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Interview: Scott Adkins For Upcoming Actioner ‘Avengement’

by Ben Read

Scott Adkins is a man of many talents. The former Birmingham-born star has come a very long way from his humble roots in the midlands. After beginning his career as a stuntman in a series of martial arts movies in the early 2000’s, Adkins has steadily progressed to acting roles in some of the biggest franchises in the world.

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From Jackie Chan’s Medallion, to The Bourne Ultimatum and The Expendables 2, Adkins has followed in the footsteps of iconic action heroes across multiple generations. As a man experienced in over 6 different types of martial arts, it’s certainly not difficult to see why Hollywood has taken notice of his action credentials. After recently appearing as a foil to Benedict Cumberbatch in Doctor Strange, and then starring in his own comic adaptation as Accident Man, Adkins returns for Avengement.

Avengement tells the gritty and bloodthirsty story of a violent criminal released from prison, who embarks on a revenge mission on the people responsible for his incarceration. We were fortunate enough to speak to Adkins about his latest crime thriller, check it out below:

THN: Firstly, congratulations on Avengement! What can you tell us about your overall experience on the film, and general thoughts on the film?

SCOTT ADKINS: I’m very proud of the film. [The director] Jesse V. Johnson had this idea that a criminal breaks out of prison to go and see his dying mother and right the wrongs of the past. It was a great idea. Me, Jesse, and [the writer] Stu Small, all got together, built it from scratch, went out there and shot it, and now we’re very proud of the results.

THN: How do you feel about becoming a leading man, and moving further into the acting side of your career?

SCOTT ADKINS: That’s a path I’ve been going down for quite a while now. I’ve always considered myself an actor first, and a martial artist second. I’ve done a lot of martial arts and action films because I’m aware that I’m good at that, and I’m also very passionate about it. I enjoy doing action films. But, I think with this film I’m getting the opportunity to play a good character, and support me as an actor. Some directors are more visual, and more focused on the camera work. But, this is all about the acting and character.

THN: Do you think that you’ll eventually start to move away from action and into more dramatic roles?

SCOTT ADKINS: No, I wont move away from it. You can’t have both. But, that’s why I like Avengement. It’s a great character piece, with a shitload of action!

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THN: After working with such legends like Jackie Chan and Sylvester Stallone, how does it feel to have progressed up the action ladder and now be a leading man?

SCOTT ADKINS: It’s been a long, windy road to be honest. I definitely wasn’t an overnight success. I started at the bottom, and I climbed my way to the top. Well, maybe not the top! [laughs]. But, one of the best action guys, I like to think. I loved being able to learn from all these actors. Filming in Hong Kong at the beginning of my career was a highlight. I was constantly learning.

THN: Was there a particular action icon who left a lasting impact on you?

SCOTT ADKINS: Stallone definitely did. Also Hugh Jackman, because he’s just such a nice guy! It’s nice to see someone that genuine in this business.

I remember working with Jackie Chan and it was incredible sitting there and watching him do 37 takes of the exact same movement. That’s quintessential Jackie Chan right there! Meeting Van Damme was also a big moment for me, because I was such a huge, huge fan growing up. Whenever you meet people you’ve idolised since you were a child, it’s always going to be a big moment.

THN: What was your experience like working on the controversial X-Men Origins: Wolverine as the first big screen incarnation of Deadpool?

SCOTT ADKINS: We basically ruined him! So that was nice. We fucked him up for almost 10 years! I just did as I was told. They basically said ‘we’re going to sew your mouth shut, give you a pair of baraka blades, put icing on your head so you look like an iced donut, make you do a few flips, shoot lasers out of your eyes, and we think people are going to love it!’ [laughs].

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THN: How familiar were you with the character prior to filming?

SCOTT ADKINS: I did my research. I read the comics, but it became apparent very quickly that they weren’t sticking to the source material. But, I can tell you there were even crazier ideas they had that didn’t get filmed. They would do naked tests on me and bring me out to see the producers. At one point I just told them ‘listen, out of respect for myself and the character, I don’t think this is going to work!’ [laughs]

THN: On a more positive note, you were still able to be part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Doctor Strange.

SCOTT ADKINS: That was a wonderful experience. Benedict Cumberbatch is another really great guy. I wish I was in it more! It’s kind of upsetting to think that’s it for me and Marvel now, because I was a huge comic reader as a child.

THN: Your fantastic Batman audition tape recently found its way online. What was the casting process like and is it a character you would still be interested in?

SCOTT ADKINS: Well, that tape was leaked. It was never meant to be seen by the public. I know for a fact that Warner Bros don’t like that sort of thing, so it’s a bit regrettable to be honest. Don’t get me wrong, I’m proud of it. I think you can see that I’d do a pretty damn good job. I’ve got the chin and kicks! [laughs]. I think I could pull it off.

I’ve just heard the news about Robert Pattinson, and good luck to him. All the power in the world to him, and I’ll be first in line on opening day. I’ve always been a huge Batman fan and I look forward to seeing what Matt Reeves is going to do. He’s such a talented filmmaker.

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THN: What can you tell us about IP Man 4 and your experience working with Donnie Yen?

SCOTT ADKINS: I’m a huge Donnie Yen fan, so I was very happy to get the call. In this film the IP Man goes to America. Which is obviously taking things quite far away from where the other films are set. I play a sergeant from an army base, who is pretty ruthless in his methods. I’m the main villain! But I wont say anymore than that. But, I’m very proud of this role.

What I like is that I get to be in what I would call a fully fledged kung fu movie. As far as kung fu franchises go, it’s the top one at the moment. So, that’s really cool.

THN: What’s it like being able to film in such great locations across the world?

SCOTT ADKINS: That’s the best part of the job to be honest. You get to see the world. I’m currently in Ukraine filming. It’s a wonderful country, with wonderful people, but I would never normally choose to come here. My job has brought me here and it’s such a beautiful thing.

THN: Can you talk about the film you’re currently working on?

SCOTT ADKINS: I’m making an espionage spy thriller along the lines of Jason Bourne called Legacy of Lies. I’m having a great time. The director is great and the films looking really good so far.

THN: Did you always want to work in the film industry growing up? And if so did you start off wanting to be an actor or a stuntman?

SCOTT ADKINS: I’ve always wanted to be an actor. My mum tells me that I was saying it when I was 3 years old. For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to be an actor. In a way, it was crippling. It was all I could think about, it was all I could dream about 24/7. But, it’s a gift. Now I realise that when you want something so bad, and you see it so clearly, that drive is a gift. A lot of people don’t really know what they want from life, but I absolutely know. It seemed like an insurmountable task, but my drive made it happen.

THN: Did you find it difficult breaking into the industry in your early days of acting?

SCOTT ADKINS: Well, I knew what I wanted, and I also had a lot of support from my parents. If I had an audition my mum would give me the money to travel down to London and do it. In between acting jobs she would give me these tapes that I had to transcribe for a market research company. That’s how I would earn money back then, and it was a bit soul destroying.

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THN: Do you have a passion project or dream role that you’d still like to be involved in?

SCOTT ADKINS: Accident Man was my dream project. It was released in 2018 and we’re actually working on a sequel right now. We’ve discussed various different ideas with writers. I’d like to write it myself, but I just don’t have the time [laughs]. So, we’ve got someone who’s far more capable than me to do it. I’m trying to take more of an active role in developing the projects I’m involved in.

THN: Are you looking to get more involved in writing and directing your projects in future?

SCOTT ADKINS: I actually wrote the first Accident Man, alongside Stu Small. I’ve also had a hand in the development of the projects I’ve worked on with Jesse, Avengement included. But, this time Stu’s writing Accident Man on his own unfortunately. I’m just too busy! I’ve been thinking quite a lot about directing. I’d like to give it a go, but it’s about finding the right project. I don’t want to direct something I’m starring in though, because the workload is just too big. Especially if it’s a short schedule, which a lot of my films are.

It was also really interesting being a producer on Accident Man, and getting to see the pre-production side of things with casting. In terms of post-production, I’d previously only come in to do ADR. So, seeing that whole process was also interesting too. I learned a lot!

It’s a brilliant business to be part of. I love it so much, and I think I’m the luckiest man in the world.

Avengement is released on digital 17th June and Blu-ray & DVD 1st July. 

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