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Malcolm McDowell on playing a good guy, and beating Stanley Kubrick in ping-pong By Richard Crouse Friday November 30, 2012

3e0b2d3528a60ae7ffff8238ffffe415On Wednesday the two most popular items on my Facebook site were a picture of a kimono wearing David Bowie playing ping-pong, the other a mention of my upcoming interview with Malcolm McDowell.

My reference to McDowell, the menacing actor who famously played the man who killed Captain Kirk in Star Trek: Generations and became an icon starring as Alex DeLarge in A Clockwork Orange, drew dozens of comments.

The interview was meant to promote Silent Night, a Winnipeg-shot slasher flick about a killer Santa Claus, on DVD next week, but before we get into talking about the film, however, I tell him about the postings. He connects the dots between table tennis and his most famous film.

It seems director Stanley Kubrick and McDowell played ping-pong on the set of A Clockwork Orange. When I ask who usually won, he said:

“He never ever took a set from me. I wiped the floor with him such great relish because it was the only thing I could really beat him at. He was tormenting me as the character and I’m sure deep down he enjoyed it. He was a little bit sadistic. I went through quite a lot of nasty injuries from the eye thing and horrible things like being dunked in water and almost drowned. There was a lot of physical abuse. So when I could get my own back, I really loved it.”

When I ask if he still plays the game he replies, “No, I haven’t played in years.”

Hasn’t had time I guess.

An on-going role in the series Franklin and Bush and seventeen other IMDB credits for 2012 alone are proof that at age 69 he keeps as busy as most actors half his age. He says Silent Night was a welcome change, however.

Usually cast as a baddie, he was chuffed to play the brave sheriff of a town terrorized by a slaying Santa. “Without pandering to the audience I just wanted to bring a little lightness and humor to it without chewing the scenery, “ he says. “Well, not too much.”

Not that he’s unhappy playing villains.

“In my early career I started playing heavies,” he says. “Clockwork Orange is one of the great heavies. If I had been playing heroic types I would have had a very short career. Playing heavies has allowed me to work no matter what my age.”

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