Scott Adkins Interview

If you liked Scott Adkins as Kaecilius’ henchman in Doctor Strange or as Mitch Rapp’s training rival in American Assassin, you’ll be pleased to know there’s a whole host of movies in which Adkins really shows us his moves. Action fans may know him as Boyka in the Undisputed sequels or from his lead roles in the Ninja films or from movies like Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning and Hard Target 2. If not, it’s time to change that…because he’s not slowing down.

Accident Man, Adkins’ latest starring vehicle, is his dream project. Based on the comic of the same name, Adkins co-wrote the screenplay and stars as Mike Fallon, a hitman who specializes in making his kills look like accidents. When his ex-girlfriend Beth turns up dead, Fallon goes up against his fellow hitmen, with the help of Beth’s girlfriend (Ashley Greene).

Adkins Skyped with /Film from his home in London to discuss Accident Man, as well as his experiences in Doctor Strange and American AssassinAccident Man is available on Blu-ray, DVD, digital and VOD on February 6, 2018.

Accident Man is your first screenwriting credit but I’m sure it’s not the first time you’ve had creative input, right?

No, I always say my piece. Whether it’s listened to or not is another story, but I always put my two cents’ worth in.

What made you take it to the next level and write this story, adapt this comic?

What it was, Fred, was when I was about 14 I got the comic book and I was a big fan of it. I kept it in the cupboard wherever I went, always hoping that maybe one day I could make the film and be Accident Man and play Mike Fallon. But I always thought to myself, well, you’ve got to become a star first, become famous and then you can get the film made. So I was putting it off, putting it off. What I know now is there were a couple of big time producers that optioned it and wanted to make it. It didn’t work out, lucky for me. I actually started writing the script before I optioned the property, just as a little experiment. Eventually out of necessity I optioned the property myself, paid for it with my own money. I was trying to convince other producers to do it at first, but it wasn’t happening so I just said, “Well, just go ahead, do it.” I did a three year option and I had three years to get the film made. Within a year, it was all said and done. We had Sony on board, the script was written and director in place. Here we are just as the film is being released. It’s a lifelong ambition really. If you could’ve said to me, “Scott, you can make any film. What’s it going to be?” I would’ve said Accident Man.

Have you collected colleagues and friends over the years who could be these other colorful hitmen, like Michael Jai White, Amy Johnston and Ray Park?

You know, the Mick character played by Michael Jai White, I don’t think if he’ll mind me saying this. Originally in my head, for many years I wanted that to be Darren Shahlavi, my good friend who’s passed on now. It was always going to be Darren, but of course he’s not with us anymore which is a terrible shame. Mike stepped into that role. Originally they were both English. Now we came up with the idea that we have one English and one American. They’re constantly at odds with each other because of that, which makes for some good character traits. Mike did me a favor. I’d not worked with Ray Park before but he was an absolute pleasure, worked really hard, great guy, love him to bits. Amy I’d been watching for a while and she’s a phenomenal screen fighter so I wanted her involved. We didn’t have a female character in the original script. It was something that Sony wanted so we wrote that part, which worked out really well.

Is Fallon is your most talkative character?

That’s because I wrote it for myself, so I can waffle on, can’t I? People must think that I can’t do talking, so they don’t write me lots of dialogue. I think I pulled it off, don’t you?

It’s not like you never talk, but is that something you had to do for yourself because most people think of action heroes as the strong silent types?

Well, my writing partner, Stu Small, is brilliant with dialogue. He’s able to write stuff in an English way that rolls off my tongue quite well. If I was doing an American accent or a Russian one, maybe it wouldn’t work as well. Certainly to speak Stu’s words with my cockney London accent is very pleasurable. He writes really well. He’s great with dialogue. I wrote some of the dialogue as well but that’s his forte. We’ve been pouring over the script for a while, but listen, there’s very many strings to my bow.

Was it a big deal to get to speak in your own accent?

It’s easier. It’s one less thing to think about and it isn’t my own accent. It’s a bit of a London accent but [in cockney] I can do that, like, no problem, not even thinking about it, know what I mean, Fred? I can do that London thing. It’s one less thing to worry about for sure.

Did wearing a suit in the opening scene make you feel like James Bond?

That is exactly why Jesse made me wear that suit. The writer of the comic book, Pat Mills and Tony Skinner, the way they saw the character was very James Bond-esque. But the way he was drawn and illustrated in the first edition, he was quite gritty, jeans and a biker jacket, which wasn’t actually in keeping with the way they saw the character. But I loved that about the character so that’s what I wanted for the movie. Jesse really wanted to put me in a suit for the opening. He said, “Scott, this is your James Bond audition.” I was fighting it and when he said that I was like, “All right, I suppose you’ve got a point. Let’s just make sure Barbara watches it.”

Was taking a selfie a more modern touch? I imagine he didn’t have a camera in the ‘90s comics.

You know what? That wasn’t in the script. We were filming and I improvised it. I just took my phone out of my pocket and took a picture and everyone laughed. We said, “Yeah, let’s do that on the next take and keep it in the film.”

It was the smile that really sold it.

The cheeky grin. Fallon is a man who loves his work. He takes pride in it.

Are Adkins bandages a real brand in the U.K.?

No, that was a last minute thing. The production designer said, “Hey, look what I’ve done. Here are the bandages.” It was pretty cool.

In the comic, did Beth leave Mike for another woman too?

Yes, that was always the way it was. Listen, the comic was written in the ‘80s, a little bit outdated. Fallon is a chauvinist so what we tried to do with him was not make him very smart in a way. He’s a little bit like Jack Burton. He’s a bit of a douche bag. He thinks he knows all the answers but actually he doesn’t. As he’s going through the film, he’s never homophobic. Of course, not. The only one homophobic character in there is Mac who, because of that, gets his jaw wired. That conversation does come up between Fallon and Charlie and it’s shot down straight away. We wanted to give Charlie, empower her, make her a very powerful female character. She runs rings around Fallon verbally. She gets the best punch on him in the movie. Fallon is just a bit of an idiot that learns the error of his ways by the end of the movie. It’s a different lead character to follow. We didn’t want to do the same old heroic knight in shining armor thing. He’s an antihero that’s very flawed but one thing he is great at is killing people. When it comes time to do that, he does it with great skill, but in every other area of life, he’s a little bit of a dimwit.

How long did you have to shoot the fight with Michael and Ray?

Well, because I was a producer on this, I scheduled the movie. I actually wrote the flashback which was in the comic, but I definitely wanted to keep it because I knew that was an opportunity where I could be on second unit while Jesse is filming the flashback stuff with the young Fallon. I could be working on the fight sequences with Tim Man on second unit. So we scheduled it in a way I think we had four days for that fight. We had more time than we needed to be honest, which was a luxury that we don’t normally have. We could’ve done a little bit longer on the Amy Johnston fight, but we used some of that for the second unit as well. We got an extra day for that fight on second unit. We were okay.

Four days is a luxury. How many days did you have for Amy?

I think that was three. On the fourth day of the Michael Jai White/Ray Park fight, we were kind of twiddling our thumbs taking it easy. I said to Tim, “Should we choreograph some more here and make this fight longer” We didn’t want to commit to that and then have to pull it out and it be disjointed. So we just twiddled our thumbs for a bit that day.

Three or four days are a luxury to have for any one sequence in movies like this, right?

Well, at this budget, yeah. But for a big budget film, a Marvel movie, that’s even less time than they would have I’m sure. A Hong Kong movie, you’re looking at a week to two weeks to film a fight sequence. It’s more than what I’m used to. I’m used to having a day, half a day, things like that.

How long did you have for the motorcycle fight with Tim Man, which is a little shorter?

That was one day. One day and we had to do the stunt where I jump up and kick the guy off the bike, which wasn’t Tim. That was a stuntman. We wanted to do that at the end. We scheduled that fight at the end of the schedule so that I could do that stunt and if something went wrong, the film was already complete and I could just go to the hospital. That was the idea. So we did that stunt at the end of the day just as the sun was coming up and I was tired. It was after the whole four week shoot but we got it on the first take.

So no injury this time?

Well, I was pretty sure I was going to be okay but everyone was trying to put the fear of God into me saying, “You haven’t thought this through. What if your fingers go into the back of the wheel? What if you land on top of the bike and all this?” I was starting to think Jesus, am I making a mistake? They said, “No, no, we’re doing it.” We didn’t have a stuntman for me anyway so we just went ahead and did it. It was fine.

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