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An Interview with Mike Mitchell, Star of Zombie Massacre

by Mike Haberfelner

September 2012

Films starring Mike Mitchell - click here


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Your upcoming movie Zombie Massacre - in a few words, what is it about, and what can you tell us about your character in it? And I'm pretty sure you have never been in an actual zombie apocalypse - so how did you prepare for your role, what did you draw from? And honestly, how much fun was it to fight zombies?


Yes, you're right, the first zombie film I have ever been involved in, but hopefully not the last. This film is about a Government experiment that goes horribly wrong. They hire a team of mercenaries to get in, blow the plant up and destroy all evidence. The team comprises of 4 people, a soldier, a mercenary (me), a sharpshooter and a Ninja. My Character John (Mad Dog) McKellar is an aging soldier of fortune, on his last mission before retiring to run a small restaurant in the Maledives. Sadly unknown to the group, they have been set up, making sure they would not return. But of course they got it wrong. Yes I can honestly say it was great to fight zombies, we spent most of the action time in physical combat with these bunch of saddos. Great respect to the SFX and make-up guys.


I didnít really prepare for the role as I am former special forces, as well as being involved in several physical hurting people roles, I have to say not like the real me J. The only bit I find difficult now is falling. I donít seem to bounce anymore, must have something to do with getting older.


How did you get involved in the project in the first place?


I saw the film roles advertised in CCP and applied, I got word back they were interested in me for the part of General Carter, I sent over some scenes from a film I was shooting at that time, Rose, and by a stroke of luck the second lead had to pull out, due to other commitments. So I was asked if I was interested in the role Horst Schmidt. After reading the part and meeting the directors Marco and Luca, I suggested I could make it more interesting as a Scottish mercenary, and after consideration I had a nationality and name change and became John (Mad Dog) McKellan.


A few words about your directors Marco Ristori and Luca Boni [Marco Ristori and Luca Boni interview - click here], and what was your collaboration like?


Whatever I say would not be enough, they were not only excellent directors, but the perfect hosts, they literally took care of everything, and nothing was too much trouble. What I found most interesting was throughout the shoot, I never once heard them disagree or fall out with each other, and that's pretty amazing knowing how much pressure was on them, with not the kindest of weather in the early days of the shoot.

The passion for their job stands out a mile, and their energy levels are off the top of the scale. What I liked was their ability to work with the team and make everyone feel special.

I think it is fair to say by the end of the shoot we had become the greatest of friends, along with Marco's gorgeous wife who looked after the makeup department with great competence and always a smile. And I truly look forward to the next time ...


What's it like shooting in Italy, and to what extent does an Italian filmset differ from a British one? And what can you tell us about the on-set atmosphere as such?


To be honest, little difference apart from the weather, the weather in UK at the time was foul, so it brought a smile to my face every morning to wake up with the sun beating down. Of course there was the fact that half the time I didnít really know what was being said amongst the crew, but as always, most spoke English. I guess the thing that stood out most was the lack of a kettle to make tea much to Jon Camplingís disgust [Jon Campling interview - click here]. The thimble size coffees were to say the least STRONG. I have to say, living, eating and working with the Italians was an amazing experience, everyone is so helpful, no shouting, so laid back, yet the job gets done. Canít wait for the next one! J


If there was ever a Zombie Massacre II - would you be up for doing it?


Now thatís a tricky question, Mad Dog blows up a gas station full of zombies, thatís the last we see of him in the film, but actually you donít see him getting blown up, so maybe he had a miraculous escape, and lives to see another day. So letís just say IF he didnít die and IF he appears in a sequel and IF I am so lucky to be asked back, the answer is an enthusiastic YES!!!


You have recently also made an appearance in your Zombie Massacre-co-star Tara Cardinal's Legend of the Red Reaper [Tara Cardinal interview - click here]. Now what can you tell us about your involvement in that movie?


Yes I was honored to be asked by Tara to do a cameo in the film. Period costume set in a castle, with a sword right through me and lots of blood (Tara made sure of that). It also stars my big buddy, star of Zombie Massacre Christian Boeving. I canít tell you much about the film or the role as it is under wraps, so you will just have to look out for the release date.


Of late, you also starred in two movies by Kemal Yildirim, Rose and Silent Cradle [Kemal Yildirim interview - click here]. What can you tell us about these two, and what was your collaboration with Kemal Yildirim like?


Rose is a hopeful woman broken by drugs, prostitution and Blondie, the Czar of Hellville. Struggling to support her habit, Rose finds herself and her six year old daughter at Hellvilleís mercy. When Rose betrays Blondie turning tricks behind his back, she and her daughter endure many hardships, including the fight to protect themselves from Blondieís brutal iron grip, in pursuit of her dream to reclaim their lives. It was based on the Cannes screened short film by Kemal based on a true story.


And Silent Cradle is about a young girl suffering from a miscarriage, struggles to deal with the loss of her unborn child which in turn affects her relationship with her boyfriend, she starts to be reclusive and begins to hear noises; babies crying and animalistic ritual sounds merging together. Disconnected from the real world she begins to experience strange phenomena all around her, One day she receives news that she has inherited a house from a strange distant relative. She feels compelled to find out more about this inheritance she goes to the house and thus starts a chain of satanic events.


In both films I play a dark sinister character which most people would not wish to meet. Kemal and I seem to be on the same wavelength that allows me to act to the full. We have at least two more projects in the pipeline for coming months.


Let's go back to the beginnings of your career: As far as I know, your first claim to fame was as a bodybuilder. Would you care to elaborate?


Well I guess thatís where it all started - in my early thirties I was diagnosed with leukemia. I was blessed with coming through it, and was advised to take up some form of weight training to try put some weight back on. I went to a local gym and asked if someone could show me what to do, as it was all alien to me. A nice guy who was the reigning Mr Scotland said he would show me. First he advised we should set a target. Thinking long and hard I said OK I will be Mr Scotland - everyone fell about laughing. Anyway, I trained and trained and trained and went for my first local event some years later where I was a miserable last. The ego took over and I started to train harder and harder with ever increasing results. I eventually got the opportunity to compete in the Target competition Mr Scotland, which I won. This qualified me for the Mr Britain, Mr Europe etc. The rest is well known 5 WFF Masters World Titles and 2 Mr Universe titles. But that all finished in 2006 after a heart attack. It was time to take a back seat, at least in the fitness world.


What got you into the film business eventually, and did you take any acting classes or the like?


In the very early days I was lucky to be involved in Braveheart as an extra because again my size, later came along Gladiator, but as I said acting skills were a little thin on the ground, but it got my interest to look at acting more seriously. I guess spending so much time on stage as a bodybuilder primed me for the performance, and again special forces taught me so much in the way of combat, small arms, discipline. I studied Takedo and kushinkai martial arts, I also competed on horseback at three day events and show jumping as well as being a former North Sea professional diver.


If I'm not mistaken, you played your first lead in The Planet. Now what can you tell us about that movie, your character, and how did you get involved with that project?


It was just after winning my first Universe title, out of the blue I received a call from director Mark Stirton who said they were making a sci-fi called The Planet. It came as a great surprise when he wanted to cast me as the lead, as my acting skills were just about non-existent. I have to say I was helped along the way by some very able Scottish actors. The basic plot is, a spaceship is carrying a very dangerous prisoner when it comes under attack and is shot down on an alien planet. The surviving crew led by their Captain (yours truly) try to survive and find a way off the planet. One by one my crew are being picked off by an evil unseen force. It becomes a race against time, against all odds. Ironically Mark rang me only last week after all these years and said Captain, I have this new project!!!


Any other films of yours you'd like to talk about, any future projects?


I am currently filming Pearls of Africa as one of the leads Sir John Rhys. A romance set in London and Kenya - itís so nice to be able to act without hurting anyone for a change. It has also allowed me to bring to the fore my horse riding skills.

I am also involved in a trilogy of films adapted for screen from Tom Stevens' best selling novels about the green man. The project is well into development and should be getting the green light within the next few months. Tom is a great guy to work with and is slowly building a team of worthy participants. I also have several projects in negotiation, so it really is a case of ďWatch this space!Ē


How would you describe yourself as an actor?




Actors who inspire you?


There are many actors who inspire me, but I guess my favourites are Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Anthony Hopkins on the male side - and Miss Piggy on the female side.


Your favourite movies?


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Find Mike Mitchell
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Germany (East AND West)

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x-rated  find Mike Mitchell at

I donít really have a favorite movie, I like to see films with good storylines and good production values. Depending on my mood, the choice swings between action and even more action.


... and of course, films you really deplore?


This sounds terrible, but I am not a great fan of soppy love stories, I will leave them to the ladies.


Your website, Facebook, whatever else?


Anything else you are dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?


I would just like to say a special big thanks to all the crew that I have worked with over the years, they always go unmentioned, they work far longer and harder than us actors and get very little credit: Well done guys, you know who you are!


Thanks for the interview!


© by Mike Haberfelner

Legal note: (re)Search my Trash cannot
and shall not be held responsible for
content of sites from a third party.

Thanks for watching !!!



Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD