Calling from Barcelona, Patrick Muldoon was over the moon. He had never been to Spain and he was shooting/producing a film with Liam Neeson called “Marlowe” with Neil Jordan directing, which also featured Diane Kruger and Jessica Lange.
“I’m looking out at Catalunya Square in a ‘pinch yourself situation’,” he said.
Muldoon got his start after going to USC and expecting he would follow his father’s career into becoming an attorney; however, after watching his father come home with “stacks of books and papers,” he wasn’t too thrilled about it. He became a model for Calvin Klein and was dating a girl who was a cousin of John Stamos and met with Stamo’s mother, who steered him towards an acting class. That was the deciding factor as far as Muldoon was concerned.
Besides his film in Spain, Muldoon was eager to talk about acting in the thriller “Deadlock” with Bruce Willis that came out on December 3.
Moviehole: How did you get involved with “Deadlock”?
Patrick Muldoon: Jared (Cohn, writer/director) and I had worked together before, so this was one of the movies where you pinch yourself, where your manager calls you and says you have an offer to be in a Bruce Willis film. During the pandemic, we were supposed to do the film last October, but we ended up doing it in February. It was one of those super exciting phone calls to get, Bruce is a legend, someone I had always loved as an actor, because no matter what he was doing, you are watching him.
In prep for the movie, I watched all the Die Hards because the script was a little Die hard-esque. Then you show up with him there and it’s kind of surreal; Bruce was gracious and kind, but when they say “action,” he’s very present, so of course I was on my A-game. It was great, and I will tell you toward the end of shooting I became unfocused in one scene because of a camera problem and something said inside of me, “omigod, Bruce Willis, how cool is that?”
Jared and I had been friends, we worked together five years before, so we had a shorthand when I got the job; we called each other, and Jared said don’t go in skinny as Matt Carr (character), so I started training, but the movie kept getting pushed, so I had plenty of time to get off the pandemic weight.
Moviehole: Any fun stories on the “Deadlock” set?
PM: All the actors were talking amongst ourselves, like Matthew Marsden, about how cool it is to be in a Bruce Willis film — we were so excited to work with him.
Moviehole: What was it like working during the pandemic?
PM: A swatch up your nose every day! I’m on a set right now and it’s the same thing. Protocols for covid on movie sets are very serious as it’s very difficult to insure, you try to have the whole cast in a bubble. We shot the film in rural Georgia, we all stayed at the same hotel, and as far as covid, whether you are pulling a cable or acting, you get a swab shoved up your nose every day. You get a rapid test every day and a PCR test three times a week.
Moviehole: What was the most challenging time for you working or in life?
PM: Getting started, if you did soap operas, you didn’t do nighttime TV. If you did nighttime TV, you never did a movie — that’s the way it was in the nineties. I got lucky when I went from a daytime soap to “Melrose Place” at night; then I did “Starship Troopers” which was a huge movie, but it was difficult not having another big movie after that, so I started doing indie movies and learning the nuts and bolts.
In the last four years I produced a film with John Malkovich called “Arkansas,” I did another film with Robert DeNiro and Morgan Freeman and Tommy Lee Jones called “The Come Back Trail” which is coming out at the beginning of the year. And this one now in Spain. They are smaller movies, but they taught me how to put films together which led to a producing career. I’m happy to be doing action films again and I’m producing at the same time. It’s a good time for me, I’m putting movies together I love and I’m happy to be acting in a Bruce Willis film like this.
Moviehole: Do people still ask about “Starship Troopers”?
PM: I’m best buddies with Caspar Van Dien and I get asked about it all the time; when it first came out, people didn’t get it, then they got it that it was a satire about war. Paul Verhoeven was brilliant, they are still talking about the movie because it became a cult classic. It was a film about selling the war to the people, all that humor is so in your face. Denise Richards is one of my best friends, we work together all the time, also Dina Meyer and Jake Busey, we all became closer over the years, “Starship Troopers” are friends in real life. We were friends before, but we are all fans of Paul Verhoeven; I work with Caspar and Dina once in a while, we look for an opportunity to work together, and I work with Denise Richards all the time.
Every once in a while, there’s talk of a “Starship Troopers” TV show, and we get excited, then it kind of disappears.
Moviehole: Can you tell me more about the film “Marlowe”?
PM: It’s the classic that Bogart played the lead and Robert Mitchum played. The writer got the Oscar for “The Departed.” Liam Neeson has always been a fan of “Marlowe” and wanted to play the character. It will come out in 2023.
Moviehole: What is your advice for newbies trying to break in?
PM: You have to jump in, immerse yourself — I always think the eye of the storm for young people is the acting class, you have to get into a great acting class where everybody is in the same position that you are, working on their craft, hustling, wherever you are. The acting craft is also servicing the producing and directing craft and immersing yourself in great material; if you have a great coach, there’s not any one technique, you pick up different ones.
I’m still doing that by the way, you are always learning. We were learning from Bruce. Now I’m learning from Liam Neeson, I’m always a student in some way. The older you get your perspective changes, your voice changes, you’ve lived, you have more experience, you have more accessibility to your emotions, instead of trying to find this thing called acting that I did early on.
Moviehole: Do you have other projects coming up?
PM: A movie in Italy with Abbie Cornish called “Dakota” which will be out soon, my projects for 2023 are producing gigs, and the main thing is to finish this one, we are in Spain and then going on to Ireland in Dublin.
Moviehole: You’re a long-time musician, are you in a rock band right now?
PM: I’ve been in a couple of bands, the last one was “Muldoon and Ives.” I put out an EP before the pandemic, kind of like southern rock like Lynyrd Sknyrd, the Allman brothers. With all this stuff going on, my favorite thing is song writing, I love that the most. I did a single six months ago called “Coming Over.” I’m not playing now, but once in a while I ‘ll just get up and sing, but I’m not touring.
It’s weird because you can only do one thing at a time, so it’s producing right now, getting “Deadlock” out and doing this film with Liam Neeson. The whole cast on “Deadlock” worked on bringing humor into it along with the danger, we had a great time making it. We had bad guys, good guys, explosions, but you still feel you are having a good time. Why do we love Bruce Willis? There is a kind of a wink. There’s an evil Bruce Willis in this. So I tried to John McClane it, my character Matt Carr is an ex-military guy, I wanted to set into the character that he has seen so much that he’s over it, he’s funny and quirky and loved at work, he’s seen so many things in his army ranger career that he just wants peace. He has the skills, he gets the bad guys but he’s not happy about it. The training takes over. I think what we tried to do, there is the humor in it. There’s that a wink to the audience, so it’s fun.
Everyone watches “Diehard” at Christmas so watch “Deadlock”! It’s a feelgood holiday film (laughs).
“Deadlock” came out December 3.