As an avid b-movie fan, I’ve seen a lot of Deron Mcbee’s works. Former “American Gladiator” Malibu was practically in every action movie of the 90’s, sometimes as a lead, sometimes as a fierce, seemingly unbeatable fighter in a minor part.
He has this look, in my opinion, similar to that of Matthias Hues, and these guys always have a place in a movie if it has action in it.
McBee also portrayed “Motaro” in the “Mortal Kombat: Annihilation” movie, and I remember the first time I heard about this, I thought “ok, this is the perfect actor to play Motaro!”.
I got a chance to talk to Deron, and make an interview with him. He shares his memories on his movies, as well as speaks of the reason why he stepped away from acting for some time.
Deron, how did you first started off in the “American Gladiators”?
The American Gladiators gave me my first big break and because of the ‘Malibu’ character I created, I still get recognized. It was a wonderful time but it also saddened me to see egos get out of control due to celebrity status. The show was very successful, and at one time it got just as big as the World Wrestling Federation. I’ve become recognizable whenever I went.
Reportedly, during the shooting of “The Killing Zone” back in 1991, you stated that your “impressive physique has nothing to do with steroids, and its just a combination of prayer and faith”… could you please explain those words?
You know, I am a christian, and any project I do is a chance for me to glorify God by being a positive role model. Prayer is as natural to me as breathing. As for my physique – its tireless training. Discipline is in diet and nutrition.
According to some trivia, you trained in martial arts with Billy Blanks, and practiced hand-to-hand swordfighting with Anthony De Longis. How did your traning go? Did you train for a specific movie? What was it like working with Blanks and De Longis?
Billy Blanks is a class act, great martial artist and a strong christian man. I have personally trained people at his gym. Anthony De Longis trained me for “Conan” TV-series at Universal studios and we’ve done other projects together as well.
You, as well as other “big tough guys” seem to have been typecast in similar roles as fighters, bodyguards, etc. Do you agree with that?
I don’t group myself in with so called “Big guys”. I am much more versatile and have done comedy, action, drama, live action, and worked a great deal in prosthetic make up. Also, I’ve portrayed a lot of superheroes, such as Tarzan, Malibu, He-Man, Conan, and doubled such wrestlers as Sting, Hulk Hogan and Triple H in commercials, TV-shows, live action and films.
One of your most memorable movie parts is the “Motaro” character, from the “Mortal Kombat: Annihilation” film. How did you get the part? Any memories on working on that film?
That really was an amazing experience. This movie took me through Amsterdam, England and Thailand, where it was extremely hot. As for getting the part, I went to 6 interviews before booking for the job. I wasn’t the biggest actor among others, but my fighting skills were far superior to others. And, more importantly, my acting was totally dialed in. Director of the movie also wanted me to audition for “Shao Kahn”, but my friend, actor Brian Thompson got the part instead. Motaro was a great character, he was the warrior that everyone wanted to see.
I loved the first “Mortal Kombat”, and then heard that the new “MK” had this fierce dude Motaro, that was practically invincible. So, when I finally got the booking, I was stoked! Next thing – I found myself neck deep in body molding and plaster casting, then they cast my head, so that by the time the make up folks finished there was a life size model of me/Motaro. Eerie and cool at the same time! That make-up took from 4 to 8 hours to apply. The only thing I regret is that I wasn’t on the screen for long, just 5 minutes or so in these fierce fight scenes. Being a part of this production was a blessing.
Lately, you do not seem to be very active movie wise, only one film credit this year, since 2008. Why so? Any other business you are involved into, aside from acting?
As far as work lately, 5 years ago I lost my wife and severely injured my back (Mcbee injured his back, yet managed to save a falling stunt man’s life). I took time off to raise my 2 girls. They lost their mom, and being there for them was more important for me than my career.
It was financially tough as we lost everything, but you can’t put a price tag on love. Far to many men walk away from what should, in my opinion, be the first priority – family. As for my latest projects, I just finished a short film, and am preparing for a feature film, I did a internet commercial for “Toyota” 3 months ago, as well as did one episode on “Tosh.0”. As you can see, I am getting busy again, thank God.
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