Michael Madsen at heart of Film Fest

Last year, the Las Vegas Film Festival found itself carrying the weight of all the valley’s cinema needs after the demise of CineVegas.

Now with the spotlight all to itself, the fourth-year festival is starting to spread its wings. Added to this year’s schedule at the Hilton: A suite of Saturday morning cartoons from Chuck Jones, including a Q&A with Jones’ grandson, Craig Kausen; a question session with former mobster Henry Hill and several gangster character actors; and an award for Michael Madsen. The Reservoir Dogs and Kill Bill actor will be screening his film Vice, signing copies of his poetry collection American Badass and, in a move that’ll be familiar to CineVegas veterans, hosting an official afterparty Friday night at The Bank and another party Saturday at Chateau.

Not only has Madsen released poetry collections and a book of photography, but he’s quick to point out that his tough-guy image can overshadow the fact that he’s a father. Still, though, when he’s speaking to you in that slow, deliberate, gravely voice, there’s an small, dumb part of you screaming, “Holy shit, don’t say something to piss off Mr. Blond!” There’s an undeniable intimidation by intonation. We caught up with Madsen to talk about his involvement with the festival, his distaste for IMDB, the grim realities of moviemaking and whether or not he’ll be involved in Django Unchained.

How did you come to be involved with this festival?

In the beginning Dennis Hopper and I were very close friends. Dennis was encouraging me to come be part of CineVegas, which was the festival he used to run. He wanted very much to show a movie I did called Vice. He had personally taken it over to Lion’s Gate and took it to other studios to try to get distribution for me. He didn’t have any luck doing that. It was a tremendous favor for him to be doing that to me, because he really liked the movie. He really believed in it. He influenced me
in a lot of things. Photography. We did a couple of films together. I got invited to come over there and be the recipient of some sort of career film award. Obviously, I thought it would be a nice thing to be able to show the picture Dennis tried to get into CineVegas.

Was Hell Ride the first one you did with Dennis Hopper?

No, Dennis and I, the first movie we ever did together was called Frankie the Fly. A couple years later we did a film called Choke. Then we did a horror movie called Hoboken Hell or something like that. It was a really bad B horror movie. He was the sheriff, and I was – I don’t remember what I was. It was pretty bad. It was a pretty low-budget thing. Then the last one we did was the best one was Hell Ride. I wanted to bring Hell Ride also to the festival but the folks there claim they didn’t have time for that.

For the full interview with Michael Madsen, check out DailyFiasco.com.