During an appearance at Scare-A-Con in Upstate New York over the weekend, Hollywood legend Malcolm McDowell expressed regret that he had never had the opportunity to work with filmmaker George A. Romero.
At the end of a Q&A session with fans, McDowell's agent took charge of the microphone to ask what McDowell joked was a "loaded question" -- whether there was any director he would like to have worked with but did not have the chance. McDowell had an answer ready.
"We were both great friends -- especially Chris -- with a great director you will all know called George Romero," McDowell said as the room applauded. "George was a very refined gentleman, a beautiful human being, a man from Pittsburgh -- a great city in this country -- and he was a great filmmaker. Very misunderstood, rather overlooked by the intelligentsia of critics, of course -- the snobs. He was a damn fine filmmaker and his films are moral tales. They're wonderful, and if you haven't seen any of them, I suggest you go and look for George Romero's movies. I wish to God he was still with us, and I wish to God he'd had a part for me, because I tell you, I'd bite his hand off."
In light of the shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue, which took place the morning of McDowell's Q&A, the city that shaped Romero's filmmaking was fresh on the mind of those in attendance, and might have prompted the decision to pay homage to Romero, who passed away in 2017 after a battle with lung cancer.
McDowell has a career that stretches back to the 1960s, and has appeared in numerous genre projects in that time, including Superman: The Animated Series as well as the Tank Girl movie, Rob Zombie's Halloween films, and Doomsday.
Romero's first job as a director was the genre-defining 1968 classic Night of the Living Dead. During almost 50 years as an established master of horror, he directed films like The Dark Half, Creepshow, and Dawn of the Dead.
For his part, McDowell said that he would never want to direct. Filmmakers have to stay with a project for years, he told the audience, and have to talk to financiers. By the time a director comes to the actors, he generally has the money in hand and McDowell can just worry about being creative. Besides Romero, McDowell praised filmmakers Stanley Kubrick and Nicholas Meyer, with whom he had worked over the years, and British critic and director Lindsay Anderson, who first discovered McDowell with his film If....