junket.
We got to talk with writer/director Larry Bishop, Michael Madsen, and Vinnie Jones from the film, and these folks just tended to be a lot more chatty than your normal junket fare. Even those this is a tough as nails biker flick, with revenge on the line, everyone was extremely laid back and fun. And this was before the quake hit.
Michael Madsen rambled on in that perfectly raspy badass voice he has about his character, The Gent, and how it was his decision to have him wear a tuxedo in the movie. He also talked about first receiving the script from Larry and that “it looked like a phone book.” Larry hadn’t written a script before and went a bit overboard on this one. But, the part was written for Michael, and he liked it immediately.
Madsen also talked about Quentin Tarantino a bit, who was originally going to play the part of Comanche in the movie, but then decided he wasn’t going to act anymore. According to Madsen, “Bud was the moral conscience of Kill Bill,” and noted that Hell Ride might also have a Vol. 2. He said that he loved the bike riding in this movie, and that the two days of filming pickup shots of them riding the bikes around were “Two of the happiest days of my film career…for a long time I did a lot of B movies, and I did a lot of stupid crap because I was trying to pay my mortgage. Not anymore.”
Larry Bishop strode in looking tanned and wearing biker boots, just like his Pistolero character from the movie, and talked about randomly meeting Quentin Tarantino at a party. It turns out, Quentin was his biggest fan and invited him up to his house to watch a mint print of The Savage Seven. During the movie, Quentin leaned over and whispered in his ear, “It is your destiny to write, direct, and star in another motorcycle movie.” Bishop followed that up by telling us, “Look, I did a lot of acid in the 70s, and this is what they said would happen, that it would mess with your mind.” But, he didn’t hallucinate this, and thanks to QT and The Weinsteins, it actually ended up happening.
The highlight of the day had to be Vinnie Jones. I mean, it’s Vinnie Jones! From Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels! From Hell Ride where he plays, according to him, the ‘immortal’ Billy Wings. He’s exactly the same in person as he is on the screen, and he was a riot. He did everything from impersonate Michael Madsen, which you can hear below…
… to ripping on the Suicide Girls, which you can also hear right here.
According to Vinnie Jones, “if you look up ‘cool’ in the dictionary, there should be a picture of Hell Ride right there.” Vinnie spoke at length about working with Michael Madsen on the film, and he was presenting him with a custom made calfskin jacket when we arrived. They’d just finished working together on a movie called Strength and Honour, and Madsen had recommended him for this role. Luckily Larry Bishop listened, because Vinnie Jones is quite the badass in this flick.
For Jones (and several others) the real draw of the movie was getting to work with Quentin Tarantino, who edited Larry’s cut of the film. According to Vinnie, “You should have seen the first cut of the film! It looked like a Larry Bishop porno! He was in every shot!” He also said he’s staying loyal to his fans by continuing to play roles like this, although he has been branching out. Just last year he played a dramatic role opposite Derek Jacobi, and he’d like to play a romantic lead. Although he loathes actors who get famous and then suddenly say something like, “‘I’m a painter now… I paint stuff.’ People didn’t know what about. You’re a fucking movie star mate, now stop being a prick and get out and make movies! ‘I’m into religion now, and I do yoga…’ That’s great. Now get out there and make us a movie.”
He doesn’t know if Juggernaut will be returning in any future X-Men flicks, although he is contracted for them if they decide to use him. We asked him about Guy Ritchie’s Rocknrolla, and why he wasn’t in it. He said he’d met with Guy but that, “There wasn’t a part in that for me.” You can catch him in Hell Ride, and he’ll also be in Clive Barker’s Midnight Meat Train which just came out, as well as Year One, which is a Harold Ramis comedy. We can’t wait.
Hell Ride opens this weekend in limited release.