Tamas Nadas has been working his way into the world of action cinema for several years now. The Hungarian born actor/producer spent many years working as a decorated police officer before retiring and committing to film work full-time. Tamas is about to make a major splash in the action genre and has nearly a dozen projects in various stages of development and production. His most recent project, Mojave Diamonds (2022), finds him going toe to toe with MMA legends Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, Chael Sonnen, and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. The story follows a former MMA fighter and his brothers as they try to rescue their family from a crime family after $50 million in diamonds is stolen. I recently had the opportunity to catch up with Tamas and ask him some questions about his character in the film Detective David Johnson as well as what the future holds for the up and coming performer.
Corey Danna: The last time we spoke, you were still working for the police department and now that’s changed. What was it like making the transition to full time film work?
Tamas Nadas: That was always my goal and the reason for moving to the U.S. After I retired, it was really easy because it had always been my number one passion. Being a police officer was a secondary thing, a way for paying bills.
CD: You first worked with Mojave Diamonds (2023) director Asif Akbar on the film The Commando (2022), can you tell me a little about the experience and how it would lead to Mojave Diamonds?
TN: I was one of the first COVID officers in New Mexico and it was really by accident. I was producing a horror film called Captive (2023) when COVID hit and we had to have a COVID officer on set. After I did all the training for it, SAG told me that since I was producing, I couldn’t be the officer on that particular project. The line producer for The Commando was looking for a COVID officer and they hired me on the spot. If they hadn’t hired me, they wouldn’t have been SAG “signatory” and wouldn’t have been able to finish the film. It really was just luck it came around when it did. On set, I met everyone, including Asif, and they would introduce me to Kieran Gallagher, the fight coordinator. Kieran would ask me how my relationship with concrete was and since it was great, I ended up in a scene with Mickey Rourke. I had two lines, he beat me up, and that was it. It wasn’t much but a great start.
CD: Last September I flew out to Los Angeles and I was looking for something to watch on the flight and one of the first films I scrolled to was The Commando. So, during my flight I watched it and I was surprised to see you pop up, which was cool, even if it was briefly.
TN: In that orange jumpsuit!
CD: That’s right! When Mojave Diamonds was shot, what sort of schedule did you have to follow?
TN: I was there for seven days but some of my scenes never made the final cut. At the end of the film, I was supposed to catch the bad guys with the UFC stars but due to time constraints, I was cut from those scenes.
CD: Tell me a little bit about your character Detective David Johnson.
TN: Detective Johnson is the good guy who wanted to figure out what exactly happens. He knew the bad guys because of their fantastic names in the past. If I had to create a back story, Johnson and the bad guys would have run into each before and he would already have been investigating them but we had never written any of that in the script. When you have your character, you have to create that background story, and we did.
CD: Considering your background in law enforcement, were you able to bring any of that knowledge to the character?
TN: It actually helped out a lot. It was funny, even in the scene where I drop the burrito because my character had a call-out, I’ve had that really happen to me so many times. You get a call and you just have to drop everything. They asked me if anything had happened like that before and absolutely it did. One or two weeks out of the month I would be on call 24/7 and it would happen. Honestly, I really didn’t have to act in this movie, it was me.
CD: It definitely felt like a natural performance and I really enjoyed it.
TN: I appreciate that, thank you.
CD: Knowing your background in martial arts, did you get jealous at all not be able to be a part of the action set pieces?
TN: (laughs) I did, yes! It was a healthy, good jealousy though. I know I could of brought something different to the action. I’m a high kicker, I kick the head three times quickly before I put my leg down and in this particular film, we just didn’t have those scenes.
CD: I was a little surprised myself there wasn’t more hand-to-hand stuff considering the background of those involved.
TN: I heard that from other people as well.
CD: Don’t get me wrong, it was still a really fun movie and a throwback to action films from the 80s and 90s.
TN: I loved that era as well so for me it was a fun movie to make and a fun movie to watch. I think Asif had wanted to do more, we just didn’t have enough time.
CD: That seems to be the case with a lot of indie film productions working with a limited budget. They only have so much time and money to get what they need and if they’re unable, certain compromises have to be made in order to complete the film.
TN: Unfortunately, it is what it is.
CD: After the shooting incident on the set of Rust, has the handling of firearms on an independent film set changed, are people more aware of the danger?
TN: I think people are more aware of the danger. I’ve done so many projects since then and everyone asks to see the weapon, from the first A.D. to the production assistant, just to check it. I really don’t think anything like that will happen again.
CD: It was such a horrible tragedy. When you’re on set, do people look to you for advice in these situations?
TN: They know my background and I always have to check the weapons even though I’m not the armorer.
CD: Lets talk a little about the cast. You had former MMA fighters with Jackson, Cerrone, and Sonnen, a seasoned actor with William McNamarra, and the son of Nic Cage, Weston who is carving out his own path. What can you tell me about working with them and the rest of the cast?
TN: Chael (Sonnen) is the exact opposite on set as to what you see from him on social media. He talks, analyzes, he starts talking, and when his podcast is over, he breathes. In real life, he’s a quiet guy but when he speaks, you listen. He’s incredibly smart and you just want to absorb the information he has to offer. He’s remarkable and I believe he has a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology. He knows how to talk to people and how they behave, he can tell what type of character the person has. I really enjoyed ever single moment working with him. Westin Cage has far more talent than this particular role afforded him. I really think he’s just like his dad (Nic Cage) and just hasn’t had the right opportunities to showcase his talent. He can do crazy, be the nice guy, or both at the same time. I really enjoyed my time working with him too. I really wasn’t too familiar with William McNamara before the film and sadly we never had any scenes together and never had the chance to speak. Cerrone, he’s a really quiet guy, doesn’t really talk at all.
CD: I was paying close attention to Westin but never really felt he looked much like his dad, until I noticed his eyes.
TN: You’re absolutely correct, it’s the eyes.
CD: Wasn’t the film shot in Vegas? Did you encounter any difficulties or obstacles when filming there?
TN: Much of it was, yes. It was a pretty smooth shoot and we shot in several locations. There was a mining site just outside of Vegas, we spent several days there. It was a fun shoot and the locations were really good. Everyone was so friendly and thankfully no issues ever came up.
CD: What do you hope people take away from the film and your performance?
TN: First of all, I hope people like it. I’ve had some really good feedback but I was asked the question, why my character didn’t go back to stop the bad guys, even though it would have made more sense than being left out. The answer to that is, we just didn’t have enough time. I just hope audiences can relate to my character and realize that not all cops are bad.
CD: You’ve been pretty busy over the last few years, which film that’s currently available, or coming soon, means the most to you?
TN: I think my biggest challenge so far has been the movie Ruthless which is currently in post-production. I play a father who just wants to give up on his daughter, he has no backbone. The character is just incapable of doing anything and for me, it’s extremely difficult to do. It really does mean a lot to me because it’s a role completely opposite of myself and what I’m used to doing.
CD: You work with Akbar again on MR-9: Do or Die which is something I’m really looking forward to. Is there anything you can say about it?
TN: MR-9 is basically the James Bond of Bangladesh and is based on a comic book. Asif was able to get the rights and he wrote the script as well. It’s going to be a cool action movie with Frank Grillo, Michael Jai White, and just a really cool cast. It’s going to have plenty of shoot-outs, fight scenes, and a sense of humor. That should be out next year and I’m really excited about it.
CD: Do you have any other upcoming projects you’d like to talk about, or can talk about?
TN: I just finished producing a movie called Boneyard with Mel Gibson and 50 Cent. I’m not in this one but produced with Asif, Vincent McDaniel, and a couple others with full distribution through Lionsgate. It’s coming to theaters in March of next year. It’s already shot and I’m really excited about it. I think this will be the biggest production I’ve been involved with up to this date.
CD: You’ve spent so much time in supporting roles, when will we get to see you as the lead in an action film?
TN: That’s a very good question and I’m already working on something as we speak. I can’t really talk about it but I will say that I’m not the lead but it will be action-packed and I will finally have the opportunity to show off my talents.
CD: It was great catching up with you and thanks for your time.