Cult movie close-up: Matt Hannon

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In the realm of film, there are four kinds of movies: great movies, good movies, okay movies, and bad movies. But within the realm of bad movies there are two types: those that are ostensibly unwatchable shit and those that are so bad that they are actually good. Samurai Cop is the latter type of film. Directed by Iranian expat Amir Shervan, the film focuses on a police officer supposedly trained in the ways of the samurai (and is essentially a low-budget Lethal Weapon). The Peak sat down with the Samurai Cop himself, Matt Hannon, to talk about his experience in cult film.

The Peak: How did you first get involved with the production of Samurai Cop and how much experience as an actor did you have before the film?

Matt Hannon: I stopped working with [Sylvester] Stallone as a bodyguard in November ’89 and did a movie in December of ’89 called American Revenge. I grew up in Portland, Oregon and did theater, the usual acting route. Samurai Cop was the first major film I did. A friend from my bodyguard days recommended me to Amir to get tape, and I walked in and Amir said “you’re the star of my movie.”

P: At what point did you realize the film was going to turn into an absolute trainwreck?

H: I saw how A-list movies were made working with Sly. With Amir, we would film five days and take a week off. I thought this is how it goes, but when it hit the three-month mark, I realized something was wrong. He called me back after original filming, when I had cut my hair so that’s why you see the stupid wig. He told me we had more filming to do. After that moment, I just started messing around on set for about three or four months.

P: Do you honestly believe Amir Shervan actually knew how to make a good film, or was he really bad at his job?

H: Amir was a businessman primarily and he was an Iranian who was lost in translation. He saw American action movies and thought that’s what American movies were like. He was very profitable and he knew how to sell the movie overseas. He knew that he had to finish the film and he was a shrewd businessman. He thought movies should be made a certain way. He was limited by finances and compromised artistic integrity because of it.