This years Film & Comic Con Glasgow definitely had an Aliens theme to it with Jenette Goldstein, Mark Rolston and Colette Hiller in attendance in a mini-reunion of sorts. And it’s safe to report we had an easier time escaping the Braehead Arena unscathed than anyone leaving the doomed LV-426…

With out trusty M314 Motion Tracker we managed to navigate our way through a seemingly endless wave of Xenomorph cosplayers to track down Private Drake himself, Mark Rolston, to talk all things Aliens and more. You can read over interview with Jenette Goldstein [Private Vasquez] here.

The Marines in Aliens have been a fan favourite even after all these years – how did it come about that you were cast as Drake?

I was called in for an audition and met with Gale Anne Hurd who was then James Cameron’s wife and the producer. She asked what I’d been up to and at the time I’d just finished the Hugh Hudson movie, Revolution, with Al Pacino and I made it sound as though I had the next best part to Al Pacino but that was a complete fabrication! Next I knew I hauled in before Jim and Gale then brought in again where they told me I would get the role if I got in the gym.

And we read that you guys trained with marines as part of your prep?

I had to put on about 35lbs for the role. First I was training with a stuntman who was actually the engine who moved the powerloader that Ripley was operating – a massive man from Lincolnshire. He put me through my paces, really pumped me up. Just before shooting we ended up being trained by marines, well it was the S.A.S.

Any stories from the set you can share?

You there on set all day so you couldn’t really help but play jokes on each other. The scene where Bill Paxton did the knife thing, when we grabbed him he was totally shocked. He had no idea as he thought it would be just him and Lance doing the knife thing.

With the success of Alien, did you get a sense at all from the shoot it was going to be as massive as it was?

We didn’t really have that big a sense it would be until after shooting when Bill Paxton would phone me once a week – he would pester me. He’d be saying: “Dude, man. You gotta come over Mark, this is going to be a huge. It’s going to be a big fucking movie man.” Bill actually offered me to stay in his apartment so after months and months of pestering me I bought my ticket and went over. 

It’s clear there was a bond with you and your fellow marines so was it quite a fun set to work on?

It was the classic set up for any young man – dress up and play a soldier all day. What could be better? We became a very tight nit group – a big group of Americans living in England and because of all the training we had that comradery that soldiers have and became good friends.

Of all the merchandise from the film how surreal is it to have your own action figure?

I don’t quite have it yet – there are figures out there though. There was an unofficial one out years and years ago. I am just about to hopefully make a deal with NECA Toys but I do need the fan base to pester them. Let’s just say we are negotiating right now.

You also worked on SAW which has another sequel out this year – do you really think it’s a good move for the franchise?

It’s going to be something spectacular I am sure. I imagine it’s going to be a real departure from the chronological thread of the other movies. I think it’s going to be solely about Jigsaw or Jigsaw coming back.

What is it you are working on right now?

It’s called Me & Michael and is inspired by true events that happened in my life. Behind my home in L.A, and I only learned this because we finally got a dog and I am out walking it, there’s a sound wall separating it from a walkway/bus way. I came upon a homeless guy and he’s lived there now for six years and we’ve become friends. It’s the story of our friendship and how my perceptions about homelessness and homeless people in general were changed by this man. It should, hopefully, get an on-demand release in the UK.

Showmasters Film & Comic Con Glasgow returns next year and more on this can be found here

This interview appears on HeyUGuys by kind permission of Thomas Alexander