Exclusive Scott Adkins interview
This is an exclusive interview for scottadkinsfanz.org/co.uk so if this interview is used please give credit.
First off Thank you to Scott for doing this interview.
Ok so with The Shepherd being officially released what are your thoughts on how it turned out, with all the delays behind the scenes?Itís a big disappointment to me. Isaac, JJ and I all had high hopes that we could help deliver a return to form from Van Damme. We are all fans of his work and itís no secret that he was one of my idols, he had a huge impact on why Iím in this business and why I want to do what I do. I know that Jean Claude had been concentrating on his acting in recent films and it definitely shows but I was under the impression that this was going to be an Isaac Florentine film and considering that Undisputed 2 was his last film you would have thought that JC was going to want to go all out in the fights, it was a perfect opportunity for him to combine his unquestionable talents with the rest of us and make an action movie we could all be proud of. The script read like an exciting action ride so that is what we wanted to make it. First of all, we are working in the low budget end of film making. The reason why Isaac can deliver such exciting cinema on small budgets is that he likes to use fight scenes. When you have gun fights and explosions and car chases it all eats into the budget and what sounds great in a script is very difficult to execute without time and money and we definitely didnít have time and money on this one. Itís much easier with this type of film to concentrate on the fights but I think there were too many cooks in the kitchen and different people had different ideas of what kind of film we were actually making. Originally Isaac wanted me to play Meyers but there was a lot of opposition from various corners so I opted to take the role of Karp as long as they beefed up the part and gave him all the fights. The original script was much different and had a scene where Karp is forced to take on two of his own men; it was to be a very exciting fight scene, two against one. By the time I got to Bulgaria the whole scene was cut. Also the action scene I have outside the barn was reduced to about two hours of filming time and there was lots of opposition for us to do that properly. The action at the start of the film was done at around 5 in the morning so that wasnít ideal either. Ultimately I donít think Isaac got to make the movie he wanted to make and I certainly didnít because my character didnít really have much else to do bar fighting and that wasnít what I signed up for.
So are you happy with the end fight between you and Jean Claude?That is the biggest disappointment, it had been choreographed ahead of time by JJ, it was huge. I was very excited and it had the makings of being one of the best fights of JCís career, it would have lasted around 7 minutes. We wanted my character to be flashy and cocky with his legs in this one, a Tae Kwon Do guy. This is why Iím clocking JC with so many kicks at the beginning of the fight. Van Damme was going to figure me out and systematically take my legs away from me and end up breaking my back. It became clear that Jean Claude didnít like the style of fighting we had created and he ended up finishing the fight only a third of the way in and having him take me out rather quickly. Thereís not a lot I can do about it but if Iím known for anything itís exciting fight scenes, and Iím not used to doing a third of a fight and then throwing the towel in. Basically the fight is too short because Van Damme decided not to do it. I know he doesnít like to do much fighting these days but he really had an opportunity to do something great with this fight. Heís one of my biggest inspirations and I respect him in many ways but I truly believe that if heíd listened to us and let us do our thing we wouldíve had a much better movie. I donít know why a martial arts star will do a film with Isaac Florentine and not want to do martial arts. The script was written as a fun action ride and we should have backed it up with decent fights but we were never given the chance.
Is it true that Isaac did not get to edit the movie?Isaac did not get to finish editing the movie; he was removed from the project. I donít know what the real reason is for this I Iím not sure Isaac does either. I believe that Isaacís version would have been the best but ultimately there were too many problems with the film whilst we were shooting it so weíll never know. I look forward to getting the chance to work with Isaac and JJ in the future so you can see what weíre really capable of.
So everything that was filmed for the fight is up there on the screen?Yes. It was just very short, that is why there is a lot of post production slow motion used, because the fight was just too short anyway. There is an odd edit where I kick JC and you see him already on his back and I think this is because you could tell that it wasnít JC flying through the air onto his back. Itís a shame because I finished off the move with a dragon kip back onto my feet. It looked cool. Ultimately I think itís a great shame that JC didnít trust us enough to let us do our thing, I think weíve proved that we know what weíre doing and we could have made something spectacular.
You worked on one of the biggest films of 2007 The Bourne Ultimatum. What was the experience like working on such a high profile movie?It was strange to be honest. I auditioned for the part on a Thursday, was told I had the job on Saturday and was flying off to Madrid on the Sunday. I didnít know what the role was or what it really entailed and I found myself filming the first shot without having even met Paul Greengrass yet. It was a great experience though and Iím happy to be a part of such a successful franchise, even if it is only small. I canít say enough about Matt Damon, he was extremely down to earth and a consummate professional.
"STAG NIGHT" What type of role do you have in this film? i do know that your character is soley based on acting.Stag Night is a horror film and I play one of four guys that get trapped underground in a disused 1950ís subway. Turns out weíre not the only ones down there. Itís a straight acting role which shouldnít be a surprise to anyone because I started off working in British TV.
You recently worked on The Tournament and got to film with Kelly Hu in a fight scene, how did this go and was you worried about doing an intense fight scene with a woman?Well Iím not sexist or anything but it is much harder working with a woman because it makes you hold back in case you do hit them. If Iím fighting Mike Jai then I can go all out but with a pretty little thing like Kelly it does freak you out a bit. She was great though and I think The Tournament movie is going to do very well. It looks great and has a great cast and you can expect to see it at your local cinema late 2008. Actually Kim Chiang, Kellyís stunt double is the best stunt woman I have ever worked with. Sheís fantastic.
With ďUndisputed IIĒ and ďThe TournamentĒ, people have commented on how you can transform yourself greatly into a character. Do you find this a challenge? Also does a lot of preparation go into doing these types of characters?There was a lot of reservation about me being able to pull off the character in Undisputed 2 at first and now I get lots of people wanting me to recreate that part. They really wanted Boyka for The Tournament but I decided I wanted to play the guy in The Tournament more like a grizzly bear type. I wanted to make him Irish but the director was too scared to give me that opportunity so I ended up having to make him a Russian as well. Iím in danger of getting type cast as a bearded Russian but the upside is at least I can walk the streets and not get recognized.
Moving back now to Undisputed 2 which now has a cult following with martial arts fans, were you surprised with the response this film received?I was very happy with the way New Line promoted it in the States, there was actually talk of trying to get the UFC to back it but they didnít think it spread the right kind of message for Mixed Martial Arts which I agree with, as the UFC has had its battles with the sport being thought of as too violent. I could be wrong but I think we were the first movie to really showcase mixed martial arts and I think part of that is why it was received so well. Also itís definitely a throwback to the old 80ís early 90ís films like Bloodsport which I think people miss. At the end of the day I think a lot of the success is because people want to see actors who can be completely believable in these kinds of roles and thatís because we are real martial artists and are not just pretending to be.
You worked with Michael Jai White in Undisputed 2 who is also an awesome martial artist, what was it like to work with Michael?It was fantastic and I would love to do it again. Heís a real martial artist, no doubt, but he completely understands the difference with film fighting. Itís worth mentioning again that we didnít have the luxury of time on this movie and itís because we worked well together that we were able to pull it off.
Also did he get frustrated with not being able to kick in this film?He did yes but he stuck to his character which is great. I was getting to do all the flashy stuff and there were times in between takes where heíd be throwing a few kicks to get it out of his system I think. Youíll get to see him let loose in his next movie Blood & Bone.
Isaac Florentine, JJ Perry and yourself have now built up a great reputation in whatever you guys do people expect it to be great. What do you think it is that has made you guys a force to be reckoned with when making films together to get this reputation from fans?Itís definitely Undisputed that has created that expectation and Iím looking forward to getting the opportunity to do it again.
Do you have new films possibly in the pipeline for this year? Will any involve you being the main character?We were all set to start shooting a film in August with Isaac at the helm, JJ choreographing and me starring but the plug was pulled at the last minute. It basically comes down to me not being a big enough star to single handily front a movie. Itís a bit of a catch 22 trying to become a star when youíre not given the opportunity but there you go.
Have you seen any martial arts/action films recently that have really impressed you?Flashpoint. And Iíll be looking forward to seeing the new Pracha Pinkeew film Chocolate. I liked Rambo a lot too.
With you using a lot of martial arts in most of your films, which martial art have you found to be most demanding? And have you been practising any new ones?I canít say I stick to one martial art, itís the art of screen fighting. I come from a Kick Boxing and Tae Kwon-Do background so a lot of that is in my style but like any martial artist these days you mix it up.
Do feel yourself and Tony Jaa have set a standard of not using wires in your fight scenes and put pressure on up and coming martial art stars who may need the use of wires in films?If you think youíre a martial arts star and you do need wires then itís time for a change of profession.
Undisputed III was pushed back, so Isaac could focus on a new film called "NINJA". Will you have any involvement with this?As far as I know the lead character will be Japanese, so no.
Can you tell us anything about Undisputed III?The story centres on Boyka as the good guy. The villain of Undisputed became the good guy in the second one so it makes sense that the villain of the second be the hero of the third. What I like about the series is that every character in it is basically a bad guy; itís just a case of whoís the lesser evil. Iím not going to give anything away but weíre basically going to put Boyka in a situation where everyone else is even more messed up in the head than he is. Weíre going to take it up a notch on this one and put him in a no holds barred fight tournament to the death. You can expect twice the amount of action in the third.
Finally do you have anything you want to say to your fans?Thanks for enjoying my work and supporting what I do. I really hope that I can get the chance to show you what I can really do in a leading role and Iíd like to thank you Nik, for your support and for making a great fan site, Iím trying my best to live up to the hype!!
Scott thank you for taking time to answer these questions and your fanz are behind you 100% in whatever your apart of in the future.