Your upcoming movie Zombie Massacre - in a few words, what is it
about, and what can you tell us about your character in it? And I'm pretty sure you have never been in an
actual zombie apocalypse - so how did you prepare for your role, what did you
draw from? And honestly, how much fun was it to fight zombies?
Yes, you're right, the first zombie film I have ever been involved in, but
hopefully not the last. This film is about a Government experiment that
goes horribly wrong. They hire a team of mercenaries to get in, blow the
plant up and destroy all evidence. The team comprises of 4 people, a soldier, a mercenary
(me), a sharpshooter and a Ninja. My Character John (Mad
Dog) McKellar is an aging soldier of fortune, on his last mission before
retiring to run a small restaurant in the Maledives. Sadly unknown to the
group, they have been set up, making sure they would not return. But of
course they got it wrong. Yes I can honestly say it was great to fight zombies, we spent most of the action time in physical combat with these
bunch of saddos. Great respect to the SFX and make-up guys.
I didnít really prepare
for the role as I am former special forces, as well as being involved in
several physical hurting people roles, I have to say not like the real me
The only bit I find
difficult now is falling. I donít seem to bounce anymore, must have
something to do with getting older.
How did you get involved in the project in
the first place?
I saw the film roles advertised in CCP and applied, I got word back they
were interested in me for the part of General Carter, I sent over some
scenes from a film I was shooting at that time, Rose, and by a stroke
of luck the second lead had to pull out, due to other commitments. So I
was asked if I was interested in the role Horst Schmidt. After reading the
part and meeting the directors Marco and Luca, I suggested I could make it
more interesting as a Scottish mercenary, and after consideration I had a
nationality and name change and became John (Mad Dog) McKellan.
A few words about your directors Marco
Ristori and Luca Boni [Marco
Ristori and Luca Boni interview - click here], and what was your
say would not be enough, they were not only excellent directors, but the
perfect hosts, they literally took care of everything, and nothing was too
much trouble. What I found most interesting was throughout the shoot, I never
once heard them disagree or fall out with each other, and that's pretty amazing
knowing how much pressure was on them, with not the kindest of weather in
the early days of the shoot.
for their job stands out a mile, and their energy levels are off the top
of the scale. What I liked was their ability to work with the team and
make everyone feel special.
I think it is fair to say by
the end of the shoot we had become the greatest of friends, along with
Marco's gorgeous wife who looked after the makeup department with great
competence and always a smile. And I truly look forward to the next time
What's it like shooting in Italy,
and to what extent does an Italian filmset differ from a British one? And
what can you tell us about the on-set atmosphere as such?
To be honest, little difference apart from the weather, the weather in
UK at the time was foul, so it brought a smile to my face every morning to
wake up with the sun beating down. Of course there was the fact that half
the time I didnít really know what was being said amongst the crew, but
as always, most spoke English. I guess the thing that stood out most was
the lack of a kettle to make tea much to Jon Camplingís disgust [Jon
Campling interview - click here]. The
thimble size coffees were to say the least STRONG. I have to say, living,
eating and working with the Italians was an amazing experience, everyone
is so helpful, no shouting, so laid back, yet the job gets done.
Canít wait for the next one!
there was ever a Zombie Massacre II - would you be up for doing it?
Now thatís a tricky question, Mad Dog blows up a gas station full of
zombies, thatís the last we see of him in the film, but actually you
donít see him getting blown up, so maybe he had a miraculous escape, and
lives to see another day. So letís just say IF he didnít die and IF he
appears in a sequel and IF I am so lucky to be asked back, the answer is
an enthusiastic YES!!!
You have recently also made an appearance in
your Zombie Massacre-co-star Tara Cardinal's Legend of the Red
Reaper [Tara Cardinal interview - click
here]. Now what can you tell us about your involvement in that
Yes I was honored to be asked by Tara to do a cameo in the film. Period
costume set in a castle, with a sword right through me and lots of blood
(Tara made sure of that). It also stars my big buddy, star of Zombie
Massacre Christian Boeving. I
canít tell you much about the film or the role as it is under wraps, so
you will just have to look out for the release date.
Of late, you also starred in two movies by Kemal
Yildirim, Rose and Silent Cradle [Kemal
Yildirim interview - click here]. What can you tell us about these
two, and what was your collaboration with Kemal Yildirim like?
Rose is a hopeful woman broken by
drugs, prostitution and Blondie, the Czar of Hellville. Struggling to
support her habit, Rose finds herself and her six year old daughter at
Hellvilleís mercy. When Rose betrays Blondie turning tricks behind his
back, she and her daughter endure many hardships, including the fight to
protect themselves from Blondieís brutal iron grip, in pursuit of her
dream to reclaim their lives. It was based on the Cannes screened short
film by Kemal based on a true story.
And Silent Cradle is about a young girl suffering
from a miscarriage, struggles
to deal with the loss of her unborn child which in turn affects her
relationship with her boyfriend, she starts to be reclusive and begins to
hear noises; babies crying and animalistic ritual sounds merging together.
Disconnected from the real world she begins to experience strange
phenomena all around her, One day she receives news that she has inherited
a house from a strange distant relative.
She feels compelled to find out more about this inheritance she
goes to the house and thus
starts a chain of satanic
both films I play a dark sinister character which most people would not
wish to meet. Kemal and I seem to be on the same wavelength that allows me
to act to the full. We have at least two more projects in the pipeline for
Let's go back to the beginnings of your career: As far as I
know, your first claim to fame was as a bodybuilder. Would you care to
Well I guess thatís where it all started - in my early thirties I was
diagnosed with leukemia. I was blessed with coming through it, and was
advised to take up some form of weight training to try put some weight
back on. I went to a local gym and asked if someone could show me what to
do, as it was all alien to me. A nice guy who was the reigning Mr Scotland
said he would show me. First he advised we should set a target. Thinking
long and hard I said OK I will be Mr Scotland - everyone fell about
laughing. Anyway, I trained and trained and trained and went for my first
local event some years later where I was a miserable last. The ego took
over and I started to train harder and harder with ever increasing
results. I eventually got the opportunity to compete in the Target
competition Mr Scotland, which I won. This qualified me for the Mr
Britain, Mr Europe etc. The rest is well known 5 WFF Masters World Titles
and 2 Mr Universe titles. But that all finished in 2006 after a heart
attack. It was time to take a back seat, at least in the fitness world.
What got you into the film business
eventually, and did you take any acting classes or the like?
In the very early days I was lucky to be
involved in Braveheart as an extra because again my size, later came along
Gladiator, but as I said acting skills were a little thin on the ground,
but it got my interest to look at acting more seriously. I guess spending
so much time on stage as a bodybuilder primed me for the performance, and
again special forces taught me so much in the way of combat, small arms,
discipline. I studied Takedo and kushinkai martial arts, I also competed
on horseback at three day events and show jumping as well as being a
former North Sea professional diver.
I'm not mistaken, you played your first lead in The Planet. Now
what can you tell us about that movie, your character, and how did you get
involved with that project?
It was just
after winning my first Universe title, out of the blue I received a call
from director Mark Stirton who said they were making a sci-fi called The
Planet. It came as a great surprise when he wanted to cast me as the lead,
as my acting skills were just about non-existent. I have to say I was
helped along the way by some very able Scottish actors.
The basic plot is, a spaceship is carrying a very dangerous
prisoner when it comes under attack and is shot down on an alien planet. The
surviving crew led by their Captain (yours truly) try to survive and find
a way off the planet. One by one my crew are being picked off by an evil
unseen force. It becomes a race against time, against all odds. Ironically
Mark rang me only last week after all these years and said Captain, I have
this new project!!!
Any other films of yours
you'd like to talk about, any future projects?
I am currently filming Pearls of Africa as one of the leads Sir John Rhys.
A romance set in London and Kenya - itís so nice to be able to act
without hurting anyone for a change. It has also allowed me to bring to
the fore my horse riding skills.
am also involved in a trilogy of films adapted for screen from Tom Stevens'
best selling novels about the green man. The project is well into
development and should be getting the green light within the next few
months. Tom is a great guy to work with and is slowly building a team of
worthy participants. I also have several projects in negotiation, so it
really is a case of ďWatch this space!Ē
you describe yourself as an actor?
Actors who inspire
many actors who inspire me, but I guess my favourites are Robert De Niro, Al
Pacino and Anthony Hopkins on the male side - and Miss Piggy on the female
Your favourite movies?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
I donít really have a favorite movie, I like to see films with good
storylines and good production values. Depending on my mood, the choice
swings between action and even more action.
... and of
course, films you really deplore?
This sounds terrible, but I am not a great fan of soppy love stories, I
will leave them to the ladies.
Facebook, whatever else?
Anything else you are dying to
mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
I would just
like to say a special big thanks to all the crew that I have worked with
over the years, they always go unmentioned, they work far longer and
harder than us actors and get very little credit: Well done guys, you know
who you are!