Julian McMahon Interviewed – ‘Premonition’

     March 12, 2007

There are going to be two types of people who read this interview – the first will be all the comic-book fans who want to hear Julian talk about FF2. The other group will be the Nip/Tuck fans who are curious about the next season when the boys move to Los Angeles.

So to make it easy to digest I’m posting this interview a bit different than the rest.

I’m first going to post the comments hemade about FF2: Rise of the Silver Surfer. Then I’ll post the Nip/Tuck stuff. After that will be the entire interview as it transpired so you can read or listen to it in the order it happened.

Here are the Fantastic Four 2: Rise of the Silver Surfer comments:

Warning: spoilers

Does Doom have a more classic look in the film? Do you have scenes with the Silver Surfer? What are you allowed to say?

JM: The classic look of Doom, well, it’s weird, man, because first of all, you start with Dr. Doom has been in a casket for a couple of years and wakes up a few years later, whatever. And he’s pretty pissed off, kind of just rips off his mask and all that kind of stuff. He gets very ugly. And then he’s got his lair set up in some castle in Latveria, right? We’re talking comic book stuff so you have to kind of go with all this kind of stuff. With all these monitors and stuff, I don’t know where he got ‘em all from but they’re pretty cool. He sees this kind of entity which is the Silver Surfer. Just knowing the comic books, Dr. Doom is Dr. Doom so what does he do? He goes and he tries to destroy everybody and get everybody’s powers and all that kind of stuff. That’s basically what the character’s about. But then Dr. Doom becomes me for a certain period of time which I think is very strange but let’s not get into that. And then the final costume is this pretty amazing costume. It’s a similar kind of mask. It’s kind of a larger type of fit and probably a little more sturdy kind of look to it. The chest plate, it’s a very heavy outfit. It weighed about 45 -50 pounds whatever without the cape and stuff but its pretty extraordinary. It’s a darker suit than the one he had last time its kind of more Batmanesque in a way, but with the mask its obviously very Dr. Doom, and it’s a great looking outfit and he’s got like a…..God, I can’t remember. Look, I got so many outfits its ridiculous [laughs].

So even with all the new characters, they still give you a lot to do with Dr. Doom?

JM: Yeah I had quite a lot to do actually, because he went through all these transformations, you know, different to what happens in the comic or the cartoon but we kinda just had to make it applicable for some reason, I don’t know.

How cool is it to have Galactus in the movie?

JM: A-ha! I can’t go there.

Ioan already did.

JM: Doesn’t mean I am.

Here are the Nip/Tuck comments:

Coming back on Nip/Tuck, how is Christian going to rule LA?

JM: Ha! Did you see the last episode of us under the Hollywood sign, wasn’t that hysterical? It’s very rare that you get to shoot that sign—I thought it was pretty incredible. You know I don’t really know exactly what we’re doing. We’re going to have a sit-down in the next couple weeks—next few weeks and talk about what we’re doing. But they have—you know they set up their practice right on Rodeo Drive, which is obviously pretty central to where you think it should be and then it’s funded by Rosie O’Donnell’s character—it’s going to be a lot of fun—a lot of great characters.

Do you think the LA scene is going to faze Christian’s way with women? Will he face some resistance?

JM: (Laughter) Uh-ha [pauses] I don’t think so…I don’t think resistance is going to be a part of it, no.

He’ll still be Christian?

JM: Yeah, definitely. I mean, you know he’s evolved a lot over the series you know the four years, but, I don’t think he’s ever had any resistance. I don’t think that’s going to stop. That’s the fun of the character, I mean, basically.

What were your expectations Nip Tuck when it started?

JM: I didn’t know if it would go past the pilot. I knew it would have a different type of support system because it was on FX than it would anywhere else you know unless it was HBO or something like that, but you know you just don’t know. I thought it was pretty out there…

If you would like to listen to the roundtable interview with Julian McMahon – click here.

And before getting to the full transcript of the interview, if you would like to hear Mennan Yapo (the director) click here. All I have is the audio of the roundtable.

Premonition opens this Friday at theaters everywhere.

When you first read the script did you get it immediately or get lost?

JM: Well I don’t think to be honest I got it at any point and time. I still don’t think I get it, really. But I like the concept of it and I liked, more than anything else, I was kind of touched by the story of the family. The story of the family was kind of the integral part of the movie to me because without that you didn’t have kind of the body of the movie. You can do the psychological drama thing, you can do all that kind of stuff, you can make it look fancy and all that kind of stuff but, if you don’t have some kind of basis, some kind of reality behind it, I think you’re missing something. And so for me it was really more kind of about this couple, this husband and wife that you know hadn’t communicated for a very long period of time and really didn’t know how to communicate any more. And you know there was this kind of void in their relationship, and at the same time they’re taking care of two kids—one of them is doing one thing, taking care of the house and the kids, and the other one is taking care of the finances and all that kind of stuff. It was just something that I kind of felt that I could relate to and I felt was kind of very sad, you know, and then to actually make a choice to you know instead of having an affair, run away, get a divorce, blah-blah-blah, all that kind of stuff, whatever it may be, they actually made a choice to get back together, come back together and I thought that was an interesting kind of way to look at it.

What was the mood like for Sandra and you behind the scenes?

JM: The mood was very variable. It depended on what was kind of going on. I had a lighter schedule than her, obviously, because you know she’s in kind of every frame of the movie, right? So, she was there everyday, all day, so, I had to be a little kind of careful, just because I’d be out playing golf…sampling the local cuisine or whatever, you know what I mean? And I’d come in and go, ‘hey, there’s this fantastic restaurant down here!’ (Laughter) and they’d be like, ‘get out of here.’ But you got to be a little sensitive to the fact that she’s going through what she’s going through. So sometimes it would be a little…it was tense. Sometimes it was tense when the two of us were on set, you know we had pretty intense scenes. That scene that kind of got cut down to a pretty small scene—but that scene where I’m cleaning up the glass, was an intense scene and the mood was bad. It was bad all night long. And it was so bad that we didn’t even get the scene right we don’t think, and we went back and re-shot it, because we didn’t feel like we got it. And everyone was so angry and the scene was a lot longer and a lot more kind of intense or whatever but…and then like the first scene in the movie was like the first scene we actually shot, and that was just kind of a giddy kind of scene, you know what I mean? So that was fun, we were just laughing around and having a good time—plus it was our first day of shooting.

You’re not saying everyone was angry off-camera as well, are you?

JM: Oh, no, no…but the mood…well, maybe (laughter).

Was it always intense and serious?

JM: No, not at all. But it’s a pretty intense movie and it’s a pretty intense role. And you know you do have to play—once we got into that house. We had that house, me and Sandy and the two kids, and it just felt like this little family we had. It was just weird, you know what I mean. And you had to…I felt like we had to say a lot without actually doing and saying a lot. That void that I was talking about before, that kind of had to be there no matter what, so, you have to be able to play that, you know what I mean, so it does create a certain mood. It’s not like her shooting one of her fun movies, you know what I mean, it’s a little different.

Nevertheless, if your car was stalled in the middle of the highway, and an 18-wheeler was roaring towards you, would you try to start the dam thing or…?

JM: I’d get out of the damn thing! (Laughter)

Did you question that scene?

JM: You know I can’t remember what ended up in the movie. It felt like I was there for 20 minutes, I’m going, ‘all right, where are my keys? (Laughter) Why can’t I [inaudible] Why am I not getting out? Because it’s jammed…it’s jammed. How long is it jammed for?’ You know, it was like, I had to play that for a very long period of time. They were like, ‘do it again!’ I feel like a goose here, let me just…this is ridiculous, and you have to kind of put your faith in the fact that the director is going to make it work and the editor is going to make it work. But, yeah, you know I would have attempted an escape route different then…I would have smashed my head through the damn window if it came to that, but, you know, whatever, it wouldn’t have made the movie, I don’t think.

Why did it take you so long to do a big movie?

JM: Well, firstly, when you’re doing a TV series like Charmed or Profiler or something like that, which pretty much was my bread and butter for you know a good 10 years, 8 years or whatever it was, right? Um, you don’t have time, you know you’re shooting usually ten to eleven months a season, right? And, so, your one month is just your month of recuperation. And, you know they’re also different types of shows…like when I was on Profiler—I got asked to do a couple movies but they wouldn’t let me out of my contract, they wouldn’t let me…whereas like now at FX, and with the way that I work on Nip/Tuck, I was able to shoot Fantastic Four and Nip/Tuck at the same time. It was a grueling schedule and not something I would like to do often, but, you know you kind of work things out. And with Nip/Tuck you got six months of the year. We shot this movie for five months, you know what I mean, so Nip/Tuck is that schedule where we’re shooting 13 to 16 episodes a year. So you get six months off and six months on, so you get six months to go do what you want. And you can do two months on a film and two months off, or six months and…do you know what I mean…it just kind of comes down to—and then you know choices that you make. I made the choice to go on Charmed which I never regret whatsoever, because I loved working on that show, and the people were just fantastic—in fact it was one of the greatest experiences I’ve had in the business, but, what was I saying?

Why you don’t do a lot of big movies?

JM: It was something else. I was on some other…oh, yeah, that choice. That choice I made just ‘cause I’d just had a baby and just gotten married. I felt like I needed to make money at that point and time so it’s not like I could just go, ‘well, let’s all move us to an apartment down on Yucca and we’ll all…and I won’t take a job for the next two years and just wait for a film to come..’ You know what I mean you kind of have to make different choices for different things.

Coming back on Nip/Tuck, how is Christian going to rule LA?

JM: Ha! Did you see the last episode of us under the Hollywood sign, wasn’t that hysterical? It’s very rare that you get to shoot that sign—I thought it was pretty incredible. You know I don’t really know exactly what we’re doing. We’re going to have a sit-down in the next couple weeks—next few weeks and talk about what we’re doing. But they have—you know they set up their practice right on Rodeo Drive, which is obviously pretty central to where you think it should be and then it’s funded by Rosie O’Donnell’s character—it’s going to be a lot of fun—a lot of great characters.

Do you think the LA scene is going to faze Christian’s way with women? Will he face some resistance?

JM: (Laughter) Uh-ha [pauses] I don’t think so…I don’t think resistance is going to be a part of it, no.

He’ll still be Christian?

JM: Yeah, definitely. I mean, you know he’s evolved a lot over the series you know the four years, but, I don’t think he’s ever had any resistance. I don’t think that’s going to stop. That’s the fun of the character, I mean, basically.

Does Doom have a more classic look in the film? Do you have scenes with the Silver Surfer? What are you allowed to say?

JM: Yeah, you have. I’m really slow, okay? Firstly, I can’t stop looking at your fingernails and your [beard]. How long did you grow your beard for?

This is a clip on [joking]

JM: Oh, it’s a clip on? The beard? Oh wow, okay. Very cool. It’s not! Is he lying? Oh, very funny. You got me.

Okay, start with the classic look of Dr. Doom.

JM: The classic look of Doom, well, it’s weird, man, because first of all, you start with Dr. Doom has been in a casket for a couple of years and wakes up a few years later, whatever. And he’s pretty pissed off, kind of just rips off his mask and all that kind of stuff. He gets very ugly. And then he’s got his lair set up in some castle in Latveria, right? We’re talking comic book stuff so you have to kind of go with all this kind of stuff. With all these monitors and stuff, I don’t know where he got ‘em all from but they’re pretty cool. He sees this kind of entity which is the Silver Surfer. Just knowing the comic books, Dr. Doom is Dr. Doom so what does he do? He goes and he tries to destroy everybody and get everybody’s powers and all that kind of stuff. That’s basically what the character’s about. But then Dr. Doom becomes me for a certain period of time which I think is very strange but let’s not get into that. And then the final costume is this pretty amazing costume. It’s a similar kind of mask. It’s kind of a larger type of fit and probably a little more sturdy kind of look to it. The chest plate, it’s a very heavy outfit. It weighed about 45 -50 pounds whatever without the cape and stuff but its pretty extraordinary. It’s a darker suit than the one he had last time its kind of more Batmanesque in a way, but with the mask its obviously very Dr. Doom, and it’s a great looking outfit and he’s got like a…..God, I can’t remember. Look, I got so many outfits its ridiculous [laughs]

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So even with all the new characters, they still give you a lot to do with Dr. Doom?

JM: Yeah I had quite a lot to do actually, because he went through all these transformations, you know, different to what happens in the comic or the cartoon but we kinda just had to make it applicable for some reason, I don’t know.

Have you always been a fan of comic books?

JM: I have, yeah. Fantastic Four in particular, yeah

What did you like about it?

JM: I don’t know, I think maybe I just liked the fact that there were four people with different types of powers. But I was big fan of other stuff too. I was a big fan of Batman and Spiderman and Superman but Fantastic Four, in particular, I got into it actually with the cartoons. We used to watch the cartoons every morning, and I don’t know maybe its team work, and I don’t know it was just good.

The director and Sandy would talk in German and you’d go what is this schnitzel talking stuff? Did they do that a lot? Did they talk in English?

JM: They did that a lot, whenever they felt like they wanted to leave me out of something they would talk German. It was very upsetting and it was very annoying, so I came up with this whole character it was ‘Hitler’s coiffeur’ that I started to become so I became Hitler’s coiffeur and I came up with this German accent and I was commenting on Hitler’s mustache and how he should cut it a little shorter, a little tighter.

Can you give an impression?

JM: No, we’re going to make a movie about Hitler’s coiffeur.

I have to ask a question about, this movie brought to mind a movie, a temporal romantic movie ANOTHER DAY you made a few years ago with Shannon Doherty. Any memories of making that particular film?

JM: Making that film? Well, that was good fun. Shooting it, I didn’t think about it at all in regards to what I was making in this movie. I thought they were very separate things obviously, but that was an opportunity for me to play a very different character, I’m not sure if you saw it or not, but it was a very kind of quiet, sweet guy, and I hadn’t gotten the opportunity to play a guy like that before, and I just enjoyed shooting. I mean, I like going to different places like this movie went to Louisiana and shot in Shreveport. I always love to absorb myself in the culture of the place you get to go to and I did that in that movie, we shot in Winnipeg in Canada. It’s a great place, weird place though I mean, it’s the weirdest place on earth, I mean its like so cold for nine months of the year, right, that nobody goes out, you can’t go out. No, you can’t. I swear to god your eyeballs freeze over. That was the thing on the news, “Don’t go out your eyeballs will freeze over.” And then when it gets warm, its like they have those worms that drop out of the sky. Right? I mean, worms dropping out of the sky. I mean weird, the weirdest thing ever. And literally you’re coming out and your car will be covered in these worms about this big and then they have mosquitoes the size of cats. So everybody’s house has like got this kind mesh stinger out going, “Don’t go out, no, no, no! Mosquitoes are out there!”

Compared other actresses that you’ve worked with can you talk about working with Sandra bullock, what it was like, they dynamics?

JM: I wouldn’t want to compare it to anybody but just working with her is… you know, I’ve been as big a Sandy fan as everybody else has for however long we’ve known her for. I’ve admired her work from a distance for a long time and like other actors that I’ve admired, I’d love to have had the opportunity to work with her and I got this opportunity. This was a great movie for me because it’s a little different, I’ve been working on television for a long time and it’s also different from Fantastic Four stuff and whatever else. We went down there three weeks early and we just hashed out everything, me, the director, Sandy, the writer, all just sat around the table and talked for three weeks about what we thought was the way to deal with this movie. What were our thoughts and feelings about it , what we thought about our characters, each others characters and so everything just got laid out on the table and so I really got to work with her in a very kind of deep and thoughtful way. We would go in and do scenes and me and Mennan and Sandy would sit around and talk for an hour and a half, the crew would go off and eat and do whatever they wanted to, and we would talk for an hour and half or two hours about what we thought the scene was about. We got that luxury. Mennan gave us that luxury, and then Sandy and I would consistently talk about things. Whenever we thought about something, call each other or just talk about it or whatever so you really got to…..we both do what we do because love it. So its kind of one of the most important things in your life, aside from your children, your family and your really good friends. So to work with somebody like that in that kind of capacity is really kind of getting to know them in a very significant way. And then on top of that she’s just an absolutely extraordinary person.

What were your expectations Nip Tuck when it started?

JM: I didn’t know if it would go past the pilot. I knew it would have a different type of support system because it was on FX than it would anywhere else you know unless it was HBO or something like that, but you know you just don’t know. I thought it was pretty out there…

It’s on the main network in Canada,

JM: Oh is it? What is it on?

CTV.

JM: Do they cut it down for that or do you just have different regulations?

No. They do The Sopranos on there.

JM: Oh, so it’s obviously a different thing there, but no, I didn’t know. All I felt like it was a pretty great character to play, and what it felt like was a was a well written pilot, and I knew that I was gonna have commitment for only six months a year if it did actually go into a series, which gave me freedom to do other things, which is what we were talking about before. I really was a fan of The Shield and the way that they kind of delivered that show, and executed that show and I felt like if there was any place to be, it was kind of the right place.

How cool is it to have Galactus in the movie?

JM: A-ha! I can’t go there.

Ioan already did.

JM: Doesn’t mean I am.

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