So, what’s the best example of a brainless action movie? That’s right, “Commando” – a cult classic action movie where Arnold Schwarzenegger kills a whole army of villains, saves his daughter, and the ending credits roll. What else was memorable? That’s right, Vernon Wells, a talented, cult Australian actor, who portrayed “Freddie Mercury on steroids” aka Arnold’s nemesis, Captain Bennett.
Well, Vernon Wells himself does not think that “Bennett” was the best bad guy. More over, he actually prefers voice work over acting! Want to know more? Read on, as Vernon Wells talks about Schwarzenegger, his love for wolves, and what was half-naked Mel Gibson doing in his hotel room…
A question I can’t skip, how was it like working with Arnold Schwarzenegger in “Commando”? What was Arnold like on set?
It was great working with Arnold. He likes to pull a lot of pranks. He’s like a big kid! On the set, he was very professional and very easy to work with. Although in our fight sequences, we both managed to bruise each other.
You’ve acted in pretty much every genre there is, action, sci-fi, drama, horror, even did voice work. What genre do you yourself like to work in most?
Myself, I prefer any genre, really. Although, Sci-Fi is probably one of my favorites. In Sci-Fi, you have no reality to base the character on, so you have a lot of more freedom to do as an actor. But horror and action films are just as much fun to work. Horror – because you can live out all of your fantasies, i.e., the spooky little man under the bed, etc. That’s lots of fun. Action films are like their name – have plenty of action and are a lot of fun because usually you get to shoot lots of weapons and drive cool vehicles. But my favorite thing is voiceover. I don’t have to do anything but show up and do the work. No makeup, no costumes, no lines to learn. Love it!
Most people agree that Captain Bennett from “Commando” is one of the best villains ever to appear in the movie. Have you ever suffered of the “bad guy| image that you had throughout most of your career?
I would personally disagree that Bennett was the “best” bad guy. I thought “Wez” (from “Mad Max 2” was probably equally as bad if not better. And, yes, I have been typecast as a villain for much of my career. I enjoy playing the villain, but now I find I get to play a lot of the good guy roles. As an actor, I am quite happy to play the villain or the good guy.
Are you involved into some other business, besides acting? If so, what is it?
Besides acting, I write, produce and direct films. I enjoy writing and producing…directing is just like acting. You have to know what you’re doing and know exactly where the story’s going. So I guess everything I do is tied up in the entertainment business. I am now also involved with a project called “Wolf Connection” which is helping raise awareness and funding for a wolf and wolf hybrid rescue center here in Los Angeles.
Mr Wells, what was it like working on Mad Max 2 with the little known then Mel Gibson? Do you have any interesting memories?
Working on Mad Max was very cold, very hard work, and very enjoyable working with all of the actors, including Mel. My favorite memory of Mel is of him standing in my hotel room in his tatty old robe and bunny slippers on the phone to the hospital checking to see if his first child had been born. Mad Max, as a whole, was an amazing experience for a young actor, and I am extremely grateful to George Miller for casting me and Mel Gibson, and for putting up with me throughout the filming.