Malevolent looking, heavy set character actor who has etched himself a strong niche in Hollywood as the guy you just don't want to double cross. There's just something in the way Madsen delivers his lines with that underlying aggression masked behind his gravelly tones, that makes you feel very uneasy about his true intentions!
Talented Madsen first learned his craft at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre, where he worked under talented actor John Malkovich. He then broke through onto the screen in minor roles in Against All Hope
(1982), Racing with the Moon
(1984) and The Natural
(1984). His work received considerable notice after his knife-edged performance as a deranged killer "Vince Miller" in Kill Me Again
(1989) and then as Susan Sarandon's rough-edged boyfriend "Jimmy" in Thelma & Louise
His real breakthrough, however, came as the sadistic jewel thief, "Mr. Blond," in Quentin Tarantino's
low budget hit Reservoir Dogs
(1992). Movie audiences were galvanised in their seats as Madsen playfully danced around a tied down & terrified police officer, cutting him with a knife and splashing gasoline all over the petrified man.....all to the cheery tune's of "Stuck In the Middle With You."
However, not to be typecast, Madsen surprised all with his performance as foster parent Glen Greenwood in the hit family movie Free Willy
(1993), before returning to another criminal role as bank robber Rudy Travis in the remake of the Steve McQueen
heist flick The Getaway
(1994), and then back again as Glen Greenwood in Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home
Madsen continues to put in edge of the seat performances as morally bankrupt individuals on the wrong side of the law. Witness his intense on screen showings in Donnie Brasco
(1997), Mulholland Falls
(1996), and High Noon
(2000) . In 2003, he teamed up again with indie director Quentin Tarantino to appear in both "volumes" of Tarantino's magnum martial arts/revenge opus of Kill Bill: Vol. 1
(2003), and Kill Bill: Vol. 2
(2004) as the coldly evil "Budd" (aka "Sidewinder"). In addition to his film work, Madsen has contributed dialogue to two of Sony Play Stations's biggest selling games, Grand Theft Auto"
, as well as writing several books of his own poetry. Although uncomfortable with fame, Madsen's star continues to shine in Hollywood and his droll, yet captivating acting style is ensuring him a steady flow of work as one on the screen's favourite "heavies".