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Michael Ironside

Michael Ironside

Birthday: 12 February 1950, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Birth Name: Frederick Reginald Ironside
Height: 177 cm

Michael Ironside has made a strong and indelible impression with his often incredibly intense and explosive portrayals of fearsome villains throughout the years. He was born as Frederick Reginald Iron ...Show More

Michael Ironside
[on shooting numerous fight scenes for such movies as Total Recall (1990) and The Next Karate Kid (1 Show more [on shooting numerous fight scenes for such movies as Total Recall (1990) and The Next Karate Kid (1994)] I trained for some time in taekwondo, until I blew out both my legs and had to quit. Since then, I've been blessed to work with some of the more talented martial arts-trainers and choreographers in the business. I've also got field experience, from being in my share of real-life barroom brawls. Hide
(2000) I've been around a long time. I'm never going to be the lead actor guy. I'm real quiet and re Show more (2000) I've been around a long time. I'm never going to be the lead actor guy. I'm real quiet and real happy and real fortunate to keep working. It's what I do. It's like the circus. I ran away and joined it a long time ago. Hide
(2000, on his acting career) My dad referred to it that I ran away at a very early age and joined th Show more (2000, on his acting career) My dad referred to it that I ran away at a very early age and joined the circus and I think it is quite apt. It's a great way to live. You get to move from family unit to family unit, from set to set, from project to project where you're thrust into a very intimate, very honest relationship with people and you have to either tell the truth and step up or it can be a really horrific situation if you try and manipulate it every time and over 40 years I've met a lot of great people. Hide
[on being typecast as a villain] I use the analogy that if you hit an old lady on screen with a shov Show more [on being typecast as a villain] I use the analogy that if you hit an old lady on screen with a shovel and kill her and somebody makes money from that moment, then they really don't want you to step out from that parameter. They don't want you to do anything but hit more old ladies with shovels and if that's the trunk that I have to build my tree from, that's fine. Hide
[on whether he has had experiences where he did a film that he expected to turn out one way but it t Show more [on whether he has had experiences where he did a film that he expected to turn out one way but it turned out another] Most of the time, actually. I never look at the work when I'm doing it. I know a lot of people rush off camera to look at playbacks and shit like that, but I hate looking at what I'm doing when I'm doing it. Because emotionally, if I'm correct, the director will tell me, and if they like what I'm doing, I'll stay in that line. If I look at what I'm doing, I can't help it, I'm only a human being: I'll go, "Wow, that's the way it looks?" I'll become conscious of it, and I'll be like, "Why don't I look the way I feel?" So I'm really custom-built to support storytellers. If they like what I'm doing, then that's what I'll do. But because of that, I'm always surprised when I do finally see it, as I was with Turbo Kid. Hide
(2011) I always knew I wasn't going to be this major star. My job is just to work. (2011) I always knew I wasn't going to be this major star. My job is just to work.
The weirder the role, the more toys around to help suspend reality, the easier it is - and the bette Show more The weirder the role, the more toys around to help suspend reality, the easier it is - and the better I think my work gets. All of these things make it easier to take risks. Children - and actors - take risks all the time. Hide
[on McBain] Oh, God. That's a joke to everybody. Even to The Simpsons. It's their favorite movie! Yo Show more [on McBain] Oh, God. That's a joke to everybody. Even to The Simpsons. It's their favorite movie! You know, in all truth, that was a filmmaker who was being backed by his father, who had a ton of money, and just pissed it up against the wall. I remember it was a fairly good story to start off with, which was about ex-vets having to get rid of their shame of being survivors, I think. You know, when their friends are lost? And by the time we got it, they had rewritten the script from an A-minus to a C-minus script. God, I just have nothing good to say about that film. Absolutely nothing. Other than that the filmmaker, thank God, will never make films again. He ended up going back to restoring vintage racing cars on his father's chit. And you can put all that in there. I don't say anything in interviews that I wouldn't say to somebody's face. Hide
The word "career" scares me! It's the sort of thing you say about dead actors, old guys. I think thi Show more The word "career" scares me! It's the sort of thing you say about dead actors, old guys. I think this festival wanted to do a retrospective on me a few years ago and I told them to fuck off. Jesus, that's for guys that are on crutches and in wheelchairs and that you need to spoon-feed... Aargh! I plan to be around for at least another 20 years! Hide
The first role I ever had - well, the first union thing - was on a CBC thing called The Ottawa Valle Show more The first role I ever had - well, the first union thing - was on a CBC thing called The Ottawa Valley, which I think was part of an anthology series. I played a soldier on a train, and I had two or three lines in it, and it was a World War II thing. It was an Alice Munro short story that was turned into a half-hour drama. But when they were filming, they wanted to hide some technology, so they had me sit on the arm of a chair rather than in a seat. I thought, "This is cool! Somebody's gonna see me!" And I had to smoke this cigarette, because I think [the director] wanted some kind of character. The problem was that, 14 takes later, I'm still sitting on the arm of the chair. And the cheeks of my ass, you could probably park a Buick up there! It was two days of sitting on the arm of the chair on a period train, smoking non-filtered cigarettes. I felt like I was about 80 years old and had been fairly abused. So that was my introduction to film work. Hide
[on Total Recall] That was absolutely wonderful. God, I have so many friends from that. You know, on Show more [on Total Recall] That was absolutely wonderful. God, I have so many friends from that. You know, on most films I make friends. I make friends with people behind the camera as well as in front of the camera, and I think I made more friends on that one than any other. Friends I'm still close with. It holds a really warm spot in my heart. It was six months in Mexico City shooting that. Hide
I like to play bad guys, since good guys are always beaten up several times during the movie. Bad gu Show more I like to play bad guys, since good guys are always beaten up several times during the movie. Bad guys are beaten only once, in the end. Hide
Acting itself is a very childlike thing. You're asked to suspend reality and to play - and what bett Show more Acting itself is a very childlike thing. You're asked to suspend reality and to play - and what better place than when you're sitting there looking like the most weird villain imaginable? You have all these toys around you. It brings out the child in you much easier than when you're standing around in a suit playing a cop. Hide
[in a 1984 magazine interview] The characters I've played until now have been very sick people. Thes Show more [in a 1984 magazine interview] The characters I've played until now have been very sick people. These people are emotionally or physically damaged. Since I played killers so well, they wanted me to play a killer the next time. I used to call my roles "dog-eating" parts; you know, the director says, "We need somebody to bite a dog in this scene. Let's call Ironside.". Hide
If I didn't like the attention, I suppose I wouldn't be doing this job. What do you do? Destroy some Show more If I didn't like the attention, I suppose I wouldn't be doing this job. What do you do? Destroy someone's fantasy about you or play it to the limit? I still haven't quite worked it all out and I don't know how to resolve it. It's said actors act because they fear death and it's the one and only certainty for some kind of immortality. My attitude is: screw the future, let's get on with here and now. You don't know how long it'll last. Hide
Scanners is a fucking brilliant film. And it still holds up. My 16-year-old daughter saw it about a Show more Scanners is a fucking brilliant film. And it still holds up. My 16-year-old daughter saw it about a month ago with her friends, and she said, "I didn't know about this. This is good. I like what it's talking about, with the mucking with people's genetics and stuff." So that's kind of cool. When something holds up almost 35 years later to a completely new generation, I don't give a shit what anybody else says about it: It stands up. Hide
I get to bring these misshapen, emotionally unbalanced people to life. I get to bring these misshapen, emotionally unbalanced people to life.
Michael Ironside's FILMOGRAPHY
as Actor (134)
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