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Interview de Max Thayer (page 3)

Si nous aimons rire d'un certain cinéma déviant, nous sommes très loin de mépriser les hommes et les femmes qui s'y sont impliqués ou compromis. Il nous a ainsi paru enrichissant de faire raconter le nanar et son univers par les gens qui l'ont vécu de l'intérieur. La diversité des intervenants et de leurs réponses nous a rendu encore plus proches du cinéma que nous aimons : vous découvrirez, au fil des entretiens que ces différentes vedettes ont bien voulu nous accorder, des informations précieuses pour le cinéphile et le cinéphage, des anecdotes cocasses et, en esquisse, le portrait attachant de personnages souvent hauts en couleur.
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Max Thayer (page 3)


NO RETREAT, NO SURRENDER, NO VAN DAMME !

Back in Hollywood, I read a notice in Variety, the trade paper, regarding the search for an actor to play a grizzled ex-pat. Sure, I can do that, I thought to myself.

I met with Roy Horan, an associate of the HK producers who were putting together the project and…Voilà ! I was awarded the role. Did you know “No Retreat…” was originally titled, “Raging Thunder” ?

The movie was supposed to star Jean-Claude Van Damme.

I had met Jean-Claude in Hollywood, where I live, when we had got together with the HK producer who had signed us before we went to Bangkok in ‘86. “No Retreat No Surrender 2” was shot entirely in Thailand except for a day or two in Hong Kong. I stopped in Manila to hang out with pals like Mike Monty, Nick Nicholson and Teddy Page on the way to Bangkok. I love the Philippines and the spirited people that live there.

When I got there they told me Jean-Claude had dropped out (he did “Bloodsport” for Golan / Globus) and would I mind waiting around while they got somebody to replace him ? Would I mind ?
This is the part where the great adventure of being an actor comes into play. They are paying me to be there plus a salary and I’m on my own in Bangkok. I had a marvelous week. What would you do ?

Cynthia Rothrock and I became fast friends and to this day keep in touch. Did you know that she has a beautiful four year old daughter ? She is also responsible for me appearing in two films with her, shot in Hollywood. “Sworn To Justice” and “Martial Law : Undercover”.

I was given the script and, after months of delays, I was Bangkok bound on “No Retreat...”. Months with a script is an actor’s luxury and I must confess to rewriting my dialogue and making the character of Mac Jarvis my very own, I had so much fun and by your questions about the character’s humor and comic relief, I will say that I truly crafted it. Playing comic roles is very satisfying to me. Making an audience cry is easy… we all can do that. But to make them laugh… ah, that is a gift.

Now, as to that cobra blood scene. It was about two in the morning in the middle of the jungle after a long shooting day. At first I wasn’t going to do it. Use some tomato juice or something to fake it. Then, through an interpreter, Yuen Kwai (Corey Yuen) explained what he wanted to do. Dolly-track from the snake to the table, no cuts. In the same spirit of performing a stunt I agreed to do it. If the audience can see that it is really you doing it then it adds to the story. Besides, they are going to sacrifice the snake anyway, might as well honor him by drinking his blood. It’s considered an aphrodisiac but after they mix it with Chinese whiskey all I can say is it tasted like an emergency room. It was done in one take not four and that’s also real beer I’m chasing it with. Maybe I take a little pride in the fact that not many actors can say they have done it.

I was called back to the Philippines by Teddy Page for “Phantom Soldiers” in ‘88. This picture has been reviewed online but it’s another one I never saw. If you have any further information regarding this movie please let me know because I think I did some good work on it and I would like to get a copy. Teddy Page told me he suggested me for the lead in “Phantom Soldiers” but the head of Regal Studios wasn’t sure. “NRNS2” happened to be playing in Manila and they walked around the corner to see it and, voilà !, I was Philippines bound again. I don’t know why Teddy Page isn‘t credited for directing “Phantom Soldiers”. Irvin “Magic“ Johnson is a famous basketball star and maybe Teddy was having some fun trying out a nom de plume. It was my last visit to those lovely islands.


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