When it comes to movie villains, few are as deliciously evil as Billy Zane’s Cal Hockley – the seething, jealous fiancé of Rose DeWitt Bukater in “Titanic.”
This week, Zane returns to the dark side in “The Scorpion King 3: Battle for Redemption,” which is available now on XFINITY On Demand, as well as DVD and Blu-ray combo pack. The 45-year-old star plays Talus, a tyrant who aims to take over Egypt using his legion of ghost warriors. Mathayus (played by Victor Webster), the Scorpion King, is tasked with stopping him.
I caught up with Zane to discuss the new movie, his expertise in villainy and whether a real man actually makes his own luck.
David Onda: What sets “Battle for Redemption” apart from the first two “Scorpion King” films?
Billy Zane: It’s fun. It’s really funny and still delivers everything you’d expect from the genre – action, romance and passion and spectacle, certainly, and a cast of thousands and exotic locations. But it doesn’t take itself too seriously and fortunately beats the audience to the laugh, and maybe beats them over the head with one every once in a while. It’s highly entertaining and has the liberty to go there. I think audiences will dig it.
Onda: It’s been 15 years since you mixed it up in “The Phantom.” Are you still comfortable standing toe-to-toe with the likes of former WWE wrestler Dave Bautista and MMA fighter Kimbo Slice?
Zane: In purple underpants. Yes, as a matter of fact. I will do that in Lycra any day. “You calling me out? You calling me out, Bautista?” It’s like the wrestler challenge. You gotta bark it down the lens. “I’m ready!”
Onda: Your villainous roles tend to be some of your most memorable. What makes you such an effective villain?
Zane: Secretly, I’m making a musical. Every movie I do. It’s like my secret sauce. Inside, I’m doing “An American in Paris.” Outside, we’re perpetrating some heinous crimes. But the combination of that cocktail brings the entertainment factory.
If you can disarm the audience with unexpected humanity, if you can catch them when their guard is down, and you scare the pants off of them when you turn on a dime … then they end up questioning their own morality and their own judgment calls. So, if you can make the characters incredibly human, but flawed, you end up touching upon their capacity to accept. And if they can do that, then they put themselves in that position which is effective for the drama.
Onda: Does a real man make his own luck? Discuss.
Zane: I think any man does. I don’t know what an unreal man is, but yeah. That’s the short answer.
The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.