One of the most interesting and exciting martial arts action stars of this downloadable age is Chilean-born Marko Zaror, who has already starred or co-starred in a half a dozen impressive films including Kiltro (2006), Mirage Man (2007), Mandrill (2009), and bigger pictures such as Undisputed III: Redemption (2010) and Machete Kills (2013).
He’s back with Redeemer, which was directed by his most frequent collaborator Ernest Diaz Espinoza, and the film recently had a brief theatrical release, and will be arriving on DVD and Blu Ray on September 1st, courtesy of Dark Sky Films / MPI Media.
The Action Elite caught up with Mr. Zaror, who gives some updates on his career and discusses Redeemer.
The last time we spoke you were days away from principle photography on Redeemer. Now that I’ve seen the film, I thought it would be cool to catch up with you about it.
I actually got to see it in a theater here in Los Angeles. It was great to see one of your movies on a big screen.
Oh, really? Yeah, they released it in a few theaters. Awesome! This is the first time we’re dealing with these production partners. This is the same company that handled The Raid. We were very excited to work with them. This was another try for Ernesto Diaz and I. We’ve had a very good reaction with audiences. Before, our movies were not well structured on the business side. This was a new shot for us.
It had been a couple of years since I worked with Ernesto – I went off and did movies like Undisputed III and Machete Kills, and he did his own movies, so it was a good time to do another one. We’d grown up and thought we could do much better with our experience. Let’s try it. That’s how Redeemer happened. I’m really happy with the result and how the fights came out. I’m happy with the way MPI is marketing this. They’re doing a good job. Hopefully we can regroup and do more movies together.
I remember you telling me that if Redeemer was your last movie, then you were fine with that. But I see that you’ve already shot another movie called The Green Ghost.
(Laughing.) Yeah, well, you know how it is. For me, after doing Undisputed III and Machete Kills … that was very big stuff. I was not really clear with how I was going to continue making movies in Chile. I was in a state where I was fine and was not interested in pursuing movies too much anymore. I was training and doing some other things, but suddenly those two movies … it took some time for me to consider doing Redeemer.
I made it and I got a call to do this other movie immediately after called The Green Ghost. It was a call from the U.S. and it was a chance for me to be the main bad guy and they wanted me to be the action choreographer. That was very exciting. It gave me a chance to go to the U.S. and be there for four months working. I got to do what I did in Chile, but in the U.S. with more resources and more money and more elements to play with. I was able to work with some friends and some very professional people. It was a very nice experience for me.
This is the Danny Trejo movie we’re talking about, right?
Yes! It was very fun to work with him again. I’m really excited to see it. I’m about to go to the U.S. to see the rough cut.
You play a dark and tortured character in Redeemer. You’re good at playing strong, silent types.
It’s the darkest character that I’ve played. In Mandrill, Kiltro, and Mirage Man I’m funny, dorky, dumb … or what do you think? This character had a real psychological problem. How is this guy going to be able to overcome this thing? That’s the whole point of this character. It was pretty cool.
I remember you hyped up Jose Luis Mosca, who plays the villain in Redeemer. I’d never heard of him before, but you were right – he plays a great bad guy.
Yes! He’s been a friend of mine for a long time. When I first arrived in Mexico as a kid, he was very cool to me. He used to have a martial arts school in Mexico, and he invited me to train with him. We became good friends. He was the first person that I knew who was close to me that had done movies. He’d done a lot of home video movies in Mexico. Very low budget movies. They sold these movies across the border to Mexicans in the U.S. I remember seeing the posters of his movies.
From there started my idea of being a martial artist in the movies. He called me to be in one of his home video movies when I was about 19 years old. That’s how I started. We talked for many years after that we should do another movie together. One day we had to fight in a movie together. When Redeemer came up, I thought the bad guy should be played by Jose. You saw him – he’s a good bad guy! He’s a scary bad guy.
The locations in Redeemer were really interesting to look at. Where did you guys film it?
Yeah, we were in the north of Santiago. That place is a summer vacation location. We were there in winter when the place is like a ghost town. No one. We were alone there. It gave the movie an interesting atmosphere. It was a beautiful landscape and it added a lot to the movie. It gave it the feel of a western. The final fight between Jose and me was very tough to film. That granite floor was so hard and it had these little pebbles so it was very slippery. It hurt to hit the ground and it was very cold and windy. It was one of the toughest fight scenes I’ve ever done. For sure.
Are we going to get a Redeemer 2?
Well, man, it would be great. Yeah, I hope MPI does a good job and asks us for it. We’re ready to do it. We’ve been thinking of ideas for it, but it all depends on the sales. I would be happy to do it. That would be great.