By Ali Upham, DVDReview
(UK), February 2008
DVD Review haven't seen your
latest directing effort, Missionary Man, yet. What's it
It's a modern Western.
I came up with this concept because I thought if I set it today,
on an Indian reservation, it wouldn't be as expensive as a period
piece, but it uses some of the same storyu elements as a period
Western. A stranger rolls into town on a motorbike, and he goes
to a funeral of a local Native Indian who ends up helping his
family against thugs who're terrorising the town. But as the
film progresses you realise that he's not there for that puropse,
he's there to get revenge, to get redemption for something that
happened a long time ago...
Who would you say influenced
you as a director?
Clint Eastwood has a
great, simplistic style. It never fails to amaze me how he's
so economical with his editing, his storytelling. Especially
in post-production, when you want to keep tinkering with your
picture, but I hear stories about him where his editors'll show
him the cut and he'll turn round and say, (Does pretty good
Clint impersonation) "I think we're done then."
(laughs). He knows if you mess with it too much it loses
something special, that X-factor.
Would you think about a full-time
move from acting to directing?
It would be nice to do
that. I've acted in about 40 movies, mostly in the action genre
and you end up playing similar characters al the time, whereas
as a director you can have more fun on the other side of the
lens. I think you can express yourself better as a director.
Back in the '80's an action
hero had to be built like a concrete outhouse. What do you make
of today's heroes?
It change. The movies
today have to be smarter, more unpredictible and the people expect
that, and as a filmmaker you've got to try and keep them guessing.
I don't think they're as fascinated with the individual. In the
'80's it was all about Sly and Arnold - he was Mr Universe, he
was actually really physical, a top athlete - but the most important
thing these days is that the guy is a good actor.
Do you still do a lot of training?
I haven't slacked off
that much. I still lift almost as much as I used to 20 years
ago. And I spar. Of course, you get a little slower, but I like
that challenge of getting hit and not making things too easy
for yourself. I'm trying to keep it up, not just for my job but
also to feel good.
You used to do loads of your
own stunts. Do you still like to get stuck in?
Yeah! On the last movie
I didn't have a stunt double, because I wanted to use the money
for something else. I'm not going to do crazy stuff like setting
myself on fire or doing high-falls but I did things like that
when I was younger and less smart (laughs). I still try to do
as much as I can. I think the audience like to feel the actor
in there, especially in my case as they've seen it in the pst
and they expect it to be old school.
Sylvester Stallone made his
comeback this year. What do you think of Rocky Balboa?
Like everyone else I
was sceptical when I first heard about it, but I thought he did
a good job. I think that the world is getting so fast now that
people appreciate old-school stuff things that they've seen when
they were kids, names like Rambo and Rocky. And
if the filmmaker does a decent job then people are going to see
The new Rambo movie
looks like a proper old-school action flick!
I've used that myself,
and I think Stallone's madea wise choice to make it pretty violent
and realistic, because if you kill someone its not a pretty sight.
Some recent movies are so sterile and impersonal that people
shoot a lot of fast camerawork, you don't really see what happens.
You don't feel it.
Your first movie, was the
1985 Bond film A View to a Kill. What do you make of the
gritty updating of the Bond franchise?
I think it was good.
Look, I'm a fan of the old Bond movies too, especially the Sean
Connery movies, because he certainly had that air of actually
being a dangerous guy - you actually believed he could kill somebody.
And that's important, that sets some action leads apart form
others, it adds a bit of an edge, a mean streak. And then with
the newer Bond they've tried to bring that back, I enjoyed it.
MISSIONARY MAN IS OUT 4TH
FEBRUARY ON REGION 2, COURTESY OF SONY PICTURES HOME ENTERTAINMENT.