By: John M Jerva
Action and martial arts superstar Scott Adkins has had one of his best years ever in 2019 with the release of such epic adrenaline fueled films as Triple Threat and Avengement which saw the Human Highlight Reel get some of the best reviews ever in a career defining performance as Cain Burgess. Adkins isn’t slowing down by any means and he’s closing out the year with a collective bang as he is taking on legendary martial arts warrior Donnie Yen in the final film of the historic franchise Ip Man 4: The Finale. This dream matchup has been years in the making and now fans have finally got the opportunity to see these two legends go toe to toe in one epic display of masterful fisticuffs.
In his second all exclusive interview with Action-Flix.com, Adkins talks about starring in the film, working with Donnie as well as training and more! There’s no denyng that Scott Adkins is one of the premiere action stars of this generation and we have him for you so check out the exclusive chat below!
1) Hi Scott! First and foremost, I wanted to say thank you once again for taking the time out of your immensley busy schedule to chat again with me. It truly is an honor! How are you doing?
Hi John. I’m doing good. I appreciate everything that you do so thank you.
2) Before we get started, I wanted to ask you how the Hong Kong premiere of Ip Man 4 went!
Yeah! It was wonderful to finally see it on the big screen and I was able to sit next to Donnie and his wife and I kept looking over next to him and said “I’m sitting next to Ip Man!” (laughs!) It was good stuff and a real honor.
3) Now you had another fantastic year in 2019 and I wanted to talk to you about Avengement and how did it feel to receive all those great reviews and be recognized for more than just the action?
Of course! That was amazing! Listen, I’ve always known what I am capable of and other people are starting to see it now and I was very happy how that film turned out and I was very involved behind the scenes so yeah it was one of my best received movies and it was great that the English audience took it on board as well because it is a very English film and it was in the top 10 on Netflix in the UK so I was very happy about that.
4) Now going into Ip Man 4, tell us how you got involved. I remember when you and Donnie met at an MCM Comic Con a few years back so did it start there or afterwards?
Donnie knew who I was and we have a mutual friend in Mike Leeder and I was putting out the feelers that I wanted to do something with Donnie and he wanted to do something as well but he wanted it to be the right role and then when Ip Man 4 came about and my character was needed, Donnie went to the production and said “Let’s get Scott Adkins” which was great to hear so Yeah! (Laughs) it was as easy as that.
5) Absolutley! I always say that fans like myself have those action stars that they want to see star together on screen and you two were definitely the top ones by far. I saw the film this week and you play a really nasty guy in Gunnery Sergeant Barton Geddes, so how was it to play the bad guy again especially him.
Yeah, well I assume that there might be some people out there that might be disappointed in me (laughs). Seriously though, I am an actor first and foremost and I really enjoy to play different characters and you can see that throughout my career and I always try to disappear into roles whenever possible. Obviously Boyka is nothing like me in real life. He’s a completely different person. I Enjoy playing villains as well. It’s a lot of fun and this movie was to portray the character that director Wilson Yip wanted me to play to help tell the story and there were some uncomfortable things that I had to say and do and I realize that I will probably be hated for a while in China (laughs) and I assume that they’ll understand that I’m just an actor and I’m just doing my job at the end of the day. By the way, let me just say that it’s not Boyka vs Ip Man, it is Barton Geddes vs Ip Man.
6) Now a lot of people might not realize that you started out in Hong Kong films earlier in your career in films like The Medallion with Jackie Chan and Black Mask 2 where you worked with the iconic Yuen Wo Ping. How did it feel to go back into that Hong Kong action mindset and how different is it, of course, from the Western action films that you do?
Yeah, I started out in Hong Kong action films and then I didn’t go back there for quite sometime. I went back to do Wolf Warrior with Wu Jing in 2013. I had kind of forgotten how difficult it was and how much was expected and that was an awakening and I haven’t forgotten the Wolf Warrior experience between then and now so I knew what I was in for and I knew I was going to work with Yuen Wo Ping again who is one of the best to ever do it and Donnie Yen who is one of the best to ever do it also. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy nor should it be and I was ready for the challenge and yeah I’m very happy with what we did.
7) Now we have to talk about the epic fight between you and Donnie because that’s the one thing that everyone wanted to see so talk about it going in. How was it and how did it develop, and of course talk about what Donnie brought to the table.
Donnie brings years of experience as he is also an action director and he’s action directed films he wasn’t even in and he’s masterfully experienced and him and Yuen Wo Ping go way back and his first film was with Yuen Wo Ping so he started right away with him. We didn’t rehearse the fight ahead of time with any choreography which was different and you turn up that day and they show you with a little rehearsal and then you do it with Donnie Yen himself and you better be on your toes and ready because you know he will be. I’ve been doing this for many years and I know what needs to be done. You have to be able to remember complex choreography very quickly and be able to replicate it at a high speed and that’s the job really.
8) Now I interviewed an old friend of yours, Dominiquie Vandenberg, a few days ago and I’ve also talked to Mark Dacascos and I’ve been asking all you guys because I’m a martial artist in my 40’s as well so I wanted to ask you also from a younger age till now, how has training in general or prepping for a film changed after all these years?
I think that what you don’t realize at a younger age when you’re doing this stuff is that you have an expiration date on your joints (laughs) but when your a kid you just smash it up around stupidly. I did whatever I wanted and just trained really hard and I’ve always enjoyed the training. I think if I had to do it again I wouldn’t have exhausted myself as much as I did or much more then you needed to. You know, there’s aches and pains that need to be taken care of but I think I’m doing alright, I’m doing pretty good. Actually, I heard Donnie talk about this recently and he said he felt like a train that has been derailed with many injuries but it still had a very strong engine. I understood where he was coming from.
9) Next I wanted to talk to you about the overall theme of the film. It takes place in the 60’s and it deals with racial tension. How is it relevant even today and how important is it for people to see a film like this that deals with such weighty subject matter?
Well there’s a trade war going on with China right now and things aren’t great between the two countries. Relationships probably aren’t the best so there’s that. Yeah America in the 60’s had a lot of growing up to do and unfortunately it’s still there in some respects. Wilson the director wanted to make a comment on what he was seeing from the outside looking in from another country looking at America. You know like how Trump was dealing with immigration and things like that. It’s the age old saying and hopefully you see my character and how small minded he is and how bigoted he is and see him spouting out the nonsense that he says when he’s talking to the troops and you realize that isn’t how you want to be and the world will be a better place without that sort of thing. You know, that small minded thinking.
10) Now lets change the subject a little bit now and talk about the upcoming The Debt Collector 2 which you just shot. Now as everybody knows at the end of the first movie you and Louis Mandylor were in pretty bad shape. Now, of course, we are all excited about it but how did the sequel come about and how did your characters survive all that? (Laughs)
Here’s the thing. I was disappointed with how we ended the first movie and once we made it and edited the film together in my opinion and I don’t speak for Jesse Johnson as I think he has a different take on it but to me I thought we made a mistake and that we shouldn’t kill the two characters. Now my character, he didn’t die, you never see him die. I think we made a mistake and what we’re doing and I hope the audience will be on board with this is that they’ll be OK with it and we’re saying that Louis’ injuries were bad but somehow he made it through and that he’s been in a coma for sometime and my character French thinks that he is dead and one day Sue turns up and he’s alive and Tommy (Vladimir Kulich) took good care of him and hid him away from the people that wanted him dead. He’s been able to pull through and he died twice actually on the operating table but he was able to pull through and my charcter pulled through. We’re kind of rewriting what happened at the end of the last movie in the beginning of this film and we hope everyone goes along with it and the audience is going to be in for a good ride again with this one.
11) Now I wanted to ask you about the rumblings we’ve been hearing about a possible Undisputed TV series. I saw that you shared a post on social media about it but I also read that you were saying that it’s probably not going to happen. Can you comment on that at all?
I shouldn’t have shared that on my Facebook page and that was my fault as the interview had different things discussed but the headline was about Boyka and that was my fault. It’s by far not a done deal and we are not there yet with a TV deal and so that’s what is happening.
12) Fair enough, now worries. Now besides The Debt Collector 2 can you share any news about any other projects coming soon? Maybe Accident Man 2?
I hope I don’t jinx it but we’re about to start Accident Man 2 so I’m really excited for that.Yeah, next month we will start Accident Man 2 and you can expect many more zany adventures with Mike Fallon with even more colorful assassins and even more comedy this time around so I’m really excited to get started on that.
13) Now I really wanted to ask you this next question when I got to talk to you again. In this day and age especially with the type of films that you do and with streaming being a big thing can you talk about that because I think these services help get the films to a wider audience, so can you give us your take on the streaming and do they help?
I think you’re absolutley right. I think they do bring them to a wider audience. I think people are certainly seeing my films because of it and they are certainly more accessable. The budgets continue to shrink so nothing has changed there and there’s no guarantee that you’re going to get like a Netflix deal unless you already have a deal with them which most people don’t. They are still going to make films with lower budgets but hopefully it will turn a profit but if it doesn’t go on Netflix or any other service, you’re going to have to make the film with the budget you have which means you don’t have the time that you once had to do the action sequences and you know if you’re making an action film, you need the time to do it right and make it look good. We don’t have that most of the time but people like me have somehow found a way to pull it off but it’s at the expense of bones and muscles and all the rest of it and it’s not easy.
14) Now we kind of talked about this before for Accident Man with that being a comic book movie but with all the big budgeted CGI films coming out, how imortant is it to keep the old school kick ass action vibe alive. I mean like keeping it traditional with real stunts and action like in the glory days years ago.
Absolutely! Keep it real, keep it real. Keep it in camera. When you watch someone doing it for real and you know it’s for real, people appreciate that. Listen, I think filmmakers should only make films for themselves. You can’t try to predict what audiences want to see and you need to make the movie that you want to see and hopefully the audience will be with you and it will be in line with the masses. The movies that I make are probably not in line with the masses but I do know that a lot of people appreciate them so I’m going to continue to make the films that I want to see. They are hard hitting, character driven, real action movies with none of the CGI but I do appreciate those types of films but you know if I was handed the opportunity of course I’m not stupid but I do appreciate real action so for me I’d rather watch John Wick or Tom Cruise in Mission:Impossible which are films with real stunts so I appreciate those films as well. I think there’s a real interest for CGI type films and I think the younger audiences really are into watching them because they’ve grown up with them. Do they care about the way it used to be done knowing what they know? I don’t know but hopefully they’re going to see my movies and appreciate them and what you’re seeing is the real deal and it’s done in camera with real people and not computers.
15) Now you mentined John Wick. With a director like Chad Stahelski doing it now why the Hell haven’t you been in one of those films? (Laughs) I can’t think of a better person then yourself to go up against Baba Yaga.
Yeah, you’d have to ask Chad (laughs). Listen, I’m sure that if the right character came up, I’m sure he would love to have me on board but he has a vision and he’s going to use the right actor but you’d be hard pressed to find a better martial arts actor that can act better then me (laughs). But the bottom line is I’d love to do one and work with Chad and Keanu and he knows where I am if he wants me.
16) Now I have my favorite films of yours, do you ever for one watch your own films?
I do obviously when they’re close to being finished and they’re in post production and then when they’re finished I’ll probably watch them a few times and then never watch them again.
17) OK, now do you have a personal favorite out of all the ones you did or because you had a great time on set?
Well, of course, Boyka and Mike Fallon are the closest to me and I appreciate how popular Boyka is around the world and when I hear people shout Boyka in the streets. Obviously that has a big impact on me and Mike Fallon, the Accident Man, because I grew up reading the comic book and now I’m the actual on screen version of him which is cool. Honestly, making The Medallion was enjoyable because I was young and I was in Thailand with a bunch of British martial arts lads and making a martial arts movie with Jackie Chan and geting into a bunch of shenanigans with a bunch of Brits (laughs).
18) Next, I wanted to ask you because like I said people have the stars that they want to see together on screen fighting but do you have one that you haven’t starred with yet that you would love to collaborate with?
Of all the big stars, I think I’ve done all of them but there are lesser known people that I appreciate because of their skill. I think Bren Foster is very talented and I think he would be a good one. He’s very good.
Cool! He’s definitely a good one…
Now Mark Dacascos! I’d love to work with Mark Dacascos actually.
19) Absolutely! Now in closing I wanted to ask you, you’re a family man, a martial artist, an actor and filmmaker. Now when it’s all said and done, what do you want people to remember you as. What do you want for your legacy?
I mean there’s so much more that I want for myself and I feel there’s so much more for me to accomplish but sometimes I look back at everything that I’ve done and I say WOW! I did it. I just want people to know that guy, man he made some good action movies and with all the struggles and what I accomplished with the budgets that we had and the small schedules that we had . All films are judged equally when it’s all said and done whether it’s a $150 million dollar Bond movie or one of my movies. I won’t tell you what the budget is but you can guess it’s a lot less than that but ultimately these films are judged together and they probably shouldn’t be really but that’s the world we live in. Like Avengement which was shot in 17 days and to have so much action in it and to have a great story and the performance that I give. I just hope people can recognize the hard work and dedication from everyone that goes into making these films. You know 17 days so I hope I get the opportunity to have a proper budget and time to really show people what I can do.
Well, I’ve always been an advocate of you being the star of bigger budgeted films and being the leading man. You’ve had smaller roles in them but you definiteley deserve to headline them. In terms of the action genre, you’re one of the top tier in the business and I thank you for all the countless hours of enjoyment that you have given me. You bring it everytime and like I’ve always said from 2003 when I first saw you in Special Forces, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and you just get better and better so I say thank you sir.
Thanks John, I really appreciate that and listen mate, they’ll be many more to come. I’m not slowing down one bit. Listen, I read all the articles and I appreciate all your support so I say thank you mate.
Make sure to follow Scott on social media for all the latest updates!
Ip Man 4: The Finale is now playing in China and hits select cinemas in North America on December 25th! Read our Action-Flix Approved Review here: https://action-flix.com/2019/12/20/review-donnie-yen-gives-fans-one-last-kung-fu-hoorah-in-the-brutal-and-touching-ip-man-4-the-finale/