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Art Instutute

Julian McMahon Interview Full Text

Movies: Horror: Interviews: 2 comments: 03/11/2007

By Stefan Halley

Read the full text of the Julian McMahon Phone Interview

Moderator This is the Julian McMahon College conference call.  It is a recorded call.  Now I present to you Mr. Julian McMahon.  Our first question is from Matthew Foster.  Please go ahead, sir.

M. Foster Hello, Julian.  At my magazine, we do a segment called Five Questions, where we ask a celebrity five questions and then an average person five questions, put them next to each other and hopefully come up with something funny –

J. McMahon Can I be both?

Liquid Logixx, Dallas, Texas

M. Foster Well, they would be the same –

J. McMahon No, they’d be totally different answers.

M. Foster Oh, well –

J. McMahon No, no, no.

M. Foster I was going to say, if you want to take that much time, I guess maybe I could –

J. McMahon Right.

M. Foster But, yes, so the questions are kind of all over the place, but here’s my first one – it kind of goes along with the movie you just did.  Have you ever experienced premonition?

J. McMahon Yes, I have, actually, to a certain extent.  I’ve had a feeling about something that I thought was – a very strong feeling about something that actually occurred a couple of days later.

M. Foster Okay.  Is there – do you want to –

J. McMahon No.

M. Foster No, okay.  How many places do you hang a “Kiss Me I’m Irish” pin on
St. Patrick’s day?

J. McMahon As many as I can.

M. Foster Okay.  Where are some examples where you’d hang them?

J. McMahon “Kiss Me I’m Irish”?  Well, I am actually from a very strong Irish lineage, so I’m not lying.  So I should just be kissed consistently, because there’s very few of us that actually are of the lineage.  But, you know, anywhere.

M. Foster Consistently and anywhere, okay.  We’re going to keep moving along that path:  St. Patrick’s –

J. McMahon The Irish path?

M. Foster Well, sort of, yes.  St. Patrick the man:  Was he a drunken genius or a snake-charming pervert?

J. McMahon Wow.  Maybe a little bit of both.

M. Foster That’s good.  Okay.  How furry is your favorite coat?

J. McMahon How furry?

M. Foster Yes.

J. McMahon My favorite coat.  I have a few, but I have one that’s very furry.

M. Foster So you’re saying you have a few favorite coats?

J. McMahon Yes.

M. Foster And one that is very furry?

J. McMahon Yes.  See, you can’t even say it seriously.

M. Foster Yes, but that’s the thing, is that it’s just a funny question.  So – that’s just a joke right away.  Okay, one that is very furry.  That’s all the questions I have, so thanks a lot, Julian, and best of luck with … film.

J. McMahon Thanks, man, appreciate it.

Moderator We have a question from Kevin Carr.  Please go ahead.

K. Carr Hello, Julian.  The question I have is about, in shooting a film – normally it’s always shot out of order anyway, but this movie is sort of told out of order.  Can you talk about whether that was actually different, or if you noticed a different challenge in sort of trying to keep track of everything?

J. McMahon As you prefaced, all movies are shot out of order, so you always have that kind of – the concept of, okay, what came before and what comes after, and where was I and how am I feeling, what am I thinking, all that kind of stuff.  But that’s just kind of a natural progression for an actor when you’re working in film and/or television. 

But, yes, this was a little more difficult, just because the time frames are so kind of skewed that you really had to make sure that you were wearing the right outfit, or you were in the right frame of mind, or it was kind of – I mean, this is all over the place, and as much as it’s all over the place in the movie, it was at least as much in the script, maybe even more.  And for me, because I come in and out of it consistently, I had to kind of monitor – some days – like, I’d play – say the movie goes over a week, right?  I’d play a Thursday before the movie’s even kind of got to it.  And then later on, I’d come to the Tuesday afternoon.  Does that make sense?

K. Carr Yes, that makes sense.

J. McMahon So that was kind of – it was a little tricky, but – I mean, the thing was, it did span over a week, so you could kind of contain it a little bit, you know what I mean?  Whereas if it had spanned over a longer period of time, I’m sure it would be much more difficult.  But it definitely posed its own challenges, just trying to make that consistent. 

K. Carr Thank you.  Do you enjoy sort of like the more either dark or off-center roles, not the totally normal guy roles but something a little more quirky or different?

J. McMahon Yes, definitely.  I’m always attracted to something that is a little kind of skewed, a little kind of off.  Sometimes, you know, extremely off.  But I like those characters that are a little more extraordinary than just everyday life.  That’s what I kind of like playing, and that’s what I seem to have spent most of my career doing.

K. Carr If I can just ask one final question:  What was it like dealing with a crew and people from all over the place?  The director is from Germany; is that correct?

J. McMahon He’s a Turkish German, yes.

K. Carr Were there any sort of challenges to sort of the international working of anyone you worked with, with the film?

J. McMahon No – I mean, I’m not from this country myself, and I’ve spent a lot of time working with people from different parts of the world and different parts of America, and everybody’s different.  And every set that you go through is different personalities, and every director you work with and every other actor, they’re all different people.  It doesn’t really matter that they’re coming from different countries.

The only different thing on this was that you had Mennan and Torsten, who are the director and VP, and Sandy, who could all speak fluent German, and there was a lot of (German) being thrown around consistently.  I have no idea what any of those mean, but seemed to be pretty important to them.

K. Carr Thank you for your answers.

J. McMahon My pleasure.

Moderator We have a question from Judah Essa of the … Tribune.  Please go ahead.

J. Essa I have a couple of questions, please.  The first one:  What were the challenges of filming such a psychological role?  And does it impact your personal life when you do something like this?

J. McMahon I think that all roles are psychological.  Just because it’s been tagged as a psychological thriller doesn’t mean that it’s any more psychological for the actors than it would be when you’re playing other roles, so I think all roles are psychologically involved.  I mean, that’s the whole idea of an actor, is to look at a piece and kind of interpret it in your own way and evaluate it psychologically and emotionally and thoughtfully, and then come up with a character that is different from yourself.

I mean, it’s more the concept of the movie and the way that it’s delivered, about how it’s more psychological than anything I’ve done before, than what I would do myself.  Does that make sense?

J. Essa Yes, but the concept also of being able to prevent the loss of someone who’s very central to your life – does that impact you when you’re seeing something like that, or playing a part like this?

J. McMahon Yes; I mean, I felt very – when I read the script, it was very – it’s kind of a very emotional piece at some point in time.  Particularly, I feel like the last 15, maybe 20 minutes of the movie where it really does become about an attempt to save the life – and particularly when you’ve known about it for a period of time – but an attempt to save the life of somebody who’s so integral and so important and such a mainstay, such a kind of solid foundation of your existence, particularly when you’re talking about a wife, a husband, a family, two kids.

I just thought – and in watching the movie, I got very kind of involved and emotional about the fact, and then when I read the script again.  But I think it’s a very kind of – it’s a pretty extraordinary – it’s a pretty extraordinary –

J. Essa Experience.

J. McMahon Yes, experience; and also just an extraordinary deliberation, to think about that, you know what I mean?  And to think about the concept of losing somebody and then the concept of trying to not lose somebody, and trying to hold onto somebody – I found it very – very kind of engaging and very kind of sensitive, you know?

J. Essa My other question is about the way the movie is arranged and the way it alternates between Linda’s premonitions and reality:  Does that create a sort of destabilizing experience for the viewer, sort of like Vanilla Sky type of experience?

J. McMahon Yes – I mean, for Vanilla Sky, they didn’t change days like we do, right?  I saw the movie, but I can’t remember exactly.  But, yes, I mean, I think that’s part of the conceptualization of the filmmaker and the writer and the actual – the project itself.  I mean, the whole idea is to take you on that trip, you know what I mean?  And part of that trip is not knowing where you’re at.  So you’re following these characters and they’re trying to solidify themselves in some kind of way, but at the same time, as an audience, you’re very kind of off-balance, and you’re very kind of – kind of unaware of where things are exactly.  But I think that’s an interesting way to make a movie.

J. Essa Sounds very interesting.  Thank you very much.

J. McMahon My pleasure.

Moderator Your next question comes from the line of Joanie Creeson.  Please go ahead.

J. Creeson Hello, Julian.  I understand this film was filmed in Shreveport.  Can you tell us where the film story is set?

J. McMahon The film story’s really not set anywhere, and that was a very specific thing that we kind of talked about.  We wanted to kind of middle-American, kind of anywhere/nowhere – it’s a very kind of middle-American-type family, and we didn’t want to establish anything with different kind of – you know, solidifying where it was geographically or in any kind of dialect or any kind of accent or anything like that.  We wanted to just make it as very kind of – that kind of question as open as possible.

J. Creeson Okay, thank you.  Was this movie based on a book, or –

J. McMahon No.  It was an original screenplay by David Kelley.

J. Creeson Oh, I see.  Can you tell us a little bit about the plot?

J. McMahon Yes.  The movie centers around Sandra Bullock’s character, which is named Linda Hansen, who is a woman who has been married to my character, Jim Hansen for, I don’t know, about eight, ten years.  They have two kids, and they’re living a very kind of normal, middle-American mainstream lifestyle and everybody’s kind of doing things at this point in time in their lives, and particularly in their family, very kind of – everything is very consistent and everything’s very rote and everything’s very mundane and everything’s very – every day is kind of – Monday is this, Tuesday is that, Wednesday is this, Thursday, blah, blah, blah, it continues.  They’ve kind of got to a very stale place in their lives, both of the characters that Sandy and I play, and then including the family with the two kids. 

She wakes up one morning and – actually, she takes the kids to school and comes home and starts her kind of usual life stuff, doing the washing and tidying the kids’ rooms and all that kind of stuff, and then gets a knock at the door and finds out that her husband’s been killed in a car crash.  Then, after certain things, we find out the next morning she wakes up and her husband is actually alive.

Then throughout the plot of the movie she realizes that all of her days are kind of out of order, and there’s maybe a potential for her to prevent this accident.  And really, the movie kind of climaxes towards a realization of the two characters that they do love each other and they do care for each other, and attempt to save their relationship and prevent this horrific occurrence.

J. Creeson Oh, I see.  Okay.  Did any local extras participate in the movie?

J. McMahon Oh, yes, lots of local extras and lots of – I mean, the whole thing was shot in Shreveport, so it was a very Louisianan-based crew.  A lot of people came from New Orleans.  The film industry there was very supportive, putting people up in different places, people who were without housing down in New Orleans and had lost their jobs or weren’t able to get one because of the hurricane and stuff like that.  It was actually quite a wonderful experience in regards to meeting all of those people with such positive attitudes and kind of a state that kind of all brought themselves together to help heal from the kind of devastating effects of what had happened only a few months before.

J. Creeson Right.  Okay, I appreciate that.  Thanks.

Moderator We have a question from R. Carson.  Please go ahead.

R. Carson Hello, Julian.  Just one question:  The movie’s been compared to Groundhog Day and 12:01 and a couple of other films that share a similar theme –

J. McMahon What was the last one?  12:01?

R. Carson 12:01, yes.  It was a little-known cable movie like from ’97 or something.

J. McMahon All right.

R. Carson Anyway, there was a movie in 2001 which you did, which you starred in, called Another Day, I think, which has a very similar theme to Premonition.  I was wondering; did that occur to you before you negotiated whether you wanted to take the role as Jim?  How did it affect your decision-making?

J. McMahon Oh, my God.  Another Day never came into my mind.  Another Day hasn’t come into my mind since I finished shooting it, until you just mentioned it right then.

R. Carson Was it that bad?  I haven’t seen it?

J. McMahon No, it wasn’t that bad, actually.  I was quite happy with the end result.  And I had a great time shooting it as well.  You know, no; it had no bearing on my decision-making at all.

R. Carson And now when you think about it?

J. McMahon Now when I think about it – no, it never would.  I mean, this is just a different type of thing, you know?  I was really interested in this movie initially because of Sandra Bullock, and then I was interested in the movie because I read the script, and then I was interested in it because I had seen the director’s first film and I just thought it was wonderful.  It just never even – not only that, the characters have no – what’s the word? – they’re totally dissimilar to each other.  So, no, it still doesn’t.  But thanks for bringing it up.

R. Carson No problem.  On that note, how was working with Sandra Bullock like?

J. McMahon It’s wonderful.  She’s everything you expect from what we’ve seen over many years, and she’s more.  She really is a pretty extraordinary woman.

R. Carson Okay.  Maybe one last one:  What’s next for you?  I just heard you finished the production on Fantastic Four II, the sequel.  So what’s after that?

J. McMahon You know what, I’ve just been taking a break for the last two months.  I worked pretty much for the last three years without any time off.  And I’ve got three movies coming up this year and I’m pretty excited about that, and then I go back to my TV show.  I do a TV show called Nip/Tuck, and I go back to that in June.  So I don’t know if I’m going to work before that or not, but I definitely needed a break.

R. Carson Okay.  Good luck with your break, then.

J. McMahon Thank you.

Moderator Then we have one from Audra Glover.  Please go ahead.

A. Glover Mr. McMahon, hello.  I’m such a fan of your work.

J. McMahon Thank you.

A. Glover I’ve got one question about Nip/Tuck and one about Premonition.  I was still a senior in high school when Nip/Tuck first premiered. 

J. McMahon Oh, don’t say that.  Are you trying to make me feel old?  Is that what you’re doing? 

A. Glover No, no.  How do you feel about young people watching that show, as F/X continues to push that envelope now on cable?

J. McMahon It depends on how young.  How young are you talking about?

A. Glover Well, I guess, you know, young, high school.

J. McMahon How old is that?

A. Glover Fourteen, sixteen.

J. McMahon Fourteen?

A. Glover Yes.

J. McMahon No, I don’t think 14-year-olds should be watching my show.  At all.  In fact, there’s a disclaimer before it.  What is it, is it 18-year-old or over or something?  I mean, it’s a very mature show, and I wouldn’t be showing it to anybody below the age of 18, maybe even 21.  If you have any like of that; I don’t know what you have – depending on where you are and what happens.  I mean, basically, 16, 17, 18 years old, you’re pretty much on your own now, right?  So you can do what you want.  But, you know, it’s for mature audiences, and we’ve stated that consistently throughout, and that is why we’ve been pushing those envelopes, because we’ve done it under the proviso that it’s not for an immature audience. 

A. Glover What do you think the show would become if HBO or Showtime were to adopt it?

J. McMahon HBO or Showtime?  Why HBO or Showtime?

A. Glover Well, you know, don’t you think it belongs there?  I think it does.

J. McMahon I think what’s been interesting about it is that the HBO and Showtimes have no parameters for what you can and can’t do.  They have no – you can say whatever you want, all those words that – whatever, and you can show full nudity, frontal, back, side, blah, blah, blah – whereas we’re kind of put under a few constraints.  We can’t show frontal nudity, we can’t show certain side nudity, we can’t say a lot of words.  The only word we’re allowed to say on the show is “shit,” and a couple of kind of blasphemous-type words.  But the rest, we’re not.

It kind of just makes for an interesting thing, because look, it’s fun to be able to let it all hang out there when you’re on HBO and whatever else, but at the same time, having constraints gives you different ideas about things.  And it kind of gives you a way to – and both of them are very positive, by the way, I’m not saying negative about either of them.  I’m just saying it just gives you kind of something – a way to work differently. 

So you’d approach a scene on HBO that’s written – one of our written scenes, and you go, well, let’s shoot it like this, because we can; and then on our show, you go, well, let’s shoot it like this, because we have certain constraints.  And I think they’re both interesting.

A. Glover That’s an interesting way to look at it.  Now, in all of your roles, I think that you really just – you exude this awesomeness, whether it Christian Troy or Dr. Doom or Jim – so do you think you draw that from your experience as a model, or where did that come from?

J. McMahon Awesomeness, did you say? 

A. Glover Yes.

J. McMahon Okay.  What’s that actually mean?

A. Glover Awesomeness is just cool.  You’re cool.  You’re bad-ass.

J. McMahon Cool, good.  Good, I like that.  More of that, bring it on.  You know, I think it just – I don’t know.  I mean, I don’t know if it came from my modeling days or if it came from just my personality and who you are.  I mean, you can’t get away from who you are as a person when you’re portraying them on film.  And that’s – as much as you want to, as an actor, portray all these different characters, you do, but you do it in a very kind of small, insignificant way, you know what I mean?  You make small choices that make you different in very kind of miniscule ways, if that makes any sense.

But to get away from your real self is almost impossible unless you’re doing the whole – okay, I’m putting on a beard, I’m putting on fake teeth, I’m putting on a nose – you know what I mean? – and you’re getting away from your physicality and who you are, you’re always going to have a part of yourself in those roles.  And as much as – I mean, I tried very hard to just kind of play Jim as just a normal guy.  But when people are looking at it, they’re going to see you as well, so – I don’t know if I’m answering your question.  That’s a hard question to answer.

A. Glover No, that was good.  What’s the transition like for you, from TV to film and back and forth?  What do you enjoy more?

J. McMahon I like them both.  TV work, Nip/Tuck, it’s definitely a consistent grind.  It’s a lot of hard work.  Nip/Tuck is kind of up there on the list of one of the toughest – I’d say one of the toughest things to do in the business, because we’re doing a seven-day work week, which means we have to get the episode in with seven days; and usually on a show like – with the kind of show that we’re trying to produce, usually you’d have at least 10 to 14 days.  So we’ve cut ourselves in half, and we have mountains and mountains of dialog, and on top; of that, it’s all very emotional, and it’s all very sensitive and connected.  So you can’t just walk through it, which is really a pain in the ass sometimes, because sometimes you just want the day off, you know?  You just want to say your lines and be done with it, but you can’t.  It’s draining, and it’s consistently draining, and it’s – it’s tough.

And then film – it depends on the film.  I mean, some films are draining, too.  The only thing about film is usually, on the films I’ve worked on, you just have a lot more time.  I mean, Fantastic Four is a little ridiculous.  I mean, Fantastic Four, you could do like two-eighths of a page a day and you’re happy with it.  But on the Premonition movie, you do maybe a page or two a day, but it’s still nothing compared to 10, 12 pages.  So it’s just, the capacity of work is very different.  They’re both fun – they’re all fun to work on.  I mean, I love performing and I love working with different people, and I love the whole business, really, so I’m just happy to be there.  But at the same time, they are different beasts.

A. Glover Yes, well, you have such a presence on screen.  When I first saw Nip/Tuck premiere, I was so blown away and captivated, by you especially.

J. McMahon Thank you.  That was a character I fought really hard to get.  I felt very connected with that guy, and I felt like it was – you feel connected to different characters in your life.  Sometimes you read things, and you read it a few years later and you go, well, I didn’t connect with it before, and I do now or whatever, and I just felt like, when – after I read that script, I can’t tell you how hard I fought to get that role.  And I think the reason that I got the role is because I embodied it so much, and I really felt like I had a lot to give to that character, and I think that that kind of ultimately hopefully is the way that you look at most of them.

A. Glover Okay.  Now, Premonition:  I thought you and Sandra really had a lot of chemistry onscreen.  And what did you guys do to develop that –

J. McMahon Absolutely nothing.  You can’t –

A. Glover Just came naturally?

J. McMahon Yes.  It just comes or it doesn’t, you know?  Some people have chemistry with each other, some people – I mean, I – I don’t know.  I feel like I have chemistry with anything.  You know?  Just kind of feel like – you do, you know?  You could – whatever.  But then you’ve got somebody like Sandy, and you’ve got two personalities which just kind of play off each other, and I think that that’s where the chemistry comes from, and it’s – you know, just – I don’t know.  You know what it’s like, when you meet somebody and you just, you can just talk.  You can talk for hours and you can have a laugh, and you get each other’s sensibilities and understandings, and you kind of connect.  And I think that’s where chemistry comes from, and it can’t be manufactured.

I mean, it can be manufactured a little bit.  With a really good filmmaker you can manufacture it.  But at the same time, if it doesn’t – if it’s not there, it’s not going to be there.

A. Glover Now, in the movie, the marriage and stuff –

J. McMahon I felt like we fit very well.

A. Glover Yes.  As Jim and Linda, the marriage is having problems.  Now, you’ve had your own experiences of marriage, so don’t you think if your wife told you that she had a dream you died, how would you react to that?

J. McMahon Well, after seeing the movie, I’d probably stop what I was doing and ask her what happens, and sit down for a few days.  But I don’t know; I mean, how would you know?  When you’re in – particularly – let’s go with the circumstances of the movie, right?  And that is that they’re not – the relationship is so mundane and so consistent and so boring, right?  They’re bored with themselves; they’re bored with each other.  It’s kind of just one of those things where life has just taken a hold of you instead of you taking a hold of it. 

What happens is you get married and you have the kids, and everything gets sucked out.  Like raising children, taking care of your finances, buying a house, taking care of the car – all of these things you’re dealing with in your life and you forget about each other, and you forget about the reason that you put each other together in the first place, and that was because you loved each other and there’s a great connection there, and you laugh together, you love together, you do all that kind of stuff.  And this has all left the relationship.

Not only that, she’s starting to act a little freaking crazy, and how do you respond to – you know, you’re going through all that crap in your head, and how do you respond to somebody who’s just filling it with more crap?  You know what?  Probably just, “Leave me alone.” You know what I mean?  And that’s the irony of the whole thing, and that’s the kind of – the despondent kind of – despondency of the film, is that, God, we should have listened.  But if they had been in a different place, both of them, in their relationship with each other and with themselves, then it wouldn’t have happened that way. 

A. Glover Mr. McMahon, you’ve answered all my questions, and I thank you for talking to me.

J. McMahon My pleasure, thank you.

A. Glover I hope to see you in more films.

J. McMahon Thank you.

Moderator Now we have one from Tessa Strosser.  Please go ahead.

T. Strosser I was just wondering, I know that you’re really busy with Nip/Tuck, and since you have such a limited time in which you can take your roles, how do you choose your roles?

J. McMahon You have to be very specific, because as you said, you’ve got a limited amount of time.  So either you have to do – I kind of go on a few different things.  One, it’s a character that I really want to play.  Two, it’s with another actor that I’d like to play again, or a few actors that I’ve admired and would like to work with.  And three – three is you have a director that kind of sees things, that you connect with, and that you feel like you’re going to go on out and make the best kind of movie you can with.  Those are kind of the main provisos as far as I’m concerned.

T. Strosser In Premonition, Sandra Bullock’s character is sort of living this one horrible event over and over again.  What … find yourself living over and over?

J. McMahon What – sorry?  Say that again?

T. Strosser What’s sort of one event that you’d hate to find yourself having to live over and over again?

J. McMahon Oh, God.  There’s so many.  I mean – what event?  I don’t know.  That’s a tough question.  I don’t know.  What – you tell me.

T. Strosser I mean, would you be upset if you lost a loved one, or –

J. McMahon What do you think?

T. Strosser Well, yes.

J. McMahon I mean, would you be upset if you lost a loved one, that’s – I feel like it’s a pretty obvious answer.  So any kind of circumstance like that would absolutely be horrific.

T. Strosser Okay.  Well, thank you.

Moderator Our next person is Sean Redmond.  Please go ahead.

S. Redmond Hello.  How is this role different than the other roles you’ve played in the past?  And do you believe in fate and like –

J. McMahon The role is very different because – I’ve never played anything like this.  This was very—actually, no, I did play someone similar in a film I did years ago.  But this is just a very kind of normal guy.  He’s a very middle-American family, middle-American values, and just a guy who loved his girlfriend, got married, and had kids and now has a family, and – kind of that’s it.

S. Redmond And do you believe in fate?

J. McMahon Yes.

S. Redmond So certain things are just going to happen because they – you don’t really have control over them in life?

J. McMahon I think so.  Don’t know if I’d want to delve into that too much, but yes, I think so. 

S. Redmond Are you going to do more films in the future or still try to do Nip/Tuck along with two or three films every year, or how do you see your future unfolding in June, or when you pick things back up?

J. McMahon It’s been pretty – I’ve really enjoyed what’s happened in the last few years, and that has been – I’ve done my TV series for six months of the year, and then for the other six months I’ve done one or two movies, and that’s been fun.  I’m contracted to Nip/Tuck for the next two years at least, so I have a commitment there and I’ll obviously fulfill that.  And then I don’t know what will happen, to be honest.

S. Redmond And are there any thrillers that you liked when you were growing up, or movies that inspired your role here, that you liked when you were younger?

J. McMahon Gee, that’s a good question, but I can’t think of any right now.  But yes, a lot.  Can I be boring and just say “lots”?

S. Redmond Are there any directors that you’re inspired by?

J. McMahon Pretty much every one I’ve seen.  I mean, every movie I watch and enjoy, I’m inspired by the director, I think, undoubtedly.  There are some pretty extraordinary directors out here.  Not just out here; throughout the world.

S. Redmond Thank you for your time.

Moderator Then our next presenter is Matt Eggerholm.  Please go ahead.

M. Eggerholm Hello, Julian.  Thanks for talking with us today.  My first question would be – I think you kind of answered this before, but just elaborate on how much of a departure the character was, of the middle-American family man, from your roles you’re famous for, or more famous for, like the bad-ass, which everyone always loves you in those roles.  But how did you go about preparing for this, a more normalized, down-to-earth, or just more low-key role?

J. McMahon Yes, definitely.  The way I prepared for it initially was through wardrobe and hair and that kind of stuff.  I always feel like once you’ve got the outfits and once you’ve got the locations and once you kind of look the part, you kind of start fitting it a little bit, if that makes any sense.  For me, it really started when I asked the wardrobe lady for a very specific wardrobe.  I wanted all of my suits to be a little too short at the cuff, down at the bottom where it hits your shoe, and I wanted them to be a little short so you could see the shirtsleeves underneath the jacket, and just a kind of, a lot of stuff was just very different stylistically in regards to the way I was wearing things, as opposed to everything else that I’ve done.

So I kind of started there, and then I just developed it.  But I developed it beyond, I think, just a guy in middle – and I know that I’ve said that – but it really was a story about two people – about a relationship between – it was kind of a relationship between four people, really, because it kind of really comes down to the relationship between the four family members, and that’s the wife, the husband and the two children. 

That’s kind of inevitably what it became for me, and that was a journey of just –just people, and something that was extraordinarily fateful and inevitable.  And so it developed from one place, and really kind of me trying to fit what I felt like was this character; and then developed into almost – inside of this psychological thriller, a love story between people who really care about each other.

M. Eggerholm Very cool.  I’ve heard that the director has been praised for making films that aren’t necessarily Hollywood-ized, or just the usual type of studio affair you see from studios releasing thrillers and stuff.  How would you say that this film differs from the usual studio-made psychological thriller of like contemporary times?

J. McMahon What’s another thriller movie?  Give me an example.

M. Eggerholm I think a lot of the most popular ones today are things like Saw and –

J. McMahon Oh, okay.  Well, I mean, all those movies are a little more blood-bath-y than ours, that’s for sure.

M. Eggerholm Yes, definitely.

J. McMahon This is much more a psychological thriller.  Mennan Yapo did a movie called Soundless before this movie, which came out in Germany, and it’s really quite a wonderful piece, if you ever want to pick it up, because –

M. Eggerholm Oh, definitely.

J. McMahon Inside of this – and this is what I loved about the whole thing, and this is what I was talking about just a moment ago, and that is, inside of this – you’ve got to see this movie.  It’s about this guy who’s a hit man, and inside of this hit man who hardly says any words in the whole movie, he develops this extraordinary love story.  And you can’t help fighting for this guy, you know, and he’s a hit man, for Chrissakes, you know. 

And I think that that’s what he’s brought to the table here, and that’s what I felt very kind of – I felt a very important concept of this movie was the love story.  And if we didn’t have the love story, I didn’t feel like we had a movie.  Whether that’s right or wrong, I don’t know; but I just felt like – for me, I felt like if you don’t have the story of these two people who absolutely love each other, but at this point in time in their lives just are not connecting properly, and need to and want to and will find a place where they can, then you have a movie that’s going to make some kind of understanding, some kind of sense, and some kind of emotional connection with the people who are watching it.

M. Eggerholm That’s wonderful.  That basically leads me to my last question:  What do you hope audiences come away feeling or contemplating after seeing Premonition?

J. McMahon You know, God, I – that’s a tough one.  I mean, I think that should always be an individual thing.  But I mean –

M. Eggerholm Just for you, I guess.

J. McMahon -- if you could walk away from that movie feeling like – it’s that whole appreciate – just appreciate what you have a little bit.  I think that that is really an important message.  What I got out of it is an important message with the movie, and that is stop looking over there and just look at what’s right in front of you, and if you can, take a moment to appreciate what you have, because it’s important. 

M. Eggerholm That’s great.  Thank you very much.

J. McMahon A pleasure.

Moderator Our next person is Evan Leroy.  Please go ahead.

E. Leroy Julian, thanks for talking to us today. 

J. McMahon Thank you.

E. Leroy I have a few questions about Nip/Tuck.  You guys are going to be in
Los Angeles next season.  How is that going to affect the show?

J. McMahon I don’t think there’s any way it’s not going to affect the show.  So I just think – I don’t know if you saw the end of last season, but –

E. Leroy Yes.

J. McMahon -- we were standing under the Hollywood Sign, and it just felt so good to – it’s just, overall, it’s just going to be a great feeling to be doing something slightly different, you know what I mean?

E. Leroy Yes.

J. McMahon I think that the difficulty in the medium of TV is that it’s so consistent.  You’re consistently talking about the same characters in the same place, the same little town, the same people, whatever; and that can get just a little boring sometimes.  I don’t know if it gets boring for an audience, but even just as an actor, sometimes it’s like, oh, here we go again, same office, same thing, same bed, same this. 

So for us, I think it’s just exciting to – everything’s going to be new.  It will be like going to a new show with the same people, you know?  So I think that that brings a lot of excitement to your performance, and I think that if you’re bringing excitement to performance – I’m sure that the writers are excited about writing in a different place, and the set designers and the DP – everybody’s just excited about doing a different thing.

Then also just actually coming to L.A., I think just based on the fact that – you know, everybody talks about Los Angeles being this kind of hub of the plastic surgery industry – I think Miami is as well, definitely – but we all talk about L.A. being one, and I think that it’s very applicable to the show.

E. Leroy When does that pick back up again?  This summer?

J. McMahon Yes, June.

E. Leroy All right, that’s all, that’s my question.  Everything else got answered.

J. McMahon Cool.

Moderator Then the next person is Kevin Mimm.  Please go ahead.

K. Mimm Thank you for taking the time out to do this today.

J. McMahon My pleasure.

K. Mimm I joined late, so somebody may have asked you this question already, but my question is what was it like playing a guy who dies and then doesn’t die, and dies and then doesn’t die, and finally realizes he’s really not dead?

J. McMahon Well, the times that he was dead, I didn’t know about it.  Do you know what I mean?  Like, the times that he’s dead, Jim doesn’t know about.  So you’re never playing the dead guy.  You’re just playing the guy.  And that was the one thing for me, and that was – the exact opposite of what Sandy and I were doing throughout the movie, was she was going on this one journey that every day varied.  The only consistency about what was happening to her was it was inconsistent; whereas the thing for me was, it was consistent.  Like, I was actually living day after day.

So for me, it became about, okay, make sure that if she’s experiencing it Thursday and we haven’t even got to Tuesday yet – which I know sounds weird, but I’m talking about the previous Tuesday – if we haven’t got to that yet, I need to be in the right place on that Thursday for it to make sense when the whole thing comes together on the Tuesday.  Does that make sense at all?  Geez, I’m going to find myself in some very difficult situations, trying to describe this movie, because it’s so all over the place.  Because it’s so out of order, I had to maintain where I was in reality.  Does that make sense?  Still no, huh?

K. Mimm As Jim, you never were a person who even had an inkling that you were dead.  You were just always alive.

J. McMahon Yes.  You’ve got to help me here:  Am I making any sense at all?

K. Mimm Well –

J. McMahon Not really.

K. Mimm No.

J. McMahon Okay, there you go.  Well, maybe that’s the point.  Maybe I’m not meant to make sense.  Maybe the movie’s not meant to make sense.  But no, I never had an inkling that I was going to die.  He was just living his life.  You know what I mean?  He was living his life from day to day, and that’s Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, with this woman who was actually living her life in a very different way, and he doesn’t understand any of it.  So as far as he was concerned, I think, she was kind of turning into a bit of a whack job.

K. Mimm Now you’re making sense.

J. McMahon Okay.  Took a while, but got there.

K. Mimm Yes.  You know, sometimes it goes in circles and comes back to the beginning.

J. McMahon You know?  Sometimes you’ve got to go through that just to find it.

K. Mimm Thank you very much.  That’s the only question that I had.

J. McMahon My pleasure.

Moderator The next person is Elinio Bogyayansatgaya.  Please go ahead.

E. Mogilionskaya Hello?

J. McMahon Hello.  That’s a pretty extraordinary name.  Can you say that?

E. Mogilionskaya Yes; that name is actually Elena Mogilionskaya.

J. McMahon Where is that from?

E. Mogilionskaya I was born in St. Petersburg, in Russia.

J. McMahon Oh, wow.  Okay.  Sorry.

E. Mogilionskaya Okay, thank you for talking to us today.

J. McMahon My pleasure.

E. Mogilionskaya I guess my first question would be, you talked about how you spend so much of your time with Nip/Tuck, which is known as really one of the raciest TV shows out there, and now you’ve taken time to do a role that’s more family-oriented, middle-America kind of role.  Can you talk a little bit about what motivated you to take this role, except for the factors that you’ve mentioned earlier?

J. McMahon Except the things I mentioned earlier?

E. Mogilionskaya Just in terms of – because you mentioned like Sandra Bullock and the script, but – for you personally.

J. McMahon For me personally.  Well, I just liked the script.  And I liked the opportunity to – everybody has seen me as this Nip/Tuck guy for the last whatever it is, four years, I think, and it’s a pretty specific role.  And not that I want to shake that role or get rid of it or anything or whatever, because I’ve really enjoyed playing that guy.  But I just wanted to play something different, and this was – I mean, I remember getting it and thinking, God, I can’t believe they would consider me for this role because it just so is not what kind of is out there of me, and the kind of roles that I’ve played. 

But then the opportunity to actually take it and do something with it I thought was really – you know, for me just as an actor, it was really kind of just an opportunity to do something different.  I mean, I think you’re always trying to do something different.  Even with my character on Nip/Tuck, I try to play him slightly differently from year to year sometimes.  I mean, maybe even episode to episode sometimes.  But you’re always looking for – you never just want to be the one character, I don’t think.  Maybe some people do, but I don’t.  So it’s an opportunity to play something that I’ve never played before.

E. Mogilionskaya Did you work as hard to get this role for this movie as you did for the one for Nip/Tuck?

J. McMahon No.  I wish I could say I did, but no, I didn’t.

E. Mogilionskaya Okay, that’s fine.  I guess my last question is, were there any particularly like tough moments in making this film?

J. McMahon Tough moments?

E. Mogilionskaya Just like particularly excruciating challenges, I suppose.

J. McMahon Yes – I mean, the most difficult scene to film was the one where we’re outside screaming at each other under the clothesline, and that’s because it was freezing cold in Shreveport at the time, it was one o’clock in the morning, two o’clock in the morning, three o’clock in the morning, whatever it was, and we had these big wind machines which were absolutely enormous – I’ve never seen anything like it – and then these rain machines, and – that’s just kind of a pain. 

And then you’ve got to go out there and play a scene, and I mean, you’re really freezing your ass off with this wind blowing at you.  You can’t even hear each other.  And this fake rain coming down at you a million miles an hour, and at the same time, you’re meant to have some kind of connection inside of there that makes sense in the movie.  I mean, you don’t want to shoot the scene and just not make it make sense, or not play it the way it’s meant to be played.  So was really – it really wasn’t easy.

E. Mogilionskaya Wow, absolutely.  I commend you for it.  Thank you so much for your time.

J. McMahon Thank you.

Moderator Next we have Judah Essa.  Please go ahead.

J. Essa Since you were filming in Louisiana, did you have to deal with any of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina?

J. McMahon Yes.  I mean – deal with in what way?

J. Essa I mean, did you experience any of the devastation?  Did that hinder any of the filming or –

J. McMahon We were meant to actually shoot in New Orleans.  So it moved the whole production from New Orleans to Shreveport.  But I actually think it worked better because the locations in Shreveport and where we shot had such a kind of – such a connection to the script and such an eerie kind of feel, which I felt like was perfect for the movie.  So it actually all worked out perfectly.  But it also had other implications, and they were that all the crew was from Louisiana, a lot of them were from New Orleans, and it was just – I went to New Orleans when I was there, and – it was just an extraordinary time in regards to seeing a place that had been so devastated. 

Kind of the whole of Louisiana felt this way, and seeing a place that was so devastated, and then the support that was coming from inside of that state, in places like Shreveport, and then outside of the state and other places in the country.  And then the kind of stoic and resilient kind of mentality and attitude of so many people that I met and worked with and spent time with who were from New Orleans and had lost their homes, and had lost so many things of their lives that were so important to them.  Just a very kind of beautiful kind of willingness to re-grow and rebuild.  I thought it was just pretty extraordinary.

J. Essa You had mentioned earlier that it wasn’t – the story is not meant to be location-specific.  But if it had originally been planned for New Orleans, that would have been very distinct –

J. McMahon Well, no; we were going to use locations that weren’t that distinct.  There are parts of New Orleans that look like a lot of different parts of the United States, and it wasn’t like we were going to be shooting in locations that were very specific to New Orleans.

J. Essa The other question I have is –

J. McMahon I mean, it wasn’t like we were going to be shooting in Bourbon Street or anything like that, you know what I mean?

J. Essa Yes.  That would have been too obvious.

J. McMahon Yes, exactly.

J. Essa You also mentioned that you took the project partly because of Sandra Bullock.  Are there any other actors that you would like to work with specifically?

J. McMahon The only problem with answering that question specifically is leaving out people that you would like to work of and just don’t think of at this point in time.  I mean, there are so many, it’s ridiculous.  There’s a lot of great actors out there that I’d like to work with, so – that’s an enormous question; I don’t really think I can answer it.

J. Essa Thank you for your time.

J. McMahon Thank you.

Erica This is Erica.  I’m sorry to interrupt, but we only have time for one or two more quick questions.  We have another interview we have to jump to after this.

Moderator You only have one more anyway.

Erica Excellent, okay.

Moderator Eileen Latt, please go ahead.

E. Latt Hello, Julian.  I just have a quick question for you.  You came back for the 100th episode of Charmed, in the past – I think it was the seventh season.  Why did you decide to come back as a guest star?

J. McMahon I felt like everybody there was so good to me when I was there, and that the producer particularly, Brad, was just so – Brad Curren was just such a great guy to work with, and the girls were just fantastic, and we had such a good time.  I was there for three years; it becomes part of your family.  And I really had the opportunity on that show to grow as an actor because I got the opportunity to do whatever I wanted to, in a way.  And they gave me such a license that – it really connected with me, not just professionally but personally, and I felt like I – it kind of to me was like going back to high school, you know?  It was like, why wouldn’t you?  I mean, if you have the opportunity to, you will. 

Brad called me and he said, “Would you mind?” Because they were going through different avenues and it wasn’t happening.  I said, “What, are you kidding?  Of course.  It’s not even a question.” I mean, if the show was around now and doing the 200, I’d do the 200 if they asked me to.  I just felt like I owed them because of three years of great opportunity and great work that they had given to me, and I think that that was just – well-respected by me, you know?

E. Latt Yes.  Okay, I think that’s all I have for you.  Thanks again for talking to all of us today.

J. McMahon Oh, my pleasure.  Thank you. 

Moderator We have no further persons asking a question.

J. McMahon Okay.  Thanks very much.

Posted by Colleen Robertson on 09/27/2007, 10:00 PM

Julian MacMahon, We part Irish-Polynesian, We have long black hair, pass my knee...I would like to know if marriage is in your future? My sister would really like to meet you and have a picture taken with you. Do you think thats possible ? I hope so, we are coming to A.L. in Feb. and I would really like my sister to meet you. She is crazy about charmed and nip/tuck. See on the tally.... Mahalo

Posted by Colleen Robertson on 09/28/2007, 05:58 PM

Julian McMahon, We are part Irish-Polynesian, We have long black hair, pass my knee...I would like to know if marriage is in your future? My sister would really like to meet you and have a picture taken with you. Do you think thats possible ? I hope so, we are coming to L.A. in Feb. and I would really like my sister to meet you. She is crazy about charmed and nip/tuck. See you on the tally.mahalo

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