Cast member Michael Madsen attends the premiere of "The Hateful Eight" in Los Angeles on December 7, 2015. File photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo
NEW YORK, March 29 (UPI) -- Actor Michael Madsen admits filmmaker Quentin Tarantino's invitation to co-star in The Hateful Eight -- their fourth movie together -- came as a bit of a surprise.
The 57-year-old Chicago native, who earned his icon status in Tarantino's big-screen classics Reservoir Dogs and Kill Bill, Volumes I and II, has been working steadily for the past decade or so in low-budget or direct-to-video offerings, while also making headlines for his high-profile brushes with the law for various, alcohol-related offenses.
Asked by UPI how he felt when Tarantino approached him about appearing alongside Samuel L. Jackson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tim Roth and Kurt Russell in the western The Hateful Eight, Madsen replied, "I'm happy to be invited to the show, you know what I'm saying?"
"Being back in the big show is fun and who better to bring me back than him?" Madsen explained in New York before the film's release in December. "He called me on the phone and I hadn't even seen him for over a year and he said, 'I wrote this cowboy thing and I wrote a part for you.' And I said, 'Really?' I had a pretty good run with Quentin. This is my fourth time. I figured it was over. After three, I figured: 'OK, man, the likelihood of that happening [again]... it isn't going to happen.' So, I was really surprised when he called me. But, at the same time, it was great because I knew that I wouldn't have any anxiety about it because the best thing about making a picture with him is that when you are on the set you don't have any anxiety because you know that it's going to be good, right?"
Madsen said the first question he had for Tarantino was what the name of his character would be.
"And he said Joe Gage and as soon as he said that I was like: 'That's a cool name. That's a cool-sounding name.' And then he said, 'Come over my house and read it.' And I laughed and said, 'Right now?' And he goes, 'Well, what are you doing?' And I said, 'OK, fine.' So, I went over there to give it a read and I read like three pages out of it and he goes: 'That's enough, that's enough. That's great.' And he goes: 'You know, you started off with me, we started off together, so, you know, I created you, you created me. We created each other, so I want you to come back because this might be the last movie I ever do.' And I said, 'Holy [expletive.]' Then as I was leaving, as I was going out the door, he said, 'Guess who else is in it?' And I said, 'I have no [expletive] idea.' He goes, 'I'm going to get [Reservoir Dogs alum] Tim, too.' And I said, 'Oh my God!' He said, 'I only gave it to Sam, you and Tim, that's it. And I'm going to give it to Bruce Dern.' And I said, 'Wow!' Because we were the only ones who had it in the very beginning, the first draft. It changed a lot over time. ... I thought the first one was one of the most greatest things I'd ever read. But by the time we got around to shooting the version that we did, I realized it was even better than that one. It's insanely good. His movies are going to be around forever. Some of these big, giant movies, they're going to disappear in the next couple of years. No one will even remember that they were made, but his stuff is like there forever. It's like immortal.
"Maybe I finally won't be talked about... I was hoping to not be the guy who cut off the cop's ear [in Reservoir Dogs] and maybe be Joe Gage, who is writing his life story, just to change things up a bit," he laughed. "It was great, though."
The Hateful Eight is now on DVD and Blu-ray. Madsen's other film credits include Thelma & Louise, Wyatt Earp, Free Willy, Donnie Brasco, Species and Sin City.