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In the Future the Odds of Surviving are 1000 to 1. That's Just the Way She Likes it.
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Character Actor
Kesslee Malcolm McDowell
Tank Girl Lori Petty
T-Saint  Ice-T
Jet Girl Naomi Watts
Sgt. Small Don Harvey
Booga Jeff Kober
Deetee Reg E. Cathey
Donner Scott Coffey
Sam Stacy Linn Ramsower
Sub Girl Ann Cusack

Directed by Rachel Talalay
Written by Alan Martin, Jamie Hewlett & Tedi Sarafian


Jamie Hewlett
The Observer | 7/20/08

    'Yeah, thanks for bringing that up!' says Hewlett, laughing. 'Basically, everything that could go wrong did go wrong. I remember we filmed it in Arizona, in this extreme heat, and Rachel Talalay (director) had just discovered that she was pregnant, which made her very emotional and snappy. So there was Ice T, dressed as kangaroo, and Malcolm McDowell, who was incredibly bad tempered the whole time, constantly rowing with Rachel, and key bits of the movie just got missed - they simply forgot to film things. So we had to draw loads of establishing shots of buildings. And then they had two endings, that were both shit, and I seem to remember that there was an animated ending. Was that in the finished film ...?' I think so, yes, although frankly I've tried to blank it all out.
    'Oh God, you hated it, didn't you? But my main memory of that whole affair was the premiere at Mann's Chinese theatre on Hollywood Boulevard. They had spotlights in the sky, helicopters flying overhead, and they drove the tank from the movie down the street. There was this vast crowd, and in the middle of it all was a compere announcing who was arriving. 'Hey everyone it's David from Baaaaywatch!' And then I showed up, and I was feeling so embarrassed. 'Hey it's Jamie, Jamie Hewlett, the creator of Tank Girl! Hey Jamie, how're ya feelin' tonight?' And all I could bring myself to say, in front of this huge crowd, was 'Er, I need the toilet.' Then I went in and I sat in front of Ice-T and his posse. And people were talking and getting up and walking out, and all I could hear was, 'Yo Ice, you look cool as a kangaroo man'. And when it finished the lights came on, and everyone - everyone - was looking at me, and it was the most humiliating experience of my life. Horrible. But hey, I was 26 years old. And I learned something. I'll never make that mistake again.'

Malcolm McDowell once played the good guy, believe it or not
By Robert Abele 4/9/95
    It came midway in the British-born actor's career, in 1979. The film was Time After Time, a yarn about H.G. Wells chasing Jack The Ripper, who has stolen a time machine to travel to modern-day San Francisco. McDowell played Wells; he got to be the hero and win the girl. These days, McDowell probably would be playing Jack The Ripper. "Unfortunately, that's true," the 51-year-old actor admitted. "Actually, it was very brave of (Time After Time director Nicholas Meyer) to cast me in that part. I had just come off some very wild parts like Caligula, so it was nice to play this sort of whimsical character."
    Although Tank Girl is decked out in garish, glam-rock-inspired garb, McDowell was pleased to discover that his wardrobe required him merely to look elegant. "I've got the most beautiful clothes I've ever worn in any film. Totally immaculate, beautifully done French silks and double-breasted waistcoats and long duster coats of silk. We had a wonderful costumer. Gorgeous stuff, really stunning. They gave it to me afterward, and I'm thrilled. But I don't know where the hell I'm going to wear it."
    For a genre inundated with heavily made-up actors, McDowell gets to look very much himself in Tank Girl - the white hair is his, too. "I've always had a rather strange face, so I guess I'm an obvious one (for villains). But of course I like to play other parts like any actor. I don't want to do too many science fiction villains, but I have enjoyed them. I think the heavy is always the fun part, really." McDowell says he was always careful to "build a career as an actor and not a star. I had some very big successes as a young actor, of course, but I've always felt that my best work was yet to come."
    For now, McDowell is looking to launch his own projects. These include a film about an Auschwitz survivor and a project he and Anderson collaborated on called The Monster Butler. "It's funny," he says, "I've gone from being Malcolm if.... McDowell to Malcolm Clockwork Orange McDowell to Malcolm Caligula McDowell to, now, Malcolm Generations McDowell. Well, I guess I've progressed somewhat."

Cut Scenes

Kesslee only - there were many others.

By Rachel Talalay
You may have been wondering why some parts of the movie didn't seem to make much sense. Well, apparently the studio got hold of it and managed to edit out many of the expository scenes. You know, the ones which explain the situations and develop the characters? For some reason, they made me butcher the scene in the cold chamber/cold prison, which had a lot more funny jokes, like when Tank Girl asks Kesslee for some juice and a croissant. He shoots her up with cholera, before taking her to the pipe.
There was an additional scene in the cold chamber where he offers her water and she spits it in his face, which motivates him putting her in the pipe.
In Kesslee's office, they made me use the TV version of the line "If you wanna torture, spank me, ..." The real version was "fuck me" which got changed to "lick me". Go figure.
And one of the stupidest line changes was in the MedBay, where now Kesslee says "You see the glass half empty, I prefer to see it half full." The original line was "Doctor, about those pain killers, maybe you should take them yourself" she says "I don't understand" and Sgt. Small shoves the saver (water-sucker) into her back.
There were a few additional scenes with Sgt. Small where we had a really stupid running joke about him being soaked by the waterfall curtain in Kesslee's office.




1995 AOL Online Chat w/Malcolm
3/30/35 CBS This Morning w/Malcolm & Lori
4/95 Premiere US
4/28/95 The Manilla Bulletin
1996 Hollywood Online
7/95 Starburst
2/5/03 My Exclusive Interview with Scott Garrett


Beowulf - 2 music video with Kesslee
Kesslee head shot

Kesslee with Bionic Arm

Kesslee captures Tank Girl

Homemade Kesslee Pog


"I never understood that film." - Malcolm

"Tank Girl was one of those things that missed beautifully. I mean it was a terrific (idea), yeah sort of. There are lots of fans of the comic book who loved it. If Tank Girl's your thing, hey - you'll love anything they throw up there basically. Anyway, I did think there was one really good scene. It was kind of fun sticking the guy with the thing draining the water. That was my ad lib, which I have to say is the only good line in it, 'Lovely.'" - Malcolm in NYC 5/22/02

"Tank Girl takes place in the year 2033, after earth has been hit by an asteroid and virtually wiped out. Desert conditions prevail. The gold standard is water and I am Kesslee, the head of the Department of Water, and, as such, a very powerful man. There are these [half-human, half-kangaroo] mutants running around, sort of under the ground, called the Rippers, and this Tank Girl is raising her middle finger to the world. She's this anarchist, almost, who's a thorn in my side. It's a cartoon, basically, a wonderful sort of irreverent comic book that comes from Europe. We shot [parts of it] in the most awful place, a disused copper mine outside of Tucson, Arizona, in the summer. Not to be recommended. Just opening that hotel room door in the morning was like going into the furnace." 

"Lori was great. I have tremendous admiration for her. She took a tremendous beating. It was a very active role she had to play in extreme conditions and she was in every frame of the film. Still, she managed to do great work," he observes. "I haven't seen the finished film, so it's very hard to talk about, but I think it will be a major stepping stone for her." 

"Rachel is a very interesting director and a very interesting person, too - very, very bright. She knew exactly what she wanted. The only thing that must have gotten frustrating for her was that it took a lot longer to do the film than expected. We had these extreme conditions, such as heat and dust. It was torture. It ruined shots and affected cameras. For me, those conditions don't have much of an effect. I try to be professional and just do what I have to do when the camera is rolling. But I think if you're under really adverse conditions, it can give you a certain edge or spontaneity.
     "I'm always suspicious when I do a film that's all lovely and everyone's lovely and loves each other. You see the movie later and think, 'My God, what happened? It's horrendous.' Then you do a physically nightmarish film, like 'Tank Girl,' or one with money problems, or this or that, and the film turns out great and has real energy. Again, I haven't seen 'Tank Girl' yet, but I have a good feeling about the work we did." - Starlog 4/95

My Review

     This movie was so awful it was nearly impossible to watch. There was so much hype and it seemed like it would be cool...for a minute. After hearing the commercial with Hole's "Violet" blasting for the 100th time I knew it was doomed. The strangest thing was that the song wasn't even used in the movie. I could go on and on about the painful dialogue or the pitiful acting or the cheese grater voice and wit of Lori Petty, but I won't. If they wanted to really torture Alex in "ACO" then they would've made him watch the "Birds do it" song and dance number from the end of the film over and over. Malcolm had a cool character, created specially for the film and for him, that had potential. He even had a robotic arm and even a holograph for a head at one point, but of course they didn't utilize him as much as they should have.

Rating: 1/10

This format and review 1997-08 Alex D. Thrawn for www.MalcolmMcDowell.net