The Actor with the 3-D Name
Interview by Michael Barnum
Video WatcHDog No. 143 Sep 2008
In KILL OR BE KILLED you portrayed a violin-playing Johnny Ringo.
At this point in my life, it is not something I look back on with a great deal of pride. As Westerns of the genre in that period, I suppose it was a passably good flick, but I wasn't too happy with it. I though the echo-chamber effect with the violin was the height of Italian cornball. And I remember hating the idea of having to "finger-sync" the phony violin. Then, to top it off, they didn't use the same music in the final cut that I had mimicked the bowing to during filming, so nothing turned out in synchronization. It looked and sounded awful. When I first saw the film, I laughed so hard the poor producer nearly had a stroke. He said I had no respect for what he thought was a great idea. He was so right. In addition, I remember they gave me less than a day to practice the damn thing. I had never touched a violin in my life. That violin was the main thing I despised about the script from the beginning. I would rather have played castanets! I remember a bitter argument ensued when my agent almost pulled me from the film after she saw the final cut. She agreed that, even for Italian cinema, it looked and sounded dreadful. She and I both had pushed for poor Ringo to at least be allowed some dignity and play the guitar... maybe even a harmonica... but a violin... God! At any rate, this was what Maestro Tanio Boccia wanted, and they were paying me well enough, so I finally said, "Oh, what the hell!"
I had just left med school and didn't really have a great love for the world of Italian cinema. This was just the rainbow I as pursuing at the moment, to make a living and finance my playboy lifestyle. I wasn't into making this my life's work. In fact, I really didn't know what I wanted to do with my life. I suppose that's why the accident occurred in Spain. I needed a new direction.