(Original Publication Date: August 6th, 2017) By: david j. moore Scott Adkins is one of the most remarkable martial arts action stars of all time. What’s most remarkable about him […]
(Original Publication Date: August 6th, 2017) By: david j. moore
Scott Adkins is one of the most remarkable martial arts action stars of all time. What’s most remarkable about him is not just that he is the complete package in terms of his abilities as a fighter, a martial artist, his looks, and his fearlessness, but that he’s made his mark in this late day and age when the world is simply not making action stars anymore. He’s what I call our “last action hero,” the last true action star in this era when Hollywood has all but given up on the real deal action stars of old. He’s a formidable action star, with the looks, the strengths as a martial artist, and the prowess of an unparalleled athlete, and he’s bulldozed and fought his way to the top of his class where he has so few peers. He’s starred in some of the most impressive martial arts action films of the modern era, films such as Undisputed II, Undisputed III, Ninja, Ninja II: Shadow of a Tear, and Close Range, just to name a few. While he’s one of the busiest stars in the business, his latest film Savage Dog from Jesse V. Johnson is a step up for him in terms of visceral action and exhilarating thrills. Adkins plays an exiled British soldier, incarcerated in Indochina, circa 1959 at the dawn of the Vietnam War, and he’s become a “savage dog,” chained up and ready to unleash his unholy fury against those who’ve wronged him. In this exclusive interview conducted on the set of the film, Adkins shares his thoughts on the making of the film, his character, and working with not just director Johnson, but his costars Marko Zaror and Cung Le, as well as working with fight coordinator Luke LaFontaine.
Here is the Exclusive Action-Flix.Com Savage Dog On Set Interview with Action Sensation Scott Adkins!
1) Scott, what’s your secret for staying in the action and martial arts world for so long?
Scott Adkins: “I do a lot of action films, a lot of fight movies, which I’m okay with because that’s always been something I’ve been passionate about. It’s what I loved as a child: action movies and martial arts. I said to myself at a very young age that I wanted a career in these movies, action films. So I’m very happy to do that. I’m 40 now, and I guess it’s just a case of staying in good shape and looking after my body and staying flexible and trying not to get too injured on these movies. I think rather than diversity, it’s giving my fans what they expect from me, which I completely understand. But at the same time, I do take the opportunities to stretch myself and do other types of roles, but there’s certainly that element of keeping my core fan base happy and giving them what they expect. At least one film year, I try to make it an action, fighting type of film.”
2) Savage Dog has a really solid script by Jesse Johnson. It’s a different sort of action film, and yet you play a similar sort of character we’ve seen you do before. Say something about your character Martin Tillman.
Scott: “Martin Tillman is exiled from the U.K. because he’s a member of the Irish Republican Army and he has a tattoo on his left shoulder from 1916, which is when the Irish fought back against the English. Obviously, I’m English. I’m not trying to make a statement about what I think about what happened in the past, or in the not so distant past. I just responded to the character and the script Jesse had written. It was a really interesting type of angle on this type of movie. I liked that it was a period setting. I really enjoyed the character, and this whole vengeance thing is an intriguing plot device. We’ve had it in many movies, but if you do it right and the audience feels for the character, then it’s a great way to bring them along for the ride. My characters goes from seemingly ambiguous to “Is he a good guy or is he a bad guy?” You’re not quite sure, and I do respond to characters like that quite a bit. When we meet him he’s in jail somewhere in Indochina, on the outskirts of the world. It’s a period in history for about five years, it was a lawless land, with a lot of Nazis who’d hightailed it to that part of the world. They were guilty of war crimes, my character included. Really, he’s in purgatory in a way. He’s almost putting penance on himself for the crimes he’s committed in the past. He’s happy to just rot away in this Far Eastern jail. That’s where we meet him, and where he’s given a new lease on life. Some hope is brought into his life, in the form of Isabelle, played by Juju Chan and Valentine, played by Keith David. He hopes that he can find happiness with this new adopted family. But of course it doesn’t stay that way for long, and the shit hits the fan. But yes, Martin is one of these characters who doesn’t say much. He plays his cards close to his chest. He’s a tortured soul. I’ve played this type of character before, but it suits me well.”
3) Say something about working with Jesse Johnson.
Scott: “I worked with Jesse a long time ago on a film called Pit Fighter. It was a very small part. I just jumped in and did it as a favor. I love Jesse. I really wanted to work with him again. He’s a great guy, a fellow countryman, obviously. Jesse is from a stunt background, so he knows how to shoot the action. He loves this stuff. He’s great. He really knows how to get inside your head and give great direction. What’s great about this script is that he gave it a different edge.”
4) Talk about working with Marko Zaror again. You guys did Undisputed III some years back with Isaac Florentine.
Scott: “Marko’s great. He’s a good friend of mine. Marko and I worked on Undisputed III together. He’s come a long way since then. It’s really good to reunite with him. Seven years later! He’s an incredible martial artist, and one of the best in the business when it comes to screen fighting. He’s a legitimate martial artist. We’re quite similar in many ways. He’s a really nice guy. We’re easy going, and obviously we’re both really passionate about the art of making action films.”
5) This is your first time working with Cung Le. You guys are about to shoot your big fight scene.
Scott: “I’ve not worked with Cung before this, and we’re about to shoot that fight after this interview. Obviously, I’m a big fan of him as a fighter. I followed his career. He’s one of the best kickers in the UFC, in the fight game. We’ve rehearsed the fight and I felt his rhythm and his timing. I realize it’s going to be a good experience working with him. With some fighters, their abilities don’t translate that well to fighting on film, but having rehearsed with Cung, I can tell he definitely knows what he’s doing. He’s worked in Hong Kong and China, so obviously he knows what he’s doing. He’s a great guy. Hopefully, he doesn’t beat me up too much. (Laughing.)”
6) This is your first time working with Luke LaFontaine, the film’s fight coordinator. How has your experience been working with Luke on this?
Scott: “I’m very happy to be working with Luke LaFontaine. He’s bringing something interesting to the fights. It’s set in the ’50s, so a white guy doing martial arts in the ’50s doesn’t necessarily make sense, but my character Martin is living in Indochina, we’re saying he’s had some experience training with some Thai fighters, so we’re mixing some old school boxing techniques with some sort of Thai boxing techniques. Luke has done a stellar job.”
7) How would you compare Savage Dog to some of your previous films with, say Isaac Florentine?
Scott: “This is a different film from the films I’ve done with Isaac because it’s more realistic. The fights in this film are more realistic than most of my other films. We’re not doing so much the long takes or the flashy techniques; we’re trying to be more brutal and gritty because that goes with the story that we’re trying to tell and the character I play. It’s hyper violent in a fun way. It’s something that I enjoy, to be honest. It’s cinematic and violent. Jesse’s a smart cat.”
8) What can people expect when they watch Savage Dog?
Scott: “You’re gonna get a really tight and engaging story. It’s something different, set in a time period that you’ve not quite seen before for this type of movie. It’s got strong characters, and it’s got some great action. It’s gonna be quite a stylized film!”
About the author: david j. moore is the author of The Good, the Tough, and the Deadly: Action Movies and Stars” and a contributing writer to Action-Flix.com
SAVAGE DOG is now available on Blu-Ray, DVD and Digital from XLrator Media!
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