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This interview is Terminated!

Published On 11/08/2011 Published On 11/08/2011

Over a 30yr career, Michael Biehn has battled Terminators, Aliens, and the perception that he's pretty much always ready to explode into a violent rage. Now he's in town for Comic Con, so we caught up with him about working with James Cameron, directing his own flick, and how he's actually a pretty nice dude.

How did you end up involved in so many of James Cameron's movies?
I think he just liked me, but also he saw me as an alter-ego -- he'd cast me in roles I think he'd see himself doing if he could act. He can do everything else on a set better than anyone else, but he can't act.
What is it about you that screams "hard-ass military man"?
I think that more than anything else, Jim cast me in three movies where I was a hard-ass military man. First off, I'm not a military man, and second, I'm not a hard-ass!
Which of your roles as a Navy Seal do you feel most realistically represented the Navy Seals? The Abyss, The Rock, or Navy Seals?
I've had technical advisers on those movies who tried to give me an idea of what it was like, but you can't really know. Probably The Rock though. I have like a Bottom 5 -- or maybe a Bottom 20 -- movies, and Navy Seals was one of them, so definitely not that one.
For The Abyss, you grew a fairly robust mustache, which you wore again in a more period-specific style for your role as the cold-blooded killer Johnny Ringo in Tombstone. Are mustaches evil?
Yeah. Usually the guy with the mustache is the bad guy. I'd known that since I was about six or seven years old. You're either evil, or a cop.
Over the years, who's been your favorite actor to work with?
Val Kilmer. Val and I went out before shooting Tombstone and spent four or five hours coming up with the close-up gun battle. He's got a reputation for being difficult, but it's the guys that want the movie to be better than anyone else on the set that are usually the ones with that reputation.
Do you ever audition for roles outside your comfort zone, like a shy veterinarian in a rom-com?
Yeah, of course, but people just don't see me that way. I remember meeting Ron Howard for Apollo 13 -- basically I turned on my nicest, sweetest guy in the world impression, and by the time I got home, there was already a message that said they thought I was too intense. I was by craft services once and a younger actor came over to me and said, I've been watching you, you're so intense, what are you thinking about? And I was thinking "Doritos or Cheetos?".
On the poster for your directorial debut, The Victim, you're shown wielding an axe, and flanked by two hot, scantily clad women. So basically, The Victim is a biopic about the life of Michael Biehn?
There are more women than that who've passed through, I'm afraid to say. But they usually look like those women. Take those women and put about 30 behind each one of them and then it's accurate. The axe-wielding thing was funny, we shot that photo before the script was written. There's actually no f*cking axe in the movie.
What was it like, stepping behind the camera -- and directing your wife (actress Jennifer Blanc) no less?
As a director, my style could be described as "raving lunatic". I've worked with James Cameron and Michael Bay; wrap them together on their worst day, that'd be me. I had Christian Bale moments three times a day, but nobody quit and nobody got fired. As far as directing Jennifer, she's the only person who can really give it back. We'd get into these massive screaming arguments, then those would end because we'd have to finish the movie, and then we'd go home and f***. That's our relationship, it's very passionate.

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Over a 30yr career, Michael Biehn has battled Terminators, Aliens, and the perception that he's pretty much always ready to explode into a violent rage. Now he's in town for Comic Con, so we caught up with him about working with James Cameron, directing his own flick, and how he's actually a pretty nice dude.

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