Malcolm McDowell, doting family man despite the film career of ultraviolence

Aug. 29, 2009 | 12:03 a.m.

Susan King caught up with Malcolm McDowell, who has made a career of perverse sneers and cerebral malice and wrote up this feature on the home-life of the “Halloween II” star…

Malcolm McDowell

It’s hard to envision veteran British actor Malcolm McDowell cooing, but the 66-year-old star of such classic films as Lindsay Anderson’s “If . . . “ and Stanley Kubrick’sA Clockwork Orange,” for which the actor will always be remembered as a vicious hood, turns out to have a weak spot: his three youngest children.

“It’s pretty magnificent on the whole,” says McDowell of his second time around as a father, as he scrolls through his iPhone looking for pictures of his children with third wife, Kelley Kuhr — 5-year-old Beckett; 2-year-old Finn and 7-month-old Seamus.

“They are such magnificent creatures,” he says, flashing his magnetic blue eyes. “Here’s a picture of the whole lot of them.”

McDowell proffers a photo of the adorable trio. “This is the baby,” he adds, displaying a portrait of the equally blue-eyed, roly-poly Seamus. “He’s lovely,” McDowell beams.

He also has two adult children, Lily and Charlie, with his second wife, actress Mary Steenburgen. Back then, though, they both were working a lot and the children had nannies.

Now, if a job keeps him away from their Santa Barbara home for more than two weeks, the family goes with him — something of a mixed blessing.

“It’s so hard to travel with them,” McDowell says. “It’s like moving an army.”

This real-life family man is a far cry from his current role in writer-director Rob Zombie’sHalloween II,” which opens Friday. In it, he reprises his Dr. Sam Loomis character from Zombie’s 2007 remake of John Carpenter’sHalloween.” In the sequel, Loomis, who nearly died at the hands of his psycho-killer patient Michael Myers in the first movie, has now become a self-absorbed celebrity after writing a book about Myers (Tyler Mane).

“In the first one I am very earnest,” says McDowell, who is ensconced in a suite at the Four Seasons, where he’s also keeping an eye on the TV to watch his favorite soccer team, Liverpool. “Now he’s turned into a total jerk. He’s the only one who made money from this desperate, poor family. Of course, that’s the American way. Let’s write a book about it.”

McDowell acts as the film’s much-needed comic relief as the masked serial killer returns to his hometown of Haddonfield on Halloween to slice, dice, stomp and garrote everyone in his wake.

“Malcolm was my first and only choice for that role,” says Zombie…


— Susan King



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