Vernon Wells (actor)
Vernon Wells in 2015
Vernon George Wells|
31 December 1945
Rushworth, Victoria, Australia
|Other names||Vernon G. Wells|
Vernon George Wells (born 31 December 1945) is an Australian actor. He began appearing on Australian television shows in the mid-1970s, such as Homicide and Matlock Police and All The Rivers Run. He is best known to international audiences for his role of Wez in the 1981 science fiction action film Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior and Bennett in the military action film Commando.
After Mad Max 2, Wells began appearing in Hollywood films, such as Weird Science (1985) and the science fiction comedy Innerspace (1987). In the 2000s, Wells acted in the television series Power Rangers Time Force portraying the series' main villain Ransik.
Wells was born in Rushworth, Victoria, Australia, the son of Eva Maude (née Jackson) and Michael Wells. At the age of 14 he was part of a music band, then upon graduating high school, went to college and attained a degree in Telecommunications.
Wells worked in a quarry, then as a salesman, and then in theatre and rock bands. In the 1970s, he was selected by casting agents to appear in a theatre play, and he started to appear in Australian TV commercials, print advertisements, local Australian TV shows such as Homicide and Matlock Police and historical TV mini-series like Against The Wind, Sara Dane and All The Rivers Run.
His first cinema appearance was a minor role in Felicity (1979), a low budget, erotic fantasy film.
Wells was cast as the homicidal biker Wez, in Mad Max 2 (1981), filmed around Silverton near Broken Hill in outback New South Wales, Australia. It is the role for which he is probably best known to international audiences, as Wells portrays a psychotic, post-apocalyptic henchman who relentlessly pursues hero Max Rockatansky (Mel Gibson), before meeting a spectacular death at the film's finale.
Hollywood beckoned for Wells, and he spoofed his mad biker role in the popular 1985 teen comedy Weird Science, written and directed by John Hughes and produced by Joel Silver. Wells so impressed Silver with his work in that film that he was immediately secured for the role of Bennett opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger in Commando (1985). When first approached for the role in Commando, Wells was in Australia working on the feature film, Fortress, based on the real life Faraday School kidnapping, in a starring role opposite Rachel Ward. Wells appeared as Roo Marcus in Last Man Standing (1987).
1990s and 2000s
In 1992, Wells appeared in one of the few roles in which he is not cast as a villain, in the short-lived 1992 television comedy series The Amazing Live Sea Monkeys. The show was about a professor who accidentally enlarged three Sea Monkeys to human-size, and then had to deal with their comical ineptness in the world. In 1993, Wells starred in the science fiction film Fortress with Christopher Lambert (no connection to the previous movie of the same name).
Many of Wells' roles 1990s and 2000s portrayed villains, as in the films Circuitry Man (1990), Kick of Death (1997) and Starforce (2000), and Power Rangers Time Force (2001). In the Power Rangers episodes, he played the role of Ransik, a mutant crime lord from the year 3000 who travels back in time to take over the world. In 2002, he reprised this role for the Power Rangers Wild Force/Time Force two-part team-up episode "Reinforcements from the Future". Wells starred in the 2009 horror film Silent Night, Zombie Night.
He has a son, a grandson, two granddaughters, and one great grandson.
- Mad Max 2 (1981) as Wez
- Weird Science (1985) as Lord General
- Commando (1985) as Bennett
- Fortress (1985) as Dabby Duck
- MacGyver (1985) as Catlin
- Coming of Age (1986) as Chuck Proby (Donald)
- P.I. Private Investigations (1987) as Detective North
- Innerspace (1987) as Mr. Igoe
- Last Man Standing (1987) as Roo Marcus
- P.I. Private Investigations (1987) as Det. North
- Sunset (1988) as Houseman
- American Eagle (1989) as Johnny Burke
- Circuitry Man (1990) as Plughead
- The Shrimp on the Barbie (1990) as Bruce
- Fortress (1992) as Maddox
- Ultimatum (1994) as Gerard Richter
- Plughead Rewired: Circuitry Man II (1994) as Plughead
- Manosaurus (1994) as Professor Sorenson
- Space Truckers (1996) as Mr. Cutt
- Billy Frankenstein (1998) as Otto von Sloane
- Power Rangers Time Force (2001, TV Series) as Ransik
- Power Rangers Wild Force (2002, TV Series) as Ransik
- Beneath Loch Ness (2001) as Constable
- Curse of the Forty-Niner (2003) as Jeremiah Stone
- Looney Tunes: Back in Action (2003) as Acme VP, Child Labor
- Devil's Knight (2003) as Frank
- King of the Ants (2003) as Beckett
- Chastity (2005) as Trucker
- The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (2006) as Dr. Dennis Lanyon
- Tru Loved (2007) as Coach Wesley
- Green Street 2: Stand Your Ground (2009) as Tankersley Governor
- The Drawn Together Movie: The Movie (2010) as Network Head
- Silent Night, Zombie Night (2011) as Paul Irwin
- Jurassic Attack (2013) as Agent Grimaldi
- Throwback (2013) as Detective McNab
- Jurassic City (2014) as Agent LaFranco
- Death House (2017) as Nela
- Ty the Tasmanian Tiger 3: Night of the Quinkan (2005) Ridge
- Darksiders (2010) Samael
- Darksiders II (2012) Samael
- Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (2016) Jim Miller
- "Vernon Wells". The New York Times.
- "The Road Warrior". The New York Times.
- Bruckner, D. J. R. (4 October 1985). "Commando (1985) FILM: SCHWARZENGGER, 'COMMANDO'". The New York Times.
- Vernon Wells Biography (1945–)
- "Silent Night, Zombie Night's December 19th Screening With Director and Stars". DreadCentral.