The Method Fest independent film festival will present Michael Madsen the 2007 Maverick Award for his outstanding contribution to cinema, his commitment to independent film, and his versatility as an actor, producer, and writer. The award will be presented at the festival’s Sneak Preview Party, Thursday, March 1, at Pierce College’s Performing Arts Center (Main Stage Theater) beginning at 7 pm. Academy Awards nominee Virginia Madsen, Madsen’s sister, will make the presentation.
The selection of films for the 9th annual The Method Fest independent film festival will also be announced at the event. The 9th annual Method Fest is slated for March 29 – April 5 in Calabasas.
One of the busiest actors in Hollywood, Madsen has appeared in over 100 films, including over 30 this decade, from big budget major studio releases to independent films, but he reached instant iconic status by playing a sadistic ex-con and jewel thief, Mr. Blonde, in Quentin Tarantino’s 1992 indie classic “Reservoir Dogs.” Madsen’s portrayal made Mr. Blonde one of film’s quintessential villains. (Maxim Magazine named Mr. Blonde the second greatest villain of all time, and the character was was one of the 200 nominees on the American Film Institute’s list of 100 years of the best Heroes and Villains.)
Though equally adept at portraying heroic as well as villainous characters, Madsen has acquired the reputation as Hollywood’s favorite “heavy.” There’s just something in the way he delivers his lines with an underlying aggression masked behind his gravelly tones that makes one feel very uneasy about his true intentions!
Madsen was born in Chicago, Illinois to Cal Madsen (a firefighter of Danish descent) and Elaine (an award-winning producer, writer and poet of Irish and Native American descent); he is the brother of Academy Awards nominated actress Virginia Madsen. Madsen first learned his craft at Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre, where he worked under John Malkovich, one of the theater’s founders. His first few film roles were minor ones, in such projects as “Against All Hope” (1982), “Racing with the Moon” (1984) and “The Natural” (1984). His work received considerable notice, however, after his knife-edged performance as deranged killer Vince Miller in “Kill Me Again” (1989) and then as Susan Sarandon’s rough-edged boyfriend Jimmy in “Thelma & Louise” (1991).
His big breakthrough, however, came as the sadistic jewel thief Mr. Blonde in Quentin Tarantino’s low-budget hit “Reservoir Dogs” (1992). Movie audiences were glued to their seats as Madsen playfully danced around a tied-down and terrified police officer, slicing him with a knife and splashing gasoline all over the petrified man, all to the cheery tunes of “Stealer’s Wheels’ “Stuck In the Middle With You.”
Not to be typecast, Madsen surprised many with his performance as foster parent Glen Greenwood in the hit family movie “Free Willy” (1993) before returning to another criminal role as bank robber Rudy Travis in the remake of the Steve McQueen heist flick “The Getaway” (1994), and then back again as Glen Greenwood in “Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home” (1995).
Madsen continued to turn in edge-of-the-seat performances as morally bankrupt individuals on the wrong side of the law, as in his intense on-screen showings in “Donnie Brasco” (1997), “Mulholland Falls” (1996), and “High Noon” (2000) (TV). In 2003 he teamed up again with Tarantino in both “volumes” of Tarantino’s magnum martial arts/revenge opus “Kill Bill: Vol. 1” (2003) and “Kill Bill: Vol. 2” (2004) as the coldly evil Budd (aka “Sidewinder”).
In addition to his film work, Madsen has contributed dialogue to two of Sony PlayStations’s biggest-selling games, Grand Theft Auto III (2001) (VG) and Driv3r (2004) (VG), as well as writing several books of his own poetry. Dennis Hopper wrote the introduction to his book of short stories and poems “Burning in Paradise”.
Although uncomfortable with fame, Madsen’s star continues to shine in Hollywood and his captivating acting style is ensuring him a steady flow of work as one on the screen’s favorite “heavies”. Madsen is married to De Anna Morgan and lives, with his five sons, in Malibu, in a house that once belonged to the late Keith Moon, the original drummer of The Who.
Local filmmakers and star actors from the selected films will also attend the Sneak Preview on Thursday night. A total of 25 feature films and 40 shorts will be selected from the 650 plus films films submitted by American and international independent filmmakers. Named after a famous school of acting, The Method Fest is the only major film festival in the U.S. focusing on acting, celebrating breakout acting performances in story driven independent films.