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London Film and Comic Con Day 1 – Wai Ching Ho, Michael Madsen, Sylvester McCoy and more

Another year, another chance for an assortment of film and TV stars to congregate with fans at London Film and Comic Con. This year, there was a MARVELlous group of TV stars from shows including Iron Fist, Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead and Doctor Who along with numerous film stars.

Wai Ching Ho and me!

I began my day with a chat with Wai Ching Ho, who plays Madame Gao in Daredevil and Iron Fist – and will be appearing again in The Defenders. She was all smiles when I went over to chat to her – a far cry from the intimidating and powerful character Marvel fans have come to love – and was clearly enjoying her first comic con outing!

‘When I first booked Daredevil,’ she told me, ‘I didn’t know too much about it so I just threw myself into it. As I worked through it, I got to know more of the other characters… it got deeper as I went along.’

I asked her how it felt to go from the frail lady with a walking stick to the kickass Gao we now know her to be and she laughed, saying: ‘I absolutely loved it. When they finally gave me a move and I knocked Daredevil down I was so thrilled. And then in Iron Fist when I had to behead somebody it was even better!’

Wai Ching Ho had nothing but good things to say about her character and the actors she’s worked with across the three shows. She called Vincent D’Onofrio ‘a formidable foe’ and said it was great fun working with him. She also noted that it was great speaking Mandarin with him, adding that he worked very hard.

On her work on The Defenders, she commented: ‘It was great meeting Sigourney [Weaver] and working with Elodie Yung [Elektra]. They’re just lovely people. I couldn’t be any luckier. Nobody had attitude. Everybody was down to earth.’

After chatting with Wai Ching Ho, it was time for a talk with Michael Madsen, the man we all know and love from Tarantino films Reservoir Dogs, Kill Bill and the recent Hateful Eight, along with non-Tarantino delights, Free Willy, Thelma and Louise, and many more…

When asked what the spark was that first ignited his passion for acting, he joked, in his notorious husky tones, ‘lack of income’. Though, he added that his real passion was race car driving – which he did for a while. The acting, however, began because a friend dragged him along to an audition.

When the conversation inevitably turned to Reservoir Dogs, Madsen was asked about that particular Lee Marvin line from the film. He said he read the script and something amazing happened: ‘I remember that was the first minute when I went “Wow, I really like this and I really want to do this movie”. I had never read anything like that before. And who was this guy, Quentin Tarantino? He’s talking about Lee Marvin… this guy is very cool. He thinks the way that I think.’

When asked about his career in general and whether or not he ever thought he’d make this many films, Madsen was incredibly frank about the whole thing. He first joked: ‘I think I should’ve been a lumberjack.’ However, he then went on to say: ‘Being in movies is great but it’s hard on your personal life. It’s pretty hard to have a normal personal life… there’s an awful lot of travel involved and you miss your children tremendously. It’s not for everybody.’

For fans of Madsen’s role in Die Another Day, he said that Brosnan basically set it up for him because they were friends. There was one scene where he went to put a cigarette out before the take and Judi Dench said to let him smoke because it looked cool for his character. The director agreed and Madsen got a cigarette for the film – something that delighted him immensely.

Madsen’s talk was followed by the delightfully bonkers Sylvester McCoy in which McCoy remained on the stage for mere seconds before grabbing a mic and heading out into the audience, picking on people randomly for questions and treating everyone to his take on Doctor Who and beyond.

Sylvester McCoy

Though, at one point, when a few people walked past him to sit down, he asked if they had a note to explain their lateness then told them that it was boring now and all the fun bits had been and gone. Note to Who fans – never show up late to a McCoy talk! You’ll be picked on!

When asked to discuss the origins of the anniversary film he did with some of the other previous Doctors (because they hadn’t been asked to join Matt Smith, David Tennant and co in the actual anniversary episode), he said that it began because so many people had asked if he’d be making an appearance. He added: ‘Classic Doctors, as we’re called. Old farts, as I call them.’

After dropping numerous rather unsubtle and hilarious hints about the fact that he was also in The Hobbit (presumably because every question had been about Doctor Who!), someone asked him about the film. He talked about how he was down to the last two to play Bilbo Baggins in the Lord of the Rings films but lost out to Ian Holm, so he was on their radar already when he was then reunited with Peter Jackson.

One of the funniest moments, though, came at the end of his time working on The Hobbit, as Peter Jackson had kept his love for Doctor Who to himself the entire time they’d been shooting.
‘I worked for Peter Jackson for three years and he was the boss…’ McCoy explained. ‘On the last day, he made speeches to all the actors… He said it was great working with me and then did something really wonderful. He [Jackson] said, “I got to work with [shouts excitedly] Doctor Who!!!” That’s what he did! For three years, he kept it quiet.’ McCoy added that it was probably a wise move because the directors/actor relationship would have been actor/fan and that might not have worked!

Stay tuned this weekend for more coverage from London Film and Comic Con and thanks to all those amazing cosplayers who let me take their picture so that you can *ahem* marvel at their great work below.

And here are a few snaps from the talks and chats throughout the day:

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