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MAURICE ROEVES: A HEART-TO-HEART WITH COL. MUNRO


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Maurice Roeves has just concluded his title role in the dark comedy The Killing Of Michael Malloy at the Bristol Riverside Theatre. Despite an exhaustive schedule of rehearsals and final performances, Mr. Roeves graciously took the time to discuss with us his film and theatre career, the Michael Malloy production, and his current British series, as well as his portrayal of Colonel George Munro in Michael Mann's Last of the Mohicans. Congenial, pleasant, humorous, gracious, and witty ... such is how we'd describe this veteran actor of both film and stage. We were pleased to have the opportunity to go 'oot and aboot' with our 'Scotsman' before his return to Britain, and are happy to offer this interview, done in October,1998.

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A Good Yarn, Well Told!

Maurice Roeves
Maurice Roeves in The Killing Of Michael Malloy

MOHICAN PRESS: Hi Maurice! We're glad you could find the time to share with us, and hope we're not putting you out ...

MAURICE ROEVES: Not at all. Not at all.

MP: Basically, so you know where we are coming from, and who your audience will be, let us just tell you that we have an extensive Web Site up, devoted to The Last of the Mohicans, with the 1992 film version - which you were in - as its central theme. We've done some other interviews, including one with Eric Schweig ...

MR: That must have been fascinating! [laughs]

MP: Let us begin ... Aside from Star Trek and UXB [Unexploded Bombs] fans, the U.S. public, in general, knows little about you or your professional background. Most people know you from your role in The Last of the Mohicans ...

MR: Yeah, I keep myself at a low profile ...

MP: Enlighten us. Tell us a little about Maurice ... it's pronounced, Roeves [Reeves]?

MR: No, it's Row-eaves. There's two dots above the "e", indicates the beginning of the second word. The two dots are called a dialysis ... The name goes back to Prussian times. It's a Prussian name, I guess. It's like Noel.

MP: Ah-hah. So, where were you born?

MR: Well, I was dropped in Sunderland, County Durham, now, which is northeastern England, and we immediately moved to Newcastle Upon Tyne, which is not far away. It�s next door to Sunderland, but a little bit further north along the coast. When I was about six, my father got promotion ... he went up to Glasgow in Scotland. Basically, I classify myself as a sort of home born, local �Geordie�, which is what they call the Newcastle people. [Note: Geordie n. & adj. Brit. colloq. n. 1 a native of Tyneside. 2 the dialect spoken on Tyneside. adj. of or relating to Tyneside, its people, or its dialect. Concise Oxford Dictionary Ninth Edition] Also, Glasgow�s my town as well because all my education ... straight education, drama education, high school was done up there. So I classify myself as a Glaswegian ... and most of the time I speak with a Glaswegian accent but I do enjoy the accent fervently, which you notice in UXB ...

MP: You said you call yourself a Glaswegian ...

MR: Yes, Glaswegian. That�s a person who comes from Glasgow. They�re kind of like Texans ... they�re more Texan than they are American. ... Glaswegian people before Scottish.

MP: What was your earliest film?

MR: My earliest film? It was way back ... I kind of started off at a high level, which was strange ... lucky in one way and difficult in another way. My first film was The Fighting Prince of Donegal by Disney, which I�m awful in until the last shot when I finally begin to realize what the job's about.

MP: And how old were you?

MR: God, I don�t know ... young. [laughs]

MP: We understand that you did a lot of theatre work, also.

MR: Yeah, I started off at the Glasgow Citizens Theatre ... I won the contract there from drama college. I won the radio contract at college; I won the Most Promising Male award. I actually went for all the money prizes, so that when I left drama college I had some money in my pocket. So, I won the BBC radio award, which meant I had six months radio work, however, I turned that down. I got the money for Most Promising Male. I also won the contract at Glasgow Citizens, and, I took that. In those days, I started off as what you call an acting ASM ... which meant that you were an assistant stage manager, which meant, basically, you swept the floor, and just did as you were told backstage. As an actor, you played all the roles that nobody else played, so you could be working all night in stage management, and then play in thirteen roles, for example. It could kill you ... I mean, when I say roles, I mean like 2-rate parts, and stuff like that. So, I started in the end of September, come to Christmas I�d had it, and I just said, I�m leaving. He [the stage manager] said, "What are you going to do?" I said, "I don�t know. Just go on the unemployment benefit, I guess." But, I�m an actor. If I�m not going to be employed as an actor, I�m not going to stick around for this ... you had to get your actor�s contract, and they wouldn�t let me go, and they said, "Well, do one more stage ... you know, assistant stage management work on the next play, and then the following play we�ll give you a full actor�s contract." So, I said, "Oh, okay, great!" And they gave me two parts, one was Graziano, and one was Lorenzo. And against everybody�s advice, I took Lorenzo, which is in The Merchant of Venice, as you probably know ... which is the romantic part. They also gave something like a dollar and a half pay rise. [laughs]

MP: This was before you did any film?

MR: Yeah. Yeah, just straight come out of college, and what happened with Lorenzo was ... it started getting ... one night, the girls, or one afternoon, all these girls came in and stuff, and the girls all started giving me the Beatle treatment ... which was really frightening, to be perfectly honest. I didn�t really know what happened. First I thought I�d split my tights in God knows ways .... , screams, and God knows what else ... And at the end, they would come back for the nightly performances and the visits were getting chaotic ... but it made the press, I got a lot of press for that. That led to a movie test with Disney and that led to The Fighting Prince of Donegal ... and that was it, you know! It was a time when working class actors were coming through. Albert Finney had come through a few years before ... Richard Harris and people like that. We were real working class. College ... my year at college was a real working class year. Terrible ... Glaswegian accents, real tough guys. Before that the college had been run by the sophisticated female set ... must have seemed like the Vikings coming in ... like rape, pillage, and God knows what else. So, it was quite fun and hectic, for years, which I enjoyed very much. Seems like yesterday. The reason why I�m saying that was, I�ve always been very independent in what I do, how I live, and everything else. That film thing led to 26-episode TV, which I got ... and, I turned it down. People thought I was absolutely crazy, but, I just new that I didn�t know my work, and I felt television, and I still think television, is one of the biggest diseases to hit the world, anyways. And I knew that it would chew me up and spit me out, and I probably, I might be a TV star, as they call it, for a few years, I�d make a lot of money, and then that would be it. I didn�t want that. I took an interview down at the Royal Court Theatre, they were doing Macbeth with Sir Alec Guiness and Simone Signoret ... French film makers. They wanted to audition me for Malcolm, and I went there and auditioned for Malcolm. Didn�t like ...I didn�t want the part, anyways. I had to cheat, see ... I wanted to play Macduff. It�s a stock part to the thing. Anyway, he asked me if I had an audition piece, and I said, "Yes." So, I did another audition piece, and he gave it to me. So, I ended up playing Macduff to Alec Guiness� Macbeth and Simone Signoret�s Lady Macbeth. And that led to another play ... and other theatre stuff. I wanted to do more theatre stuff, and I didn�t feel that good about TV as it came along. Didn't like that side of it. The Fighting Prince of Donegal got me into ... I auditioned for that and got it. That was an Irish part. I find my first leading television role was a Yorkshire part, so, I played quite a few accented parts ... in a sense I started off almost as a Yorkshire actor, because the TV role was nationwide, so a lot of people just thought I was Yorkshire. They were kind of surprised when I spoke with a Scots accent. I never dropped the accent in my own personal life. That�s just who I am. I don�t try to put up any of that high English accent stuff on ... So, that was kind of where I started, but because I'd been very particular about my work I�ve never actually gone through, what I call, that final door ... you know, where you�re earning a million a picture, or something like that. That�s still to come yet ... But that�s for them to discover, not for me ...

MP: So then, do you prefer working on the stage as opposed to film?

MR: No, I prefer both. In fact, I apply my film technique ... it�s unfortunate that you can�t see this play ... I apply my film technique to stage, as well, which a lot of people find interesting, and watch, and wonder how I do it. I can bring an audience into a close-up, if I want to. It�s quite exciting, you have to raise it to a certain level, because, obviously, a camera is much more intimate and you�re reaching out a bit further on stage, but I apply the two of them together. At least, I apply the film to the theatre, if you like ... more than the theatre to the film. It works admirably, you know? Works terrific, as far as I�m concerned.

MP: Are you a science fiction fan?

MR: Ah, not really. No, I don�t really read sci-fi books and stuff like that. I�m not really into that kind of thing. But, I enjoyed doing Judge Dredd and Star Trek ... these were all favors and were all sort of miniscule parts as far as I was concerned, but, Judge Dredd should have been a terrific movie, I don�t know why it wasn�t. I thought it would be a fun movie, and playing Morton Miller was no skin off my nose. I flew in from LA to do it, paid me good money. It wasn�t a question of whether it was a big role or small role, it was just a fun movie to do, and it wasn�t going to effect your career. In fact, it was good for your career to be in it. It would never do me any harm, and it was the same way with Cheers or Star Trek. They phoned me up, they just couldn�t get people to do it. For example, in Star Trek, this particular speech by Romulan, I think was his name, was kind of like a ... almost human and they couldn�t get anyone to do his speech properly and they asked, "Can you do it?" and I said, "Yes" ... so they paid me top money. It was a piece of cake [laughs].

MP: So, you were in Cheers?

MR: Yeah, I did a similar thing for Cheers ... they wanted a weird Irish ballad singer, who spoke about three or four lines. They couldn�t get a singer to speak properly, and they couldn�t get somebody who could do weird Irish singing, so, they phoned me again. I just went into the dress rehearsal and did it. In America, you can do that. There�s no sort of class system where people say, "Oh, you know, he must be slippin� because he�s just done a couple of lines in Cheers." People go, "Wow! He�s in Cheers! That�s terrific!" Back in Britain, they see the same thing, they�ll go, "God! You were in Cheers!" Well, back in Britain, if a soap producer or somebody came up and said, "Look, we�ve got this one scene," in, I don't know, Coronation Street, or one of those English things, "Would you do it?" I�d have to turn it down, because over there there�s this class thing where you know people are going to say, "Oh, he must be slipping. He�s done Last of the Mohicans and now he�s only doing one scene in Coronation Street." It�s really sad, because it stops you from doing something interesting, perhaps, that you would like to do, you know? It�s not the size of the part, for me, it�s basically what the part�s about. That�s it. It�s not even the money, otherwise I wouldn�t be here in Bristol, you know? So, it�s a damn shame ... that�s one of the healthiest things about the American industry ... a producer can phone you up, there can only be four or five lines, and he�ll say, "Can you do me a favor?" You say, "Sure, right." And I�ll come in and do it ... "fine", you know! And they pay me as much money as if I were the guest star, and they give me single card billing, as if I were the guest star ... that�s fine. It�s little bragging points for the next job which might be better.

MP: OK, let�s say you were thrown out a serious drama ...

MR: You say I was thrown out? [laughs]

MP: You were PRESENTED with a serious drama and a script for a comedy, and they were both equally good, which would you prefer to do?

MR: Well, they were both equally good?

MP: Right.

MR: I guess I�d have to take the one that pays the most! [laughs] If they�re both equally good, there�s no way you can choose between them, so you just take the one that pays the most money!

MP: Would you prefer a period piece to a contemporary role?

MR: I don�t mind ... it�s just a part, it doesn�t matter which time ... I�m very lucky, I�ve got one of these faces that can go into the Stone Age or it can go into the Space Age.

MP: You don�t have an area of theatrical work that you prefer?

MR: No, absolutely not. No.

MP: What�s your favorite role to date, then?

MR: Favorite role to date? Oh, blimey. Uhh ... I don�t have ... I suppose, I would have two, simply because they were the hardest. One is the one I�m playing at the moment, Michael Malloy, because it�s very spiritual; I do a lot of different physical things with my body ... changes in height, shape ... and that is really complicated ... and the mind process for this one is extremely difficult. So, I guess it�s a favorite in the sense that it�s a hard one and it�s been highly successful. And also, Iago, which I did in two and a half weeks, which is ... I managed to get, not only all the lines off in two and a half weeks, which you know, most lines in Shakespeare ... but also get all the levels that I was looking for, according to the press. I got the best press reviews that I�ve ever had, so ... I suppose those two mainly because they were the hardest, and in a short space of time to achieve that, which was great. ... Uhmm ... film roles ... I got a couple of TV roles which I kind of like, but .. . I guess I�d say it really was just those two. I don�t really have any favorites, as such, you know, I just do my best and hope that it goes. I�m not voting on it! [laughs]

MP: The Killing of Michael Malloy ... you had done this already in LA ...

MR: Yeah.

MP: ... and it�s wrapping up now in Pennsylvania. Do you anticipate it running anywhere else in the future?

MR: Well, of course, the reason we're doing it here is to get New York people, we hope ... we�ll have New York people in tonight ... we�d hope it goes on to Broadway. My intention is just to concentrate on Bristol. I fly back to London on Monday. And, if New York comes up, fine, we�ll see how it goes. I�ve just done a TV series in England which started airing this week, which apparently has been very successful ...

MP: What�s the name of that?

MR: It�s called Grafters. I play the father to the two young leads. The father is truly the best role, in the sense that he�s a modern day father who came up in the 60�s and he�s been written like that. He�s having more affairs than the boys put together. [laughs] And he goes roller blading and he listens to Fun Loving Criminals, which they�ve never heard of, and stuff like that ... He�s a very hip dad. That�s very nice to have somebody write a father like that, so you can say, "He must have had a great time in the 60�s and 70�s."

MP: The woman who works at the Bristol Theatre, the publicist, sent us a couple of photos from The Killing of Michael Malloy, and you can see from the photos what you mean about changing yourself physically. You look totally different.

MR: Well, I don�t go to rushes. That�s another thing I can�t stand. I never went to rushes. When we did What A Lovely War, at the end of the shoot, six months, they have us in this rough cut thing for the cast & crew ... and I stayed in the hotel. Richard Attenborough looked around the audience and said, "Well, where�s Mo?" They said, "Well, he�s back at the hotel, as usual." He said, "Hold on," and he comes back to the hotel and dragged me out, and I still wouldn�t go to it. I said, "No, I�m not going." I don�t like rushes. I can tell from still photographs if they did the photograph during the action of the play, or the film ... I can tell from the still photograph. I know it works for Malloy, because it comes out on to the face from inside ... I work from the inside outwards. I guess I�ve been, if you want to call it a method, I�ve been a method actor for a long time, not in the general sense of the word, but in a mental and spiritual sense of the word, I suppose. I look for the spirit of the character, if it's well written.

MP: Shall we move on to the spirit of Colonel George Munro of The Last of the Mohicans?

MR: Yeah.

MP: First of all, how did you land this role?

MR: I happened to be on a fly back from LA to London, and I was called up for the interview to see Michael Mann. They gave me three scenes to do, which I learned, I always learn everything and do it without the script. I went in and I did one scene and he said, "Yeah, good." Eventually, I did all three scenes, plus he directed me in a couple of scenes, so I was in there for really an hour, which was quite extensive. The story I heard later, I didn�t hear at the time, but I heard later that he had said, "Right, that's the one, I�m not seeing anybody else." But I didn�t hear that, I got it in about two months, the story that drifted back to me was that that�s what he�d done. But, he had to fight 20th Century Fox to get me because 20th Century Fox wanted Albert Finney. I was kind of pleased that I beat Finney to the role because I worked with Finney years ago when he started to direct ... when he started at the Glasgow Citizens, and I was just a second year drama student. I thought he was terrific. I thought he was absolutely great! It was him who got me smoking French cigarettes, which I still do. So, that was kind of nice, and that was simply how I got the role. About two months later I got a phone call from Hollywood, "You got it" and stuff.

MP: Was there any appeal to the particular character for you?

MR: Well, yeah, because I�d read the book and I�d read the history facts. Munro was actually the only factual character in the whole book. Munro, in fact, existed. The eldest daughter, I think it was, was really a colored child ... if you like, a bastard child. She was a half-cast. And Munro was like, and unfortunately they wouldn�t put it into the film, but Munro was equivalent to Colin Powell being the head of the armed services ... a black man being the head of the American armed services. Because Pitt, the prime minister, had taken the arms away from the Scots, and he decided to give them back. Parliament was in an uproar ... they said, "Oh, they�re going to attack us." Thought it was going to cause a revolution ... Anyway, he said, "No, we�ll send them off to the wars in the Canadiennes." So, for Munro to be a colonel is those days was quite an achievement. He was a first class soldier, a first class tactician of warfare ... loved by his men ... had a high reputation. As I say, for a Scot to become a colonel in those days was quite incredible. And, when, I can�t remember who it is ... remember when the news comes through that the other general ...

MP: General Webb.

MR: General Webb! That�s right! He was just stricken when Webb wouldn�t come to his aid, and there was some question ... it was a question, really, of the English general just saying, "Let that Scots bastard rot in hell!" kind of thing ... because they�re all jealous of him. "Let him fight his own way out" kind of thing. That was the only piece about that I could get in, which I�m not really sure if it comes out in the movie well enough or not ... it was funny... Michael Mann was doing the shots and he said, "Why are you turning your back to the camera?" And I said, "Well, look at what I�m looking at." And he said, "What?" I said, "Look at the fort." He said, "Yeah?" And I said, "Well, look at all the women and children up on top of the parapets." I said, "You know, I�m not just surrendering the fort. I�m surrendering my men. I�ve got all these women and children I�m responsible for." And, he agreed to do a shot ... I THINK he took a shot from my point of view ... that was the only place where I TRIED to get something in there. It was a part where Munro is really desperately trying to come to a decision about what is right. As much as he hates the thought of surrendering, he does surrender because he thinks he�s saving the lives of all the women and children, and his men, because they�re guaranteed safety out, with colors, and then they�ll be able to go straight back to the battalions and regiment, with their colors and stuff, because the French, as usual, even today ... the French, they�re still like that ... make their word on it.

MP: I think what you�re talking about does come across.

MR: The only sad thing about it was that there was a lovely piece, which has been taken out ... I think, badly edited ... it�s at the beginning when the girls first come to the fort, and he meets them. It�s a lovely, soft moment ... the two girls, himself ... Michael Mann set it to cut all that out. I thought that was a shame because it took a side of Munro out of it, and left him as this feisty little bantam cop-type character ... which obviously Mr. Mann wanted, so that was that. But, I loved working with Michael Mann. He was great; a hard worker. I�d work with him any day. I liked him a lot.

MP: What makes him special? How's he different?

MR: He�s a great ... uhmm ... How is he different? He�s a great professional and he�s a hard worker, you know? That�s really just it. I just liked him. If anything, he�s a wonderful technician with lights and cameras. He's got a great eye for detail, scenery, and stuff like that. I just thought he was great.

MP: You mentioned that you did read Cooper�s book?

MR: Yeah. [laughs] A little bit euphemistic ... To say the least.

MP: When you read the script, did you see it as an improvement?

MR: No, I think it�s always very difficult to write a script which is going to be as good as the book. I�m not all that sure whether the book�s all that terrific. It�s very euphemistic. The language is like over the top sometimes, you know, I think. I just thought it was a good yarn, well told. People obviously loved it. It was beautifully shot. Beautiful camera work ... how it didn�t get an Oscar for camera work, I have no idea!

MP: To create the role of Col. Munro, did you rely upon Cooper�s characterization at all, or did you focus on the historical record ...

MR: I tried to get a feeling for the historical character within myself, and use that, but, basically, you can only go by the script and the words that you�re given. That�s what you have to stick to. So, that�s what I do, but mentally, I tried to get into Munro and what he thought and hopefully, that would come across in the face. In speeches like ...one of the officers says we should do this, we should do that. He said, "Well, yeah, they�ll just lob stuff over the walls ..." I mean I try to get it by into the face, but I remember that scene quite clearly, and I just felt that rather than a medium close-up, which is what I think is - what it�s done in - it should been done as a close-up. You don�t quite get right into the eyes, and if you don�t get into the eyes in a movie, well then, you�ve had it. You�ve kind of lost a bit. I think if they�d had got closer into the eyes of Munro, you�d have gotten a bit more of that. Does that make sense

MP: Yes, it does. One thing we wanted to ask you ... There was a 1936 version of this movie ...

MR: It was all buckskins!

MP: Yes, and Michael Mann has said he�s borrowed from that film. There are many similarities that we can see, one of which may be Madeleine Stowe�s "duplicating" some of the mannerisms of the actress that played her character. Was that conscious or accidental?

MR: Oh, I think you�d have to ask Madeleine that. I remember the movie as a kid, but I never watched it when I was an adult, unfortunately. I couldn't even tell you who played Munro!

MP: So, then there was no studying that film, for you, in preparation? The Parley scene was strikingly similar.

MR: No, all I remember about that was that there was 104 degree heat! Mann came up to me at the end of the day and said, "You know, you�ve got the best focus and concentration of any actor I know." What I do remember is, you think as an actor you�ll never get into like a Spartacus or one of those great big, heroic movie-type things, and here you were doing it. There were like two thousand Indians surrounding you ... it was like live theatre in a strange way, and in fact, our voices ... we started off, it was almost like playing in the theatre ... on top of this mountain top. I had to take it down and down and down until we got to film technique, because you felt you were playing to all these people. And, in fact, when you spoke quietly, it was so quiet up there that they could all hear you anyway. But, it was about 104 degrees, I tell you, it was a hellish day. But, I think the scene turned out beautifully.

MP: Without a doubt ...

MR: And he was wonderful, the guy that played Montcalm.

MP: We were going to ask you about Patrice Chereau.

MR: He was terrific. He was great. I loved him. He was terrific to work with.

MP: Our personal opinion ... we really felt that you two brought a lot of authenticity to the film. We just felt that you were really a British officer and that he was really a commanding French general. We thought you did both did excellent jobs!

MR: Well, thank you.

MP: In the book, and in reality, Munro did not die at Fort William Henry.

MR: No, that�s right.

MP: We were wondering if you knew what Michael Mann�s purpose was for having you die off in the movie?

MR: No, I didn�t even bother asking him. He�d just say, "We�re doing this!" [laughs] I didn�t even get into that with him. It was bad enough trying to get him to get some of the factual stuff, you know? And when I mentioned the fact of Colin Powell he said, "No. Outta here!" [laughs] No, I didn�t. Of course, in the book, he goes off and becomes almost senile or mentally disturbed ...

MP: Were you happy with the results of your portrayal?

MR: Yeah. Yeah, you know, it was great ... I think, in a way, it was quite exciting for them to kill Munro off that way, rather than to just let him go ahead into senile dementia, or whatever ... As I said, it�s a good yarn, well told, and people enjoyed it, and that�s what it�s about. Probably, one of these days, they�ll make a movie just called Colonel Munro, or something. [laughs]

MP: We�ve spoken to a lot of people about the movie, and whenever your name comes up, everyone always speaks highly of you.

MR: Oh, that�s nice.

MP: You�ve been described as "jovial", "down-to-earth", "fun-loving" ... How do you see yourself on the set? Very relaxed?

MR: Oh yeah, yeah. Usually, if I walk on the set, they think I�m a spark, or a driver, or something like that. They never think of me as an actor. [laughs] But, I take that as a compliment. But I was very annoyed at what I heard about some extra guy talking about me boozing at night time ... and Madeleine Stowe doing various things ... Madeleine Stowe was just wonderful to work with.

MP: About the costumes ... we were recently asked ... did you wear the same uniform throughout?

MR: Yeah.

MP: What about the other principals ... the same outfit?

MR: Mostly, I think ... yeah. From what I remember, yeah. But, they weren�t as heavy as they should have been. They were very well made, sort of a light wool thing. Even on that hot day of the surrender scene, 104 degrees, it wasn�t too bad.

MP: What was your most demanding scene?

MR: The massacre, I think. The massacre was absolutely frightening. We were in the valley, and you just had Indians on either side ... it was really blood curdling. It turned the hair on the back of my neck. Those girls! I could imagine what it was like in the real time. You just thought, "My God! Those poor women and children." And the British, of course, it was the old front line goes down ...had all this rigmarole theory about shooting and stuff, which all changed after that, I think. And the Indians just keep running through and smacking them. I mean they just walloped them, you know? No problem to the Indians. [laughs]

MP: So, it kind of became real to you?

MR: Oh, yeah! I remember saying, because I had a wonderful horse, Blackie ... great film horse, I just adored him. I said, "What happens when all this happens? I mean Blackie�s not hearing it ..." We had part rehearsal, but not enough. When the, excuse my French, shit hit the fan, Blackie just took off, and unfortunately, he took off in the wrong direction. Nearly killed about 50 people. I just managed to pull him off in time! And then that�s when I jumped off the horse and said, "Right! That�s a stunt! You get somebody else to do that because I�m not a qualified horseman." I�m not bad, but I�m not that qualified. You need somebody who can actually handle this ... you know, this is a massive beast, and when all that yelling and shooting went on, the horse didn�t know what the hell had hit it. You couldn�t blame the horse. If he�s going to do that, if it�s a long shot anyway, you put a stunt man on it. He knows how to control the horse. That was the only time I used a stunt man.

MP: The first scene at the fort, when your daughters arrive ...

MR: Oh yeah, I read that thing as well ... [A reference to a quote from another interview] there was no question that I didn�t know my lines ... of course, I knew my lines for that. One of the reasons why we kept repeating and repeating ... if you remember, there�s all these explosions going off. There�s such a lot of orchestral work, if you like, going on on the sidelines ... cannons being shot, cannonballs coming through, explosions, stuff like that. Everything�s got to be absolutely right. And, that�s the reason why it was re-shot and re-shot and re-shot.

MP: Well, we�ve heard it was a marathon session.

MR: Oh, absolutely.

MP: Years ago, an extra told us that some sort of argument took place between Michael Mann & Jodhi May�s mother, just after entering your quarters. Something about a blouse button ...

MR: I didn�t know anything about that.

MP: Daniel Day-Lewis once wrote us and said, "...there was a time when I might have cursed at the thought of ever seeing some of those locations again." How did you feel about the rigors of filming on location?

MR: I loved it! I�m very fond of North Carolina ... been back already. I just loved it, I just loved it there, and I loved the people. Wasn�t like that for me.

MP: What was it like, professionally speaking, working with this cast?

MR: On the whole, pretty good. Madeleine was my favorite. She gave you everything. She gave you everything behind the camera; she gave you as much behind the camera as she gave you in front of the camera. She was the one I thought might be difficult, but she wasn�t. I thought she was absolutely terrific. Absolutely terrific. Next to her, would be Wes Studi. Him, next to her, was right beside my heart. Him and I became really good friends and we still correspond, and talk to one another, from time to time. He was terrific, as well.

MP: Interesting that you named those two. We�ve always thought theirs were the strongest performances, most deserving of Academy Awards.

MR: Yeah ... and Daniel, for me, was disappointing. That�s all I�m going to say.

MP: In his performance?

MR: Ahhh ... as a person. The whole lot.

MP: What about Patrice Chereau?

MR: Oh, Patrice ... yeah, he would come after Wes Studi. Madeleine, Wes, Patrice ...

MP: What about your other daughter, Jodhi May?

MR: Well, she didn�t have that much to do, did she? Except, wander around with her mouth open and fall off a cliff. [laughs] Anybody can do that! [laughs] ... I can well believe what you said earlier, but I honestly don�t know anything about it, but I can well believe it. Oh, God, her mother ... yeah ... yes, yes, she was around. If you don�t want me to yawn, we can get off that subject. [laughs]

MP: Moving on ... it seems to us pretty incredible that The Last of the Mohicans was so ignored by the Academy Awards ...

MR: Yeah.

MP: We were wondering what your take was on that.

MR: I think Hollywood had put Michael Mann in the Barbara Streisand bracket. "If you want an Academy Award, you�re going to have to really go for it." I think it got an award for what, sound, or something? I didn�t really think the sound was all that tremendous ... Although I love the soundman, he's British ... I thought there was a lot more before that. There was music, the make-up, special effects, and, especially, the camera work. It was tremendous. And, I don�t know, for some reason Michael Mann's still got to prove himself as a film maker. I don�t know why, because Jericho Mile, before Shawshank Redemption, is the best prison movie I�ve ever seen. And Manhunter is much better than The Silence of the Lambs. He�s done some excellent movies. So, I don�t understand that. You�d have to ask all those folk in Hollywood that make these kind of stupid decisions.

MP: We always thought it might be his TV background.

MR: I don�t know. I really don�t know. I mean, why didn�t The Color Purple get an Oscar?

MP: How was the film received in Europe?

MR: Terrific. I mean, it was ... all the wives were buying it for their husbands for Christmas presents. It sold ... like crazy.

MP: And, what�s your personal opinion of the finished product?

MR: A good yarn, well told! Beautifully shot! I mean, what more can you ask for?

MP: Would you take that role again?

MR: Oh, absolutely! No regrets.

MP: Well, let�s move on to what you�re doing right now ...

MR: Well, it�s called The Killing of Michael Malloy. As I say, we did it in Los Angeles, for which I got Best Actor of the Year Award ... that was in �93-�94. They�re hoping it will go Broadway ... I don�t know whether it will or not; just we�ll wait and see ... Apparently it's already been nominated for the Barrymore Award. They just held the award ceremony so that won't be until October next year. So, it might be forgotten by that time, but it's nominated for it. It seems to be going very well. We�re getting great houses. I�ve enjoyed it, you know.

MP: What about your future plans?

MR: I don�t know, as I say, I�ve done that television series, and that opened this weekend nationwide in Britain. It�s got rave reviews. We�ve made the covers of every single TV magazine, which is rare, so that looks like it might go a second lot ... I want more to do with it this next time. We�ll see, so, at the moment, I�ve worked so hard at this, I�m just so shattered. We�ve only got five shows left, so, I just want a chance to run the play and get used to the role again, and develop it. I don�t get the chance to do that unfortunately.

MP: Have you kept in contact with any of the cast from The Last of the Mohicans? You mentioned Wes Studi ...

MR: No, Wes & I just have this thing ... Madeleine was married, unfortunately. [laughs]

MP: Okay, one thing. Training ...

MR: That was very good, that training! Except, I dislocated my pelvic bone and smashed my right bicep, �cause I got thrown, but ...

MP: In Massacre Valley?

MR: No, we had to do about three weeks training with Captain Dale Dye. He was a good guy, but I�d done some Army service so, I kind of griped to him. So every morning it was just, "Morning, Colonel!" He saluted, did all the beds, so all the guys had to follow suit. He, really, in a way, helped to establish Munro, as well. He�s very good that way. The only thing I refused to do with him was the press ups. I was never very good at press ups. I did squats while they did press ups. He liked me to do the forced march and stuff. I got very upset when I took them two miles further than they should have gone. [laughs] Because these guys were a lot younger than me, but it wasn�t very fair, I can tell you! [laughs] But, that was quite thrilling, because you had to learn about muskets, and how to load them, and how to pack them ... You would get quite high on gunpowder because it comes in paper packets, so, you rip off with your teeth, and you�re always getting gunpowder in your mouth and on your tongue. It was fascinating. I enjoyed all that.

MP: We know you have a rehearsal ... We just want to thank you very much for taking the time ...

MR: Not at all. Thanks very much for taking the interest! Give my very best wishes to all the Mohican guys!

Cast Of TKOMM

The cast of The Killing of Michael Malloy
Photos courtesy of the Bristol Riverside Theatre

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We wish to express our appreciation to Mr. Roeves for accommodating us despite a strenuous, tight schedule. It was truly a pleasure to speak with him, and fascinating to listen to his wonderful brogue ... or more precisely, Glaswegian-Geordie accent! As is always the case, in transcribing what was spoken we have lost a bit of the spirit of the words. Not only are the tone or inflections diluted somewhat, but in Maurice Roeve's case, GREAT DELIVERY! Therefore, we want to add that the responses were all extremely good natured and often very funny. And, such irony! One of his best friends, among the cast, cut the still beating heart from his chest! Things aren't always what they seem in MohicanLand!

There were several messages that were passed along, through us, to Maurice Roeves for which he expressed his appreciation. He thanks all of you for your kind words and continued interest. Do look for our 'Scotsman' in the new British series The Grafters, and maybe ... Broadway?

Thanks, too, to Davenie, of our Board, for the connection!

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More First Person Accounts & Photo Galleries:

GASTON & HURLEY: THE SOLDIER PAGES || ON THE TRAIL WITH ... MARK A. BAKER || UNDER THE MAKE-UP TENT || ERIC SCHWEIG: AN INTERVIEW || CHAT WITH CHINGACHGOOK: THE RUSSELL MEANS INTERVIEW || MIKE PHILLIPS: THE SACHEM SPEAKS || MEETING MAGUA: A WES STUDI INTERVIEW || THE FILMING AT LAKE JAMES || PRE-PRODUCTION PHOTO GALLERY || MADELEINE STOWE INTERVIEW

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