Scott Adkins on “Max Cloud”
Had someone not robbed a 13-year-old Scott Adkins, his two passions in life, martial arts and movies, might have taken a little longer to converge. But when the incident took place, it made the Birmingham, England native ramp up the training as he turned his dad’s garage into a dojo and basically never left till he was able to defend himself. All that work has now paid off. Much like his personal hero, Jean Claude Van Damme (whom he would go on to work with four times) Adkins has established himself as a formidable action star; scoring roles in such franchises as Undisputed, Ninja and theThe Intergalactic Adventures of Max Cloud is set in the world of video games. What is your own relationship to being a gamer?
I played a few when I was growing up. I have been through a few of the major consoles. Don’t play so much anymore but maybe when my kids grow up, I will get back into it, inadvertently.
The film had such a nostalgic feel, almost a throwback to 1970s Saturday morning live-action shows.
This is it. These days it is fun to make something fun for the kids but the adults can enjoy it as well. It does have that nostalgic feel to it; reminding us of stuff we watched when we were kids.
In your career, you have had great success with action films but this movie moves you more into the comedic realm. Other action stars like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Dwayne Johnson also made that same career move with great success. Do you feel that same trajectory of stepping out of your own comfort zone?
Well, let’s see how this is received (laugh). I have always had this side of me. When I was a kid, I was the one who made the movies and gathered all the friends around to direct the home video. Obviously, I was making action stuff but I was doing comedy sketches. When I was in drama school, I was doing comedic skits and such. It has always been part of me but I guess it got pushed to the side for a while. Some of my more recent projects have had a more comedic flair. Max Cloud was fully going into the broad comedy zone. It has always been a side of me. Being funny with your mates in a pub is different than being funny in a movie.
Max is quite the confident man. How much fun was that to play with?
It was a lot of fun. He thinks he has all the answers. He is a big-time hero, which he is to some extent. He is also a bit of a dick. His character arc is to reveal that about himself and understand he needs to change in some way. Obviously, that is a lot of fun to portray. I remember the director saying to me, ‘you are really good at being a dick, aren’t you?’ (laugh) Okay, I will take that as a compliment.
You mentioned your director. When you first started, you went to Hong Kong and shot with some of the great action directors there. What did they give you at that point in your career?
I was very lucky to start in Hong Kong. I immediately understood what it took to make good action the way it was supposed to be made. They knew exactly what had to be done and what sacrifices had to be made in order to get the best top-quality action. That is what I learned about working in Hong Kong with the likes of Jackie Chan and Yuen Woo-ping. It was hard work but more than that, to film the action scenes sequentially and not waste all that footage on the editing room floor – filming from all different angles and never going to be used anyway. I learned a lot. I paid attention and I took that to all the films I did after that.
You have had such success in the direct-to-video market yet many industry people don’t give great acknowledgment to it. How did that market establish you?
My career started to take off at a time when the home video market was starting to go bust. It was a massive industry in the 1990s. Movies were made specifically for the home video market. Piracy happened and it started to go away. So, the archetype of the action hero changed with Matt Damon as Bourne and Keanu Reeves in the Matrix films. Now with comic book movies, actors are able to look proficient as martial artists in action movies because of all the tricks of the trade you can do. So the direct to video movies got shrinking budgets and were harder to make. But I pride myself on a strong work ethic doing the best with what I have got. People have appreciated that and found myself thankfully having a career out of it and doing quite well.