Hello there Matthias. I’m so happy you are here to talk about the film Showdown in Manila and whatever else we get to.
Absolutely it is my pleasure talking to you and sharing our passion for film and entertaining.
First off, how did you get involved in the film Showdown in Manila? I always love to see how the pieces all fall together, especially with such an amazing cast.
I am a good friend of Alexander Nevsky since years now and we meet often to smoke cigars and talk film, ideas and what to do next. Alexander had the great idea of getting all of us martial art stars of the ’80s and ’90s together and create this expandable type of ’80s action film in the Philippines which always has been a popular hub for shooting lower budget action films since the ’80s as you can get more action down there for your dollar. And Mark (Dacascos), our director, as well Cynthia and Don Wilson had worked there before and knew the local producers and production companies and what they can do down there to make it look more exotic and action charged.
Action superstar Mark Dacascos was the director of the film, the first feature film he’s done. How was it sharing the screen with him and how was he on the set while directing?
Mark is amazing, we worked now many times together and it keeps getting better as I completely trust his judgment and expertise in all areas of acting and producing and directing. He is super sensitive with actors being an experienced actor and obviously know action and is an up beat, never in a bad mood kind of guy which keeps it all on the up and up. Even if it gets tough he keeps going with a smile and pulls us all along.
How was it working with your co-star Alexander Nevsky? You’re both amazing specimens of the male human body, both coming from your own respective physical workout worlds. Did you speak about any of that, bodybuilding and aerobics in particular?
Yes of course and well put, we do always talk about it all and work out together. Push each other and compete about it all. He is way bigger then me but we still compete on every level especially when it comes to reps in the gym and doing strenuous ab routines which turned into some kind of personal Olympics over the years who can do more reps with more weights.
You have some great scenes with Casper Van Dien, especially the foot chase and your fight afterward, where you get to show off some impressive moves. How was it working with Casper?
Casper, just like Mark, he is a delight, always in a great up beat mood, curious and willing to go the distance and try everything, even if it might hurt. He is a real dude and besides way to good looking he is not ever playing the I am better, look at me part. He is all tough as nails and wasn’t afraid to come at me and eat some kicks in return. He would have wanted to get going with fighting me but we ran out of sunlight as it is sometimes…
The beautiful Tia Carrere is also in the film, who is trying to get revenge on you and your gang who killed her husband. How was it working with her?
I am always been a fan of Tia and she was so kind and willing to meet everyone on the street, sign pictures, be a star who is accessible and down to earth. We all loved and her and she was so engaging in the work, always had great ideas and her and Mark are great pals and a great fit actually to play a married couple. Very believable as they know each other for at least 25 years prior already working on soaps together.
You’re the second in command to the main baddie in the film, The Wraith, played by Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa. How was it working with such an iconic villainous actor?
Well natural you know I taught him everything he knows and he is been a good student over the years, he he ! All joking aside I know Cary for years, like from the beginning of it all, Kickboxer 2. He was so amazing in that. He was very intimidating to look at and he acted accordingly but privately he was always the biggest sweetheart, a soulful man I looked up to as how one should live a balanced life outside the action circus we all travel with. So yes, working with him was mostly us talking for hours about the old action days and who we know and how life treated us and our adventures over the last three decades in Hollywood, much to talk I tell you…
The film also has some great action stars from the ‘80s and ‘90s, Cynthia Rothrock, Don ‘The Dragon’ Wilson and Olivier Gruner. I know that you don’t share the screen with them in the movie, but did you get to see them in the film? If not, did you get to hang out with them during the shoot?
Yes, I saw them all, we hung out, trained to together and I went to the set to watch them work and hang out. These are all my bodies and I love them all equally and we have so many stories to share. I just love seeing them all together on the set.
The film takes place in the Philippines, mostly in Manila, and unlike most films, it’s actually filmed there. How was the location shooting and had you been there before?
I live in Bali next door part time and know the feeling of jungle and heat and tropical so well it didn’t even register for me. But for someone not being used to it it surely must be overwhelming as all colors are brighter, all people are different and smells and culture and in general the visuals are overwhelming on every level. Life is more raw down there and more colorful and real. It is one of the most fascinating locations to shoot in the world and people are so nice, it is so great to be there with the locals.
I know when I was younger and going to the video store, when I saw the box for I Come In Peace (or Dark Angel), I had to rent it right away because I saw not only Dolph Lundgren on the box, but I saw this intimidating bad guy, played by you. How was it working on that film, with Dolph and becoming an iconic villain, especially for me.
Oh thanks for the kind words, this means a lot to me. As much as the film meant or still means a lot to me as this was my favorite film, favorite crew and cast and all of it was so exhilarating and dangerous at times it still lingers in my brain as the best event of my life.
I see you have some exciting upcoming projects, such as Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich and Ultimate Justice (starring Mark Dacascos). And films that you have coming up that you’d like to speak about here? Any other things you’re working on that we should know about?
Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich will be amazing and hopefully a new cult classic, I really like the producer and writer and the cast, Dallas Sonnier the producer is a strong figure in producing action movies who the world will see so much more of. Someone who is determined to bring back the good old classic action flicks and genre films like Puppet Master. I am happy we have people like him in the industry. His Partner Craig Zahler is an amazing screen writer and director. Both just wrapped production on the latest Mel Gibson movie. Dragged Across Concrete. Also in it is horror Legend Udo Kier. Ultimate Justice, yes of course, another similar action flick like Showdown and starring Mark. But last not least Mark and Alexander and I just finished a visually huge and funny action comedy with an all star cast, Tom Arnold, Kelly Hu and Danny Trejo and Eric Roberts and the director Andrzei Bartkowiak from Exit Wounds and Romeo Must Die. You will enjoy his movie I am sure… and lets see what more we soon have to talk about and till then… my best wishes and thanks for watching. Cheers.