Marshall R. Teague – AmeriGEDDON
By: Ruth Hill
I recall a show my mom used to watch called “Walker, Texas Ranger.” On the occasion I happened to be home, I can remember sitting down and watching it, as I was fascinated with Chuck Norris (well, after all, who wouldn’t be?). Little did I know that over twenty years later, I would happen to connect with the actor who was known for his portrayal of the chief villain eight different times on that show. Through some mutual friends of ours (and the beauty of digital technology), I made the acquaintance of this seasoned veteran named Marshall R. Teague, just in time for an upcoming film of his, AmeriGeddon. Recently, I was fortunate enough to chat with this fiercely talented man about his film, as well as a few other choice morsels surrounding the film industry and his place within it.
Why did you choose to become an actor?
I did not choose to be an actor. After I retired out of the Navy, I became a deputy sheriff. I only studied acting to become a better undercover deputy. All I wanted to do was bring down the bad guys. I had no intention of becoming an actor. My thought was, “What would my fellow officers say if they heard that?!” They would never let me live that down. However, the more I studied the ART of acting I realized that it was affecting me inside in a way I couldn’t explain, but I needed to know and explore. That’s when I decided to pack my truck and tell the sheriff what I decided to do. He replied, “I think you’re nuts and I’m sorry to lose you. You’re a good officer, but I support your decision.” I climbed into my truck and headed to Hollywood with no idea of what I was about to get into, yet I had to follow my heart. Now thirty-seven years later, I KNOW it was the right decision and that passion has just grown throughout the years.
Please tell us about your time on “Walker, Texas Ranger.” How did you get involved with the show?
Chuck (Norris) and I tried to figure out how long we’ve known each other. We got to about five decades and we figured we had better stop counting. We started talking about the times we used to spar and do demonstration matches and fight each other. And then we ended up working with each other–fighting each other and doing all that other stuff again. It just came up on the first episode with this role they had this guy that’s going to blow up half of Fort Worth, rob three banks and you’re going to get in this big fight. Then Chuck asked, “You know a guy named Marshall Teague?” They said, “Yeah, we know Marshall.” And Chuck said, “Him.” And so they hired me. I’m used to fighting him, so I trust him. And he’s one of the dearest friends I have.
You have to understand that Chuck had one of the greatest casts and crew I’ve ever worked with. It was just terrific. Everybody worked like a fine-oiled machine and everybody got along. That doesn’t happen all the time. But when it does, you can cover a lot of real estate. Everybody’s there for the same reason, and they want it to be right. Every day was a fun day–let’s put it that way.
How did you become involved with the film AmeriGEDDEN?
I was asked to come in and read for the part of the colonel in AmeriGEDDON. When I walked through the door, Mike [Norris] was sitting over in the corner. I walked through the door and he said, “The fact that you walked through the door, that’s all I had to see. You’re Colonel Crane.” That was my interview. I had a bunch of young guys who were my troops in the film and they actually thought I was a colonel. I didn’t tell them differently.
What is the premise for the film?
It’s based on something that in one way or another people are thinking about or have been thinking about because the world is changing, let’s face it. And it’s based on one article out of the War Powers Act, which gives the President the ability to declare martial law in the United States. And it’s based around the question, “What would you do if this happened here for a long time?” We’ve been known as the strongest nation in the whole world. And to all of a sudden have martial law takeover. How would you react? What would be your first thought? And are you prepared if it does? It’s a strong question.
Please tell us about the character you play.
Colonel Crane, the character I play, is a very strong character, to say the least. And everyone is going to look at him and say, “He’s the bad guy.” But he’s not. He’s a career military person. That’s all he’s got. The military is all he knows. He eats, lives and breathes military. So, when he’s given an order by the boss, he follows that order. And obviously it doesn’t sit well with everybody. There’s a lot to it. And people will see things that you hear about every single day in it. It was designed to make you ask a question of yourself. Gary Heavin and his wife wrote and financed this thing. And Mike Norris directed it. He did a heck of a job. There were nights when we were working and it was seventeen degrees and all my soldiers were huddled around trash can fires and I walked around in just my uniform. And they would say, “Do you ever get cold?” And I said, “I don’t have time to get cold.” So, I just kept laying it on them pretty heavy the whole time. I never came out of character. One thing this movie is guaranteed to do is get you to ask a question. And I promise you, it will.
Well, that’s good because I don’t think there are enough films being made like that.
No, I don’t think there is either. I did one that came out in 2012. It was along those lines. It was called Last Ounce of Courage, and to me, it was probably one of the deepest films that I’ve ever crawled inside of. It’s another one where you had to think about our country, our people, our families. The people that protect us day in and day out and what you stand to lose.
And it’s movies like this that are the movies I like to do. I’ve done movies that they have spent 200 million dollars on. I did Armageddon. Then I did The Rock, that’s 175 million. I’ve done big films. They’re exciting and when you’re working with Michael Bay, it’s high energy. With AmeriGEDDON, it may not be a big budget film, but films like this have a lot to say. Some of the smartest films I’ve ever seen are independent films. That’s why I like working with these new, young directors because I want to see where their head’s at.
How do you see your role of actor in relation to your fans?
Let me tell you what being an actor is – it’s a job. It doesn’t make me any more important than the person that wakes up every day and delivers papers or get up and opens up the doors to the pharmacy so people can get the medicine they need. Or the waste management people. Yeah, they’re bustin’ their humps. Marshall Teague is not any better than they are. I treat people the way I want to be treated myself. If I was to sum up Marshall Teague, that would be it. I want to treat people the way I want to be treated myself. And if people have something nice to say about me, great. If they don’t have anything nice to say about me, that’s their right. I don’t get mad at them about it. I can choose not to talk to them. I don’t attack them. I just say, “Honestly, you’re more impressed with yourself than I am, and I don’t want to bore you, so I’ll just leave.”
There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Marshall “practices what he preaches.” He has chosen to share his pertinacious positivity and general goodwill with all who pass his way. Rarely has an interview so touched my heart, but indeed this chat had a profound and lasting impact upon me. So, if you have the opportunity, please go and see his film AmeriGeddon, that opens in theaters this Friday, May 13!
Official Website: http://amerigeddonthemovie.com/