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by Jérémie Damoiseau, Paris/Los Angeles, January 10th, 2008


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, "MISSIONARY MAN".



Dolph Lundgren: Hey, Jeremie.

Jeremie Damoiseau: Hi, how are you?
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 was born.

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 like this?
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 a handful...
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 arts spirit...
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 start!
Thanks Jeremie!