Thursday, June 14, 2012

Ben Loyd-Holmes Interview (Exclusive!)

Dan's Movie Report Exclusive! (C) 2012! Post #250!!!! New Photos!

Check out Ben's New Show Reel:

Actor Ben Loyd-Holmes is sent to explode in 2012 with the release in September of UK horror film The Hike, upcoming production Mercs, and his upcoming role in Skyfall. Ben has a diverse background and chats at length about his variety of experiences in front of and behind the camera. No more of my inscessent rambling, time to get inside the mind of the UK man of action!
How did you get bitten by the acting and producing bug? Influences?

I was a set brat. My dad is in the industry and so I grew up in magical villages. Well, sets of magical villages. My parents divorced when I was six, but by then I had already tasted a bit of that world and as I grew up I got the odd glimpse into my dads world and met amazing actors like De Niro. I played around in the film industry as a kid doing advert and the odd movie, but I turned my back on it for years from my mid teens until 2000 when I got offered a small bit in Band of Brothers. Totally right place right time, someone saw me who was working on it and bobs your uncle.... Was amazing. But after that I did a few bits and again turned my back on it, wanting to focus on fighting and training. I used to love competing and training so much and I was just starting my own gym so tried to be sensible and move away form the film industry. A few years later and I was back at it full bore. And here I am. There are so many great actors, I love Hank Azzaria, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolen... Tom Hardy is showing just how great he is too. There’s some great acting talent out there to inspire you. Producing comes from the drive to make things happen and sometimes the frustration as an actor that you sometimes feel. Turn it into positivity.

What is your martial arts background?

I started doing Martial Arts when I was a kid, I got bullied and there seemed no other way out that meet violence with violence. Its not ideal in todays society, maybe, but then what is? After all that stopped I got the bug and wanted to fight and test myself. I love the many sides of martial arts in terms of styles but personally I hate the politics and scams that go on behind closed doors. Theres a lot of lies told to students, forcing them to spend more and more money and to do certain things. Thats not what martial arts should be about. I have been lucky, trained with some good people, learnt some good technique and like to think of myself as pretty well rounded as a martial artist. I’ve studied, Kickboxing, Capoeira, Kung Fu, Krav Maga, Kidon and Thai for nearly 20 years and really do love it. But sadly acting stops you from fighting which is kind of frustrating.

In an ideal world we’d see more martial artists working together and helping each other rather than trying to screw each other and their students over, which is all too common in the UK.

I know you had a starring role in The UK Horror film The Hike, share a crazy story that you had not told anyone. 

The Hike, crazy story.. there are a few, some which probably should never be mentioned! It was a hard film and that meant pulling together. I remember one night after a long shoot where Barbara and I had done a particularly long and traumatic scene the whole crew were so exhausted from watching it when the shoot wrapped we all had a few beers and then a few more. It was about 6am, and theres a bunch of idiots drinking and dancing in the woods. There was lots of tricks played, lots of fun had. The girls were great, they did a great job in a difficult situation. I will never forget Zara’s face when she dived in the water in Wales after I had warned her it was cold, glacial water cold not swimming pool cold. She was so cocky then came up in total shock! Talking of cold water, there is a shot in the film where Dan and I are in the lake, in one of those shots you can see a big red hand print on Dan’s butt cheek. Who did it though, I’m not sure I can give that one away !

The Hike is released as a Lionsgate film in the UK have you heard any plans of a U.S. release?

Yea of course, the US release was slightly delayed that’s all. We have a deal in place and the full release is September. I can’t say too much more yet, but as soon as we can there will be a press release on The Hike fanpage.

Ok Man the big question, How did you get the part in the upcoming Bond Skyfall film?

You ever heard of the casting couch....? Well it wasn’t that! (Ed note-”No kidding”) No I was lucky enough to be seen for one of the Assassins in the film, though from the start I didn’t fit the breakdown perfectly so it was a bit of a long shot. I went in and met the casting director who was lovely and we had a good chat and I did a monologue from the film. It was an interesting piece as it could be interpreted in a couple of ways so I did it in a way that would hopefully show some range. Word eventually came that because I didn't fit the breakdown I wouldn't be able to play the assassin but they wanted to offer me something else. So I was really pleased to still get an offer.

Can you say what character you play (As of yet) Villain or Hero What are some of the action moves you did?

I’m not too sure how much I can say about this one. I play a police officer, it’s a normal character in terms of I’m not doing any big fight scenes. It’s a small character in a big scene. As it were.

How long were you on the set of Skyfall, and what were the filming locations?

I was only booked for a couple of days. I was up a pinewood studios and then on Vauxhall Bridge.

Compare the Skyfall experience to shooting a lower budget film, is there more time less rush rush etc?

Shooting a movie is always rush rush rush as you are working to productions schedules and they are either rushing to stay on time or rushing because they are behind. Its a tough balance for the 1st AD and Production staff. The biggest difference in a movie like SKYFALL and a smaller production is the how much you are looked after and how professional everyone is. Every tiny part is perfect, from the wardrobe to the lines. Sam is an amazing director. He knows what he wants, he’s very focused and yet he’s still open to an idea from an actor or his DP. To have such focus and still be so open is very commendable. The British press has been reveling in the financial constraints of the film and the fact that ‘Bond wont be shooting abroad’ which in itself is nonsense as the film did shoot in Turkey, but I also felt they were missing the point and almost enjoying the budgetary constraints of the film. What they don’t realize is no matter what the budget Bond will deliver a great film and from what I have seen and heard, this is going to be an amazing movie.

Above Pic: promotional still for Mercs

On to Mercs, chat about your newer indie production Mercs, cool concept Mercenaries.

Yea, simple concept, a band of mercenaries are a fun group to be a viewer of. By definition they are a bit rowdy and rely on each other so there are going to be great relationships. The film is still indie in that we are doing it the way we want to and have managed to retain a lot of creative control, however it’s not the kind of film that you would look at as an indie movie. We hope. We have some jaw dropping action sequences, unreal visual effects as the icing on the cake of what is a good little story. It’s got a real graphic novel feel. The director offered me one of the main roles in the picture which is amazing as he’s such a great character, but it’s a difficult one to play so it’s going to be filled with challenges.

Do you feel that taking big budget films allows you to learn and be creative on the indie productions you work on?

It can never hurt, but often the gadgets and tools on a big movie are never going to be seen on a small one. Often its reverse engineering. We have to work out how to create the same effect with no where near the budget for the gadgets or effect. But that's where having a good team is the key.

Did you take any filming techniques learned on Skyfall and incorporate it into Mercs?

No. Though looking at the trailer maybe I should have ! Have you seen the Skyfall teaser? It’s pretty good!

How about action, will we ever see Ben in a romantic Sandra Bullock comedy? What are your favorite types of films to watch, star in?

Will I ever move from action and horror into Rom Com? Well If a casting director or director could see me in it then yea i’d love too! Mainly because I really enjoy comedy. I am a bit typecast by the way I look and the amount of work I have done in those genre’s so I wouldn’t be their first thought. To watch I loved the Hangover, but also loved Shawshank and Drive. There are so many great movies that pull you in that it’s too hard to say one type. Anything that's well written with a great director and cast I’d love to watch or be a part of. Genre is just a part of it.

Who are some of your independent and big budget acting influences, and why do you like them?

Ryan Gosling is a great actor and he’s been on that cusp for a while and has only gone really mainstream recently. Tom Hardy is a great UK actor, I like his style and he’s really leaped and stepped up. Scott Adkins is doing very well too. It’s great to see UK talent continuing to come up as we have some established greats like Bale and Oldman but we need to keep seeing the new breed.

What are some of your future projects lined up for the rest of 2012 and beyond?

I have been asked to be an ambassador of Jackie Chan's charity which brings opportunities for education to under privileged children among other things. It’s a real honour to be asked to do something like this. I also support Clic Sargent the kids cancer charity, for obvious reasons again its such a worthy cause. I also am a huge supporter of shelter and the ZSL. ZSL does great work in conservation and without them and their partners a great number of species would be extinct or on the critical list.

Aside form the charity bits, I have a few projects lined up and gotta keep working on my house. Have a DIY list as long as my arm.

Beyond all that... I’m not sure. I’d love more opportunities in Film to come my way obviously. I love my craft and am lucky to have the support I do from people such as yourself, MCM Expo, Massive Events, all the magazines and website journalists and of course the viewers that take the time to get in touch, so hopefully there will be more to talk about soon. And of course... don’t forget MERCS. It’ll either kill me or be brilliant.

Finally a few funny questions?  Ben this is totally humorous-- do what you want with them answer or not
Be honest has a lady ever kicked your ass in a fight? Sparring or otherwise?

I’ve been slapped by one does that count? Actually when i was but a young kickboxer at all of 16 or 17, I had to spar with 11 people as part of my black belt, well one was a woman, at least if you took away the stubble and the huge muscles she looked a bit like a woman. I tried to show how much restraint I had, throwing kicks and punches that didn’t connect and stopped just before but she wouldn't stop steaming into me. Eventually I thought I’ll give her a little contact to get her to back off. One sidekick and she dropped like a stone. I felt really guilty until i a few months later I learned that she had a weakness in her muscles due to steroid abuse. Reap what you sow!

If so how did she do it? If not how would she be able to do it?

Best way for a woman to beat me up? Feed me good food and like a dog I’ll eat till I'm incapacitated. 

 Above Pic: That is Zara and her deadly whip chain!

You and Zara Phythian play around on twitter, but if it comes down to a real fight who wins?

Hahahaha a real fight between Zara and I!? If she had that bloody whip chain of hers I think I would be in trouble before I was within 10 ft of her! However I can’t actually think about that for real. I would never hit a woman. Unless she was late to set like Zara always is... then I’d consider it.  (Ed Note: Zara is cute, a bit rough, might be able to inflict minor damage, but I think Ben is stronger haha_)

Thanks Ben for taking the time out of your hectic schedule to chat a bit about your projects and have some fun..

For more info on Ben follow him on Twitter @!/benloydholmes

IMDB Page:

Mercs Facebook Page:

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