Impact catches up with Darren E. Scott to discuss working for ‘Cartels‘ and making the most of the prolific Vancouver action opportunities…
The release of the action thriller Cartels, formerly known as Killing Salazar for its UK release, sees Steven Seagal in his continuing quest to appear in more movies since Richard Harrison met Joseph Lai and Godfrey Ho combined. Cartels is probably one of the better movies he’s appeared in for some time, although – in truth – his appearance is more of a cameo with the real lead being Luke Goss. Goss plays one of an elite DEA team who find themselves under siege, trapped in a luxury hotel as they attempt to extradite a drug-lord who’s willing to blow the whistle on the cartel. Playing a key member of the team, who gets to face off against UFC legend George St Pierre is Darren E Scott from Almost Human and Man with the Iron Fists who talks to us about the project.
Impact: Darren, tell us about Killing Salazar/Cartels: the story line, the cast and your role and how you got involved?
Darren E Scott: I had met with producers Binh Dang and Keoni Waxman on a numerous occasions while in Los Angeles. We had discussed about working together and it was just a matter of finding the right project. Finally the script for Killing Salazar came along and they asked me to have a read through and focus on the role of Skony. After some months had passed I was offered the role and next thing I knew I was packing my bags for beautiful Romania.
The plot focuses on a DEA team sent to extradite an infamous drug-lord, Salazar. When their extraction is delayed they are forced to hold up in a luxury hotel as his former associates launch an attack on the hotel, but are they trying to save him or kill him, that’s the question!
Impact: The film sees you working alongside a strong cast that includes Steven Seagal, Luke Goss, George St Pierre, with yourself in a very nicely billed role. How did it feel to be working alongside them?
DES: Unfortunately despite Steven’s presence in the film, I didn’t end up having any scenes with him which was unfortunate because I grew up watching his films and it’s always been a dream to work along side someone like him or Van Damme. But I have to say I was rewarded in other ways when I found out that I was going to have a major throw down with George St Pierre… I mean… come on… we’re talking about one of the most legendary fighters in UFC history. How often are you going to get a chance to do or say that? I really enjoyed watching and working with Luke Goss and witness how meticulous he is with his character prep and how he maps things out in great detail which really helped to bring the movie together.
Impact: How did you find working with director Keoni Waxman and action coordinator Lauro Chartrand? Both men have worked closely with Seagal on multiple projects…
DES: I love working with Keoni. He’s so chill, which I’m sure stems from his Hawaiian background. I was given a lot of leeway with the role and he really trusted me whilst of course offering some great insight as we went along. I would most definitely work for him again any day. Second unit director, Lauro Chartrand I’ve known for almost 25 years which made this project even more special. The reason being that he was one of the first people I met in the film industry ever. Not only that but Lauro and the late Marc Akerstream (Rumble In The Bronx) put together my first on screen fight ever with the late Rick Faraci (Time Cop) over 20 years ago. So you could say it was a coming of full circle in a ways.
DES: Coming from a traditional Martial Art background, I am a huge fan of fighters like GSP and Lyoto Machida. The essence of traditional Martial Arts is something that I feel is lacking in pro MMA. George was fun to be around and we got to chat a lot in between takes about many different things including Star Wars. This fight scene with him is definitely one of the top highlights of my career. I might add that his flying arm bar (even in a choreographed situation) is one of the scariest rides you will ever go one.
Impact: We’ll also see you facing off against Bruce Lee, or rather Philip Ng’s interpretation of him, in George Nolfi’s Birth of the Dragon Tell us a little about working on that film, working with Philip and being reunited with Corey Yuen?
DES: As I mentioned I come from a Traditional Martial Art Background (Goju-Ryu Karate) and playing a karate fighter on screen was another big thing on my bucket so I was fortunate to get that opportunity and more so do a fight scene with Bruce Lee, though it was only fictional circumstances. Though I spent a lot of time in Hong Kong, Phil and I never crossed paths so It was an honour to finally get a chance to meet and more so film with him as I am a huge fan of his work. The icing on the cake, of course, was working with Corey Yuen as this was my fourth time, having worked with him previously on Man with the Iron Fists, War/Rogue Assassin and Romeo must Die.
Impact: You’ve appeared in all manner of genre shows: Supernatural, Supergirl, Almost Human, IZombie, Tomorrow People, Bruce Fontaine’s Beyond Redemption…how would you describe the Vancouver/Canada acting Film/TV community. Are you all competing against each other or is it a helpful competitive environment?
DES: At the end of the day we are competing with each other for jobs but in a supportive environment. A lot of us, in Vancouver especially, have known each other for many years so we have grown to love and respect each other and our work. Right now I’m training with M1 Fight Design here in Vancouver which is lead by stunt coordinator / fight choreographer Dan Rizzuto. It’s a detailed class that touches on many different martial arts and how they can be applied to film. It’s something that been lacking for stunt training off set in this city for many year. It’s getting very popular and growing fast. Might I add that I really miss Almost Human and wish that somebody would try to bring it back for the fans who were left high and dry,.
Impact: Hopefully it won’t be too long before we see you in the late Chris Bates’ Gus & Chloe which tells of a troubled psychopath stalking the streets of Hong Kong… trying to balance recording his exploits on film and being a good father!
DES: Gus and Chloe is a project that is very near and dear to my heart. It’s something that I would like to see get finished to honour Chris’s memory. This film was his baby…. he trusted me with this character he had created and in return I gave it my all. I miss Chris very much. Filming was challenging at times and my character prep was very detailed with much research involved. I watched so many documentaries and interviews with Gary Ridgeway, Jeffrey Dahmer and Ted Bundy. I can’t explain exactly what it’s like to dive into their world but it’s a dark place and I guess you could say that I pulled a bit of a Heath Ledger and got very deep into my character. It took me quite a few days to shake it off once I was done filming. Least to say… I want fans and followers to see me in a role of this genre and prove another area of versatility as an actor. We had a really strong cast and crew, now it just needs to get finished.
Impact: What’s next for you?
DES: Well, as you mentioned next month will see the release of Birth Of The Dragon which I am very much looking forward to seeing. It’s always nice working with a prolific director like George Nolfi and it was very gratifying to be chosen by him to play this role. I couldn’t have asked for a better shoot than the one we had. It was nice to be reunited with Supercapitalist director Simon Yin as well.
You can follow Darren at https://www.facebook.com/chinawhitedes or on twitter @DarrenEScott