If you thought you knew the Bigfoot legend, think again. Proficient TV and film star Marshal Hilton is back on screens in Primal Rage, a new horror-thriller that pits his monster tracker ‘B.D’ against a B.F – or rather, Bigfoot!
Looking back through some of your past hits, it doesn’t seem you’ve played a character like B.D (in Primal Rage) before?
Marshall Hilton: Well, I don’t think that I’ve played anyone quite like BD specifically, but I have played characters that serve the story in the same manner.
B.D. served to be the antagonist to our Hero’s, the “Bad Guy” so to speak. I really do enjoy serving as the obstacle in a story. It’s fun to challenge and do battle with an adversary. But in my mind, my character is always “the Hero”. A villain never sees himself as “Bad”. They are convinced that their path is righteous and just. They are driven to accomplish something that is important to their dream and they are committed to achieving their goal. What makes them “Bad” is how their actions juxtapose to a moral standard. In their minds eye, they just move the moral boundaries to fit their objective. I don’t think B.D. was an evil person; he just met his demise before we had a chance for him to show his “compassionate” side.
B.D., the character on paper, is very different than myself. I’m a relatively reserved guy and fairly quiet. I don’t need to draw attention to my self to feel balanced. B.D. on the other hand was the complete opposite. He was the “big fish in a little pond” kind of guy and definitely full of himself. Kind of like a Politician. He’s the mouthpiece of his crew. He wasn’t a “Bad Guy” per say, he just found pleasure playing mind games with people. Patrick and I figured that he was the kind of guy that probably owned the local Hardware Store, the car dealership, the Liquor Store, and his band of merry men were most likely guys that worked for him. I’ve been an entrepreneur almost 30 years. I’ve been around plenty of characters like BD. It was really more about finding his rhythms.
Who would you say is the closest to B.D?
Not one that I can point to specifically. That’s what I liked about him. He was a very different cat than other characters that I have played. His psychological make up was very different than characters that I’ve tackled in the past. I mean, he wasn’t overly complex; he was very straightforward with his bullshit. He was such a blowhard and liked to hear himself talk. Most characters that I get are much more muted and reserved; they think and listen a lot and only speak when it’s important. BD was constantly on the stump preaching to his band of not-so-merry-men. He had a level of arrogance that he was quite proud of. So in that instance, I can’t really compare him to any other characters I’ve played, which is cool to me.
And what about to yourself? Is there a character that you’ve played that’s close to yourself?
The way I look at acting is that the character I am going to present is going to have facets of me within the writers’ character. I can’t look at the character an abstract entity separate from me. We bring our sensibilities and our life experiences, our intuition and organic instincts to the character that is written on a piece of paper. We humanize an idea. So in essence I am doing “me” as an emotional being. Some characters are closer to me than others. My job is to try to find those parts of the character than are very different from me and try to find ways to emotionally connect with them. Usually the big difference between an actor and the Character is in what the Character does in the story, his scripted actions. I play a lot of characters that at time “Do things” that I would never do. So in that respect they are all “different” than me. But in order to give them an emotional life, I have to find a way to feel an emotional thread with them, and in that respect, they are all invariably me.
What kind of roles are you generally offered?
For me it’s not a Genre choice, but rather one of character. I seem to connect with characters that have an edge to them; guys that are willing to fight for something, sometimes good, and sometimes not so. I get a lot of earthy, rural country types with a chip on their shoulder, or a “wrong to right”, or super high-end intellectual manipulative characters that will attempt to beat you with their intelligence first, and if that doesn’t work, they higher someone to “take care of it”. The one common in all of them is that they all are emotionally damaged and flawed. I seem to be able to tap into emotional pain. Characters that have endured pain, and are struggling to manage the anger of pain, seem to fit my spirit. I’m not afraid to dig into the dark places that we all have and bring them to the surface for display. It’s a cleansing process for me, both creatively and emotionally. In life some people are genuinely happy people. Their lives are a history of balance and love. Some folks, like myself, come from a different condition. We constantly have to work on ourselves to quell the darker sides of our selves. We have to knock off the patina of guilt and envy from time to time of those who live blissful and balance. I’m fortunate I have the craft of acting to give me that place of exploration.
And how did Primal Rage come to you?
I actually read for the role. It was a typical audition situation. I met Patrick Magee the Director, Angela Lee the Producer and Angela’s Bulldog at some place in Hollywood. I got a call that Pat wanted to meet at his Studio the next day. When I walked into to his Studio and saw all his amazing work lining the walls and ceiling, I just looked at him and said, “I’m in”. I hadn’t even read the script. His work was so stunning and so detailed I knew I was going to working with a guy that was not only passionate, but an artist that had supreme skills. He showed me the concept trailer and said we were going to shoot in the Redwoods forests of Northern California and Oregon, and when I saw his Bigfoot creation, it was a no brainer.
How does Patrick Magee direct differently from others you’ve worked with?
Amazing. The biggest difference working with Patrick is that he’s an artist first, and a Director second. He was so decisive and keen with his shooting that he knew the movie in his head before a single line was spoken. He was so intimately immersed in every aspect of this story from the Practical FX creation, to the Co-Writing of the Characters, the specific locations he was going to shoot the scenes, down to every single detail. He’s been planning this for over ten years, and was in pre-production for probably four years. But I think the biggest difference was how he understood the process from the actors’ point of view.
Patrick has been around for a long time. He’s worked in the Indy film world for many years as an artist. He “get It” from our perspective. His ability to relate to our issues and understand how “we” communicate with one another was very organic. We spoke the same language. A lot of Directors don’t speak our language. Working on this film was one of the best experiences I’ve had working on a film in 20 plus years in this business. I’ve always said that its not the size of the movie, it’s the size of the heart in the movie, and this production had a very large heart. Everyone in the cast and crew was into it 100%. Patrick’s passion, attention to detail, and commitment to his vision was extraordinary, and it plays in every frame of the film. When a Director is that prepared and knows exactly what he wants, it makes the filming process easy and enjoyable.
FUN FACT: The Director Patrick Magee was “the man in the suit”. When if first met Pat at my reading, he was sitting down in a chair and never got up. They set up a meeting for me to go meet with pat at his studio. When I got there he came to the door and I was like “…Holy Shit dude…You’re freakin tall…” Patrick is actually 6’10”. He custom made the suit to fit him like a glove. He was the perfect person to play the beast.
Is it a scary film?
It most definitely has its moments. There’s some stuff that’s hard to watch for sure. But I don’t think it’s as much “scary” as it is explicit. I mean, you see stuff coming but when it happens, it’s brutal and in your face for sure. But there are action, adventure and thriller elements throughout the entire film. It’s very balance in that way.
What about bloody? Will the horror hounds really dig it?
I did an interview this week and one of the interviewers made the comment that one of the sections of the film reminded him of Bone Tomahawk. I think its not so much the quantity of the carnage, but the quality of the carnage). There is most definitely some brutality in the film. But in my opinion it’s not a straight-ahead Horror film. The feeling of the film is very much in the vein of Predator, and that wasn’t a horror film. Patrick is a big fan of films of that era and wanted to pay homage to the artists and filmmakers that influenced is career. It’s has an old school feel that is very familiar, but with a modern twist.
What I will say though, is that fans of Practical FX will appreciate the amazing detail and quality of Patrick’s work, it’s simply stunning.
Patrick is a Master creature creator. The list of superlatives for his work in my eyes would be endless. I knew when I saw the Creature in his studio that it was special. The level of detail was insane. I think it took him and his team like three years to make it by hand. His Bigfoot creature had actual fingerprints on the fingers and toe’s. Know one in the audience would ever see that detail but it didn’t matter to Patrick; he knew it was there, and that’s all that mattered. But when I saw the Bigfoot actually sneaking around in the woods on the first day of filming, I knew it was going to be revolutionary with regards to the Bigfoot myth.
How much of a threat is the Bigfoot in the movie?
If you see him, it’s a high probability that he will be the last thing that you ever see…
Where can we find you online?
You can keep tabs on what’s going on by following any one of my social media profiles. We’re constantly putting up news and info.
Thanks again for having me! I hope you and your readers enjoy the film. Speaking for the entire cast and crew, we deeply appreciate your support!