M C Gainey is instantly recognisable, you hear his voice, you close your eyes, and you know who it is straight away. Bo Crowder in Justified, Pete Barsocky in the Mentalist, Tom Friendly in Lost are just a few roles in a huge acting career that has benefitted TV series and films. He is quoted as saying about himself
“With a face like this, there aren’t a lot of lawyers or priest roles coming my way. I’ve got a face that was meant for a mug shot and that’s what I’ve been doing for the past thirty years. If I play a cop, it’s always a racist cop, or a trigger-happy cop or a crooked cop – but by and large I play cowboys, bikers, and convicts”
Personally, I’d like to have this typecast of him thrown out the window and see him in more positive roles because despite his menacing look, he was an absolute gentleman and great fun to talk to!
How are you liking LFCC so far, and do you go to many cons?
I’m doing great, I’m loving it! This is only the second time. I was here about seven years ago in Milton Keynes. I had such a grand time I decided to come back. I really love English people and I’ve spoken to German people, French, Hungarians, Austrians – everybody’s coming for this show, it’s very impressive. Americans are very impressed by how much you all travel from country to country to get to one event, it’s amazing.
Your character in Tangled (Captain of the Guard) resembles you slightly, was that intentional?
It looks like me when I was much younger and much skinnier! The producer of the film was a friend of mine at acting school thirty years ago and he got into the animation business and it’s such a great film. I mentioned it to Quentin Tarantino while we were working on Django and he said “I thought it was one of the five best pictures of the year” and I agree with him. I thought Tangled was a great movie and it gave me a lot of pleasure to know that I’ve done something that kids can watch, I mean I’m like murderous scum in most of my other stuff.
So you prefer being the ‘big lovable bear’ character?
Actually I do prefer that because it’s rare. I’d been in the theater for ten years and I played all kinds of parts, and when I got to Hollywood they took one look at my face and said “give him a gun.” That was it. Don’t get me wrong I’m good with that, it’s been a wonderful living, I don’t have any problem killing people but I do enjoy getting to play other kinds of characters.
It’s a controversial subject in the television world, but what’s your opinion on where LOST went with its storyline?
When the island moved, I stopped trying to figure it out. Literally, that was it for me. When we shot it I didn’t know anything about it, they wouldn’t tell you anything. I knew nothing at all about who [my character] was, where the plot was going, nothing. Which was really tough because actors need to be somebody, we’ve got to know who we are and what we’re all about. We knew nothing. I tried to understand the story, but when that island moved, I knew there was no point in trying to work it all out but I can enjoy it without understanding it. I was invested in watching the characters and where they ended up. I always thought it should end with Hurley waking up at a bar and sitting up like “wow, what a crazy dream I just had.”
What projects are you working on right now?
I’m doing a recurring part on a TV show, The Mentalist. I’m the main guy’s Irish cousin so I’m working on that. And I’ve done three or four independent movies. More of the usual stuff, killing people, hacking ’em up, shooting ’em!
We would have loved to have spoken to M.C Gainey for a little longer, but the line of excitable fans were piling up behind us. Thank you to the patient fans and to M.C. Gainey for taking the time to speak to us.