Interview with Legacy of Lies director Adrian Bol and star Scott Adkins
by Bobby Blakey
While most know Scott Adkins for his martial arts action films, he continues to push the limits as an actor as well. He has made an impact on the action world like few before him, but even more so continues to grow as an actor taking on a variety of great roles over the years. His latest film Legacy of Lies teams him up with director Adrian Bol for an espionage thriller that showcases Adkins in a new kind of role and I had the chance to sit down with this powerhouse team to discuss the film.
Bobby: Where did the idea for this movie come from?
Adrian: When I started writing it five years ago, I wanted to write a spy thriller. I was fascinated by the chemical poisoning going on in the UK that took place where Russia was involved. That was my starting point and then I started developing into a bigger theme of more truth versus power situation.
Bobby: Scott, what drew you to this specific story?
Scott: I enjoyed the script and I haven’t really done an espionage thriller before so it was something new to do. I’m even more attracted to it with the writer is also the director if they show talent, but if they have written a good script then I feel they can make a good film of it since they understand the material so well. I saw he had some great work, but it was really the script and my characters relationship with his daughter and the whole push pull thing that is going on with those two. I found it really interesting.
Bobby: Did you always have someone in mind for this or was it always Scott to get that more martial arts aspect in the film.
Adrian: I don’t feel it’s really martial arts the fights. They are more gritty and real and when I was looking for an actor they needed to act very well since there is a lot of drama here and not just action. I also wanted someone that could fight and make them very impressive. Scott is just perfect for all of that.
Bobby: Right. I know it’s far from any kind of full on martial arts flick, but one of the things I love is that your fighting styles tend to change with the characters you play which is rare in comparison to a lot of the others. How much input did you have in the action here?
Scott: That’s because I consider myself to be an actor rather than just a martial artist. I’m not interested in just playing myself and kicking everyone’s ass in the room. I consider myself a true actor and want to play the part that’s in front of me. Having said that I understand that the fan base expect certain things and I try to put some of those things in there so if I can have both of those things I am happy with that. For this particular film more realistic and really feel the characters struggle. In fact he gets his ass kicked most of the time and just trying to survive.
Bobby: As a huge fan of yours I love that you have always evolved as an actor and not just been the martial arts guy. I really enjoyed there was so much emotion here on the forefront as the main focus between him and his daughter. When casting a child actor what is the process there to find the chemistry between them and being able to carry the role?
Adrian: Actually this was very easy. I saw Honor Kneafsey, who plays the daughter in a film from a friend of mine called The Bookshop and when I saw her in the film it was clear she was Lisa. She’s very experience actor and I told my producer this is her, but they wanted to keep an open mind and check some other actors. She was head and shoulders above them all. Now it is much more complicated in planning with child actors because they are only allowed six hours on set a day, but acting wise is always great. I think they really pushed each other and that’s the kind of chemistry you look for between actors.
Scott: Yeah, she came to work. She was the most professional on the set and absolutely amazing. She had to dumb herself down a bit because she is quite posh and she needed to be a bit more street like for this.
Bobby: Well I wanted to speak on that Scott. You have worked with so many various actors, but typically all adults.
Scott: She is much more mature than me in real life. (laughs)
Bobby: Well outside of the maturity level, did you find you had to take a different approach than normal dealing with the father daughter relationship here?
Scott: It’s a weird thing because you meet someone on the first day and the person who may be playing my mother of forty years has to appear that we’ve known each other that whole time. That’s the job of the actor. Honor was fantastic as my daughter and I could relate having a daughter so would think of my own daughter in those situations. She is just a great actress with so much experience it was a pleasure.
Bobby: This may be silly and I know this is more of a thriller than a straight up action film, but the genre tends to have a shorter run time. Going into this I was surprised that it was a longer film and wondered if you get grief from studios that think it needs to be a trimmed down run time due to fan expectations?
Adrian: From the beginning it was an action thriller, but clearly more on the thriller side than action. This was the film I wanted to make from the beginning so never had a problem.
Scott: I am kind of a pain on the backside for directors in a way because when I go out of what people are used to seeing in which are all out action movies I’m sure the directors get tired of hearing about the action. This is an action thriller and more about the acting than the action itself. There is action here, but this is an espionage thriller that focuses on the characters. I feel sorry for Adrian keeps getting these action questions.
Bobby: I loved that about the film. I know I, like most of your hardcore fans, have an expectation but this character doesn’t fit that. I loved when the creative team and performers let the story lead and not just try to cater to what I and the fans want all the time.
Scott: Story is king. You’ve got to serve the story and we have a good one here. We didn’t want to demean it by just having fights for the sake of fights.
Bobby: Taking on a film like this where the story is the focus, do you enjoy it more that you kind of get to take a break from that action and be the actor or do you feel like feel the need to throw in one of those signature moves?
Scott: I did have a conversation with Adrian about the certain expectations of my movies if we could add another action scene. He told there was actually something written before because they were thinking about doing it with someone else, but since it was me they would put it back in. I want to keep my fan base happy, but I want to stretch myself and not keep doing the same thing over and over. I want the fights to fit the story and character. I have done films in the past that come off as fight porn (laughs). I’m not interested in that anymore. I want engaging stories with good characters and of course action because I love the genre. I want the whole package.
Bobby: I loved the film and appreciate the direction you guys took with it. Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me and look forward to what comes next.
Adrian: Thank you and glad you enjoyed it.
Scott: Thanks, more great stuff coming your way.
Check out Legacy of Lies available now on DVD, Digital, and On Demand from Lionsgate Home Entertainment.