Men's Fitness Interview
We talk to Luke Goss about how he got in shape to play the lead in this all-action movie!
MF: How did you get in shape for your starring role in Death Race 3? LG: I knew Roel Reiné (the director of Death Race 3: Inferno) wanted me to do all my own fighting so I had a lot of work ahead of me. I got a lot of cardio in before I flew to Cape Town and hiked here in LA at least three times a week (10 miles). Then, I started working hard in Cape Town with the stunt team on the fight scene. I think we were fighting around four hours a day.
MF: How have you changed your workouts since Death Race 2 was filmed? LG: I have had to change my workouts as I seem to get less time to train. I decided cardio was a key player, because if you can keep muscle on and then cut up a bit, it reads better on film. The main change is eating more, that way I don’t loose as much mass when I’m filming.
MF: Do you have any special training tips for (Mens’ Fitness) readers? LG: I’ve been doing a lot more strip sets, especially for biceps, chest and stomach. Changing up routine is a real good way to keep surprising the body. I’ve also been using the thick ropes in the gym … badass all rounder!
MF: What was the most difficult stunt you did in the DR3? LG: Without doubt the fight scene in the tunnel. It took five hours of non-stop shooting. I couldn’t breath at all with the mask, so we decided to lose the mask a little sooner because it literally was like fighting while holding my breath – not easy lol!! Also the driving in the desert was hot and surprisingly exhausting. I rolled my car and had an engine fire with my driver’s side window on the ground. There was smoke and sand everywhere and it was scary stuff. The roll was not intentional lol!! We had cameras rolling inside. It didn’t make the movie but it is on the extras on the DVD and Blu Ray.
Spotlight Report Interview
Thanks to Universal Sony, we had the chance to have a chat with the star of the highly successful Death Race franchise Luke Goss also known for his work alongside Guillermo del Toro in blockbuster hits like Hellboy II: The Golden Army and Blade 2.
SR: Hi Luke! what a great way to start the year for us getting the chance to talk to you! LG: Jorge, nice to speak to you, brother.
SR: Nice to talk to you, and thanks a lot for your time, man. LG: Likewise. Thank you.
SR: Okay, let’s get down to business. I saw your movie during the Christmas break. It was fun. So I wonder how hard it was for you to take part in this franchise after Jason Statham? LG: Um, I think the first movie was harder because we had to kind of tie it in to the previous movie; Or, you know, we were trying to tie in the Jason Statham movie… We were trying to make it somewhat kind of synonymous with the same story. And then, this one was easier because Roel Reiné, the director and myself had a friendship. And we became friends. We hung out in Los Angeles together.
And I’m producing other projects myself that he’s directing. So there’s a relationship there, and we said, ‘let’s make this one more of our own, you know?’ And also, the previous movie we did… He was just a man who finds himself imprisoned, and then he has to learn the ropes. Whereas, in this one, he becomes somewhat of an iconic character as far as like… He’s more of an anti-hero character. And I could make him more stoic and a bit more kind of cinematic, I think. And I think using Africa as Africa, the character as a bit more cinematic, I thought it just lent itself to making a more entertaining, more exciting kind of a movie. And I think we did that, you know. It’s my favourite of the three, for sure.
SR: Yeah, sure. Before you started doing the second one, and this one, did you get to talk to Jason, or did you get any advice from the previous cast? LG: No, because to be honest with you, if you see all three movies, Jason Statham’s character was not the original Frankenstein. You know, obviously, in this movie… Frankenstein is basically a franchise… So it doesn’t matter, really, or at least they don’t think it matters who that character is, as long as the fans see him. So, for me personally, I just wanted to make him my own. I didn’t need to tie it into Statham’s portrayal, because it’s not relevant. Because Part 2 and Part 3 are prequels to the first movie.
SR: Mmhmm, I understand. LG: It’s really leading up… You know, you’ve seen the movie?
SR: Yeah all of them. LG: So you obviously understand what happens at the end: he’s replaced. And then it happens again with Jason’s character. So, you know, within the story and the franchise now, Frankenstein is replaced many times. And I think, you know, maybe two or three times Statham’s character steps into that character, which means I had complete freedom to make him my own, you know.
SR: …And speaking of Frankenstein, what does it feel like to be don the mask? Does it liberate you, as an actor, to do more stuff? LG: Um, I’m not a fan of it, to be honest with you. I think it really helps the character when you see him show up, and it gives him mystique. But really, he understands why he wears it. Like, I changed my movement… I changed everything when I went in the mask, just to create mystery, both to the audience, but also to the characters within the story. They’re not meant to know it’s me. You know what I mean? And so, he changes his voice, he changes his movement, ’cause it is a true disguise. But when you’re doing a fight scene in the movie – and I did all my own stunts in this one – and it was just really, really limiting as far as how you can breathe, how you can see. It’s not my favourite thing to wear, that’s for sure.
Like, when I was doing, say, for example, Hellboy, that make-up moves. It moves and when I have an expression, that has an expression. With this mask, it’s 100% down to movement. So, I think it works really well in the film, but I can’t say I personally enjoy wearing it. It’s not very comfortable.
SR: Of course. Let’s go to the beginning of this thing. When you got the script, what was the most appealing thing about joining the franchise? LG: Um, the first one… I just thought it’d be a fun thing to do. I thought I was kind of right for the part. But this third movie… When I read the story… I just think it really ties in Part 2, Part 3, and the first story. Like, 1, 2, and 3 now make sense, I think. I think it really gave a great deal of insight. Like, the second one was fun, but some people were confused about the prequel element. But when I read the third script, it was kind of like, ‘Okay, this makes sense of it all.’ Or, at least, it did to me. It made sense of the story. And it gave certainly me an understanding of the entire franchise. You know what I mean? I mean, how Frankenstein came about, what he becomes, what the whole franchise does become eventually, as far as the entertainment that it is to the fans… as far as within the movie of the fans, not necessarily the fans in the world.
So, I just liked the fact that it tied it all up and made sense of the three stories.
SR: Yeah, it works perfectly. It makes a lot of sense. Well, you mentioned that you did your own stunts in the film. Did you also get to do your own stunts while driving and doing explosions and things like that? LG: Yeah, I mean sometimes. It gets to a point where… Universal… I love working with that company. They’re very protective, though, when I’m filming. They’re like, ‘No, no, no – Luke’s not doing this.’ And I’m like, ‘please, let me do this.’ So, sometimes I can and sometimes I can’t. Like, I did some of the driving, which I think you can tell. In the footage, you can see it’s me driving inside the car. But there are some things that are simply just too, too dangerous. I mean, I did roll the vehicle once. We were doing 45 mph, and I rolled the car accidentally, which was very, very bloody scary. I was really afraid at the time. Because, the noise and the… We had a small engine fire and my driver’s side window was on the ground. So I was looking up at the passenger window, up at the sky.
SR: Wow. LG: And we had an engine fire and we were at least 500 or 600 yards from any ambulances, or any fire trucks. And that’s in the Extra Features in the DVD and the Blu Ray. That actual shot is in the Extra Features. So, I think that’s kind of cool. But that was not deliberate, and I have to say I was pretty shaken up.
SR: I can imagine that (laughs). Well also, we are huge fans of Danny Trejo, and I’m wondering if you could share some experiences of working with him. LG: Well, the thing about Danny is he’s a really tough guy. But at the same time, as a person, he’s a real sweetheart. He’s a very caring, supportive man and actor. He loves what he does. He always brings it every day and he’s always fun to be around on set. He jokes a lot and he’s genuinely a really funny guy. And I think that anyone who works with Danny will tell you the same. He’s just an absolute sweetheart. And, you know, it’s kind of cool because he’s a badass. I mean, he genuinely is a badass. But his spirit is a really beautiful one, so it’s now my second movie with him and there’s a friendship there. So I think really highly of Danny. I think he’s a great guy.
SR: You’ve also worked under the direction of Guillermo del Toro, who is a personal idol for many of us here, on Hellboy 2 and Blade 2. So, I wonder if you can look back and tell us what it’s like to work with him and how much freedom he gives you in the films. LG: Um, I think del Toro’s freedom that he offers you is dependent on your commitment to the character. I think if he believes that you’re committed, if he believes that you give a fuck, or give a damn… As soon as I speak about del Toro, I start cursing. Look at that. That’s funny.
If he believes that you’re committed and if he believes that you’re bringing your A game, and that you’re really invested, then he’ll listen. If you’re somebody on set just there to be told what to do, then, my god, he will tell you what to do. Because he knows what he wants. He knows exactly what he wants. But, I was blessed enough to have a good rapport with him. So there would be discussions and debates about characters, because he knows me. Any character that he delivers for me to try and bring to life… I feel like it’s a great honour. So my commitment is huge to that process. And he is a collaborator. But he really knows what he wants. So the discussions are about how to achieve that kind of dream, or that vision that he has. But he’s also still open to ideas that might be better, you know? So he’s a beautiful man to work with, for sure. The two movies I’ve made with him have been incredible experiences, for sure.
SR: Are you still in touch with him? LG: Not so much. I mean, the thing about Guillermo is, he’s always so busy. When you’re done with a project, he kind of goes on to the next thing, and that’s where his head’s at, you know. And I’m sure some people bug him, but I’m the kind of person that… I mean, I love the guy, and I think we have a genuine friendship, but I’m not the kind of man that’s going to be bugging him, you know, on a daily basis, ’cause I think he’s so enveloped by his projects that I’m like, ‘Okay – I’ll see you next time, brother.’ It’s that kind of energy, you know?
SR: Mmhmm, perfect. Well, after seeing Death Race 3, the ending’s very open in linking to the first movie. So, I wonder if there’ll be a Death Race 4? LG: Well, there has been talk of it. I know for a fact that there has been talk of it because I think what happened with the second one… People were surprised that it was as good as it was and that it did really well. And so then they were like, ‘Okay, let’s do another one.’ And I kind of felt after this that I don’t think I’d do another one. But when I saw the third movie, I was genuinely kind of pleasantly surprised about how well it turned out. There were a couple of ideas that Roel and I had discussed that would really kind of shake it up as far as the kind of movie it is and take it in a different direction. And if that was something that the studio was into and, you know, it was written really well, and cleverly, then absolutely… That would be something that I would consider for sure.
SR: Mmhmm. Following that question, what’s next for you? LG: Yeah, I have a few things. I have a movie called Interview with a Hitman that is coming out in the United States. I don’t know when it’s coming out in Australia, but it’s coming out in the United States in March. I have, obviously, this movie. We got a movie called Inside, which like a paranormal thriller… Which is really kinda cool. I’ve got an action movie I’ve just completed… I’ve actually got one more day of filming on Saturday. This weekend. In LA… Called Dead Drop… Which is kind of like a thinking man’s action movie, which I’m really, really proud of. It’s got Cole Hauser and Nestor Carbonell from Lost – he’s in the movie, too. But I play the principal role of a CIA operative that has been in deep cover for like 2 years in Mexico.
So, we filmed the whole movie in Mexico, which is my second project there. I think we’re doing three more films in Mexico, which is great, which is exciting. But it’s called Dead Drop, which I’m really, really proud of. And I have a movie called Lost Time and another one… A TV show for ABC called Red Widow, which premieres on March 2nd here in the United States on ABC. So, that’s my first ever TV show, so that’s kind of fun.
SR: You sure have been busy. LG: Yeah.
SR: Okay, just to wrap it up… Of all your films which one would you say was your favourite one, or your most rewarding one? LG: I think there’s two. Well, three. Blade 2 was definitely one that was kind of my first introduction to a successful Hollywood movie. But I think I’d have to say that it was two movies. It’d be Hellboy 2. And I did a love story. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen it or heard of it. It’s the story of Esther. It’s called One Night With the King… Which… Just the message in the movie was just so beautiful and it’s the story of Esther. And we filmed in India for four and a half months. It’s called One Night with the King, which is, I don’t know, just a beautiful story. And what it stands for.
SR: I will check it out. LG: I’m glad I have that in my resume. But I think Hellboy and One Night with the King are the two favourites so far.
SR: Okay. So, the last two questions. We always ask these of people we interview. So, the first question is: have you ever had any crazy requests from a fan, or a funny story to share? LG: Oh my God – Of course. When I was younger I had a… I mean, thankfully, you know… It’s er… I don’t know… I’ve walked into my room before in a hotel and there’ve been people there, just kind of waiting. I guess I’ll leave it up to the imagination of whoever’s reading this to work out what they were waiting for, but um… I have. Girls have asked me to sign their boobs and, you know, what are you going to do? I guess you’ve got to be polite about it, right?
But there are loads of funny stories. It just comes with the territory, I think. You know, people asking you to do some crazy things.
SR: Just to finish, do you have any advice for any young Australian actors who’d want to follow in your footsteps? LG: I think the thing about it is that you have to one – try to be as good as you can at what you do, obviously, like anything. You have to take it seriously. I think… With Australian actors for me…In my experience… I don’t think I’ve really ever acted with any Australian actor who’s not talented. There’s something… There must be something in the water over there. Because most Australian actors I’ve worked with are just really gifted and really talented. So I think it’s a case of… You need an agent. You have to have representation. Without doubt. And I think it doesn’t hurt to just make sure that you get experience. It’s , like, whether it be a play or a short movie… It’s about experience and getting yourself on the map. And you need representation that believes in you. But it’s a business, just like anything else. And I think a lot of people say, ‘How do I get…’ If their only motive is to be famous, then I don’t really have advice for that. But if they want to be successful actors, then they’ll get that for free. That comes with it. But they do need to be good at what they do, and they do need somebody that believes in them, and they need to work… Whether it be plays… They can’t have… You can’t set your standard at the beginning with what you do. You just have to be good in that thing, whether it be a tiny little play or a small independent movie or independent short… Whatever. Experience is experience is experience, you know?
SR: Perfect. Okay look, thanks a lot for your time and thanks for your answers. When will we see you here in Australia? When are you coming out? LG: Listen, whoever’s reading this: If someone’s got a work for me to be there, bloody make a call. Because I’ve only been there one time in my life. And it’s been 15 or 20 years since I’ve been there, so I would love to be in Australia again. So, maybe you could help find a film to get me ha ha…
SR: Okay, we’ll check it out, but you will own us another exclusive ha ha LG: Of course! ha ha…Much love and Happy New Year.
KungFu Magazine Interview
Luke Goss dons Frankenstein’s mask once more in the latest installment, DEATH RACE 3: INFERNO. I (Gene Ching) had the opportunity to interview him just prior to the release of the new movie.
GC: You’ve been associated with Kung Fu in the past. What style do you practice? LG: I don’t actually formally practice any style of Kung Fu. I remember the style of Kung Fu that I was shown in BLADE II, for example, resulted in my getting very into the whole thing. But for most of the movies I do, I commit to the teaching of the individual for that particular role. There is no “formal” style. I am now into Krav Maga, but that was because of the role and character-driven stuff.
GC: I’m told you trained some MMA too, along with the Krav Maga, for DEATH RACE. How was that for you? LG: The reason I like Krav Maga and also some of MMA stuff is because it’s very succinct. It gets the job done. I’m over 6’1″ and there’s a lot of upper body stuff that works better for me. It gets the job done and there’s no vanity. Not that it isn’t also true for other disciplines, but they look very beautiful, and sometimes when you’re trying to get something done quickly and violently, Krav or MMA is more consistent with those characters for me.
GC: Does the martial arts practice benefit your acting beyond the action scenes? LG: I think any martial arts discipline or physical discipline assists you as an actor if that’s what the character calls for. I find it hard to understand why actors – if they have the physical capability, of course, and age is on their side – would not want to commit to at least some of it, because the journey of an actor is the experience. I really think the practice of any discipline assists not only the actor and helps the audience buy into the role.
GC: You’ve had roles in several martial-arts-oriented films, but now that you’re getting top billing, would you like to be the lead in a martial arts film? LG: I would if I could have the time to really prepare physically for it and be trained and taught how to do it. I think Asia is the origin of these arts and it’s still the part of the world that does it best. I would want to spend time in Asia to really prep and do it right. Maybe one day that will happen.
GC: What do you think of the original DEATH RACE film? LG: I think it was fun. I think it was camp. I think Jason Statham and Paul Anderson reinvented it and it was a great evolution to bring it into a kind of “now” genre. To be part of the evolution has been a great honor. I love it.
GC: As your character is like Anakin Skywalker to David Carradine’s Frankenstein, what do you think of Carradine’s performance in the original film? LG: I have to say I think Carradine’s performance in the original film would have to be answered based upon him as an actor. I was a huge fan of his work. He was an iconic actor within those genre movies and it was great loss when he left us. But I think the movie without a doubt was one of the campiest things I’ve ever seen. In many ways it was kitsch and all those things were deliberate. Strangely enough, I don’t think that movie could be made today. It was so violent and so inappropriate. It was without a doubt gratuitous. It’s fun that it’s out there and was made, but I wouldn’t personally want to be part of it today.
GC: Given where DEATH RACE 2 left off, do you have to be in Freddy Kruger make-up and a mask for most of DEATH RACE 3? LG: Freddy Kruger make-up – there’s a first! I’ve not heard that reference before. That’s fantastic. The mask was interesting. I’ve used prosthetic makeup in roles before, but when I moved, the makeup moved. The thing about the DEATH RACE mask is that it’s devoid of any movement. It’s static, so it’s necessary to convey what you’re thinking or feeling through mood and subtle changes in your demeanor. For me it was very challenging, as it was quite claustrophobic, because with the leather cowl and mask, there’s no mouthpiece, just two slits for the eyes. It could get very claustrophobic – in fact, more so than the makeup I’ve used previously.
GC: What would surprise fans the most about the real Luke Goss? LG: Maybe that I’m actually a big softy and quite a compassionate person. I do think I’m driven by kindness and it’s like yin yang in a weird way. It’s important to balance what you do on film and how you really are and I try to bring that to my characters. I actually worry quite a lot about the people around me and that’s somewhat quite a contrast to the characters I play.
GC: What is your dream role? LG: I’m not necessarily saying I’m worthy of it, but I think every guy wants to play Bond or Batman.
The National Student Interview
TNS’s Izzy Scrimshire at University of Nottingham Interviews Luke Goss. The greatest Death Race driver of all time battles for his freedom through South Africa’s infernal desert in Death Race: Inferno. Earlier this week, TNS caught up with star Luke Goss to discuss, cars, babes and Ving Rhames – and everything in-between.
TNS: What made you decide to reprise your role as legendary racer ‘Frankenstein’? LG: Well, I’m a big fan of genre movies and I liked having the opportunity to work with Roel Reiné [director, Death Race 2] and Danny Trejo again. Universal also agreed to shoot and set the film in Africa – so it looked like it would be a fun experience.
TNS: In Death Race 2, you were made out to be the “new guy” in the series. Do you feel like you’ve settled into the role? LG: You know, it’s funny you mention that because I actually liked the idea of being the “new guy”. My character, Frankenstein, was just this mysterious, enigmatic convict who was a great driver. But it was quite restricting for me on a creative level because the character still had to be tied in with the first movie. In Death Race: Inferno, I wanted to make him more stoic, like an anti-hero. So this movie is definitely more my version of the character.
TNS: This movie is all about high-octane actions and fast cars… but are you a thrill-seeker in real life? LG: I am actually! I like martial arts, kung-fu. I also scuba-dive and drive some pretty fast cars.
TNS: What was your favourite car in the movie? LG: Well, my favourite car in the series would be the Mustang GT500 Super Snake from the second movie which had 750 BHP. This time round I’m racing a Trophy Truck. It was a really difficult car to drive. It’s an absolute beast, but looks amazing. Even on film, it doesn’t quite capture how huge this thing was!
TNS: There are some quite physical fight scenes in the movie. Did that involve much training? LG: Yes, I spent a couple of weeks in the cage. We were doing some MMA training. It was mainly a case of working out the fight scenes because I didn’t have a stunt double at all in this film. Also, I had to fight in this rubber mask which was really claustrophobic. We had to add a few shots where I lose the mask during the fight because it was took hard to work in.
TNS: Do you have a favourite moment on set? LG: I enjoyed the whole experience. It was fun to work with Roel, because we’re friends. But if I had to pick my best moment, it would be when Danny, Ving [Rhames] and myself got together on the first day of shooting. I always thought it would be nice to do another sequel with the same cast members, and it really was. We were like, “Here we are to blow things up and so some crazy shit… again!”
TNS: Violent sports like pro-wrestling and MMA are big business today. Would you say that the death race tournament is a comment on our taste for extreme forms of entertainment? LG: You know, some people will watch the film and say “Oh, this doesn’t have a message at all”. But I do believe that the Death Race series says a lot about how our insatiable appetites [for violence] are getting ridiculous. The death race business in the movie represents the most violent real-life entertainment people would pay to see, which is kind of frightening. But I would say it’s more of a comment on reality TV than violent sports. This whole ‘fly on the wall’ genre has turned into this voyeuristic overdose and the film definitely reflects this.
TNS: A lot of our readers will be tuning in to see Tanit Phoenix reprise her role as sexy convict Katrina Banks. What was it like working with her again? LG: She’s a sweetheart, she’s fun. The good thing about Tanit is she likes to get her hands dirty. Any time there’s a fight scene, she’ll volunteer to do it. I think the guys will be over the moon that she’s in it!
TNS: Your brother and ex-bandmate Matt is currently singing in Las Vegas. What is the Goss family secret to success? LG: No secret, just keep working hard. You are going to hear “no” a lot these days because of the poor economy and everything else. But if you have a dream or an idea, you have to keep going. Something a famous actor once said – I think it was Anthony Hopkins – is that the people who are successful in Hollywood are the ones who just didn’t go home (laughs). Perseverance is key – even if it takes years and, in some cases, even decades. Stick at it and you will succeed eventually.
TNS: And finally, what’s in Luke Goss’ DVD collection? LG: love documentaries. I just recently watched Man on a Wire [about French high-wire artist Philippe Petit]. I watch a lot of McQueen movies, Clint Eastwood and spaghetti westerns.
Movie Web Interview
Luke Goss Talks with Brain Gallagher about the Return of Frankenstein In Death Race 3: Inferno
BG: This is your second time around as Carl Lucas. Are you continually exploring new aspects of the character each time around? Are there things you developed about him that you didn’t know going into Death Race 2? LG: You have to explore with any character, but with capable characters, whether it be Prince Nuada, Nomak or Carl Lucas I always search for their weakness, the chink in their armor. In Death Race 3 finding his weakness, loading him with all the information that we had from Death Race 2 and the time that we weren’t with him, proved to be an asset for the inevitable outcome of the story. I wanted to make him a little bit larger than life and more stoic, I think it worked.
BG: Can you talk about how the level of action has evolved between Death Race 2 and Death Race 3? Are there any real landmark moments that you’re excited for the fans to see? LG: The action in 3 is not even comparable to 2, it’s leaps and bounds ahead of it. The action is there and part of the story, not just for the sake of it. There is a reveal and a wrap-up at the end of this movie that is just fantastic.
BG: I believe the last movie was shot in South Africa, but this one is both shot in and set in South Africa as well. Was it fun to explore more of the country as is, instead of doubling it for another location? LG: That’s a great question and so relevant to how the movie turned out. This for me is the best Death Race so far, I think that’s because we were in an environment that actually was extreme. The world created both above and below ground is the most visually exciting and authentic we’ve seen in the Death Race franchise so far. Using that amazing country as a backdrop really benefited the movie.
BG: It must be a blast working with guys like Danny Trejo, Sean Bean, Ving Rhames, and The Walking Dead’s Lauren Cohan. Can you give us a glimpse into walking on that set every day? LG: And lets not forget Dougray Scott. The thing about the cast members you mention is that they are all great actors. In an action movie its important to have authentic characters so that you can buy into the story. Working with specifically Ving and Danny, they have become friends of mine, so my day starts with them saying, ‘morning Homez,’ ‘morning My Brotha.’ I’ll leave it up to you to figure out who’s who. Having family in film, it doesn’t get better then that!
BG: Is there anything you can say about future projects like Dead Drop and the TV series Red Widow? Are you expecting to return as Luke in Death Race 4 as well? LG: Dead Drop, what can I say other than it’s one of my favorite movies I’ve made so far. Although it’s not out until 2013 it did so well at the AFM this year, Dead Drop 2 is already being written. Red Widow, written by Melissa Rosenberg of Twilight fame, is a hard hitting mob drama, I’m so proud to be a part of it. Death Race 4? You know what, at the beginning of Death Race 3 I felt it should be my last one, but seeing how well it turned out, If the fans respond to it and there was a great screenplay, I would definitely think about it.
The Student Guide Interview
Grapevine Interviews Luke Goss
TSG: Luke, what do you most enjoy about doing the Death Race movies? LG: It is a combination of working with [director] Roel Reine, who has become a dear friend, which gives us a special understanding of each other — also working with Danny Trejo and continuing the same story. The movies are getting better too. This third one, I think, is the best of the bunch and Roel and I are interested in seeing the movies evolve and become more fun — and the studio is behind us. As you step into it, everybody is trying to make a fun project and something that is fun to watch. It is nice to be a part of that.
TSG: What were the biggest challenges this time round? LG: Death Race 3 (2013) is an action movie but I wanted to make the character a bit more stoic. I wanted him to be slightly larger-than-life, a sort of super-antihero or something.
TSG: How much of the stunt work do you do yourself? LG: Pretty much all of it, but I paid a price for not having a stunt double. There were a few hits on the head but I guess that is part and parcel of doing an action film. I did most of the stunts on the second film and on a lot of movies I do my own now because it means the camera can get right in there. The audience does not have to suspend its disbelief and viewers can enjoy the action more. I think the audience deserves that. If you cannot do stunts then you cannot, but I always try and do my own.
TSG: Do you ever say no to a stunt? LG: As I get older I think ‘That might hurt’ or ‘it might jeopardise the film because if I get injured we cannot continue’. In Death Race 3 I roll a two-and-a-half ton truck and that was really harrowing. I was genuinely afraid. As the car rolled over for the first time just the noise and the violence of it was really scary. I have also done 30ft falls.
TSG: What has been the coolest action scene you have done so far? LG: When I did Blood Out (2011) I was on the roof of a car, with seven city blocks blocked off, and the stunt guy was driving and swerving at 50mph. That was exhilarating but also quite scary. You are in character and you are doing the scene but you have moments where you think ‘What am I doing up here?’ I was attached to the roof but they give you room to slide around. You cannot help but realise the danger of it. In Death Race 2 (2010) we locked off the main freeway in Cape Town and had all of these stunt vehicles. I had two camera rigs on the $300,000 vehicle I was driving and I was on my own in the car weaving through traffic. That was kind of a fun moment, with all the camera crews and helicopters. On this one it is more of the same but in the desert.
TSG: You made your name in music but was acting always part of the plan for you? LG: It was not actually. When I did my first play in Hornchurch, I immediately understood the process and also the camaraderie of my fellow cast members. It was more collaborative and did not feel as isolated; in music it is like a one or two link chain but with acting there are hundreds if not thousands of people involved in one project. You are just one of the links in the chain and it feels nice to have that kind of responsibility. What I do for a living now is hugely collaborative and with each movie I make I feel blessed to be a part of it.
TSG: Who are your acting idols? LG: Clint Eastwood is the epitome of coolness. He is also so gifted and talented on so many levels as an actor and director. I have also always been a fan of Steve McQueen, Morgan Freeman is a beautiful actor, and Anthony Hopkins is flawless. There are lots of actors out there I admire and actresses too, like Meryl Streep.
TSG: Who would you most like to work with? LG: Eastwood for sure. I have been a fan of his since I was a boy. I remember my stepfather getting me into spaghetti westerns as a kid and he had such an impact. He is the ultimate antihero in the history of film and as a director he is such a talent.
Forbes/GamerHub Video Interview
Death Race 3 Facebook Video Shout Out
Movie Fanatic Video Interview
Dread Central Video Interview
MTV Geek Video Interview
Crave Online Video Interview
Celebuzz Video Interview
I am ROGUE Video Interview
VP Entertainment Video Interview
Speed Freaks Radio Interview
Nick Bonsanto for Sports Byline Radio Interview
Universal Entertainment/Motor Trend Radio Interview
Samara Riviera Phone Interview
ARTICLES AND REVIEWS
Crave Online Set Visit
Todd Gilchrist journeys across the world to be an extra in the sci-fi action sequel Death Race 3 Inferno
21 hours is the amount of time it takes to fly from Los Angeles to Cape Town, South Africa. If a healthy amount of that time is not spent sleeping – even under the duress of sleeping pills and/or a glass of wine or two – you will be in trouble. Especially if the first thing you have to do when you land is not eat, not rest, but drive more or less directly out to a quarry to watch futuristic vehicles race underneath the hot sun.
Death Race 2 came as a nice surprise: while the first (the remake, that is) carried the imprint of Paul W.S. Anderson’s dubious creativity, its follow-up seemed borne of a pure and unfettered addiction to everything that action fans crave – fast cars, flying fists, explosions, and exposed female flesh. Not only did Luke Goss prove to be a more than worthy replacement for Jason Statham, but he found a game collaborator in director Roel Reine, who seemed inspired to create something that both capitalized on the success of its predecessor and sped off in its own, unexpected but thankfully not completely unfamiliar territory.
Back for Death Race 3 was Goss, his pit crew, played by Danny Trejo and Fred Koehler; Tanit Phoenix, who played Frankenstein’s lady love – or lust at the very least; Robin Shou, playing Frankenstein’s respected adversary 14K; and Ving Rhames, whose basso profundo delivery provided his executive/CEO character with precisely the sort of gravitas needed to pull the strings on what by the third film has become a worldwide phenomenon. Thankfully, the cast’s disposition was decidedly more hospitable than that of the landscape around them, and they took pity on yours truly after learning I was effectively a member of the walking dead.
But a day and a half of interviews later, and with some small amount of sleep at long last under my belt, I’d become a different sort of walking dead: me and two other male journalists were enlisted as extras, playing inmates at the unforgiving prison where Frankenstein, his companions and his competitors are held when they’re not kicking up dust in tricked-out dune buggies and race cars. Given appropriately dirtied clothing and covered in a fine layer of filth, the three of us soon found ourselves grumbling and cheering as Phoenix and her fellow navigators battled for the honor of joining male companions in the vehicles.
Admittedly, I’m no actor, and mostly stayed back in the cages where we huddled between takes – which is also why you won’t see me in the finished film. But the experience of pretending to raucously scream and shout as 20 scantily clad women beat the tar out of one another was something I’d never experienced, and likely won’t again, and am grateful I joined my fellow journalists for. That said, I mostly felt sorry for the female members of our group, who were unable to join in on the fun, although they did get to watch the action from the sidelines.
Despite all of the fun we had, and the excitement we were shown on set, the visit was a powerful reminder that people work incredibly hard on every movie. This isn’t just a matter of not setting out to make a bad one, it’s the prospect of taking something seriously, even when it involves fake prisons and suped-up rides and really, really attractive women, and making something truly good. Goss, whom we spoke to on multiple occasions, takes his character, and his emotional challenges seriously – which, quite frankly, is precisely why audiences ultimately embrace these films, even if their life begins on DVD. Though there is a sense of fun in the end result, the sincerity and earnestness that goes into putting all of the pieces together is what keeps audiences caring, and coming back for more.
But this isn’t a campaign for the integrity of Death Race, or any other film, for that matter. And the visit was what it was – an opportunity to speak with the cast and crew, and get inside the process of putting together an adventure that is quite frankly otherwise easily dismissed because it’s being released direct to DVD and Blu-ray.
Looking at the finished film, what they made is more or less exactly what they promised – namely, a raucous thrill ride that creates palpable stakes and then pays them off in inventive, exciting, and yes, occasionally silly ways. All of which means the experience of watching the movie pretty much conjures the same feelings as visiting the set: you might not believe your eyes, and you might even feel like you’re being treated like one of the inmates struggling to survive, but it will keep you awake, alert and engaged long after you thought you would have given up.
Death Race 3 Inferno Review By Chris Holt
For a straight to DVD franchise, the Death Race series is shaping up to be something quite impressive. The second movie, wittily entitled Death Race 2 was actually a far better movie than the Paul WS Anderson remake of the 1975 Roger Corman produced Paul Bartel directed original that came before it. The trick was it told a compelling story with a beginning, middle and ending and shot the action scenes with style without feeling like the camera was on a bungee rope whilst having an epileptic fit. PWSA may be able to frame a nice visual but his genre narratives always seem to lack a satisfactory final act and embrace style often mistaking it for substance.
With Death Race 2, Luke Goss’s main character of a getaway driver who becomes a convict/superstar had a definite arc which paid off nicely come the ending. The second film’s director Roel Reine thankfully returns for the third instalment, the action is ramped up this time and the narrative less so which is a good and bad thing. For this third movie Carl Lucas (Luke Goss) is fully into his role as Frankenstein, the star driver of the most popular televised sport of all time; Death Race. Thing is his pit crew; Goldberg, Lists and female co-pilot/convict Katrina have no idea who is behind the mask presuming that Lucas is dead. When Death Race founder Weyland (Ving Rhames) is muscled out of his own company by the ruthless Niles York (Dougray Scott), York amps up the action and threat even though Lucas/Frankenstein is close to his one more win and set free clause being fulfilled. In order to keep his star driver, York then moves the action to the Kalahari Desert where the prisons are rougher, the terrain harder and littered with heavily armed Kalahari gangsters who take pot shots at the vehicles. Lucas is forced to reveal his identity to his crew and they hatch a plan to guarantee their freedom.
If you looked at this series and thought that it was a straight to DVD affair and would have the budget and scope to match, think again. The Death Race sequels put much of the last year’s action output to shame (*CoughExpendables2*cough) in terms of portraying exciting and coherent action that you can follow. For the third in the series you might expect the quality to drop a little bit but this third movie feels even more expensive than the first two. The Kalahari has a real epic feel to it and the camera work consisting of multiple angles and set ups, often pulls back to reveal just how vast a location it is.
The race scenes have a real rhythm to them and the cutting and editing gets faster and more frequent depending on what’s happening on-screen, cutting rapidly between crashes, cockpits, control rooms and innocent bystanders in jeopardy to create something that really gets the adrenaline pumping. Luke Goss has long been Guillermo Del Toro’s go to villain, bringing a charisma and intensity to each role he played. He has now become this series MVP and it’s a wonder that the man isn’t a bigger deal. Goss is ably supported by the likes of Ving Rhames and Danny Trejo, as well as an over the top villain in Dougray Scott. Sadly once again the series portrays the women as either ladder climbing temptresses or busty eye candy but hey, you can’t have it all.
So despite the awesome action and all the appeal geared towards the regular Nuts and Zoo reader, Death Race 3: Inferno sadly doesn’t quite have the script or story to match this time out. There is a vague Oceans 11 style plot to break out of jail but it never really comes together as it should have whilst the screen is filled with burning rubber and blood. At the end things become more incoherent than ever, with the writers expecting us to believe a series of coincidences and near misses that led to a long in the making plan. Sadly it’s this which leads to the ultimate feeling that this third movie is a rather hollow affair despite everything that is great about it. Overall Death Race 3: Inferno is fast, exciting, immoral and quite possibly brain-damaged but a great prospect for a beer and pizza Friday or Saturday night.
Top 20 Selling Blu-ray Discs for the Week Ended 01/27/13