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Interview de Max Thayer (page 4)

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 4)


1988. Los Angeles, California. I had no idea as I stepped off the plane from “Phantom Soldiers” in the Philippines, that, not only would I not be back to those lovely islands but I also wouldn’t be working at home. I had walked right into the beginning of a writers’ strike that shut down all production in Hollywood for almost a year. All momentum I had built up died. My agent went out of business and everything slowed down to a halt in what is already a tough way to make a living.

I took long cross-country road trips, did some acting workshops and wrote some scripts. Radio shows helped pay the bills and finally, with the strike settled, I obtained a new agent and started over.

In the next decade, appearances in “Visions”, “Dominion” and, thanks to Cynthia Rothrock, “Martial Law : Undercover” and “Sworn to Justice” would make up the bulk of my work.


The new millennium saw a resurgence in my carrier. I missed the atmosphere of a movie-set too much and accepted small, unaccredited roles in such features as “Red Dragon”, “Pearl Harbor”, “The Man Who Wasn’t There”, “Collateral Damage” and “Terminator 3”.

The work I discussed in “Red Dragon” and “The Man Who Wasn‘t There” is what is known as featured background. Look for me in “RD” as the guard admitting Edward Norton and Anthony Heald to the asylum and then, later on, reacting to Anthony Hopkins lunging in his harness at Norton. In “TMWWT” the Cohen brothers selected me to be one of the five witnesses to Billy Bob Thornton’s execution. I also landed credited roles in “American Gun”, the late, great James Coburn’s last film, and “S.W.A.T.”

In 2001, I co-starred in a play in Los Angeles titled “The ReBirth” which, strangely enough, led me to my next great adventure : China.

A friend from the play phoned me in 2002 informing me of an audition for the role of a German industrialist but nothing was mentioned about going on location. I met with Janet Wu, who, it turned out, was the daughter of the renowned Chinese director Wu Tian Ming and a week later I was on a plane to Beijing. ”CEO” is the story of a Chinese manufacturer who helps bring China into the modern world of industrial competition. Needless to say, China is awesome. However, I must point out something first. My dear French friends, if you think your gastronomical experiences are strange, let me assure you that you have nothing on the Chinese.

Back home Janet Wu and I kept in contact and, through her, I met with director Derek Wan about the role of Dr. Stienbeck in the CCTV production of “The War of Genes”.

It is the story of a SARS-like epidemic that sweeps through Los Angeles and I am the unscrupulous scientist responsible. A villain, what fun ! It is historic in the sense of being the first production shot outside of China by China Central TV and the use of western actors. A 22 episode mini-series slated for airing in, alas, China only as far as I know. There you have it, a walk through my career as an actor. It’s been fun.

I must say in closing that I have many fond memories of my time in France as a young man and hope to return someday. Paris... a magical city that requires poems and novels to describe… Hitch-hiking to Spain and the kindness of strangers... Macon and my introduction to Beaujolais…

You have asked me to sum up my career in a few words. A battered Citroen that keeps rolling down the road ? A magic carpet that has carried me around the world ?

Acting has been my mistress and I’ve fallen deeply in love with her. Creation is an intoxicating thing. An artist is a story teller. Music, painting, sculpture, dance, writing, acting : we want to show you something. Unfortunately, everything we reveal is not always worth your regard. We risk your scorn for your attention. That is the game. As artists we maintain a life slightly outside of society in order to better reflect it back. Perhaps we‘re just Sacred Fools, keeping it real for the rest of us. As for me, I‘m still just scratching the surface.

This has been my true and honest recollection, October 25, 2004. So many good smiles and I remain, your humble player,

Max Thayer.

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