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Six of the Best: Scott Adkins - The Dependable Expendable...

Written by (Editor) on 16th August 2012

Scott Adkins is a familiar name to long-time Impact readers and discerning action film fans... and with the Expendables sequel his profile is likely to get even higher...

 

Scott Adkins will be a familiar name to anyone who has followed the action genre, especially those noticing the rise in UK talent. From appearances in The Bourne Ultimatum, Wolverine: Origins, Ninja and the Undisputed movies, he's steadily become a significant player. The Expendables 2, released this week, is likely to give him his greatest platform yet, but it is just one of the many projects the actor and martial artist has ready to hit you with. John Mosby talks to Scott about appearing alongside his heroes, peers and plans for the future...

 

IMPACT: Scott,  you're an established actor in your own right, one whom we've covered at a lot in Impact over the years, but I guess it was still something special to get that Expendables phone-call saying: 'We've got the biggest action-stars in the genre and we're wanting you to be part of it...'

SCOTT ADKINS:  Yeah. I was almost in the first Expendables and I didn't get to do it because of the schedules. That was very disappointing. When the first film came out and performed so well and I heard they were making the second one, I actively approached the producers - who I know from the Undisputed films - and I knew that Sly was a fan... so it  was just a case of me getting myself in the door, then. Of course they were trying to sort out the bigger names and put them in place, but when it finally happened... y'know, I'll be honest... I DID feel like I belonged there, like I should be there. Of course, it didn't really hit home until I was on the set with Bruce Willis, Schwarzenegger, Stallone, Chuck Norris and the rest of them. Then  it was 'My God, I'm actually acting in a movie with these guys AND it's me in the action sequences, dodging bullets...' It was amazing, of course... it was a dream come true...

They started shooting in September 2011 and I got there in October because that was when Bruce Willis and Schwarzenegger were available. They shot the airport scene with Arnie and Bruce which I was invoilved with... then they were back to the beginning to shoot the opening sequence. I was on hold for quite some time... because we shoot out of order I was waiting around to shoot mine later. But we were all prepared and ready to go whenever needed. We all knew how to do the fighht scenes and shoot the guns...

 

IMPACT: The Expendables films LOOK as if they're tremendous fun to make, but equally action films - even with one established star can be highly technical, tough schedules and generally hard work. Would you describe the Expendables - with a much bigger cast - as a fun atmosphere to be in the middle of..?  

SA: Yeah, but not as much as you might think. I mean it IS a serious business. You're there, you're getting paid a lot of money and you're expected to do a good job. It CAN get quite tense at times, especially in an action film when you're doing fight scenes. When you're doing stunts and there's guns firing, you can't be too jokey because you have a powerful instrument in your hands and you have to be safe. Everyone knew how much of a big deal it was and so everyone was in this together. I'd say it was... more respectful than running around having a laugh...

 

IMPACT: There's a lot of performers in The Expendables that know how to handle themselves on camera. Are we getting to the point where casting action films is getting more about the people who are up for the tougher challenges and regime rather than merely 'cutting away' to the stuntman who makes the actor look good?

SA: Yeah... I'm not sure that's always the way it is now...it should be. Certainly with Statham it is and Stallone has always got involved with his own stuff. You get regular actors who are trained to do martial arts and it's never shot the way it should be. If you pull the camera back and it's wide-angle and you let the fight-scene play out as it would in Hong Kong, you might see some of the western examples aren't as good as you might believe.  I thought films like The Matrix were shot well, but I've seen a lot of shakey-cam stuff to disguise things.

Eastern talent knows how to shoot scenes. You can have the best choreographed fight-scene there is, but if you don't film it properly, it's going to look like shit. It's making the hits work for angles that they shouldn't actually work at...it takes a degree of athleticism and precision to amke that punch or kick land in the right place for where the camera is, at some side angle. You fill the frame with movement and it's not just two people standing in the middle. There's an art to it. I worked with Hugh Jackman on Wolverine and he was absolutely brilliant at fight sequences because he comes from that song and dance background, he's a physical perfomer and picked it up SO easily. I mean, okay, he was jumping up and doing 360 degree spinning kicks (laughs)... but he understood all the rhythm and the timing and the distance.  It's a partnership, so that the other guy knows when a punch is going to come. It's not about outsmarting somone like it would be in a real fight... Watch Statham and I in that big fight and you can see we're going to do it ourselves...

 

IMPACT: The climactic scene between you and Statham is a good example of people who look up to the job required of them.  Did that scene take a lot of time to prep?

SA: Y'know... me and Jason only had one day for that fight sequence and we were both unhappy about that. I don't think that comes across when you watch the fight. It works well and we're both good at what we do, but we didn't get to rehearse the scene together until we actually shot it as the schedule was shifting everywhere. There was  a massive workload for someone like Staham. Sure, it could be organsied better, but that's often the way it is with a film like The Expendables where you are trying to fit all the stars in and they have schedules of their own. I wished we had more time, but we're good and we got it done...

 

IMPACT: It's generally been a busy time for you... you've recently done the latest Universal Soldier  (with Van Damme and Lundgren again) movie... it seems a lot of familiar faces are regularly teaming-up for projects.

SA: Yeah, we did Universal Soldier, then The Expendables and then another film with Dolph in China. It seems it's happening a lot in Hollywood. You have the Fast and the Furious films, the Avengers...and I'm sure we'll see a Justice League movie not too far away in the future... it's bringing known performers together. There does seem to be a trend. I think the power of an individual movie star is less than what it used to be...

I'm really proud of Universal Soldier, it's got some great stuff in it and an interesting story. It's an action film that mixes genres. It's got elements of horror, action and scinece-fiction... it's quite different from the other Universal Soldier movies that came before. Some people may like that, some may not, but if you're going to do the fourth film in a franchise then it's good to have the guts to make it a bit different because otherwise it'll get stale.  I've also got Re-Kill coming out which is a zombie flick, filmed in the style of an episode of COPS, like a documentary. It was a lot of fun to shoot... because of the style, you could address the cameraman as a character and we fired SO many blank shots during that! (laughs).

There's a few things that I hope are going to be coming off, but I don't really want to talk about them and jinx them. Right now, I'm taking a little break at the moment to spend some time with my family.

 

IMPACT: Your reputation is as an action-star, but some of these projects aren't the typical action fare.  Legendary - Tomb of the Dragon is more family-orientated and we'll be seeing you at the end of the year in one of 2012's most controversial films, Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow's story of the hunt and assault on Bin-Laden's stronghold. 

SA: Yeah, the film with Dolph, Tomb of the Dragon, is not even an action-film. It's more of a family adventure movie, so I consider myself an actor first and a martial-artist second, but I'm aware that I can shine when I really put the two together.

I can't really reveal much about Zero Dark Thirty at the moment. It's certainly different and I was primarily there as an actor. What was amazing for me on that was that even the smallest actors and the smallest of parts were played by such fantastic actors... they all elevated the scenes in their own way. Even a guy with two or three lines was fantastic. It was great to work with such a brilliant director, stunt-co-ordinators, and cameramen... everything and everyone elevated it to the point where if actually felt real, like it was happening. It was just a fantastic experience. They film it in a way where you're not always aware of where the camera is on each shot so you don't have to hit marks in the same way. You go in there and because it's almost a documentary style, it's very freeing. Kathryn Bigelow is just a great director...

Written By

John Mosby

Editor

John Mosby

Born at a early age, creative writing and artwork seemed to be in John’s blood from the start Even before leaving school he was a runner up in the classic Jackanory Writing Competition and began...

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