Quentin Tarantino stars in “American Badass: A Michael Madsen Retrospective”
Quentin Tarantino, John Travolta, Ron Perlman, Virginia Madsen, Charlie Sheen, William Baldwin, Paul Sorvino, Harry Dean Stanton, Daryl Hannah, Chuck Zito and many more, honor the life and career of Michael Madsen in a new film American Badass: A Michael Madsen Retrospective.
The documentary is a Playmaker LLC/Jolia Corporation production, directed by Dominique Milano, CEO of Playmaker Pictures LLC, and took three years to make. Directed by Dominique Milano, who became a close friend during the three plus year journey states “I think we should have also made a documentary on how we made this documentary. Working with Michael and his wonderful mother Elaine and the whole Madsen Family was an honor along with all the A-list talent who participated in the project. Additionally, Michael is a unique and complex individual. My incredible team and I wanted to make sure we got it right.” All of the hard work was rewarded when Quentin Tarantino viewed the final cut and gave his stamp of approval, saying “the director and his team did a great job.”
Filming in Arizona to backtrack the crime spree and the old Chicago neighborhood where Michael grew up, was producer Todd Causley’s main task. A Chicago native himself, Causley located the original fire house where Michael’s father worked and where Michael spent much time during his youth.
Production was halted for about 5 months during the early stages around 2017 because Michael had an issue with some of the people involved in the project. Milano and his financial partner Samuel had to re-crew and start fresh to keep the project alive. They learned very early Michael was respectfully hands on, but Milano felt strongly about showing the alcohol and the crime spree segments; he had no interest in making a puff piece. “It’s either we show the real thing or we don’t do it.” Michael went all in candidly opening up about his difficult past and the documentary was kept alive. Madsen states “It was the right time and the right thing to do. Being an actor is one thing and it’s glorifying, but people out there need to know that I am also human and I have my issues like everybody else. Some of them I am not proud of.”
Principal cinematography was completed in early 2019, but the project was not out of the woods yet. The raw footage was locked up in the Adobe edit bay; it was time to start cutting and figure out on how to assemble the piece the proper way.
Milano says “for me the most important factor was to have a final cut with a Tarantinesque flavor to honor their friendship, but editing turned out to be very challenging. Our original editor did a great job on the Chicago segment, but had difficulties in the transitions between the chapters. He got a bit overwhelmed by the complexity of the project and needed support so with the help of Peter Baxter, co-founder of the Slamdance Film Festival, we hired Emmy award editor Jay Miracle to assist with the transitions and the structure.”
Hollywood legendary producer Mario Kassar also brought his magical touch to the project, spending valuable donated time with the director, reviewing and giving important feedback. Causley kept adding important missing footage to the mix, including a great interview with the late Robert Forster. Milano stated, “I ended up cutting this doc from scratch eight times. I had to make sure the final product would not only properly cover Michael’s life story but would also honor all the celebrities involved and most importantly, the final cut had to be real.”
American Badass takes a look at the fascinating life and impressive career of actor, director, producer, writer and poet Michael Madsen. Madsen’s long career spans nearly forty years and more than 170 films including Kill Bill Volumes 1 & 2, Thelma & Louise, Die Another Day, Sin City, Free Willy and perhaps most notably Reservoir Dogs.
Entertainment and celebrity expert Bill Zweker of Fox TV Chicago, Madsen’s hometown, calls the documentary “A terrific, insightful film about a truly intriguing, complicated actor and artist. This is a must-see documentary for anyone who has loved Michael Madsen’s work.” Check out the trailer at https://michaelmadsendoc.com and follow the film on Facebook for updates https://www.facebook.com/American-Badass-A-Michael-Madsen-retrospective-663840310424875/
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