American actor Marshall Bell was featured in sci-fi classics Total Recall and Starship Troopers.
Here's a short interview I had with him.
You worked with Paul Verhoeven on two occasions: Starship Troopers and Total Recall.
How did you get cast for Total Recall?
I went in for an audition and read the material in front of Paul.
Was it because Verhoeven remembered you from Total Recall that you got the part of General Owen in Starship Troopers?
Probably but I had to audition for that, too.
It is often said that Verhoeven is somewhat of a renegade director that uses explicit scenes in all his movies (especially in his Dutch movies). Your death scene in Starship Troopers somewhat falls into that category and in Total Recall you stand before Arnold Schwarzenegger with some kind of alien sticking out of your body.
What are your experiences with Verhoeven regarding working with him? And regarding the explicitness: how do you look at this?
I definitely believe Paul “signs” his movies with some unique thing. Like the bucket of feces in Black Box. But that is what makes it Paul and if one loves Paul then they are there to see that happen and I happen to love Paul.
About Total Recall: it seems to me that most people (including myself) remember you the best from this movie. What are your own experiences regarding this movie?
Too many, more than any other movie but one was not getting an hour of sleep for a whole week. I never thought I could have done that.
Did any strange things happen on the set?
In Total Recall you had an alien life form 'Kuato' (which was actually a prosthetic) sticking out of your body in some scenes. Can you tell us how you prepared for these scenes?
I sat in the make-up chair for nine hours one day. I went through a fitting process with the make-up genius Rob Bottin who is a close friend and with whom I have worked many times but the process was grueling.
Arnold Schwarzenegger was the star of Total Recall. How was he on the set? And how was it to work with him?
He is a true professional, very kind with a big heart and a good leader. Calm.
You have worked with a string of first-class directors. Besides Verhoeven there are Michael Mann, Rob Reiner, Oliver Stone, Francis Ford Coppola...which director was the best you have worked with, and did all these big name directors really live up to their reputation on the set?
I liked all of them and they did live up to their reputation.
What do you regard as the highlight of your movie career?
I hope I haven’t had that yet. It has all been rewarding and fun. I like the work.
Can you share some of the most remarkable/strange/funny things that you have ever experienced on a movie set?
There are so many but they are so particular and “inside” that it is difficult to write them down.
Of all the movies and TV-series you have starred in you must have a favorite. Can you tell us which one that is?
Do you still have a dream regarding movies and series? Is there a specific role you want to play? Or a specific movie or series you want to be in?
I want to do a one man show as Civil War General U.S. Grant.
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