Nevsky brings the old-school action back to the screens
ITN Distribution, Inc. has acquired North American rights to the action thriller BLACK ROSE starring international action star Alexander Nevsky, Kristanna Loken (Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines), Adrian Paul (Highlander: Endgame), Robert Davi (Expendables 3) and Matthias Hues (Dark Angel).
The film tells a story about Russian Police Major enlisted by the LAPD to help solve a series of gruesome murders perpetrated against young women by a sadistic sociopathic killer.
It should also be noted that one of the executive producers is Sheldon Lettich who is mostly known for Bloodsport, Rambo III, AWOL, Only the Strong and Double Impact.
Alexander Nevsky is a former Mr. Universe and an established movie star in Russia and doing everything to bring the old-school action back to the screens. His recent film with “Expendables“- type cast of recognizable action stars Showdown in Manilla got a worldwide success.
Nevsky currently finishing the work on the Maximum Impact with another amazing international cast under the direction of a legendary action director Andrzej Bartkowiak.
Black Rose hits theaters on April 28th, followed by a DVD release date on May 2nd. Check the trailer below.
Budomate had a perfect opportunity to talk to the man who directed and played the lead role in Black Rose Alexander Nevsky.
Budomate: In the scene with street thugs you used the gun, do you think you could knock them out with bare fists or maybe even with a high kick?
Alexander Nevsky: It this scene I used my weapon but just against the bad guy who was ready to shoot me with his gun. Another thug wasn’t shot, I just knocked him hard. But you’re right, I should’ve fought more in Black Rose. I was criticized for not fighting Matthias in a bank robbery scene. I just killed his character too but for very simple reason: we didn’t have more time to shoot those scene and had to leave the location (there was a fight between us in the script and Matthias even spent some time polishing it). Budomate readers can check out this exclusive clip below!
Budomate: Was it hard to film the opening action scene in Moscow with so many explosions and gun fires?
Alexander Nevsky: Yes, it was very hard. I have to thank my Director of Photography Rudy Harbon, he did a great job and helped me a lot. And I always had three executives producers on my side – legendary Sheldon Lettich (he made “Double Impact” and “The Order” with JCVD), Bryan Gores and Robert Madrid. They gave me many good pieces of advice and some interesting ideas. I wanted to start “Black Rose” with big action and that’s why we used all these guns, extras, cars, stunt players etc. We also had real police special forces officers consulting us during this shooting.
Budomate: Which old action movies inspired you to film the bank robbery scene this way and present your character like that?
Alexander Nevsky: Let me tell you that I’m a huge fan of action classics! I was a skinny kid in Moscow thanks to Arnold’s films I started bodybuilding and change my life. I loved them all: Stallone, Van Damme, Schwarzenegger, Chuck Norris and Mel Gibson. “Black Rose” is kind of tribute to 80s and 90s action films. My inspiration for bank robbery scene was one of “Dirty Harry” films. And they always presented heroes like that in Hollywood movies – “Cobra”, “Last Action Hero”, “On Deadly Ground” – so my character is a good company and wearing cowboy boots also. 😉
Budomate: You have been a boxer for a while, what do you think about MMA and their popularity, and do you want to use some of the fighters in your future movies?
Alexander Nevsky: I was an amateur boxer while at school and university and I still love this sport. I studied kickboxing for a couple of years also and Don “The Dragon” Wilson was my idol. I’m proud to call him a friend now, we shot one movie together already (“Showdown in Manila”). I respect MMA and it stars but I still prefer boxing. I would like to work with Gina Carano one day.
Budomate: The scene with the story about your Russian partner, where it was filmed, it looks like a very abandoned place?
Alexander Nevsky: We shot it in Moscow, close to the center of the city actually. We had good set designers in Moscow and in LA so that’s why “Black Rose” really has production values and looks big. We shot this scene during very first days of production and I still had some Californian tan. And it was funny to see the guy who played my doomed partner in “Black Rose” because somehow he shows up in the every movie I’m doing in Russia (he was in “Moscow Heat” and “Treasure Raiders” too).
Budomate: You have Adrian Paul in the movie who is very skilled in a sword fighting, did you want to use this in the film?
Alexander Nevsky: We used it in “Moscow Heat”. It was my first movie with Adrian and he had a great fencing scene with Michael York in it. “Black Rose” was a different type of film, I mixed many genres already and wasn’t prepared to add sword fighting. But I was trying many times to push Adrian to get the rights for his “Duncan McLeod” character – just that character, not all “Highlander” franchise of course. I would love to see him as Duncan again, I was a fan of his TV series.
Budomate: Alexander, was it suppose to be more action scenes or from the beginning it was planned as a crime film?
Alexander Nevsky: We hade more fighting and even a couple of car chases in the script (in both Moscow and LA) but when you’re shooting an independent film you have to be very careful. I had to change some plans for production because of the budget. And I really wanted to try to mix genres. It was my idea to have ‘fish out of water’ funny moments and really violent and scary torture scenes. I think I was right because many horror websites loved the movie and Forbes magazine even compared it to Hitchcock.
Budomate: Could you please tell about interesting moments on sets, maybe a gun was too small for you or you wanted to blow out the whole building?
Alexander Nevsky: Black Rose was a really dream project for me: I created an original story, I produced it, directed it and was in almost every scene as an actor. Of course, I wanted to make this film bigger – blow up many cars (no, not whole building), shoot huge chase on 405 Freeway in LA etc. I even proposed a couple of ideas like that to my co-producer Alexander Izotov but he refused and was absolutely right! And one gun was actually too small for me: in that introduction scene I’m leaving my weapon with police and go to the bank unarmed. Sheldon Lettich interrupted shooting and said that “Makarov” looks really funny in my hand so they found me much bigger one!
Let’s talk to Matthias Hues who mostly known for his role of an alien in the Dark Angel movie, but here he played a gangster robbing the bank in Moscow.
Budomate: Matthias, there is the scene in Black Rose where you robbing the Russian bank in a mask and with a machine gun. Was it cool to feel that you possibly could get out with a million dollars in your pockets? What do you think your character could spend all this money on?
Matthias: Oh what a fun question, a new one that is for sure. I never really thought about it, he he. When I work I am so deeply in the moment that all I thought off is how to portray this crazy, trigger crazy Russian character and what would be best to scare everyone in the bank to not even move a muscle. I remember later to always apologizing to our little actress Polina Butorina as she was really shaken up to the core. So yes the money…..wow I never got it. I was killed, damn!
Budomate: Do you prefer to play bad guys or good guys now? Is it hard to play a good after so many villain roles?
Matthias: I think it depends on the storyline, if you are the bad guy a lot you are the tough guy in a way and surely many scripts have heroes who are badasses, former bad guys turn vigilante and or someone who uses his criminal skills for the good of the people. Like Ryan Gosling in Drive. Yes, so no worries on that subject.
Budomate: How did you get involved with Black Rose?
Matthias: My dear action hero friend Alexander Nevsky and I who spend a lot of time in LA training and smoking cigars while talking movies, well not necessarily all at once 🙂 we discussed one day his new film and he told me the story line and I suggested to him that his character needs a really strong iconic opening in the film where once that is done everyone will know there is a new sheriff in town. And with a smile, I finished saying “And if you can beat me, then you know earned your respect” I was half kidding but really, a few weeks later he handed me the script and said: “About the talk we had. Would you mind playing this”? And I was, “When do we start?”
Budomate: You looked very muscular on screen, did you gain weight specifically for Black Rose?
Matthias: Yes, funny you noticed. Alexander asked me if I could look like my early years in this film. Like really big. I said, sure give me a month. So I added some pounds and muscles to it. I remember coming to Beverly Hills for our cigar sessions and walking in with a cut off t-shirt and Alexander nearly dropping his cigar. He said, “I really didn’t think you would take me literally”.
Budomate: What can you tell us about Showdown in Manila and Maximum Impact? Was it fun to work with Alexander Nevsky again and again?
Matthias: Yes, both movies were great fun, different in each way. Well for one opposite side of the world. One in the jungle and one in the urban jungle. Both a load of fun, the cast in both films, legendary and to just being around everyone of that caliber was stimulating to all of us.
Alexander really knows how to surround himself with some screen legends and make it all fun for us. We never felt we are at work rather then this is some action hero convention and free ammo and cigars while dining out in a five-star restaurant and end the day either in the Ritz Carlton or some tropical beach. “Hell Yeah, what is not to like”.
Thank you so much for being such a great interviewer and taking interest in our movies! I hope and intent to entertain action fans for many more decades to come.
It happens very rarely when someone wants to talk to actors in supporting roles so Budomate decided to break this rule and talk to Polina Butorina who played a role of a little hostage in the hands of big Matthias Hues.
Budomate: Polina, was it scary to play a hostage in Black Rose in the arms of so big guy as Matthias?
Polina: To be honest, I met Matthias for the first time already on set in the character of the robber, so during the first take when he invaded the bank I was genuinely scared and for a moment I believed that everything was real.
However, as the shooting process continued, I and Matthias got along very well and had a lot of fun on set. He’s such a friendly and warm-hearted person with a very positive mindset, it’s a pure pleasure to work with him and I’m happy we’re really good friends after all the years!
Budomate: Do you like to watch action movies? If yes, what are your favorites?
Polina: Well, I love watching movies of different genres, but the action is definitely one of my favorites in the movie industry because it’s thrilling, dynamic and keeps you tuned in all the time. I love Fast and Furious, The Professional, The Matrix, and The Batman Trilogy.
Budomate: Was Black Rose your first film? Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
Polina: Yes, it was my debut on the movie screen, I was only 11. I’m a beginning actress and singer-songwriter. I starred in a couple of movies including international productions such as Black Rose, Showdown In Manila, Book of Witches, Changing Lives and an upcoming movie Maximum Impact, where I played one of the lead characters.
Budomate: You worked together with Matthias Hues and Alexander Nevsky again in Showdown in Manila. How different your experience compared to Black Rose?
Polina: First of all, both experiences were amazing and we all had a lot of fun while filming. I’d say, when we were working on Black Rose, everything was new and unusual for me, I was exploring the secrets of backstage and the art of moviemaking. And as it’s said, the fist time is unforgettable.
As for Showdown In Manila, I was older and more experienced, I clearly knew my goals and objectives and I was working towards them. Also, the location was very colorful and specific – we were filming at the Philippine market in Manila. We all had a great time that day! What I can say, the experiences are totally different, but both of them were magnificent and definitely changed my life in a way!
Budomate: Do you have any plans to continue your movie career or maybe you decided to pursue another dream?
Polina: Yes, I’m in love with the movie industry and everything related to it. Right now I can’t wait for the release of the upcoming action comedy Maximum Impact directed by Andrzej Bartkowiak starring Kelly Hu, Danny Trejo, Mark Dacascos, Tom Arnold, Eric Roberts, Alphonso McAuley, Keith Powers and Alexander Nevsky.
I’m also playing one of the main roles – the granddaughter of the American Secretary of State who sneaks in the plane going to Moscow for a secret summit. No more spoilers, but sounds fun, doesn’t it?
Then, also right now I’m focusing on my music career since my album Ocean Of Emotions is coming out soon. I’m opened to new interesting projects and offers and I’m planning to continue working hard and developing myself as an artist.