Film Icon Vernon Wells Talks ‘Mad Max’, New Movies And Much More In Our Interview

April 29, 2020

Written by Kelli Marchman McNeely

Kelli Marchman McNeely is the owner of HorrorFuel.com. She is an Executive Producer of "13 Slays Till Christmas" which is out on Digital and DVD and now streaming on Tubi. She has several other films in the works. Kelli is an animal lover and a true horror addict since the age of 9 when she saw Friday the 13th. Email: [email protected]

Veteran actor Vernon Wells has appeared in over 200 films, series, and games in his expansive career, including Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, Weird Science, and Commando. I had the pleasure of interviewing Mr. Wells. Not only did we talk about his role in classic films, but also his films that will soon be released and much more.

 

 

 

Horror Fuel: “You’ve been in so many amazing classic films, Mad Max, Commando, Weird Science, Inner Space – I really love Inner Space – it was one of my favorite movies growing up.”

 

 

 

 

Vernon Wells: “Well, thank you. That’s one of my favorite movies, that and Weird Science.”

 

Horror Fuel: “Who doesn’t love Weird Science?”

 

Vernon Wells: “It’s one of those wonderful growing up movies. It’s one of those John Hughes specials.”

 

 

 

 

Horror Fuel: “Yes, it is. What is it like now, looking back on all those films and the other iconic roles you’ve played?”

 

Vernon Wells: “It’s great to look back at what I’ve done. It’s interesting because there’s a distinct pattern to what I’ve done. Things have evolved because the industry itself has changed. When I did Road Warrior, everything was done on film, lots of cameras. Commando was the same. But when you gotten passed Commando, films started to go slowly over to digital, of course, everything now is digital. I remember when things went digital that the cameras were like toys and filmmakers looked at them like, ‘Are we supposed to shoot a film with these?’ Now it’s a much more suitable means of making a lot of films that we do.

I look at what I’ve done as an actor and I started off with Road Warrior – my first film ever – I’ve been so fortunate that I’ve been able to parlay that to different roles. In the beginning, I was being cast only in villain roles in majors films and I was too young and too insecure to realize that it didn’t matter, I was being paid to be in a film and I should have been more grateful for that. I didn’t like it. I was upset about it and wanted to get out of that mold and break into different roles.

Probably fifteen years ago, a friend of mine who was directing a new film rang me up about the movie he was doing called Jekyll and Hyde. I was like, ‘Oh, great. You want me to be Jekyll and Hyde.’ And he said, ‘No, I don’t want you to be Jekyll and Hyde, I want you to be Hyde’s partner. He’s a good guy.’ I thought, well, this could be a problem. I had never really done a good guy. It terrified me. It was really hard for me. I was so used to being able to walk on and just be the villain. I had to realize that there were things you could only do as a villain. After playing the good guy in a few films I learned to love it. Now, even when I play the hero in a movie I see that he’s a bad guy in his own way, they have their own agendas. Now you have antiheroes as our heroes. It’s very interesting because nothing stays the same, things go round. Now, you get to have all those different shades of gray of characters, and I love it. It’s never the same thing twice.”

 

Horror Fuel: “I’m sure that keeps the job interesting, say compared to if you were an office guy.”

 

Vernon Wells: “Yeah, I don’t see a lot of office guys going around with a weapon strapped to their backs. It’s fun and I’m now getting to play the roles that I want to play now because now I only do films because I want to do them.

This Christmas I was actually in Sweden in nineteen degrees below zero weather shooting a twenty-five minute proof of concept for a big film. So we did twenty-five minutes of the film, special effects and all. We were in snow up to our waist and it was freezing, freezing cold. I play the hero in that. I had so much fun because it was so different, you know. It’s not often people ring you on the phone and say let my fly you to Sweden.

It’s different and it makes me happy. I enjoy what I’m doing. I haven’t gotten over that. I get excited every time I get to go on set.”

 

Horror Fuel: “It’s fantastic that you still get that excitement. You make an appearance in the disaster film Impact Event. If you will tell us about that.”

 

Vernon Wells: “I worked with that director on another project and he asked me if I would be in it. Unfortunately, I was filming and when they started filming I couldn’t leave to be in the film. When I finished what I was doing the wrote the scene I was in, which I thought was really nice. He’s kind of like the good guy. He knows what’s going on, or at least he thinks he does. He’s a fun character. He’s not there for a long time, but he does his thing. The film turned out extremely well. I’m very happy about it. A lot of my friends are in it as well. The problem was I didn’t really get to work with any of them. But I was happy to just be in it.”

 

Horror Fuel: “While you were filming it, did it make you think what you would do if you ever found yourself caught in a disaster?

 

Vernon Wells: “Strangely enough, I’ve had that thought a lot, what would it be like after a major disaster. I think Mad Max was probably the ultimate survival film. You have these people who have adapted and it shows how we would regress, we’d go backward instead of forwards. I thought about it a lot as to what would happen as society breaks down. We’d have to rely on things we know to survive. I think I would be a little bit ahead of the game I think because I grew up on a farm. I spent most of my younger life on a farm with my grandfather. I don’t know if I would out here in California, in suburbia, but for someone like you in rural Georgia, I think you’d be much better off. This would not be a good place to be when society starts to fall apart. I’d probably try to get the hell out of Dodge. We’ve gotten a small look at it now with the pandemic.”

 

Horror Fuel: “That sounds like a plan. I hate to say this, but I think the pandemic will get worse before it gets better. Especially with everybody beginning to go back out and with people going in droves to the beaches and things.”

 

Vernon Wells: “They had to close all the beaches where I am. The first warm weekend we had after the lockdown the beaches were packed. What the hell? What are these people doing? I would love to be on the beach, but no. You stay away. I’ve got taking care of my wife and my dogs to think about. I don’t want to go out and bring it back home. You’ve got to be very aware, very careful.”

 

Horror Fuel: “I completely agree. They just opened up Georgia beaches back. I think in a few weeks, there will be a surge of sick people.”

 

Vernon Wells: “Of course it’s going spike. We’ve got to smart about it. We’ve got to beat it – and we will – but it’s going to come back. We’ve got to find a treatment and vaccine.”

 

Horror Fuel: “Right at the beginning of all this I got sick and they thought I had it. I took the test and oh, my god was it painful. I would rather be locked in the house for months and avoid everything than have to take that test again.”

 

Vernon Wells: “They put it up your nose, right?”

 

Horror Fuel: “Oh god, that’s putting it mildly. It goes all the way to the back of your sinuses which is near your ear. It was awful.”

 

Vernon Wells: “My Goddaughter had it and got over it and then got it again. People think just because you get it, you can’t get it again, but that is not the case.”

 

Horror Fuel: “Hopefully she will get better soon. You have quite a few things coming out.”

 

Vernon Wells: “There is a horror film that I co-directed called SOS., a very good horror movie, which is coming out shortly. I have a film called Under the Palm Tree in which I play a cop trying to find a serial killer. It’s like a comedy-action movie. It’s about a guy who doesn’t really have a good way with people and kills people. The way he gets rid of them is that he has palm trees all around his house and he’s putting these trees over on top of the bodies. Landfall just came out, I shot that one in Australia. It’s a really cool one. There’s one called City of Gold in which I got to play a conquistador. There are a lot of my films coming out. Kill Giggles is coming out in a couple of months. I am supposed to be in a new film with Guy Pearce, but that got put on hold thanks to the pandemic. There are four in all that I’m in that got shut down.

 

Horror Fuel: “You have been a very busy man! I look forward to seeing your new films and hopefully, the shutdown happening for your films and so many others will be over soon.”

 

Vernon Wells has long been a staple in Hollywood and it appears that won’t change any time soon, thankfully. Known for his roles as a villain, he’s anything but. Kind and friendly, Wells was an absolute pleasure to talk with.

 

Be sure to follow Mr. Wells on Facebook and Instagram, and visit his IMDb page for more on all his projects.

 

 

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