Interview with Vernon Wells

Vernon Wells has appeared in over 98 movies as well as being a very successful voice over actor. He is probably best known for his role in the 1985 classic “Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior.” Movie Mikes had a chance recently to talk with Vernon about his career and upcoming projects.

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Adam Lawton: How did your role in “Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior” come about?
Vernon Wells: It all came about rather strangely. I was doing a play in Melbourne and George Miller’s girlfriend was at one of the showing. She suggested to George that I would be perfect for the role of Wez. I had no idea what the “Road Warrior” was about so George came down for a meeting and after about an hour of telling dirty jokes we both went on our way. A month later I get a call saying I got the part. I still had no idea what the film or the role was even about. It wasn’t until I had to go to Sydney for my costume fittings did I start to figure it out. Originally I had thought that I couldn’t do the role and was in my own way trying to get out of the role. Once I got the whole costume on George stood me in front of the mirror and I was scared shitless. After George doing that I figured I could probably do the role.

AL: You got a chance to spoof your character from “Road Warrior” in Weird Science. What was it like working with John Hughes?
VW: John was really great to work with. He was such a kid. That film was my first film in America and its funny because I never really wanted to come to America. I was just a small down home country boy from Australia and I was content being that. They tried for quite some time to get me to come over and do this film. I was terrified to go because I saw it as this huge place with 300 million people and I was coming from a place with only 20 million. I did however enjoy it and it turned out to be a real eye opener. I liked the way I was treated and the people I got to work on that film. Doing this movie put me in contact with a lot of people and ultimately led me to getting the role in “Commando.”

AL: Have you been contacted about doing anything for the 25 year anniversary of “Weird Science”
VW: Nope not yet but I am sure they will be doing something. At one point I had heard that one of the major movie convention holders was trying to get a reunion together but I haven’t heard anything recently about that.

AL: What was it like working with Arnold Schwarzenegger on “Commando?”
VW: I had no idea who he was at first and couldn’t even pronounce his name. (laughs) Initially I had been rejected for the role because the director had thought that I was going to probably do the role like my character from “Road Warrior.” Joel Silver who had put me in “Weird Science” called me about three weeks into production after the person they had originally cast had to leave. After his call I got on a plane and flew to the states. I went directly from the airport to the studio and started working. I enjoyed that film and had a lot of fun. Doing “Commando” made me want to stay in the states and continue working.

AL: Recently you have been involved in a lot of voice over work correct?
VW: Yes. I really have a lot of fun doing that. I can go into work looking like death warmed over and no one cares. (laughs) It’s really cool. I have been getting to do a lot of video games as of late such as “Transformers” and “Spider Man”

AL: What made you get into voice work?
VW: For years people had been saying that I had a great voice and why don’t I do commercials. I really wasn’t interested in doing those at time but, I decided to join a voice over company and in three years I never got a job! I had a friend that was a booth operator for the largest voice over agency in L.A. and he was always at me to stay with it. One day he contacted me and said there was an agent he worked with that was a huge “Road Warrior” fan and that he would like to represent me. Three weeks later I was doing voice over’s for the U.S. Army and things have grown from there.

AL: Can you tell us about “Silent Night Zombie Night?”
VW: I got a call one day from my friend Sean Cain who was the director and he tells me he wants me for his film. I asked what role he was offering me and he told me I was going to get to be the hero! Sean begins to tell me that my character is going to be the one who has all the plans and is going to save everyone. The first thing my character does is he walks out the door and gets killed by zombies. (laughs) I loved the idea and agreed to do the film.

AL: Can you tell us about any upcoming projects that you are involved in?
VW: I have an internet series starting in a few weeks called “Western X.” It’s a Sci-Fi series that’s going to be Huge!  I just had a few films released in Australia the first is called “Drop Dead Gorgeous” and the second one which has won a bunch of awards is called “Charlie Valentine.” Next year I have a bunch of projects coming out one is a vampire movie titled “Dead Undead.”  I also have a movie called “The Pod” as well as “Earth Attack” and “Cheerleaders Must Die.”

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