I should like to thank everyone around the world who continues to support our work on JOHN WOO'S ONCE A THIEF®, which was 1 of the best experiences of my career, to date.
When first the pilot telefilm aired, the credits had not finished before I rang my agent to tell him that I had to be auditioned for the series.
"But MALCOLM, there isn't 1; it's just a movie!"
"There WILL be; trust me on this."
Consequently, it happened that I was engaged to essay the roles of THE PRINCE & PETER (Servant to JULIET'S NURSE) in a Toronto production of ROMEO & JULIET(TM), a contract which forbade me from doing any outside work, despite the fact that other castmembers in larger roles than my own were working & being auditioned elsewhere.
It was @ this time that I was contacted by my agent to be auditioned for the role of DENNIS KINGMAN.
I resolved that even if it were necessary for me to resign from ROMEO & JULIET(TM) - despite the fact that I was trained as a Classical actor & that MR. WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE is my favourite playwright - I was not going to pass up a golden opportunity to work with MR. NICHOLAS LEA...especially on a project endorsed by MR. JOHN WOO, himself!
The sides were faxed to my agent's office, clear across town from my then-dwelling, so I cycled there after that evening's performance to collect them in person, not wishing to risk the likelihood of a bugger-up on the part of a courier.
It was a 2H round-trip, but well worth it, for when I read the character breakdown, I realised that I had been born to essay the role. It was truly as though it had been written with me in mind!
I stayed up all night learning the part - an excellent well-written script, methought! - then travelled to the studio for my audition with the MR. PETER D. MARSHALL, the Director, whom I could tell would cast me on the basis of what he had seen & heard.
The fact that I am actually English, rather than affecting an accent, might have had something to do with it, but I think the fact that I am a big fan of THE MALTESE FALCON(TM) & Film Noir in general went a long way toward influencing his final decision.
By the time I reached home, I was told by my agent that I had been offered the role of DENNIS KINGMAN.
This was when my troubles began in earnest.
The theatre for whom I was working denied me the 4 days off that I would require for shooting, this despite the fact that my roles had been understudied, & despite the fact that other actors' understudies had been engaged for performances in order to facilitate the other actors' work elsewhere in other cities & even other provinces!
I resolved that if necessary, I would resign in order to work on JOHN WOO'S ONCE A THIEF(TM), not just because I was offended by the lack of professional etiquette & courtesy shown me by that theatre, but because I am an ardent admirer of the series & of MESSRS. JOHN WOO & NICHOLAS LEA.
I communicated my intention to my agent, to which he replied, "Don't do anything hasty; I'll call the studio!"
He rang me back & said that I had until Monday - it was then Friday - to decide what I wanted to do, otherwise they would have to recast the role, but I had already made up my mind & told him so.
He communicated this to the studio, where MESSRS. JOHN WOO, PETER D. MARSHALL & the Casting Director decided that it would be in everyone's best interests to accommodate their needs & mine by compressing my 4-day shooting schedule & sending a van to collect me & my bicycle from the theatre immediately after the curtain calls, & to deliver me to the theatre on time so that I would not be late for my calltime of 19:30. (I was not required to be there @ 19:00, since my characters were not involved in the various fight sequences)
In this way, I would not have to alienate myself from the engager & risk potential blacklisting with them, my unions & other engagers, but it meant that I would be operating on a sleep deficit.
I thanked them, accepting with eagerness their collective & individual willingness to make my dream come true.
The script readthrough took place @ lunchtime, when I met the Producers, Writers, MESSRS. NICHOLAS LEA, IVAN SERGEI & Mlles JENNIFER DALE & SANDRINE HOLT for the first time. (MS. JENNIFER DALE is even more sexy in person than onscreen, I am happy to report! *GRRRROOOWWWLLL!*)
@ its conclusion, I was thanked profusely by the Writer, MR. BRUCE MARTIN, & MESSRS. GLENN DAVIS & WILLIAM LAURIN, who were responsible for my favourite episode of ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS...(TM): "DIAMONDS AREN'T FOREVER", starring MR. GEORGE LAZENBY (whose JAMES BOND 007 is the 1 I would have preferred to see for the next several years, rather than SIR ROGER MOORE'S, once SIR SEAN CONNERY had abdicated the role for the first time).
They were especially grateful for my immediate commitment to bringing the character alive, directly from the page, particularly MR. MARTIN. Apparently, this is unusual for Method actors, whose first readings tend to be rather flat & emotionless, virtually monotone, often commenting sarcastically upon the content of the work they are reading.
Because my own training is for British Repertory, my own inclination is to begin building the character as soon as I have received the sides for an audition. This has occasionally led to disappointment as a script has been changed from draft to draft, but I prefer that to being caught flatfooted with lines unlearned!
It was a most singular pleasure to work with MR. NICHOLAS LEA, whose work I had admired since first I had seen him on THE X-FILES(TM), portraying a metamorphic androgyne. His return as AGENT ALEX KRYCZEK(sp?) was not a surprise to me, given the quality of his work, so I am very happy for him, but even happier to have had the opportunity to work with him @ last.
It was a disappointment to me as a viewer as well as an actor when JOHN WOO'S ONCE A THIEF(TM) was cancelled, particularly given that there was a strong possibility of DENNIS KINGMAN'S being incorporated into the team, as was done with the character of JACQUIE/JACKIE JANZCYK. (I have since encountered MS. VICTORIA PRATT @ LIGHTS, CAMERA, AUCTION! - TAKE 4(R), & it is my belief that our onscreen chemistry would have been wonderful as our respective characters!)
Again, many thanks for your support of our efforts. Perhaps if we're lucky, someone will finally make available JOHN WOO'S ONCE A THIEF(TM) as a complete DVD set - including the pilot telefilm!
For further details of MX's Film, Television & Theatre work, click HERE. For details about his other work, click on the link of your choice, below.