Interview with Darren Shahlavi

Darren Shahlavi is know for his recent role in “Mortal Kombat: Legacy” as Kano. Darren has also starred with many great action stars Donnie Yen and Sammo Hung Kam-Bo in “Ip Man 2” and Steven Seagal in “Born to Raise Hell”. Darren is also in the upcoming SyFy original movie, “Aladdin: The Curse of the Jinn” this year and also has a role in “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol”. Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Darren about his role in “MK: Legacy” to as working with his childhood heroes to what he has planning upcoming.

Mike Gencarelli: What made you pursue martial arts growing up?
Darren Shahlavi: I started training in judo when I was seven years old. When I was a kid my dad took my younger brother to class and I went along and I just enjoyed it. And after I saw my first Bruce Lee movie I was hooked. I wanted to be like Bruce Lee. So did a lot of kids. I wanted to kick so I moved away from judo to tae kwan do and karate…stuff like that. And since I was a little kid my dream was to be in movies. It was a combination of Bruce Lee films and “Star Wars.” I wanted to be Han Solo. I never dreamed of doing anything else in my life for my career. Actually, my judo classes took place in a drama theater. I’d get there early and see the actors performing… rehearsing their plays. So I kind of discovered both martial arts and acting together at the same time. It was the Hong Kong movies that really inspired me. I found the action in the American movies pretty boring compared to Hong Kong. I wanted to go to Hong Kong and train with the people that Bruce Lee worked with. Jackie Chan and Donnie and Donnie Yen and Sammo Hung. So I went off to Asia when I was 19 years old.

MG: How did you get involved with playing Kano in “Mortal Kombat: Legacy”?
DS: I’d been in touch with the films fight choreographer for a couple of years. There was another movie he was doing that I was going to be a part of but I had something else come up. He let me know he was going to be in Vancouver doing “Mortal Kombat” and I told him if there was anything I could do to just let me know. He spoke with the director and suggested me for Kano. So I met with the director, read for him and he gave me the part straight away. Again, it’s the good fortune of having somebody who has seen your work think you’re good for a part and suggests you. My friend had seen “Ip Man 2” and loved it so I thank him for recommending me for the part of Kano. And I like what the director has done with this rebirth of the “Mortal Kombat” legacy. It’s going to be really exciting.

MG: Where you familiar with the character of Kano?
DS: Absolutely. When I moved to Hong Kong I went over with my best friend. We had met each other 20 years ago at the Donnie Yen seminar. We hadn’t seen each other for a long time but, since we both loved “Mortal Kombat,” whenever we would see each other we’d say “hello baby, did you miss me?” Seriously, what the director got out of the actor playing Kano in the first movie (Trevor Goddard)…there are a lot of good layers to the performance. It was good, it was funny…truly a great performance. So yes, I was well aware of “Mortal Kombat” and Kano. I used to listen to the music when I was working out all the time. The first movie I ever did…a Hong Kong movie called “Guns and Rose”…Robin Shou was the lead in that movie and five years after that went on to play Liu Kang in the “Mortal Kombat” movie. Once I found out that Robin was doing “Mortal Kombat” I was thrilled for him. I’d followed his career and I thought he was wonderful in “Mortal Kombat.” Now I’m doing “Mortal Kombat.” It means a lot to me because the first film was something that brought martial arts back to the main stream public in North America as well as around the world.

MG: Do you think that the success of the web series will cause “Mortal Kombat” to be turned into a feature film?
DS: We hope so. Somebody has put my name down on IMDB but we’ve really had no discussions. I think they’re interested in doing another season of the web series because there are still a lot of backgrounds from these characters that you can explore. You can get the audience up to speed with the characters and their motivations and their intentions and then you can go into the feature film where we can do the tournament. This way people are invested in the characters and it’s not just all fighting. I think it will be cool to do another season, explore the characters further, and by the end of the season they’re all entering the tournament. I believe there is some kind of legal situation that needs to be cleared up but I think there’s a very good possibility of doing a feature and I’d be very proud to be a part of it. The series has so many interesting characters. I mean you talk to anybody and they each have their favorite character so there is really a lot to explore. I just hope that if they do another film that we can release it uncensored. This whole “censoring” thing is really a problem right now.

MG: How do you feel about the recent episode that was taken down so quickly because of the censors?
DS: It’s a problem for a number of reasons. Number one, “Mortal Kombat” fans want to see MORTAL KOMBAT. They want to see it as it was intended. Number two, there’s also the intention of showing Warner Brothers that there is a big demand for this. Fans want to see a new “Mortal Kombat” movie or a second season but not censored. We put the first episode on YouTube and it got 8 million hits. The second episode got 2 million hits. But it should be at 6 or 7 million hits. But the problem is that people have downloaded the uncut version and when they watch it we’re unaware. They’re watching it but not on YouTube because it’s been censored. If we’re going to do another season it needs to be released somewhere so fans can see it uncut. They can put a little warning before it stating that it’s “R” rated or mature…whatever it is. Because that’s what “Mortal Kombat” is. The filmmaker’s vision is what got everybody excited and to kind of quash that is not really fair to the filmmakers or the fans.

MG: How was it working with your childhood heroes Donnie Yen and Sammo Hung Kam-Bo in “Ip Man 2”?
DS: Sammo Hung and Yuen Woo Ping gave me my first lead role in a movie called “Tai Chi Boxer.” Yuen Woo Ping did all of the action in films like “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” and “Kill Bill” among others. “The Matrix,” of course. He and Sammo Hung have been the premiere fight choreographers in the world for so long. I met Donnie Yen 20 years ago. I was just a kid and I went down to London where Donnie Yen was doing a seminar teaching Hong Kong style film fighting. I lived in Hong Kong for awhile, then I came to North America and began doing films here. But unless you’re a name it’s not easy to get a good lead role in a movie. So I was doing a lot of supporting and smaller roles but not really getting the chance to use any of my abilities fight-wise. So I called a friend of mine who was a casting director asked him to please keep an eye out for me for anything in Asia. I hoped to get back there and really get to use my abilities as a marital artists. And very shortly after that he called me back and said they were getting ready to cast the main bad guy in “Ip Man 2.” Would I be interested in it? And, true story, I actually had “Ip Man” in my portable DVD player as I was on my way to the gym. I take my portable DVD player to the gym with me and I watch movies while I’m on the eliptical machine doing my cardio. So I watched the first “Ip Man” movie, called him back and said, “Listen man…anything I need to do to get on this movie let me know.” And they cast me pretty much right away. So it goes back to that first meeting with Donnie Yen. The first Bruce Lee movie I ever saw was “Enter the Dragon,” and the movie begins with Bruce Lee fighting Sammo Hung. I told Sammo that I’ve known who he was for most of my life. And to get to work on a film that’s about Bruce Lee’s teacher…with Bruce Lee being such an important part of my life…it was almost like going full circle. Getting to come back to Asia and work with two of my heroes in Donnie Yen and Sammo Hung on a movie about Bruce Lee’s master, Ip Man, it was really gratifying. I was thrilled to be a part of it. Not to mention the success of the film worldwide. It was the most successful Asian film of 2010.

MG: How did you get involved with working with Uwe Boll on his films?
DS: I had done a couple of films for a German filmmaker named Olaf Ittenbach, who is known for his splatter effects and quite hardcore depictions of physical violence. It’s very, very gruesome stuff but he’s very, very good at it. The first film I did for him was called “Legion of the Dead.” I’m sure the version you saw was the cut version that Artisan released here. Talking about censorship, when some of the more gruesome stuff was about to come up the screen would go black. So a lot of the stuff was actually taken out of the movie. The second film I did with him was called “Beyond the Limits.” It was censored almost every place it was released in. And I think the only uncensored versions you can find of it are in Germany and Austria. And Japan. So my agent let me know that Uwe was here and was looking to cast “House of the Dead.” So I went in and met with him. I don’t know what happened. He offered me a role but it wasn’t a big role so I went and did something else. Then “Alone in the Dark” came along and he asked me to do a part in “Alone in the Dark.” But what I understand is that I was going to be in a scene fighting with Christian Slater. But Stephen Dorff was going to be in a different scene and was willing to work for free to be in the movie more so my fight with Christian Slater got cut so I’m barely even in “Alone in the Dark.” Then there’s”Bloodrayne,” though I really didn’t get a chance to do alot in “Bloodrayne.” Then when “Dungeon Seige” came about Uwe gave me a script and told me he had a really good role for me. But when the time came to shoot the role he had already cast someone else in the part. Uwe was very insistent that he have “name” actors in all of his movies so that he could sell them. And if you look at “Dungeon Siege” you can see that those 10 big name actors got the movie $2 million opening weekend. So now he’s gone back to doing the movies he should be doing…smaller, personal films. Good actors don’t have to be movie stars if they can act. I like Uwe a lot. He’s really an intelligent guy. And he’s a good filmmaker. But I’ve done three projects and he’s never really used me properly…never gave me a good role. The stunt coordinator on “Dungeon Siege” said to me “if Uwe is not going to use you we can use you here” so I did stunts and ended up being Ray Liotta’s stunt double in the movie. In the end fight between Jason Statham and Ray Liotta that was me doubling Ray Liotta.

MG: How was it working with Steven Seagal in “Born to Raise Hell”?
DS: I was in China doing “Ip Man 2” when I got a phone call from Lauro Chartrand, the director, who said “I’m heading to Romania to direct my first movie with Steven Seagal and I want you to play the bad guy in it.” And I told him “I’m in China right now…I don’t think it’s going to work out.” But thankfully they were able to finish with me on “Ip Man 2” so I got on a plane from China to Romania, got a little sleep and the next day went to wardrobe fitting and began shooting. It was a very low budget movie, which puts a lot of limitations on what you’re able to do. I was happy with the way everything went, filming wise, but unfortunately they left the end fight between me and Steven for the end of the day. They kept shooting other stuff. So when it came time to do the fight scene Steven had to go off somewhere so we really only had an hour or two to shoot it because Steven had to go. It was really a shame that we couldn’t get a good final fight scene shot at the time but that’s the problem with low budget stuff. Steven was great. I really enjoyed working with him. He invited me into his trailer before I left and we had a really good talk about a lot of stuff. He was really cool. I don’t think he was too happy with a lot of the films he’d been doing recently and as a result I don’t think he really gives as much as he should be on a lot of the films he’s been working on. He could certainly help the film making process go a lot smoother and easier if he was able to give more time and commitment. He really doesn’t seem to have his heart in it anymore. Which is a shame because I think the guy still…he’s still very fast. He’s very good in his fight scenes. And he’s still a really good actor. He’s underrated in what he does. And I think that comes out in his commitment to the film and his character. He doesn’t want to put too much into it. But when it comes to the process he’s very natural. But I liked the experience. It was a chance to work with Lauro Chartrand, whose a good friend of mine. And I think that, with what he had to work with, he did a very good job. Because, seriously, it was not easy shooting a movie that quickly in Romania.

MG: Does one project stand out at being the most challenging for you?
DS: Well, there’s most challenging in a good way and most challenging in a bad way. Most challenging in a good way was working on “Ip Man 2.” I had to be in the best shape I could be in. That was a 72 day shoot and I shot for about 23 days. Pretty much every day I was fighting. I worked with Donnie Yen for 10 days. Sammo Hung for 7 or 8 days. All of the other guys in the ring. So that was very challenging. I was getting up at 5 in the morning, going for a run, coming back, having my breakfast. The driver would pick me up and drive me to the set. It would be an hour’s drive every morning and close to three hours drive back because of the traffic. So I was filming for 12 hours. Add in another 4 hours for travel. An hour for working out. I was on a really strict diet. So I was working out twice a day, shooting 12 hours, traveling for 4 more. By the time I’d get back to the hotel and Skyped for a little bit I’d go to bed. So I was working on about 4 hours sleep every day for five weeks. Then there’s challenging in a bad way, when you don’t really get to do much. Like not getting able to fight Steven Seagal at the end of “Born to Raise Hell.” We had no time. It’s tough just shooting things so quickly. We had a little time for rehearsal…Steven and I rehearsed. It’s a pleasure to work with people you really admire. It’s a lot of hard work. And sometimes it’s not enough hard work because there’s not enough time.

MG: What is your involvement in the upcoming “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol”?
DS: Here again it’s another unfortunate incident that happens in this business. The stunt coordinator called me up and said they wanted me to come in and do a fight scene with Tom Cruise. I said, “I get to fight Tom Cruise?” They said yes so I said, “fantastic…I’m there.” Then I get to the set and it’s Tom Cruise and Jeremy Renner and they’re going to be fighting three guys. I was going to fight with Tom and the other two were going to fight with Renner. Then Tom wanted to fight two guys so he was going to fight the two guys and I was going to fight Jeremy Renner. But the whole point of this fight scene was to show how good Jeremy Renner’s character was at fighting so the fight we’re in is very quick. It’s a nice scene. I mean I got to hang out with Tom Cruise and Jeremy Renner for three days and watch them work, which was a thrill. Renner was fantastic. He picks up the fighting really well. He’s such a great actor. He comes across really well. Very strong and very capable. Trust me in the new “Bourne” movie he’s going to be awesome! Seriously, he’s going to surprise a lot of people. So even though it’s really just a cameo…you get paid good money and you get to hang out for three days with two of your favorite actors. It’s a great gig!

MS: Anything else on the horizon?
DS: I just got my first lead role in an American film called “Aladdin: The Curse of the Jinn.” It’s a SyFy original movie. They’re just finishing up the visual effects and I think it will air at the end of summer, first on SyFy then on a Blu Ray DVD release. I play Aladdin and it’s a very adult version of the story. The genie here is a real evil genie. He’ll grant your wish but whatever it is, he’ll turn it around so that you ultimately get killed. So the object is to get the genie back into the lamp and toss him back to hell. It’s a pretty good film. And it’s going to look good because we shot it on 35mm film and they’re taking their time on the visual effects. I’ve also got a movie called “Hanger 14” with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. Plus it was nice to work with Michael Jai White again. It should be out by the end of the year, though it might have a new title…keep an eye out. (According to IMDB the film is now
titled “Tactical Force”).

Interview with Johnson Phan

Johnson Phan is currently appearing the “Mortal Kombat: Legacy” playing the character Shang Tsung. Johnson is appearing in the TV series “True Justice” with Steven Seagal, and also in Syfy’s “Sanctuary”. Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Johnson about his role in the series, what he hardest stunt was and what we have planned upcoming.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us how you got involved with “Mortal Kombat: Legacy”?
Johnson Phan: The timing of everything was perfect. With what was going on in my life at the time and “MK: Legacy” coming to Vancouver. I seriously felt it was a combination of the universe and my energy aligning with one another and of course.  Also it was the fact that I did my homework as an actor and was able to fully commit myself and connect to the material during the audition process. Then a few days before they started shooting “MK” the opportunity landed into my lap and I was prepared to handle it.

MG: How was it playing such an iconic character such as Shang Tsung?
JP: Mike, it was a surreal feeling Dude! I grew up playing the video game all day at the arcades and watching the movies so basically, I almost pissed my pants when Maria, my agent, called me about booking the gig. How fuckin’ awesome is it to be playing Shang Tsung?…one of the most bad ass villains out there! Come on it doesn’t get any cooler than that.  Once I calmed down… fear and nervousness kicked in. Shang Tsung being such an iconic character and I wanted to make sure that I was able to be honest with what I was doing in the reality of the “MK: Legacy” world. I know how many people love this franchise, so I of course “at the end of the day” want to entertain everyone and deliver the goods. Thanks to Kevin for all his support was able to connect and stay grounded to what I was doing

MG: How was it working with Kevin Tancharoen?
JP: Kevin Tancharoen, is one cool cat! It was an incredible experience working with him and I’m not just saying that so I could be in his next project [laughs]. He was super easy to talk to and work with. He was also very specific and detailed with what he wanted. It was great to work with someone who was so hands on with every aspect of the project from the set decoration stuff, to one of the actors hair styles, to another actors gloves, to the movement and mannerisms of an actor’s delivery. Kevin did all of his homework and has lots of passion for what he is doing, so the positive energy on set was very infectious. He is a very personable dude with a hella creative mind so watch out for him world!

MG: You are no stranger to web series format, tell us about “Chasing Mood”?
JP: “Chasing Mood” is basically a web series that kinda feels like “Seinfeld” mashed together with “Entourage”. You have a bunch of interesting characters that share the trials and tribulations of life together, sometimes supporting each other and for the most part just creating awkward moments. The show was created by the very talented Mr Leslie Birch and Mr Curtis Lum. “Chasing Mood” is one of the funniest experiences that I’ve had on set. The director and writer Leslie Birch gave us actors the flexibility to do lots of improv and play around with the written material. The creation of the show is what got me interested on being part of the team. You’ve got a talented group of people looking to create their own opportunities in the film industry by investing their own money and taking control of their careers. How awesome is that? How can I not jump on board and support this? When you love and have passion for something… Don’t let others control when you are able to do it, take the steps necessary to make things happen for you and control your own career and destiny.

MG: You’ve worked stunts on some big films, “Watchmen” & “Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief”, what has been your hardest stunt to perform?
JP: Hmmmm, When I think about this question…there is one specific project that comes to mind, that I’m hesitant to you talk about [laughs]. One of the main reasons being that, as a “Stunt Performer” you never really talk about your injuries or wine about things and with this experience I’m going to share with you today, it will sound like a little bit of both the people who are close to me will understand and know my intentions. Just sharing an experience here! Not complaining or no wining here, so here we go… STORY TIME! It all took place on Season 5 of the TV show “Psych” and I was hired as a stunt actor, so I basically was one of the main villains of the episode the Episode “Romeo and Juliet and Juliet”. As a stunt actor you are required to ACT and do your own STUNTS, think of it kinda like an action actor (Jackie Chan). My character Teno Tan had two fight scenes, both incorporating lots of action and martial arts fighting normally this wouldn’t be difficult for me… so here’s why it was my ”hardest stunt”. A month before this “Psych” show, I injured my lower back training. When I got the gig not only was I not fully recovered, but my muscles were stiff and joints were tight and because of the injury and condition I was in, it made filming for me very difficult the action sequences demanded a lot from me. One of the fights was with another stunt performer, and it was an all-out hand to hand with flying kicks in the fight scene. The second fight scene was the final fight with the lead of the show himself Mr James Roday. I had to chase him around a martial arts dojo and fight him with a sword and of course doing a fight scene with the lead of a show you have to be so much more careful, so the pressure was on like a mother fucker! Here’s where things get interesting…because of my lower back injury, my body was very weak and had to adjust and compensate and because of all of the strain and compensation, it threw my whole body off balance which led me to tare my left quad and dislocate my right shoulder during rehearsal. So now I’m broken all over the place and we haven’t even started filming yet. It was a five day shoot and I was gimped and there was no way I was going to quit or be recast. The role itself was a great opportunity for me and I couldn’t let it slip. So I did a lot of praying and eventually got through it all and delivered the goods. I thank the universe that I was working with such a talented stunt team and was able to finish filming. These guys all helped support me, and not only made me look good but made my performance possible because of all the adjustments. Thanks you Dan Shea, Jeff Ong and Brian Ho you guys ROCK! That was my Hardest Stunt!

MG: What other projects do you currently how in the works?
JP: I got a TV show called “True Justice” with Steven Seagal, where I play “Chai” the Yakuza gangster and most recently the TV show “Sanctuary”.

Interview with Michael Rogers

Michael Rogers currently appearing the “Mortal Kombat: Legacy” playing the character Quan Chi. Michael is also starring in the this years Tribeca favorite “Beyond the Black Rainbow”, which will be next showing at Cannes. Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Michael about his roles in both projects.

Mike Gencarelli: How did you get involved with “Mortal Kombat: Legacy”?
Michael Rogers: I just auditioned for it.  Originally I had auditioned for the role of Kabal.  They ended up bringing me back for Quan Chi, which I was thrilled about because I absolutely loved the role. If had a pick of any of the roles that would be the role I would choose.  There is just so much juice in there.  So then I was cast and two weeks later we shot it.

MG: Where you familiar with the character Quan Chi?
MR: You know what, I wasn’t at all.  I wasn’t a gamer.  I have obviously heard of it but was not familiar with the characters.  Right away when I read it I was very attracted to the role since it was so rich.  Once I got the role I tried to actually stay away.  Of course I watched “Mortal Kombat: Rebirth”, which was phenomenal but outside of that I stayed away from looking at the game, the TV series or the movies.  I did not want any influences and wanted to come in with a fresh perspective.

MG: How do you compare working on web series to TV and film?
MR: My approach is always the same.  With this project, they obviously had to get it done fast.  I think that that environment spawns a lot of creativity.  You have to be very alive and spontaneous and that really allows for some great moments.

MG: Do you have a favorite genre to work in?
MR: I really don’t.  As long as the role has depth to it and it is interesting to me, I think it would be interesting to me no matter what genre it is.  Ironically, I have never been a huge fan of sci-fi, but I actually just a film called “Beyond the Black Rainbow” which just screened at Tribeca.  I have certainly gained a better appreciation for sci-fi from that.

MG: Tell us about working on “Hellraiser: Hellseeker”, one my favorite in the series?
MR: Thanks man, that is great to here.  It was a fantastic experience. Rick Bota, who directed it, was a great guy and was fantastic to work with.  Dean Winters was also phenomenal to work with and trade pushes with.  It was really just a great experience.

MG: Tell us about the film “Beyond the Black Rainbow” and your role?
MR: I play Barry Nyle, it is a primary lead role.  It takes place in a dystopian 1983 and it is a beautiful, stunning film.  It is fairly abstract and probably the most reward film that I have been a part of.  It was rewarding and challenging at the same time.  It was a pleasure to have it been received so well at Tribeca. As far as we know we have been picked up by distribution and from what I understand it is looking to be sold at Cannes.  So it is moving a long and hopefully it will be out later this year.  It is really a piece of art and I am super proud of that one.  It was a real labour of love.

MG: What do you consider is your favorite experience in your career?
MR: Definitely like I said, the most rewarding and challenging has to be “Beyond the Black Rainbow”.  Without giving too much away, I had to play two incarnations basically the same role.  It was such an abstract film and the preparation for it was really intense.  So far this one takes the cake.

Interview with Peter Shinkoda

Peter Shinkoda is currently appearing the “Mortal Kombat: Legacy” playing the character Sektor. Peter is also part of the ensemble cast of this summer’s highly anticipated “Falling Skies” on TNT. Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Peter about his roles in both projects and also what he has planned next.

Mike Gencarelli: How did you get involved with the series “Fallen Skies”?
Peter Shinkoda: I went through the usual channels after hearing about the part fairly late in the game. A very long audition process had already been held and at the last minute I locked down the job. I guess there were a few other actors that had been considered for the job as well but casting saw my audition tape and gave me a contract.

MG: Can you tell us about your role on the show?
PS: I play Dai who is like a lot of the characters on the show. He is a civilian turned resistance fighter fighting against the invading alien forces. Dai is often seen with Noah Wyle’s character, Tom Mason, who is History professor turned resistance leader. My character is his most trusted confidant and friend he is also the most effective fighter in the unit.

MG: How was it working with Noah Wyle and the rest of the cast?
PS: It was a complete pleasure. There wasn’t one minute where I did not like being on set. Working with Noah was an incredible experience and I hope it will be on going. As a person, he is very generous and sweet and probably one of the most intelligent people I have ever met. Craft wise, I am constantly in awe of his professionalism and how easy he makes acting look. Noah is just an all around great guy on and off camera.

MG: Did you get a chance to meet Steven Spielberg during production?
PS: I did! He made it to location a few times when we were shooting in Canada. The fortunate actors got to be directed and overseen by him while he was there which was really great. Even when he wasn’t there his input was being received via Skype or telephone. I was actually able to meet him one other time at Dreamworks when we did a screening of the pilot and it was really cool because we got to watch the show with him. That was an incredible pleasure.

MG: How do you feel this show differs from other sci-fi alien shows that are on television?
PS: I think a majority of the films out now dealing with similar subject matter start from the same point. A typical all American town is attacked by aliens and decimated and a military response follows. In the case of “Fallen Skies” the attack has already happened and we see the response from a civilian’s point of view and how they are dealing with being over powered.

MG: How did you become involved with “Mortal Kombat: Legacy”?
PS: Just like any other guy who is surfing the net looking for interesting content related to sci-fi and gaming. I saw some news clips about this “Mortal Kombat” thing that was going viral. I went and checked it out for myself and was blown away! It was so brilliant I almost fell out of my chair. It was just so dark. I watched it a bunch of times and then left it alone for a bit. Every once in awhile I would hear little bits about it trying to be developed. Early February I read an article that Warner Bros had green lit the project. I immediately called my agents who still hadn’t heard anything about the project and then in just 24hrs later the info for casting came out. Fortunately I was friends with one of the casting director Tiffany Mack. So between Tiffany and my agents I was able to get a meeting with the Kevin Tancharoen. We met at the studio and had a conversation about the direction they wanted to take “Mortal Kombat” and a few days later I got an offer to play Sektor.

MG: Were you familiar with the character prior to being cast?
PS: Yes. I was familiar with the core characters from the game and movies. I had seen Sektor however I didn’t know much about his back story.  I don’t think anybody really did other than he is a cyborg ninja. I think he is one of the more interesting characters and plus Sektor has some really cool weapons.

MG: How do you feel doing a web series differs from a television project?
PS: Production wise and shooting on location is all the same. The big difference is in the speed of which things are shot. Television works quite fast and this being my first web series I found this shoots even faster than television. The idea is to get as much production value in the can and to the screen as possible.

Interview with Ryan Robbins

Ryan Robbins is currently appearing the “Mortal Kombat: Legacy” playing the character Raiden. Fraser is also know for his role of Henry Foss in SyFy’s “Sanctuary”. Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Ryan about his roles in both projects and also what he has planned next.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us how you become involved with “Mortal Kombat: Legacy”?
Ryan Robbins: I just got a phone call about it. Actually it was originally for another character but they didn’t end of using that character in the show. So I thought I missed my chance, but then I got a call that they want me to play Raiden. I told them of course I was interested. I got to be a kid again and got to play one of the coolest characters in video games. I didn’t even meet the director till the first day, but Kevin (Tancharoen) was such a cool guy. He is definitely a visionary. I know that word gets thrown around a lot but it is true.  He has this clear vision and talked about what our version was going to look like. To some degree you want to say true to the original but you want to make it a little more relatable and give the characters back stories and struggles to overcome. I think it turned out really great.

MG: So you where you familiar with video games series prior to working on it?
RR: I was familiar with the games, the films and the TV series. I have seen Kevin’s short film he did and it was really good. I really liked the edge it had. It is hard to adapt video games though. You always have visually elaborate costumes and everyone is always big and buff and sometimes these things are hard to identify with. I like his vision and he makes the characters feel like somewhat regular people for the most part and he gives them qualities to identify with.

MG: How was it working on a web series, compared to TV and movies?
RR: I have done a few now especially with “Sanctuary” starting off as a web series. Since they are kind of new, you have a bit of a broader parameter but the downfall is the budget is not there. These guys on “MK” have amazing production value, especially with the budget constraints they have. More people also have access to web series as well, for example episode one is well over 8 million views already. That is huge and it is bigger than some network shows.

MG: Tell us about working on SyFy’s “Sanctuary”?
RR: “Sanctuary” is an amazing show to work on. It is an incredible group of people to work with. We have no divas and no attitudes. It is almost like working on an independent film. We have all the best parts of that and even though it does not have a huge budget since it is independently financed, we love doing the show. We really are passionate about the show and its fans. It has been a great ride. We just started shooting season four now and like every other season, we hit the ground running. When we get some of the scripts, I look at them and wonder how are we going to do this? This is insane! But sure enough every time they make it work and it great.

MG: What do you like most about playing the character Henry Foss?
RR: I like that he is somewhat unpredictable. He has so many levels. At one end he seems like a funny smart ass but on the other end he is a very capable badass werewolf. He really has a lot of range in that character and it is really fun to play. He is really emotional and passionate. He also has secrets and it is always fun to play a character that has secrets.

MG: What can we expect from the last few episodes of season three and upcoming in season four?
RR: I do not think people are going to expect the ending they will get from season three. People are going to be pretty blown away by it and also then how season four begins. I think the last part of season three gets pretty epic and some of the stuff with the character Adam is just great, who is played by Ian Tracey. Ian is just such a great actor. It will definitely leave you jaw-dropped. I was really excited to see how the fans react to it.

MG: Tell us about what you have planned next?
RR: I recently just did three films. The first was called “Cold Blooded”, the next is called “Everything and Everyone” and then I did a short film I am really proud of called “Pleased to Meet You”. The short has a really great cast and it is fantastic. Lastly I am getting a final cut soon for a film I starred and produced with Allison Mack from “Smallville” and it called “Marilyn”. It has been a labor of love. We financed this feature film ourselves. It is in post production right now and we are hoping to get it out for the festival circuit soon. It is such a great film and it is inspired by a true story. I can’t wait for people to see it.