Damoiseau, Paris/Los Angeles, January 10th, 2008
PLAY AUDIO INTERVIEW
For you, a last-minute
exclusive INTERVIEW with
Ivan Drago, He-Man, The Punisher,
and the "Universal Soldier" altogether: the
Swedish "action specialist" DOLPH LUNDGREN himself
Only a couple of days ago,
thanks to Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and their publicist
company, and for the first time, a 15 mins interview has been
set up with DOLPH LUNDGREN himself, exclusively for the Dolph
Ultimate Guide website.
Currently in L.A. for promotional
press junket, and with his usual modesty, Dolph Lundgren shares
his enthusiasm for the website, and discusses the genesis and
work on his new and long awaited directorial and starring effort,
Dolph Lundgren: Hey, Jeremie.
Jeremie Damoiseau: Hi, how
Good, good, it's good to finally talk to you...
JD: Yes, because you know
I'm talking representing the dolph-ultimate website that I do... Yeah I know, I spoke
to Blaine earlier this morning, he said you were gonna call so
he said Im excited because, I don't think we've ever
spoken but, thanks for doing such a good job!
Thank you, actually this is
something the fans ask often about you is whether or not sometimes
you visit the site or the forum you know maybe under a fake name
or something?! Well maybe we can work
on that you know. Maybe what we could do is, since I got you
on the line, we could set up a call, with Johan Pramell, you
know I'll set up a conference call or something, to talk about
it because, I'll really think you're doing a great job and I
wanna see how we can work together so, I'll email him and I'll
ask him to talk to you, to set up a conference call, maybe like
to see how I can participate a little bit on the site you know...
OK so, is there anything else you wanna ask about Missionary
Man, for your website?
Yes, definitely I've got a
couple of questions together so, don't hesitate to stop me if
it goes a little long... OK, no problem!
So first of all I wanted to
know how did you came up with the story and the subject matter? Well I wanted to do a
western, because I directed two movies before and I like westerns,
I think it's a good to learn your skills as a director so I came
up with an idea to do sort of a modern western, and set on an
Indian reservation, because that way it's a bit old fashioned
and it has western themes but that way it's cheaper than doing
a period piece. By using motorcycles instead of horses you know,
it's even simpler because the horses are difficult to put into
movies you know with handlers, heavy and all that stuff, trucks!
But bikes are pretty easy they just need... once in a while put
some gasoline... you know.
Once I came up with it, then I tried to come up with a sort classic
western revenge redemption story with a little mystery that would
go along those lines, that theme, and then that's how the story
And did put some research
into it, because I think you're very fond of history and politics,
and that maybe you liked to something about the Indian theme? Yes, I like the Indian
theme, I love the history of the Indians and, you know unfortunately,
because of the contemporary nature of the picture it wasn't really..
you know, I couldn't fit all the history and all this stuff in
there about the Indians that I wanted to, but maybe in a picture
in the future I could, deal with the theme a little better I
mean I tried to fit some of the contemporary situations they're
in on reservations into the piece. But I also love the history
like you said so, at some point that would be fun to make a historical
picture, a period piece, about the American Indians...
Absolutely. And I also believe
that somehow it came up as some kind of homage to pictures with
like Clint Eastwood or Charles Bronson, and maybe Kurosawa's
Yojimbo or some pictures like that? That's correct, yeah
I like those old movies, and I think you know also when you're
trying to learn a craft, I've only directed two movies I don't
have any formal education as a director, I just starred in 30
movies but... Yeah what you do is obviously you end up, sort
of taking the good things out of pictures you like, directors
you like and, try to do your own version of it... And one particular
thing that, you know, that's different in the old movies is that
usually the hero was pretty quiet and, didn't try to get in fights
and was kind of you know, almost shy, never sort of, boasted
about his skills but, in a lot of modern movies the good guys
usually kind of talk of more and is more kind of, anxious to
beat people up all the time. I keep it the old [way]...
Yes I agree. So you came up
with the script, and I guess you wrote it, along with someone
else, how is the writing process for you? Well, I'm actually writing
a script right now, another script, a movie I'd like to direct
about an assassin, because I wanted to play a bad guy, I haven't
done it for a while... Well the writing process is kind of tedious,
and I've... you know it's like a love-hate thing I have with
writing, I mean I like work on the character and I know that
it's... budget... you work on the script yourself as the director,
then you know the piece inside out, you thought about how you
wanna shoot it and why you're doing certain things, that you
can afford it and you know things working... it's actually becoming
more satisfying, now to work on screenplays than it used to,
and I kind of learned to trust my instincts more, even thought
I like to listen people's comments but it have to speak to my
own intuition a little bit because you know I am the own responsible
to make the movie and deliver it, and for the fans to enjoy it,
and so forth so... but the writing isn't so bad like it used
to, I used to hate it but now I like it a little more...
So once you wrote you got
the script, apparently you were keen to co-produce it yourself
rather than going to a studio like Nu Image or, some other companies
Yeah, that was my initial plan but, what happened is... Screen
Gems, Sony Screen Gems who, had distributed my other picture
The Russian Specialist (The Mechanik), they came
to me and they wanted me to direct a picture for them and, I
gave them this idea and they liked it so, actually Andrew Stevens
ended up producing for Screen Gems so... I still didn't produce
it so, that's still something I have to do in the future, I have
a couple of things I'm trying to put together and [find] financing
for but it's difficult. I think the most challenging thing in
the film business, is not acting or directing it's producing.
Those guys are really... they got a hard job and there's a lot
of pressure there and, I don't know if I'm ready for it yet but
maybe, in the future I'll produce something...
Well, especially if you're
already directing and writing and the star of it, it's definitely
Yeah, I think the reason actors who direct, end up producing
is because they wanna control where the money goes. And they
wanna put it on screen, they wanna give the picture and the budget,
the most bangs for the bucks, they really live the project and
they care about it, so they wanna control all aspects of it so
I supposed maybe in the future I'll do it too. [coughs] Excuse-me.
The one thing I wanted to
ask you, now that you've directed several pictures and it's something
that has been successful so far is: how do you approach directing,
in regards to communicating your vision to your crew, your cinematographer,
production designer and even your music composer?
Well, my work on Missionary Man was pretty good, was I
sort of made a visual presentation I worked on for a while, I
had the luxury of working on it because, for while nobody knew
about it so, with an art director I put together a a visual presentation
using photos of my other movies, stuff from the Internet and
pictures of myself, doing storyboards, like a 20-pages booklet.
Yeah, I think Andrew Stevens
put it on-line, I saw it, it looks really good. Thanks, yeah you know
actually I think the French distributors are using part of that
artwork for the box, DVD box. I like it myself too, it's a bit
artsy but you know, maybe too artsy for some markets but for
the French market it can be good. That's one way of doing it,
and the way is to show other movies, hopefully in the next picture
I'll have the luxury of having a little more time for production
design and art direction to sort of create, a bit of a world,
like a separate little world where the characters live. That's
what I'd like to try to do, you know because of the time and
budget constraints it's been a little bit difficult but, hopefully,
next picture I can take those parameters.
One thing I noticed, for instance
in The Mechanik and that I really appreciated is that,
there was a really genuine look, and even the Russian extras,
they looked genuine and had a life of their own...
Well thank you, you know I try. They say God is in the
details, and I guess, if you have a smaller movie, you
have to pay attention to the details because, that's what you
can deliver to the audiences, you can deliver a certain, integrity.
Maybe on a bigger movie a lot of people involved, they sometimes
don't take the time, they don't have to take the time because
they got bigger action scenes and more stuff going on and the
audience don't have the chance to see the [...] characters. Thank
you I appreciate that, you know I hope I can, keep that up in
the future really, thank you.
Yeah, we all do and, actually
this is a bit of trivia but, it seems you're bringing back motorcycles
in your movies...
Alright, you're right about that, in my next picture too [laugh]!
That's a good idea! In my next movie too, motorcycles and quiet
guys who don't try to be too tough, just are tough. It's like
in real life, a guy you gotta watch is a guy who doesn't talk
too much. The guys who use their mouth are usually the ones danger,
guys who are quiet are the tough ones, I try to keep that reality
a little bit in my characters too...
It's also [...]in the martial
Yeah you're right the martial arts spirit, it comes with the
martial arts as well. With the traditional martial arts of course,
you're taught those samurai ideals to be respectful, quiet, not
to make noise... because anything you say you have back out from
force usually. I think to some extent it has been lost a little
bit in movies, that's a little different now but... Look, there's
place for everybody so I'm trying to stick with those old fashioned
ideas for a little bit, just trying to shoot it in modern ways.
Yeah and you know, obviously
you have your following so it's working good.
You're helping me to get it. Anyway look, I'd love to talk to
you in the next couple of days here maybe since I just spoke
to you now and since you're in Paris and I'm here in L.A. for
a while. I'll get the email and I'll send you an email, I'll
hook that up with Johan in Sweden, and we can just have a general
discussion about the website and then, take it from there...
Sure, yes, I really appreciate
it, I'm really happy we could have this interview, it's a good