Scott Adkins Interview: Criminal on DVD/Blu-ray And The Ukranian Ben Affleck

I was excited to see Scott Adkins show up in Criminal. I of course follow his work intimately from the Ninja, Undisputed and Universal Soldier films to the latest, Close Range. Criminal is Kevin Costner’s film, but they still need a tough guy to look good in a suit chasing him and that’s where Adkins comes in.

Costner plays a sociopathic convict who is given the memories of a secret agent (Ryan Reynolds) who died in the field. Of course they can’t control the criminal, so agents like Adkins and Alice Eve have to chase after him. Criminal is on DVD and Blu-ray now and I got to catch up with Adkins about his latest film.

Available Now

Available Now

It seems like you’re busier than ever, not only showing up in Criminal. Have you been?

I try to say busy. I like to work. I think it’s really hard for me to turn down jobs but I do turn down jobs. I only take the ones that I’m passionate about. I’m passionate about working really.

Well, I was really excited to see you show up in Criminal.

Yeah, thanks. It was great to be part of it, to be around those wonderful actors and to act and play with them. It was great.

I imagine the audience who usually goes to see Kevin Costner movies don’t know how tough you are like I do.

That’s fine. We don’t want them all to know. That way I can play different roles.

Was Criminal a case of Millennium taking care of you because you starred in some of their other films and they threw you a role in this?

Yeah, definitely. They like me. I’ve obviously got a history with them. It was shooting in the UK and I live in the UK so they think about what actors they know. “Scott’s there, we’re not going to have to fly him out and put him in a hotel.” Actually, they did put me in a hotel but they look after me. I’ve got a great relationship with those guys at Millennium. Obviously we did Boyka last year and I’m sure I’ll do some more stuff with them.

It was in England. Was it close to home for you for the most part?

It was shooting in London. I live in Birmingham which is two hours north. So when I was working I’d be in a hotel. When I had time off I could go back adn see the family which is always great because obviously if I’m in a different country, I can’t do that. Always if there’s an opportunity to work in the U.K., if I have two films I’m offered and one was in the U.K. and they were both similar, I would take the U.K. one so I can be with the family a bit more.

Did they still make you audition even though they knew your work?

I auditioned for the director, not for the producers. Obviously a matter of courtesy to do it for the director, Ariel [Vromen]. I came in and auditioned for Ariel and he was suitably impressed and was happy to give me the role.

Do you remember what scene they had you do?

It was the opening scene, the stuff with Ryan’s character. There was more dialogue. Stuff gets cut out here and there, scenes get changed around by the time you shoot it, but that was the crux of it really.

Of course it looks like a very difficult movie for Kevin. Compared to what you’ve had to do in other movies, was Criminal relatively easy for you?

Obviously physically it was a lot easier than it normally is for me. It was little bits here and there. There was down time. You get to relax. There’s not as much stress or pressure of having to be in every day and perform. You can just be up to speed with what you need to do for the coming week. Yeah, a lot easier but generally on a bigger film it’s a lot easier even if you’re the lead because you have more time to do stuff. So it’s always a bit more comfortable.

You’ve always been able to do roles in big Hollywood movies like Bourne, Wolverine and Zero Dark Thirty, and do your own films where you get to do martial arts. Have you been doing a lot more of the Hollywood movies lately? I also saw The Brothers Grimsby. We know you’re in Doctor Strange for Marvel.

Yeah, I want to do more A-list movies if you want to call them that, more studio pictures. Of course oftentimes I’m offered a supporting role rather than the lead because I’m not Matt Damon. I’m not at that point. Yeah, I want to do more of those sorts of films but also I don’t want to turn down the stuff that’s gotten me to this point. Listen, I would love to be starring in action movies with a bigger budget. Hopefully that day will still come but the reality is I need some studio to take a bit of a chance on me. It’s a tough business. I’m just trying my best.

It cracked me up in Brothers Grimsby when Sacha Baron Cohen called you the Ukranian Ben Affleck. Did he run that line by you beforehand?

Well, he improvises and he said different things. He probably just came out of it at once. I didn’t think much of it at the time. He’s calling me various other names. That was the one they went with. I think it’s going to stick with me now. I think I’m stuck with Ukranian Ben Affleck, bastards.

Or maybe Ben has to be the American Scott Adkins.

Yeah, he can come and be my butt double or something for one of my movies.

Did you crack up when he said it?

I enjoyed it. We did a lot of improvisation. Before I had the fight with him, we did quite a bit of improvisation. It’s unfortunate it didn’t make it into the movie because they did show me a cut. I thought it was pretty funny but with a comedy film, you want to keep the runtime down. It’s no good having a two hour movie so that’s one of the things that got left on the cutting room floor, but it was a good experience.

In Jarhead 3 I was impressed what an impeccable American accent you do.

Oh brilliant. Thanks for saying that. I try my best. I went for a little bit of a Texan drawl on that one just to mix it up a little bit.

What are you shooting right now?

I’m shooting a film called Savage Dog with the director Jesse Johnson. We have Marko Zaror, Cung Le, Juju Chan, Vladimir Kulich. We’re just coming to the end of that shoot at the moment.

So we’ve got Hard Target 2, Boyka and Savage Dog coming up. Sounds like we still have a lot more Scott Adkins to see this year.

Yeah, I hope people don’t get sick of me because I’m cranking them out.

You keep bringing it so we don’t get sick of it.

I give 100% every time, believe me. I feel privileged to be in this position. There are times when I want more for myself but I can look back at where I am, the dreams I had when I was younger. I’m definitely living the dream and that is not wasted on me. I give 100% every time.

And now people who see Criminal will know you’re a tough guy too.

Yeah, the whole backstory there that you try and create, my character I felt had a crush on Alice Eve’s character. She was having a little affair with Ryan Reynolds probably so I was playing on some things like that which you wouldn’t necessarily know but you can feel that as you’re watching it that there’s a little bit extra going on. That’s what it’s all about really.

That’s fun. They let you do that?

Well, they don’t even have to know that I’m doing it. That’s for me to know in my head.

Did Alice know?

I don’t know. No, she didn’t know. That’s my motivation as a character. That’s part of my backstory. Just don’t tell my wife.

Well, she knows it’s acting.

It’s Pete Greensleeves, not Scott Adkins. You’ve just got to understand it’s Pete Greensleeves.

The Brothers Grimsby Blu-ray Review: Most Expensive D*ck Joke Ever

The Brothers Grimsby is in my top 10 for the year. This sort of inappropriate comedy done right should be celebrated. It commits so hard to being inappropriate and never backs down, even if it’s not for you, you should appreciate how it does what it does on an aesthetic level.

91xthOlOkDL._SL1500_I got a MacGrubery vibe which you should know is high praise. It’s taboo, it’s politically incorrect, it’s disrespectful and all with a love for the buttons it’s pushing. They had me at the Daniel Radcliffe joke. I could not believe how it kept going. I feel the filmmakers love and celebrate Radcliffe and it’s an honor to be the most wholesome star they could put in this situation.

Or maybe I’m overanalyzing. Maybe it’s just the most expensive dick jokes ever. No actor sells a tea bagging like Mark Strong. It tops the rhino scene in Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls and the elephant scene in Freddy Got Fingered. I realize those are both movies people don’t like so I get it, maybe that’s not a selling point. Or maybe The Brothers Grimsby is taking it back!

The Brothers Grimsby looks like real spy movie and the Mark Strong action is incredible. Ilya Naishuller advised on the first person sequences and it shows. It’s not a Hardcore Henry ripoff because first person is incorporated into a larger sequence. It also fulfills the legacy of Hardcore Henry because filmmakers like Louis Leterrier can use it as a tool and build on it. They properly utilize Scott Adkins as a villain too. Adkins gets to kick and Sacha Baron Cohen’s insult to him made me laugh out loud. It’s kind of true in a way that lovingly roasts my hero Adkins.

The Blu-ray looks as great as any James Bond movie. Not like a Bourne movie because it actually lets it’s scenes be colorful. It’s international with epic sights in Africa and Chile. It’s also part British pub comedy so it can be dingy, greasy and sweaty.

The gag reel shows a stunt dummy land in an incredible position. Alternate lines and deleted scenes are not as funny as what made the cut although to see the elephant scene go on even longer is sort of a performance art piece. Behind the scenes show incredible craftsmanship going into some of the basest jokes. Thats why The Brothers Grimsby works, because those ridiculous absurd jokes are given the same gravitas as a “serious” action movie.

Franchise Fred Review: Alice Through the Looking Glass – A Glassterpiece

Disney has had a hot streak. Zootopia, Jungle Book and Civil War all winners. Alice Through the Looking Glass may end up overshadowed by them, but it’s still great.

I’m surprised Lewis Carroll didn’t write more sequels. Wonderland has infinite possibilities. Go back to that well! But hopefully the movies can visit Wonderland more than twice. Franchise Fred approves.

Photos provided by Disney

Photos provided by Disney

Wonderland should be a place you can always visit for weird surreal shenanigans. That’s what the sequel is. The first was fairly well tied to the set pieces we know from Alice in Wonderland, as well it should. An Alice in Wonderland without the giant and shrinking Alice, Cheshire Cat and tea party would make you feel ripped off. But now we’ve done that so Looking Glass is free to make new whimsical adventures.

I quite enjoyed the spinning arms of the clock in Time (Sacha Baron Cohen)’s castle, the free fall (Point Break in Wonderland) and the vegetable people. James Bobin coordinates the chaos of Wonderland beautifully. Sequences of surreal chase are elaborate with several parties clamoring in Keystone Cops shenanigans.

Photos provided by Disney

Photos provided by Disney

I understand Johnny Depp gets top billing from the original contracts, but it’s really Mia Wasikowska’s movie. Perhaps that’s obvious because she’s Alice but with so many colorful characters, I was impressed how central the main character remained. Alice drives the adventure and everyone in Wonderland needs her. She’s a badass ship captain in the real world, so when things get surreal and time travel gets paradoxical, she acquits herself nicely.

Photos provided by Disney

Photos provided by Disney

It’s great to see the original Wonderland characters again, going more off script since we’re past Lewis Carroll now. Cohen is a great addition, playing it straight because Time truly has an important job and these weirdos are messing things up. Time itself was a clever addition to the world, because they’ve already bended reality. Might as well bend linear chronology too. Maybe next time we can go underwater. Alice in Underland, by Franchise Fred.