Actor Malcolm McDowell on Working with Stanley Kubrick and Killing Captain Kirk

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 (Valerie Macon/Getty Images)

Actor Malcolm McDowell is probably best known for his role in the 1971 Stanley Kubrick film, "A Clockwork Orange," as a young sociopath with a taste for violence and Beethoven. Since then, his more than 40 years of acting have seen him star in everything from "Star Trek Generations" to the TV shows "Entourage" and "Heroes." We'll talk to McDowell about his storied career and what it's like to be one of Hollywood's go-to bad guys.

Interview Highlights

On Finding Early Success in 'Clockwork'

"I think nearer the time for the first 10 years after I played the part I did get sick of [being asked about it] because I was into other things and you only have one of those in a lifetime if you're lucky. Most people never see anything like that, that was lightning in a bottle, working with one of the world's great directors and an incredible book written by Anthony Burgess."

On Being Called Hollywood's "Go-to Bad Guy"

"I can't get rid of that label. I think honestly if you start your career playing sort of hugely immoral characters, which are always, of course, the most interesting, then you kind of get stuck with it. And if you play them with a certain relish then you really are in trouble."


Malcolm McDowell, actor in "The Clockwork Orange" and has acted in a number of films and TV shows for over 40 years, including "Star Trek Generations," "The Mentalist," "Heroes," "Time After Time" and "Get Crazy," among others


On His Costume in 'Clockwork'

"The white uniform of the droogs war was basically my cricket gear that I had in the back of my car, and I was just talking to Stanley and I go 'Well, I got this cricket stuff,' he says 'Oh, let me see it,' so I get it out, he says, 'Put it on.' Then he goes, 'What's this?' and I say 'That's the protector, you don't wanna get hit in the balls with something.' He said 'Well, wear it on the outside.' And so the cod piece was born out of that."

On the Genius of Anthony Burgess

"Anthony Burgess brought all these elements together in this brilliant narrative, and he was such an extraordinary man, a great raconteur, I asked him, why did he come to do this and why the language. And he told me that he was on a cultural exchange visit to Moscow, I guess it must have been in the late 50s, and it was in the winter, he was sitting in a coffee bar and the windows were all steamed up and he was sitting there with his mind or whatever, and they were sipping the coffee and these thugs on the outside pressed their faces up on the glass window and it was a very haunting and a very visual thing and it stayed with him. ... That's what he told me. But then, I read somewhere else that he was a pathological liar, so I never really know what to believe."

On 'O, Lucky Man!'

"I love that film. To me, it's the favorite film that I've made, I think. And it's a beautifully poetic film, I adore it, it's sort of picaresque in its nature, a bit like 'Sullivan's Travels,' the great American film of that period. ... But I'm very fond of the film, I love it, and if people haven't seen it they should get it."

On Director Lindsay Anderson

"Lindsay Anderson started my career by casting me in "If…" He was positively one of the greatest directors I've ever worked with, in fact, the greatest. It was like working for an Oxford don. He was such an extraordinary man. Of course, he didn't suffer fools, and he had a terrible temper and he was a terrible curmudgeon. But that's the other side of it. But I loved him dearly."