Robert Z’Dar is known best for playing the role of Matt Cordell in the cult series “Maniac Cop”. Robert took out some time to chat with Media Mikes about his films and also what he is currently working on.
Mike Gencarelli: Can you reflect on the cult status of the “Maniac Cop” series?
Robert Z’Dar: It’s been amazing. When the first 2 films were released here in the states theatrically it was great. Going to places like the airport people would know who I was but they didn’t know my name. It was kind of funny. They would say “there’s that guy”. I still sign a lot of autographs these days. We got introduced to a whole generation recently that loves the films. Over the last 3 years this whole new cult following has been established.
MG: Can you tell us any stories from the production of the films?
RZ: While we were working on “Maniac Cop 2” I was on set the first day of shooting and we were in thiswarehouse. I was reading while the other cast was eating because I couldn’t really talk or anything as a slit hadn’t been cut into the mouth of my makeup. Robert Davi goes over and says that he doesn’t think there’s a hole in mouth and that they should probably feed the maniac because he looked like he was going to kill somebody. I go over mumbling asking if they are going to cut a hole in my mouth or was I going to have to kill them. Everyone started laughing and the makeup crew came over and gave me a slit so I could eat and talk.
MG: Were you approached to do a 4th film?
RZ: Yes, they wanted me to do a 4th one however I can’t do all the same stunts I used to be able to do. I did all my own stuff except for the burn scenes in the first films. I had been with the American Stunt Association for about 15 years. That’s probably why I am so banged up now. I have two metal hips and now they want to give me a metal shoulder. As I was about to do the film I was diagnosed with neck cancer. I was given about a 35% chance to live. I did a lot of praying prior to my treatments and everything went really well. The doctor couldn’t believe how well I have healed. As of right now I am cancer free. I am getting back in to shape and I have a bunch of movies that I am ready to start work on.
MG: What are your thoughts on the proposed “Maniac Cop” remake?
RZ: Everybody wants so much money for the rights. Greed has gotten the best of a lot of people and that’s the reason why there haven’t been more films in the series.
MG: What do you like most about working in the horror genre?
RZ: I have done 4 or 5 horror films. I seem to play a lot of bad guys. Over the past 5 years or so I have gotten some really great roles in some independent films. There is one called “Precious Mettle” which is in the process of securing financing. The film is a great dramatic, who done it? type film. I play a firefighter whose buddy is killed. It has a number of twists and turns. The cast is made up of quite a few well known old school actors.
MG: What do you think has been your most challenging role to
RZ: Every movie I do I try to pull something that will showcase my craft while at the same time entertaining people. However my biggest challenge was beating cancer.
MG: What other things do you have going on?
RZ: I did a film called “Drummer for the Mob” which was produced by Bruce Koehler. The film has some great locations that are old mob type places. William Forsythe is in the film and he is just such a great actor. That film should be coming out sometime in the fall of this year. I also have one called “Ring of Fire” that is in the works as well. There is just a bunch of stuff going on right now. I really love my work.