Interview with M.C. Gainey

You may not known M.C. Gainey by name but you definitely know his face. M.C. has been in all sorts of roles from TV’s “Lost” to “Con Air” to working with Broken Lizard’s films and voicing a Disney character in its latest feature “Tangled”. Movie Mikes had a chance to talk with M.C. about his roles in his outstanding career.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about your role in Disney’s newest animated feature “Tangled”?
M.C. Gainey: “Tangled” is the Rapunzel story. Disney re-branded it to attract little boys as well! They play up the young man part. I voice the Captain of the Guard and I’m constantly chasing this young man. He’s a scamp and I’m trying to reign him in. The thing I love best is how skinny they made my character look in the movie! I haven’t look that good in years. (laughs) It’s a really great feature. This is the first voice character I’ve ever done for an animated film and I’m really excited about it. I think a lot of kids are really going to love this picture. I caught a rough cut of it a couple of months ago and I enjoyed the hell out of it.

MG: This was your first voice acting job. How was it working with Disney?
MCG: Even though this was my first animated film I’ve done about a half dozen things with Disney, from “The Country Bears” to “The Mighty Ducks.” I’ve been on the Disney Channel and ABC…it was almost like filling in the last link of the chain. I’ve done everything at Disney except run the tour!

MG: How was it for you being a part of the “Lost” legacy?
MCG: I’m getting a better perspective on it now that it’s cooled off and gone to wherever they go when they leave television. It was the biggest television hit that I’ve ever been involved with. It was a special job because it was made in Hawaii. And it had a great cast. Just a really top notch cast. Great people…fun to be around. And it was a job where you really didn’t know what they were doing a lot of times. They kept a lot of secrets from you. In the second season I spent six episodes running through the jungle barefoot and in rags. And then in episode seven Kate finds my beard in a locker. And I’m like, “wait a minute…I have a locker? I have a fake beard?” You never really knew who you were or what you were about. It was a great experience doing that job and very satisfying to be in that big of a hit. The fans were unbelievably devoted. Fans of the “Dukes of Hazzard” and the different Broken Lizard things will come up to me and ask “aren’t you in” as a question? “Lost” fans don’t do that. They know! They study every frame of it. There is no question in their mind because they’re studying it very closely. They’re searching for clues in places where I didn’t know there were any clues. It was just a great experience. Another great experience last year was doing five or six episodes of “Justified” with Timothy Olyphant. A brilliant series based on a series of stories by Elmore Leonard. And the great thing about Elmore Leonard villains is that they talk a lot. His villains just talk and talk and talk and talk. The movie “Get Shorty” is a classic example. His characters never shut up. It was a very interesting exercise.

MG: You’ve worked with the comedy troupe Broken Lizard on three different films. How did you become involved with them?
MCG: I started with them on “Club Dread.” My wife and I wanted to take a vacation to Mexico and they were filming down there so it was a perfect fit! It was one of the greatest jobs ever…running around Mexico with those guys. It was an absolute blast. They are truly different kind of filmmakers, those guys. They’re an amazing bunch of guys who met up in college while trying to form an improv group. These five guys show up and they’re still best friends and still in business with each other 25 years later. In this business people rarely hang together, there are always forces pulling things apart, but not these guys

MG: You not only appear in the “Dukes of Hazzard” movie, you also had a role in an episode of the original series. Any connection?
MCG: It was an amazing connection. Because I had done an episode of the show I had great memories. It was the first hour long show I was on. But I was determined not to do an impression of what Jimmy Best did as Roscoe. He was the funniest guy and I wasn’t going to rip him off so I went completely in the other direction and played him as the meanest, fattest and ugliest cop in the world. I had an unbelievable time working with Burt Reynolds and Willie Nelson and Johnny Knoxville. If you can’t have a great time working with those guys you’re in the wrong business!

MG: We’ve interviewed Danny Trejo and he had great things to say about working on “Con Air.” Can you tell us about your experience?
MCG: It was an amazing experience. I had just finished doing a movie called “Breakdown.” It had a really small cast and there was nobody to hang out with. I was really happy when that movie was over. I flew straight in to do “Con Air” and when I get there I see all of my friends…all of the guys I’m usually competing with for jobs in movies as convicts, bikers and cowboys. All of a sudden we’re all working on the same movie! We had the feeling like we had really taken something over. You know a Jerry Bruckheimer (producer of the film) movie is going to be fun anyway. Jerry is a fun guy and he likes everybody to have fun and he takes care of everybody. He’s a great guy to work for. To have all of these people on one set was phenomenal. It was an amazing experience. For me it was a question of not doing too much in the movie. I wanted my character to fly the plane…be obsessed with flying the plane…I didn’t want him to shoot anybody or beat anybody up. I just wanted him to fly the plane and laugh and joke. I wanted him to be a “good time” guy. I was trying to pay tribute to Donald Sutherland in “Kelly’s Heroes.” Sutherland played a guy who drove a tank, wore a beard and laughed all of the time. So I wanted to go in that direction. Play someone who was having a good time and not giving anybody the “stink eye” too much. It was a big picture that continues to be seen on television almost every day! My wife says they may as well have a “Con Air” channel because the movie is literally on almost every day. And let me say that all of the guys on the movie are so proud of Danny Trejo! To come from where he came from and to make it to where he’s made it…only in America! Only in the movie business.

MG: Do you ever feel you’re being typecast into roles like tough guys, criminals etc?
MCG: Oh yeah. And thank God! There was about a ten year period when I really struggled with that. I wanted to do something different. But then I began to get an appreciation of just how lucky I am to be able to work in this industry so thank God I was typecast. And now I’m being typecast as a convict in his later years. I mean just because you’re an old man doesn’t mean you can’t murder people and rob shit!.

MG: What other projects are in the works for you?
MCG: I just finished work on a new HBO series called “Enlightened.” I don’t work as hard as I used to. I’ve got more things to be interested in than always being on a location somewhere. But I still love working with my friends!

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