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Mike Monty

Si nous aimons rire d'un certain cinéma déviant, nous sommes très loin de mépriser les hommes et les femmes qui s'y sont impliqués ou compromis. Il nous a ainsi paru enrichissant de faire raconter le nanar et son univers par les gens qui l'ont vécu de l'intérieur. La diversité des intervenants et de leurs réponses nous a rendu encore plus proches du cinéma que nous aimons : vous découvrirez, au fil des entretiens que ces différentes vedettes ont bien voulu nous accorder, des informations précieuses pour le cinéphile et le cinéphage, des anecdotes cocasses et, en esquisse, le portrait attachant de personnages souvent hauts en couleur.
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Mike Monty (page 3)

How did you get to live and work in the Philippines?

Well, I first went there in 1980 to make a film called "Pleasure island", that was being produced by Dick Randall. It was an erotic movie and I was the male lead, I played this adventurer who wrecks his ship on the island and gets to free the local women from sexual slavery... I really loved the place, life was very cheap, the people were so nice and they also spoke English. And the girls were really wild. You see, I was 44 back then and it was getting hard with the girls in Italy. A man of my age would be called "matusa", which meant "old geezer" (laughs) But in the Philippines, wow! I got girls like, 16 or 17 years old, running after me. I was in a real man's paradise! (laughs). So, as I wasn't getting much work in those days, I went back and forth, and became permanent in 1983. I made it known to filmmakers that I was available there and that gave me work in a lot of international co-productions shot in the Philippines. I also gave advice to many Italian filmmakers to come to the Philippines and make their movies there. Some, like Anthony M. Dawson / Antonio Margheriti, came on their own, but others I made come to the Philippines.

Did you also work as a line producer or assistant on those films?

No, on those days I was just acting. I was very, very busy back then. We had crews from all over the world, USA, Italy, Germany, France, coming to make movies in the Philippines. And the Filipinos also started making movies of their own, made for exportation, which were even sold to the American market. I made like 14 movies in 1986; I think I made about 80 movies in the eighties.

Could you tell us more about the other westerners who worked there as actors, like Romano Kristoff, Mike Cohen, Don Gordon, Nick Nicholson, Jim Gaines?

Don Gordon, Mike Cohen

Nick Nicholson and Jim Gaines

Romano Kristoff and Nick Nicholson still live in the Philippines. I haven't seen Nick in a while. We used to dub movies together. Don Gordon had some sort of a revelation, he became "born again" and was ordained as a missionary. He was later sent to South Korea. Jim Gaines was born in the Philippines : his father worked at the American embassy, I think, and his mother was a Filipino. There even was an American crew that contacted him not so long ago to make a documentary about his life, but I don't know if it got made. Many Caucasians were actors as a hobby : Mike Cohen, for example, was a retired army colonel who was running a mall in Manila. He was a very nice guy. He died many years ago, shortly after we appeared together in a futuristic film called "Desert Warrior", with Lou Ferrigno... The poor guy was very overweight.

Any memories about Max Thayer, with whom you made "Deadringer" and "No dead heroes"?

Max Thayer in "No dead heroes"

Oh, yes! Max Thayer is kind of strange. He's a bit cold on set, then very friendly off set. I guess that's because he's a serious actor. I saw him again in the US in 1987, when I went there to see if there were work opportunities. He wasn't working much then, so we hanged around a bit. I didn't stay in the US, because of all that Union stuff again.

Did you read the interview Mr Bruce Baron has granted us? He said that the lead actors were being paid about 1500 $ a film.

Yeah, I read that interview. Bruce Baron hasn't changed a bit. Very bitter guy, very negative... I never heard him say anything positive about anyone. What he told you just isn't true. Actually, I was friends with Mr Lim, the producer, and I know how much he got paid. So be assured that I was the one who was getting more money and not the opposite! (laughs)

Could you tell us about Bruno Mattei, with whom you did several films, like "Zombi 3", co-directed by Lucio Fulci, and "Strike Commando", in which you have a major part but aren't listed in the credits?

Bruno is a professional guy, a bit old-fashioned, maybe... He knows he isn't making Doctor Zhivago, but he tells the stories he has to tell, as they should be told. Only, sometimes he has to work with some guys who aren't even real actors. No idea why I'm not credited in Strike Commando. When it was released in Manila, I was credited. I liked working with Reb Brown. Very nice guy, very experienced...

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