2 Graves In The Desert: Michael Madsen Interview [Exclusive]

Michael Madsen and William Baldwin
Michael Madsen and William Baldwin star in 2 Graves in the Desert

Michael Madsen has played many notable villains. In 2 Graves In The Desert, he is another sadistic villain who enjoys tormenting his kidnapped victims.

The film also stars William Baldwin(Sliver, Backdraft), ( Ivan Gonzalez (The DivideOpen Windows) and Cassie Howarth (Model CitizenHome and Away) as the two hostages. Benjamin Goalabre (The Knockout GameParadise Café) directed the movie from a script written by Jean Gardeil, Ed Caplan, and Cameron Watson.

Here’s the official synopsis:

When Eric (Gonzalez) wakes up, tied and gagged in the trunk of a pickup truck, it’s instantly clear he’s been kidnapped. However, quickly he discovers he’s accompanied by a young woman, Blake (Howarth), another hostage. Neither can recall how they ended up in this dire situation and together, they desperately try and get any help they can. With no help coming, as things become more and more helpless, it soon becomes fearfully apparent that there is more at stake than it first seems. The two kidnappers have their own agenda, and it’s not a pleasant one…

2 Graves in the Desert is now available today on Blu-ray and digital download. For more information, visit 4DigitalMedia’s web site here.

LRM Online interviewed Michael Madsen late last month in promotion for the Blu-ray release. Read the exclusive interview below.

Gig Patta: We’re here to talk about 2 Graves in the Desert. Congratulations on that project.

Michael Madsen: I’m curious to see it myself. I haven’t even seen it.

Gig Patta: I’ve seen the film. Let’s start with the easy question then. Why did you want to join a project like 2 Graves in the Desert?

Michael Madsen: Well, it’s written by a French director. He’s a young kid. He’s a lot younger than me. I think he had a good vision. They got Billy Baldwin to play my brother. It’s one of those projects that came together, and everything worked for it for me. It was initially called Trunk. But the people were in the bed of a truck, so there isn’t the trunk. That’s why they changed the title.

Gig Patta: Tell us more about the character. What do you love about this character? How is it different from the previous roles you have played in numerous movies?

Michael Madsen: Not too much about it. It’s just a bad guy. The difference is I have a brother. We’re two bad guys, me and Billy. That appealed to me. It’ll be cool to be with him in a road movie and doing some nasty things on the road. It was a good script idea, I thought. And I loved working with Billy.

Gig Patta: Tell us more about the interaction with Billy Baldwin. Practically all your scenes were with him.

Michael Madsen: Yeah, pretty much. He’s a very spontaneous actor. We’re very much alike in that way. I like to play things on the spur of the moment, and he’s kind of the same way. Benjamin [Goalabre] was great at not making us stick to the script. We pretty much improv-ed–say 80% of the movie.

Gig Patta: How do you go about improv-ing with yourself? Is it just you? Is it Billy? Or do you keep on bouncing off of each other until Benjamin says cut?

Michael Madsen: Basically, it’s pretty much that simple. It’s just a lot of bouncing off each other. That’s precisely what it comes down to. You couldn’t be anything much easier than that. It’s a neurotic way to make a living in the first place, but you can do it by bouncing off each other. It’s pretty fun.

Gig Patta: What about Billy Baldwin that made it so enjoyable to act all your scenes with him?

Michael Madsen: We see eye to eye on a lot of things. We’ve known each other for many years, and we know each other pretty well. It’s relatively easy to make a movie when you know somebody that well. It’s effortless to accept them. We have the same instincts, so we worked in the same way. It’s always a pleasure to work with somebody who knows what they’re doing.

Gig Patta: Was this the first time you got to a chance to work with Billy Baldwin?

Michael Madsen: No, we shot a movie together in Acapulco about two years ago. It’s called Welcome to Acapulco, where we had played bad guys again in that movie. I never saw that film, but I’ve seen parts of 2 Graves in the Desert. I think 2 Graves in the Desert looks a lot better. But, that would be the second time I worked with Billy.

Gig Patta: Ah, excellent. Just to let you know, I did see Welcome to Acapulco. That was quite a trippy movie. [Laughs]

Michael Madsen: I think it could have been much better. I saw part of it, and I was disappointed in it. It’s one of those movies that I worked hard on it. I’ve made a lot of film that could have been better if it was recut or saw differently. It’s mysterious to me how some movies fail because nobody took the time to cut it together in the right way.

Gig Patta: Well, let me get back 2 Graves in the Desert. Could you talk about handling the scene with Billy Baldwin in the truck? Was all that stuff on an iPad?

Michael Madsen: A lot of that stuff is CGI. We added and iPad. You could see some of the things on it. All of that stuff was spontaneous. Most of it was all improvised. We have the script, of course, but you could have the script is a rough draft. Most of the time, we won’t even say what was written.

Gig Patta: What about the desert scene that you guys are at? Where was that?

Michael Madsen: It was all out in Palmdale. We were in Mojave, Palmdale and to Barstow. All that area out there looks very much like a desert. All that stuff was also ad-libbed. The script as a blueprint, but I don’t remember sticking to the script.

Gig Patta: Did you have minimal interaction with the actors that were in the bed of the truck? Or were they with you?

Michael Madsen: We had a lot of interaction with them, especially at the end. They’re both excellent actors. They’re nice kids. Unfortunately, my interactions with them are kind of cruel, but I didn’t write it.

Gig Patta: Do you enjoy playing bad guys better than good guys or the other way around?

Michael Madsen: Well, it’s hard to say. If it’s good writing, then I’d enjoy it more. A lot of times, bad guy roles aren’t written that well. I’m not fond of playing bad guys for the rest of my career, but I’d rather do something than nothing. That’s what I’m being offered. Nine times out of 10, it’s a bad guy.

Gig Patta: You’ve done so many great projects in the past. If you had a chance to go back to a specific movie or franchise, which one would you head back towards immediately?

Michael Madsen: I did a TV series for ABC many years ago called Vengeance Unlimited. I thought it was a great show, and we only did 16 episodes. If I could go back and regenerate anything–I would go back and start that show over again. I wish somebody would’ve picked it up or have it went another season. It had a significant following. It was a wonderful character. It was an equalizer kind of character. And I loved that show so much. It was so disappointing when it got canceled.

Gig Patta: Well, let me start wrapping things up because I do know you have a limited amount of time since you are at the Mammoth Film Festival.

Michael Madsen: I’m at the film festival in Mammoth. I need to go downstairs. I was supposed to get in the car about five minutes.

Gig Patta: Let me wrap it up with the film festival. Could you talk about QT: The First Eight that you’re promoting at the film festival. How great it was working with Quentin [Tarantino] all those years.

Michael Madsen: There’s nobody I would rather work with. I don’t think there was a better director in the 20th century. He’s the best director of our generation, and I’m fortunate to have been in five pictures with him. Every single one of them has been better than the other. He’s quite a guy. They’ve been the best pictures I’ve ever done since I’ve been with him.

Gig Patta: What about the documentary QT: The First Eight?

Michael Madsen: Well, it’s a documentary. It’s about his eight films. It doesn’t include Once Upon a Time because it hadn’t come out yet. When we did it, it was directed by a woman named Carol Woods. She’s a wonderful woman, a great director. It’s well done.

(09:41)
They were opening it at the festival here and invited me to introduce it. So it was my great pleasure to do that. I hadn’t seen it yet. It was an excellent opportunity for me not only to open it at the festival but also to view it. I think it’s a wonderful piece. It’s very reflective of Quentin. I’m glad to be a part of it and to be able to introduce it.

Gig Patta: Excellent. Before we let you go, any chance you’ll be working with Quentin again?

Michael Madsen: Well, he says he’s going to do ten movies, and he’s already done nine. Who knows what it’s going to be? Because no one knows. Whatever it’s going to be, I sure hope I’m in it.

Gig Patta: That is a great answer. Hey, thank you very much for giving me your limited time. Thank you for promoting this film, 2 Graves in the Desert.

Michael Madsen: It was my pleasure, man. Thanks, sir. Thanks for getting me on.

RELATED: 2 Graves In the Desert Exclusive Clip Has Hostages Tormented By Michael Madsen and William Baldwin

Source: LRM Online Exclusive

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