The Movie Waffler Interview - PRIMAL RAGE Star Marshal Hilton | The Movie Waffler

Interview - PRIMAL RAGE Star Marshal Hilton

primal rage marshal hilton
Legendary character actor Marshal Hilton stars in Primal Rage, released in US theatres this month.

Hilton, whose many credits include The Perfect Weapon, Beetleborgs Metallix and Assassin X, plays B.D, the leader of a group of boisterous, gun-toting locals who go after Bigfoot, in the Patrick Magee directed film Primal Rage. B.D cuts an imposing figure but he’s foolish, ultimately letting his team become the hunted as opposed to the hunted.

We spoke to Hilton about the one-night special screening of his new film and his versatile career.

primal rage poster

Congrats on the movie! It looks a treat! Have you had a chance to watch it yet? 

Thank you very much. It’s definitely an action packed and beautifully shot film. I did watch it once last year at a special friends and family screening. I generally don’t watch my work after I am finished with a project, but this one was different. I mean come on…it's Bigfoot, I had to see Patrick’s amazing creature come to life. He is badass for sure!

And did you see it with an audience?

Yes, there were about 350 or so people in attendance. Most of which were hard-core Genre fans, so the movie went over well. It is most definitely a film for a big screen theatre experience. The place was thundering with every step Bigfoot took. I was really impressed with how Patrick finished the film.

What appealed to you about Primal Rage?

I actually agreed to do the role before I even read the script. I asked to come and audition for the part. 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 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 be 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. It was an easy decision.

Have you played a character like B.D before?

Not anyone exactly like him, but characters that serve the story in the way that B.D. does, for sure. He’s set up as the antagonist. He’s the problem for Max and Ashley to navigate on their journey back home.

B.D. is the leader of a group of cantankerous and somewhat hostile locals that Max and Ashley have the unpleasant pleasure of crossing paths with while they are making their way back to town. He’s a bit of a blowhard 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. He’s definitely the Alpha dog in his town.

Does it help to be a fan of this type of film if you’re going to be in one?

I’m sure that being a fan of a specific genre gives one a better insight as to the style of the storytelling, but I’ve never done a Bigfoot film, so it was all a new experience for me. I’ve done creature films before, but never one with such attention to detail, and one that had this much passion behind the vision.

Did anyone or anything inspire your performance?

You know, I didn’t actually model B.D. after anyone specific. I think he’s the culmination of many different characters of that ilk that we’ve seen over the years. The one character that did come to mind when I was thinking about him was the character Ben Gazzara played in Patrick Swayze’s film Road House, “Brad Wesley.” He was a charming, passive-aggressive manipulator, a big fish in a little pond. 

I actually found out later on after I finished filming that Patrick had somewhat modelled the spirit of the character in the vein of Brian Dennehy’s character in Rambo First Blood, Teasle. He hadn’t thought of a name for him so they temporarily called him B.D., and the rest is history.  

As far as inspiration, I really didn’t have a lot of details on B.D. as far as scripted elements. I just try to look at the actions of what the character actually does, his scripted actions. In life, people are what they do, not what they say. B.D. is most definitely an enigma. We don’t know much about him, but we certainly get a sense about him. His pace, his style, his cigar, his jewellery, they all say something about him. I think what says even more about B.D. is how his crew reacts to him. No one ever challenges him, so you never know for certain if he’s just a narcissist, or a guy that could possibly be dangerous. And that’s the key to B.D., the element of uncertainty. The only person that dares to get in his face is Ashley. And there’s a moment when he doesn’t take kindly to her attitude, and he puts his foot down. But in another moment he also offers her his coat as a sign of grace and empathy. And yet another moment when he feels kind of like he’s a pervert. He’s just hard to figure out and that’s his power. So that’s how I took him. Unpredictable…

Can you tell us about your co-stars? Anyone leave a mighty impression?

Casey Gagliardi, who played Ashley, and A.J. Montgomery, who played her boyfriend Max, did a wonderful job. They had a lot on their plate as young actors. I believe it was their first film in lead roles. That is a heavy load to carry and they were up to the task, ready and prepared. As for my band of merry men, I was blessed to have such wonderful actors to work with. They made it so easy for me. Patrick did an amazing job casting such unique and perfect actors to bring this crew of characters to life. Trevor Wright, Brandon Gibson, Blake Johnson, Jim Roof, Scotty Fields, Terry Peay and Timothy Reed Martin were so much fun to work with. They absolutely killed it. You have to understand, most of these guys are improv sketch comedians. All you have to do is look at them and it's Game On! You take 10 actors tromping through the woods busting jokes non-stop, and it was just hilarious some of the things that happened. It was so enjoyable to be part of this film.

Most of the Bigfoot stuff looks like it was done practically. I assume, as an actor, it’s much easier to work with someone in a suit as opposed to a whole bunch of CGI? 

Definitely. And yes, it was all Practical FX. Patrick is a Master at Practical. That’s one of the reasons he made the film. Practical FX artistry is under extreme pressure in lieu of CGI FX. In order to save the craft, audiences need to experience the craft. How would the Alien films have been in CGI? Or what about Predator in CGI? There’s a certain level of organic realism that CGI will never be able to capture. In some genres CGI will offer a better alternative, but in other genres it can’t touch Practical when created by a Master, and Patrick is a Master. 

As far as acting with a seven foot, snarling, hairy beast with blazing red eyes and giant teeth ready to eat your face? Yeah, it’s a much more visceral experience for sure.  

The film is screening for one night only through Fathom. What screening will you be at, just in case any fans want to meet you? 

Most likely the AMC Theatres at Universal City Walk in Los Angeles (Universal Studios Studio City). I hear there will be a large group of cast and crew attending.

Thanks so much for reaching out! I hope you and your readers enjoy the film. Speaking for the entire cast and crew, we deeply appreciate your support! 

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. 


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