Malcom McDowell was in Tank Girl: or the British Attitude Toward Acting

Malcom McDowell is probably best known for playing Alex in A Clockwork Orange, where he improvised the use of “Singin’ in the Rain” during a rape scene.  This became a significant musical motif in the movie which I think tends to prove that McDowell is a rather smart actor.  He also starred in a couple of apparently popular British Comedies called If… and O Lucky Man!  He starred alongside Laurence Olivier in an adaptation of a Harold Pinter play.  So far so good, no?

Well, lately, McDowell has been a villain on Heroes, a scientist in Halloween, and done a ton of voice acting for Metalocalypse, Fallout 3, Justice League Unlimited and so on.  And yes, he was in Tank Girl.  All things considered, he doesn’t seem unhappy.  He keeps taking the roles, anyway.

I think the fact of the matter is that the British don’t tend to put acting on as much of a pedestal as some bizarre, mystical talent as we do in the U.S.  They tend to consider it — fancy this — a job.  Michael Caine, on his role in Jaws: The Revenge said “I have never seen it, but by all accounts it is terrible. However, I have seen the house that it built, and it is terrific!”  I think this attitude of 9-5 acting might actually be best summed up in Ian McKellan’s explanation of acting on Extras.

Or perhaps I’m just looking to this with a grass is greener mentality.  To be perfectly honest, I’m just glad that we trash culture aficionados get to have McDowell all to ourselves.  Thank you Tinto Brass.

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Published in: on June 23, 2011 at 3:36 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. You forgot to mention his role in Star Trek: Generations where he plays a completely forgettable villain who ends up killing one of the most iconic starfleet captains in history.


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