Cast & Crew Profile #3: Ken McFarlane

Ken McFarlane portrays Roger Patterson, the obsessive cryptozoologist whose career spent hunting the elusive Millennium Bug has finally come to a head. Ken shares his memories of the shoot:

My favorite memory is having my head smashed into a wall about 14 times. Fellow actor John Charles Meyer seemed to like doing it, except for the take when I fell at full force into him, causing him to speak at a higher pitch for a while.

In another scene, actress Ginger Pullman and I had to climb into a closet under the stairs which was maybe big enough for one small person. We also had to cram a crew member in there to achieve the shot. I was on my back with my legs over my head with Ginger and our PA folded around me until we heard “Cut.” It took two people to lift me out, because there wasn’t enough leverage or room to unfold legs and body parts on one’s own. Of course, we had to do ten takes. I didn’t want to tell (director) Ken that I was under a doctor’s care for back and neck problems.  

The most disgusting part of the shoot was my costume. We dressed for cold weather and shot in Burbank California, with temperatures in the 90s and hotter. I sweat a lot on a cool day, so after three weeks of wearing an unwashed costume, it smelled pretty rank. Producer Jim even asked me about needing to take a shower; I think he thought it was my body and not the costume that smelled like the Millennium Bug.  But in a weird way, the costume’s odor helped me as an actor with the believability of camping in the wilderness, brutalized by crazy people and eaten by a giant bug.

The most bizarre experience was having my head cast in plaster. Our makeup/SFX designer Robert and his assistant Bridget covered me in goop, with my mouth open in a frozen scream, at a makeup school where I could hear classes arrive and leave. As I sat in a corner for what felt like four hours, I could communicate only with hand movements to say yes or no. I think that was worse than laying in pools of blood and goo wearing a smelly costume. At one point during the casting, I fell asleep and Robert thought I was having a heart attack because of my breathing. It felt good to give him a scare for once…

Born in Nova Scotia, Ken spent his adolescence in Los Angeles, got his BA and MFA from CSU Northridge, and filled his adulthood with independent film and theatre. He recently played Polonius in Ty Mayberry’s innovative staging of Hamlet. Prior to that, Ken stepped into the shoes of a mortician trying to make sense of a dysfunctional Irish family in William Norrett’s comedy Brendan O’Lenihan Leaves Three Daughters. Other theatre credits (from New York, Vancouver, and Los Angeles) include Dracula, Six Degrees of Separation, True West, The Misanthrope, Enemy of the People, The Lark, Much Ado About Nothing, Two Gentlemen of Verona, JB, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Cockroach Nation, Molly Sweeney, and The Book of John, as well as the title roles in the world premiere productions of Godislav and The Crown of Minos. Film credits include Change For Food, The Golem, Noise Matters, Empire Builders, Annabelle, Rose Colored Glasses, Insomnia Manica, Delusive Dreams, The Short Cut, and the role of the bloodthirsty but lovable, martini-crazed “Jerry” in Caesar & Otto’s Summer Camp Massacre and its sequel, Caesar & Otto’s Deadly Christmas. Ken also made an appearance as a Roman general responsible for one of history’s greatest military defeats, on The History Channel’s Battles B.C.: Hannibal.

Visit Ken on IMDB.

Watch the trailer for THE MILLENNIUM BUG.

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