Home | Interviews | Interview: Marshal Hilton (Primal Rage, Bigfoot Return?) – Part 1

Interview: Marshal Hilton (Primal Rage, Bigfoot Return?) – Part 1

“Born in Long Beach California, this Southern California native has been working in Music, Film & Television since the age of 13. Marshal started off as Music and Theater major in Santa Barbara in the early 80’s, eventually changing his major to Marketing and Advertising while attending San Diego State University. Looking for a change of scenery, Marshal transferred to San Francisco State to work on his Masters, all the while continuing to be creative in the Arts. Marshal ended up studying acting again with legendary Bay Area acting coach Jean Shelton, widely regarded as one of the finest acting teachers in the country. Mrs. Shelton had worked with Stella Adler, Harold Clurman and Lee Strasberg in the heart of the New York stage community, and had worked with the likes of Danny Glover and Howard Hessman, so Marshal figured he was in good hands. While living in the San Francisco Bay Area, Marshal continued to study acting and work on independent films before relocating back home to Southern California.

With close to 40 plus films to his credit, the former FOX Series Regular Co-Star, on the #1 Rated Fox Kids Show Beetleborgs Metallix, Marshal has been steadily working since his self-imposed seven year hiatus from Hollywood after the show went into syndication. Since his return in 2006, he’s been a consistent presence in the Indi Film world.”

Marshal- Hi! Is this Janel?

Yes it is. Hi Marshal! How are you?

Marshal- I’m doing well.

You did an amazing job portraying B.D. in “Primal Rage – Bigfoot Return” – how did you become involved with the film? (Please note: I said this whole sentence backwards and Marshal just went with it)

Marshal- It is different! It was just one of those Hollywood deals you know. That’s what actors do! We either get offered a role from people that we’ve worked with before or they heard about us say, dude you’d be great as blah and they I’ve got a script, read it. If you want to do it, let’s talk about it. Or…. It’s just a straight up audition where your agent calls you and you get this material. You get this little tiny description of a dude and you go okay, it’s this genre and this kind of guy. Then you read some of the other characters and kind of figure out where he sits and everything. Then you just go in and you do what you do. You get creative and you go audition. I went into audition in some house in LA and Patrick (Patrick Magee, Director) was there and Jay Lee was there and the producer Angela was there. She had her bulldog there. I loved the bulldog, I remember that big bulldog. It was awesome.

I just did the work. I was literally driving home and I got a call saying they want to see you at Patrick’s studio so the next day I went out to the studio. It was a very non-descript location. I opened the door and it was like the Shangri-La of monster fair in there. It was Patricks’ work along the corners of the ceiling and hanging from the ceiling. He is just stunningly good at doing practical effects creatures. There was a life-size Predator from the original mold. There was a life-size alien that he had created as well. I remember just taking it in for a minute and going, wow this is some pretty amazing shit! Then I looked over to this little table that was off to the side. There were these five busts of the guys in my crew. He had cast them and he knew all of those guys from years ago. He had them come in and he had done all of the half-body constructions from their waist up. Life-size, painted, air-brushed, eyelashes, and eyes. He had them posed in the ways he knew in his head of how they were going to die. They were sitting on this table and I literally went Oh shit!

They looked absolutely freaking perfect and just like people in a dying moment with their faces contorted. It looked like they were going to talk to you and I looked at him and said, I’m in! You know when you know. I had an old music producer. I was producing records for a while and I said how do you know what’s going to be a hit? Because you listen to music all day long, you know what’s going to be a hit? He said, you know what Marshal, it’s kind of like pornography. You know it when you see it. It’s undoubted you know, you look at pornography and go oh that’s pornography… that’s nothing else. Right?

That is right! That makes sense.

Marshal- Right! Very few things are that explicit and that pure in the moment. Everything is colored and full of different agendas now but when you look at something you go that is a Mercedes and that is pornography. With this film, I looked at and I go this is going to be cool. I don’t know exactly what the hell it is but then he took me over and he had two life-size bodies of the suit that were done. He had three heads that were animatronic where their lips moved and their eyes moved like King Kong and stuff. They were moving and I just said, dude I’m in, just give me a script. We don’t need to talk about anything. From there you take that process of having the script for a couple of months and going up into the forests of Oregon and Northern California.

It all made sense. It was one of the more enjoyable shoots I’ve been on in a long, long time. We shot it two years ago! It was broken up into several different production cycles. I mean Patrick was incredibly specific. He knew exactly, pretty much where everyone was going to die and where shit was going to happen. In his head he had it planned out. He had gone up there and taken plaster cast of the actual Red wood tree. He came back and you know how Bigfoot had all that armor on?

Yes, the Bigfoot is awesome!

Marshal- Those were cast of trees. He came back and painted the armor as bark. He knew what we were going to do. He was very specific with everything he wanted to do and it was amazing.

I loved the movie. It was amazing. Now, I would love to ask do you do anything specific to prepare. Also I wanted to tell you that you made the coolest Sheriff since probably Clint Eastwood played a Sheriff. You were just so cool in “The Bunnyman Massacre” and “Bunnyman Vengeance”

Marshal- I am a huge Clint Eastwood fan. You know, I am fifty-seven years old. Clint’s the man! If I had a chance to work with Clint Eastwood, I would quit acting and say I’ve reached wherever I need to be. I don’t need to do this shit anymore. I knew he needed to be stoic and quiet in his movement and his posture. Clint’s characters are always very skeptical of whats in front of him. He doesn’t believe a whole lot. He’s always got that look in his eye like you know I think you’re full of shit (While Marshal sort of sounded like Clint saying that! It was amazing!) Right?

Yes, I agree!

Marshal- It’s funny how this happened. It was another audition and I walked in with a girl to do a scene for Carl. This was a long time ago and he’s sitting behind this table with somebody else. We are doing this scene and he says thank you very much you know the classic thing. Thanks for coming. We’re walking out and the girl leaves and he goes Marshal stay here for a minute so she leaves and he reaches down under the table and he pulls out this Sheriff shirt and he goes try that on! So I went what is this guy doing? I put it on and he goes it fits huh and I go yeah it does. So he goes you got the part. It’s crazy. The Sheriff didn’t have a name in the script and so I’m reading it and I’m going you know what can we name him Clint? Because I love Clint and I think his last would be Baxter. It sounds kind of hard and he goes you know what, I like that. We’ll name him Clint Baxter. So that’s how he got him! From there, the sunglasses, the hat. So it all kind of just came to this thing where it was just kind of that essence. The rest of it was just doing what you do.

I was just so fascinated by the Sheriff character and I probably drove Carl insane asking about the character. Since we didn’t see him die, we’ll bring him back with fucked up eyes in the second one so in the third one my eyes are all messed up. When he lifts the sunglasses you can see he is scarred up and his eyes are all fucked up.

What was it like working with Patrick Magee on-set of “Primal Rage?”

Marshal- It was fun! Patrick is 6’10 and he’s the guy in the suit! So you know Patrick was so intimate with every single part of what he wanted to do. It is really nice to be around directors that know exactly where they’re going to do the shot, exactly the shot they want to see. Because there is no mystery, no bullshit.

Actors want to know where we start, where we head and what it is we are going to do in between and that’s what we want to do. We don’t want to be around shit that flies all over the place, it’s uncomfortable. So he knew exactly what he wanted to do. He was really clean in that way. The funny part of it was though when he would be in the suit, he would take off the head and be in this big, giant suit!
In the Bigfoot suit!!!!

Marshal- Yeah, Patrick has a shaved head and then you have this bald head talking to you and he would have black make-up around his eyes so when they put the head on and he would have the make-up around his eyes. So he looked like a freaking raccoon face! Then he had this big giant suit and these big feet. But he would take his hands off so he could work with his hands. It was kind of funny in the beginning, after a while you get used to it. But it was kind of odd. He was amazing. I tell people it is not the size of the show you are in, it is the size of the heart of the show that you’re in. I’ve been on big sets that are total shit shows and I’ve been on little sets that are freaking amazing and this was one of those.

(Note: We were both hysterical laughing! Marshal is so amazing)

Now, besides yourself, you are amazing! You have an incredible cast (including: Casey Gagliardi, Andrew Joseph Montgomery, Eloy Casados, Justin Rain, Shannon Malone, Brandon Gibson, Trevor Wright, Matt Herold, Scotty Fields, Jim Roof and Sasha Shay) What was it like working and filming with everyone?

Marshal- Well, I will say this. It was just awesome. We shot two different ways. My side with the hunters was shot in February of 2015. Then he stopped the shoot after about three weeks and we all came home. Then so Patrick wanted the lighting in the film to match exactly what it was from when we were up there in February. So he went up in February of 2016 during the exact same weeks. We are talking about details here. He shot more of it with the Native American characters. After that, several months later we shot inside Oh-Mah’s den and we shot that in Santa Clarita somewhere, California, down here.

My crew, you’ll see shots in the movie where you see the crew at the party walking in these giant shots with the forest from a long ways away. Patrick would say, okay guys I need you to walk 300 yards over to that big block over there in that gulley. We would just start walking and they are not rolling sound. Most of the guys in my crew are free-form stand-up comics! So the shit that was going on. We were talking in-between takes and during takes was just this rattle of improv. They are just the funniest guys. Brandon Gibson, Trevor Wright and Blake Johnson. The three guys in my crew. They are freaking hilarious. It was just a constant barrage of funny shit going on all the time. You know you are tromping around in forest that probably no one has ever walked on ever. Where we shot was a 1200 acre, privately owned property.

We would get up in the morning and take the caravan and it was twenty minutes or thirty minutes or whatever. We would head east from the coast and we would go onto this guy’s property. I think they shot some of “Star Wars” up there. Where they have the battle. You are walking around in this amazing forest and you go wow, I am getting paid to do this. This is fucking amazing. Those guys were amazing to work with. I think Patrick just killed it when he came up with these characters. When you take a look at the physical people that he put in there. Kind of my right hand man and then you take a look at the character Trout.

Read Marshal Hilton (Primal Rage, Bigfoot Return?) – Part 2

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