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Interview: Scott Adkins Talks Close Range (Exclusive)

Relentlessly not giving up on your daunting targets as you strive to make a better life for you and your family can be a harrowing, but equally fulfilling, experience. Actor and martial artist Scott Adkins captivatingly proved just that with his latest action crime film, ‘Close Range,’ which is now available on VOD and iTunes, and is set to be released on Blu-ray and DVD on January 5, 2016 by XLrator Media. The movie, which reunites the performer with his ‘Undisputed’ and ‘Ninja’ director, Isaac Florentine, showcases Adkins effortlessly relying on his action experience and physicality to protect his characters’ relatives against his latest enemies.

‘Close Range’ follows Iraq war veteran-deserter Colton MacReady (Adkins) as he travels to a courthouse in Hermosillo, Mexico to rescue his estranged niece Hailey (Madison Lawlor), who has been kidnapped by a Mexican drug lords. After killing several members of the cartel, the ex-military loner takes her back to the Arizona home of her mother, Angela (Caitlin Keats), who’s his sister. But when they arrive at the secluded ranch, he soon realizes that he must once again protect his niece and sister, as Angela’s new husband, Walt (Jake La Botz), only seems interested in saving himself.

The cartel soon descends on the ranch, as drug lord Fernando Garcia (Tony Perez) and his 10 enforces are looking to reclaim an important flash drive, which contains banking information, that Colton had inadvertently stolen from them. They’re also looking for revenge, as Colton killed Fernando’s nephew. The drug cartel is aided by corrupt local Sheriff Jasper Calloway (Nick Chinlund) and his deputies, who are helping the criminals for their own benefit. But as Colton sets out to protect his loved ones and save his life, the drug cartel soon realizes that there’s no way they can defeat him.

Adkins took the time recently to talk about filming ‘Close Range’ during an exclusive interview over the phone. Among other things, the actor discussed how he was drawn to play Colton because the character would have been considered the villain in any other circumstance. But the former soldier has inadvertently been turned into an anti-hero in the film, because he’s protecting his family. He also mentioned that he feels that Florentine is the best action director in America, as he really understands the genre. The actor also noted how they have a strong working relationship because they have made several other films together, and they both understand what the other person needs.

ShockYa (SY): You star as Colton MacReady in the new action crime film, ‘Close Range.’ What was it about the character, as well as the overall script, that convinced you to take on the role?

Scott Adkins (SA): I really liked the character. He’s a bad guy, and on any other day, he would have been the villain. He’s an outlaw, and he’s not a nice guy. But due to his circumstances, he needs to protect his family, as bad things continue to happen to them. So on this particular day, he happens to become the hero, as he has to save them. The people who are after them are even worse than he is overall. So that was a great challenge to turn this guy, who’s normally a villain, into a hero.

I also liked the fact that the story takes place in one location. It helped us make a good action film, because we had some time constraints, due to the limited budget-we didn’t have to move around as much.

SY: Speaking of filming on location, the movie mainly takes place on the Arizona ranch where Colton’s sister, Angela, and his niece, Hailey, live. How did filming on that central location influence the way you approached your character and the story, as well as your action sequences?

SA: Well, shooting on location didn’t change my physicality. But it’s easier to film on one location, as you’re not traveling. You can save time; normally, the crew has to break down all the lights and equipment, and then take everything to the next location. But since we were mainly shooting at the house, we pre-rigged it, so that we could blow the hell out of it. Then we could just continuing shooting the next scene.

SY: What was the process of filming the movie independently, like you just mentioned, especially since it’s a crime story that’s driven by its action and stunts? Did filming independently offer you more creative freedom in the way you approached portraying your character?

SA: Well, I’m also a martial artist, so obviously we were going to incorporate my physical skills into my character. So we did whatever we could to meet people’s expectations of seeing my skills, even though we did have those time and budget restrictions.

SY: How involved were you in collaborating with ‘Close Range’s fight coordinator, Jeremy Marinas, on your action sequences, and your physicality in your portrayal of Colton?

SA: Well, Jeremy is a great action coordinator, and he created the stunts. I arrived on the set a week early to work on all the fights before we started shooting. Once we started filming, we didn’t have any time to rehearse. So we spent about five days preparing the fights before we starting shooting. The opening sequence took a long time to prepare, because we wanted to make sure everyone knew where they needed to be, since it’s so long.

SY: You have previously worked with the movie’s director, Isaac Florentine, on several other action films, including ‘Undisputed 2: Last Man Standing’ and its sequel, ‘Undisputed 3: Redemption.’ How does having that already established relationship with Isaac influence the way you approach working together, especially since your films together are heavily driven by their stunts?

SA: Isaac’s the best action director in America, as he really understands the genre. This is the fifth movie we have made together, so we have a really good rapport. We’re really good friends, so I know what he needs from me. We can cut through the bullsh*t, and we don’t even have to be nice to each other. We just say what needs to be said so that we can make the best movie, and do the best job that we can. He often says that making a movie is like going to war. If you’re going to war, then you should go with your friends.

SY: Colton’s relationships with Angela and Hailey are different from the other characters, as he’s trying to protect them from both the Mexican Drug Cartels and the local Arizona sheriff’s department. What was the process of forming the emotional connection with Caitlin Keats, who plays Angela, and Madison Lawlor, who portrays Hailey, in ‘Close Range?’

SA: We worked on the script for awhile, and had some conversations about it, up until we started shooting the movie. We took some things out that we thought didn’t make sense, and really worked on the characters and their relationships. So we really discussed how they would relate to each other.

SY: ‘Close Range’ is set to be released on VOD and iTunes tomorrow, before its distributed into theaters next Friday, December. Do you feel the On Demand platform is a beneficial one for indies like this one? Or do you think that since the film is driven by its action sequences, it should be seen in theaters?

SA: I’m not really a fan of the VOD platform, because then people can download movies illegally. So I can’t see anything beneficial about that type of release. But that’s how the industry has changed in recent years. It’s the reason why we have to shoot these types of movies so quickly. We used to have six weeks to shoot movies like this one, but now we have to film them in three weeks. But that’s a major way how the American film industry has changed.

SY: Besides ‘Close Range,’ you’re known for mainly starring in action films. What is it about the genre that you enjoy starring in so much? How did you become involved in martial arts?

SA: Well, I have been influenced by guys like Jackie Chan, Bruce Lee and Jean-Claude Van Damme. When I was 12-years-old, I decided that I was going to be just like them. I was living in a small town in the middle of England, and I discovered my love for these types of movie. The physicality of these guys really intrigued me. I find it very interesting to watch fight sequences.

I love all types of films in general (laughs), but when I was a kid, I really loved a good martial arts film. So I made it my goal to make these types of movies, and inspire kids like myself through my work. I love my job, and I’m fortunate to do it.

I do also like filming other projects. I have a movie with Natasha Henstridge and Jason Patric coming out next year, called ‘Home Invasion.’ It’s a thriller, but there isn’t any martial arts or action in it. I’m also going to be in ‘Jarhead 3,’ which is a military movie. There are action sequences in the film, but we’re just actors pretending to be marines. I have also starred on different types of television shows.

But I make the most impact when I’m starring in movies that allow me to use my physicality. It’s one of the things I do best, and it’s what people want to see me do. I do star in more other genres, but I enjoy giving people what they want to see.

SY: Speaking of the fact that you have starred on several television shows throughout your career, including ‘Holby City’ and ‘Mile High.’ What is it about television that you enjoy working on?

SA: I do enjoy starring on television shows, as well. But the only problem is that if it’s a long-running TV show, and I have to spend a lot of time in a different country, then I have to spend a lot of time away from my country. We still live in the U.K., so I would have to travel quite often. The good thing about making films is that I’m only away for a few weeks at a time. But I would love to do some more TV in the future.

Interview: Scott Adkins Talks Close Range (Exclusive)

Scott Adkins as Colton MacReady in the action film
‘Close Range,’
an XLrator Media
release. Photo courtesy of XLrator Media.

Written by: Karen Benardello

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As a life-long fan of entertainment, particularly films, television and music, and an endless passion for writing, Karen Benardello decided to combine the two for a career. She graduated from New York's LIU Post with a B.F.A in Journalism, Print and Electronic. While still attending college, Karen began writing for Shockya during the summer of 2007, when she began writing horror movie reviews. Since she began writing for Shockya, Karen has been promoted to the position of Senior Movies & Television Editor. Some of her duties in the position include interviewing filmmakers and musicians, producing posts on celebrity news and contributing reviews on albums and concerts. Some of her highlights include attending such festivals and conventions as the Tribeca Film Festival, the New York Film Festival, SXSW, Toronto After Dark, the Boston Film Festival and New York Comic-Con.

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