The Action Elite were lucky enough to do a set visit to the new action movie Gridlocked, with a cast that includes Dominic Purcell, Cody Hackman, Vinnie Jones, Stephen Lang, Danny Glover and Trish Stratus.
Directed by Allan Ungar, it’s a throwback to the classic actioners like Die Hard, Lethal Weapon and Assault on Precinct 13 but with a modern twist.
We sit down and chat with Vinnie Jones and Stephen Lang who talk about working on the film.
So first of all, tell us about your characters in Gridlocked?
Vinnie: Well I essentially play Stephen’s right hand man called Ryker.
Stephen: I play Korver, the man with the plan.
How would you describe your character’s relationship?
Vinnie: It’s certainly not what you’re insinuating anyway (laughs); we’re basically trying to get this money out of the vault and it all starts going terribly wrong.
The scene we watched filmed today was incredibly intense; how do you prepare for a scene like that? Do you try to think of something in real life that provides motivation?
Vinnie: Oh I like to do my research beforehand but some people *pointing to Seven* like to do a little bit less. (laughs)
Stephen, tell us about Korver.
Stephen: Well I think Vinnie didn’t do his character Ryker justice with his explanation. Ryker reveres, respects and maybe even adores Korver. We served together on Special Forces and have kind of gone bad. We’re a couple of bad apples and we’re trying to recover a lot of money. So we basically hatch a plan which quickly goes awry.
So what appealed about Gridlocked?
Vinnie: I think it was the thought that he’d get to work with me; the fact that I was on board and then I even got a Google alert to say that the was then on board purely because of me (laughs). I think the directors and producers were really just lucky that I signed on first otherwise they wouldn’t have gotten Mr. Lang. I think they were working on Tombstone 9 or something like that….
Stephen: We actually did a film together but we didn’t appear on screen together at the same time so we’d never actually met.
Vinnie: Yeah, they only had one camera and it was always on him.
Stephen: I did actually want to appear with Vinnie Jones so here we are together!
Have you had to change your training routine for this movie?
Vinnie: Well I’ve trained and sweated blood for this movie and some people just stepped off the plane! (laughs)
Stephen: I trained but Vinnie has been out of training for about a dozen years or so. We’re both in tip top shape for this movie in all honesty.
Gridlocked is a throwback to the old-school classic actioners; neither of you are strangers to the genre. Was that a big factor?
Vinnie: Well we’re both pretty high on the list of action movies but this one was a bit different. Got a good story to it and it’s quite quirky that the actor gets involved at the beginning of the movie and then gets into the whole debacle really.
How involved do you both like to get with the script? If something isn’t working in a scene do you like to be able to make suggestions?
Vinnie: He changes it all the time; every 20 minutes there’s something new! (laughs)
Stephen: The director Allan Ungar who also wrote it has been very generous in allowing us to personalize or tweak something and he’s very open about that, which is good. He’s got confidence in his writing but he also has confidence in his actors. We do try to make it, I don’t want to say better but maybe fits me more.
Vinnie: Yeah if it fits the character; we’ve got about 150 movies between us but this is Allan’s second movie so he’s open to suggestions.
Stephen: What’s he gonna do, say “don’t do that?” (laughs). It’s actually been a very pleasurable process to work on this movie.
You’ve both got many action movies under your belts; what is about the genre that makes you keep coming back to it?
Stephen: For me, whenever you’ve got a physical task to do, it’s simpler than acting, you know what I mean? And in a way it kind of takes care of the acting. I always like to try my best during an action scene like riding a horse/motorcycle or holding a gun, which Vinnie will attest I’m not all that good at. I really struggle at holstering it, I’m afraid (laughs). I just really enjoy the physical nature of it.
When you watch the old movies whether it’s Cagney or Bogart and just the physical life of those actors, I find that appealing.
You’ve worked on huge blockbusters and then smaller independent pictures; do you have a preference to work on?
Vinnie: Honestly I like the indies better; on the big budget movies like X-Men that I’ve done there’s a lot of sitting around. It’s usually about the big 2 or 3 stars while the rest of us drink tea and café lattes most of the day. In these indies though it’s all hands on deck where you work, you’re in, you’re out then you’re on to the next one.
Stephen: Down and dirty basically.
What is it you want fans to take away from Gridlocked?
Stephen: I hope it entertains the Hell outta them! That’s just what this film’s really about; the surprises that happen, rooting for the good guys and hopefully the bad guys. I want people to walk away saying “that was two hours well spent”.