dm: How about Steven Seagal? You worked with him on Born to Raise Hell (2010).
DS: I really enjoyed working with Steven. I'm sure you'll hear all kinds of stories about him. The thing with Seagal, when I got called to work on it, I was in Shanghai working with Donnie Yen and Sammo Hung. So I flew in from Shanghai. I literally wrapped like 3 o'clock in the morning, and by seven in the morning I was on my way to the airport to catch a flight to Romania. Steven knew that I'd just finished working with Donnie and Sammo. He's known those guys for a long time, so I got his respect right away, so he was awesome with me. We didn't really have any scenes in Born to Raise Hell until our fight at the end. He was pissed, and rightly so, that they'd scheduled the fight for the end of the day, when really with a big end fight scene, it's better to schedule it for the beginning of the day to make sure we get everything. It was very very rushed. He had to leave, too. That was a fight scene that was kind of done in like three hours.
dm: Did he hurt you?
DS: No, he didn't. For the first time ever I had a stunt double on that one. He threw my stunt double for the crashes. He liked working with me because I could move around. When he turns me around, he didn't have to use any force. As soon as he's got my arm, twisting it around and moving me, I'm propelling myself. It's kind of a good dance. He was really great.
dm: You worked with him on True Justice, his TV show, right?
DS: Yeah, what happened to that? I was going to do a movie called Maximum Conviction (2012) with Steve Austin and Steven Seagal, and somebody didn't want me in the movie because I was in Tactical Force, and that movie didn't turn out very well at all, and I found out that they didn't want anybody who was in Tactical Force to be in Steve Austin's other movies. So Steven Seagal told the producer, "Hey, if we're not going to use Darren in this, we'll get him on True Justice." A few months later, Jesse called me about working on The Package, and I thought, well, they didn't want me on Maximum Conviction because of Tactical Force, but they hired me anyway on The Package, and later that same week I was hired on True Justice.
dm: Are you picking anything up from these guys who were A-list blockbuster stars at some point in their careers?
DS: I don't think Steven Seagal likes doing the movies that he's doing. Everybody's got to pay the bills. To me, he still comes across as being very natural when he acts. His fight scenes have never been the kind of fights where he gets hit, or anything like that. He just beats people up and he enjoys doing that, and I think that he has fun with that. Do I get anything out of that? I know how I want to work, and I enjoy working my ass off, and I enjoy going to the hotel every night and getting in a hot bath and relaxing my muscles.
'.....DS: I don't think Steven Seagal likes doing the movies that he's doing. Everybody's got to pay the bills.....'
yep..........that's exactly what SS said in an interview years ago.....his only interest in making movies is paying the bills
Nuke: One of your earlier movies was the Steven Seagal movie Pistol Whipped. People who worked on his other movies have said that he tends to rewrite the scene as he’s shooting. Was that your experience?
Roel Reine: Not when it comes to scenes. No, he didn’t do that. He really shot the script and everything I wanted him to do. The only thing is when it came to a fight, he created the fight or changed the fight on the spot and he always made it much better. He was more changing things on action than on a script or scene level. He shot exactly what was scripted and what I wanted him to. It was a very easy experience, I must say. I had a very fun time working with him. It was a very smooth shoot and I think the finished movie is really good. It was so long ago. It was my first studio movie so it was a really nice entrance into the studio system.
Nuke: I didn’t mean that he was difficult. I meant that all his movies are so distinctly Steven Seagal, we celebrate the personal touch he brings to them.
Roel Reine: With me, he didn’t change it, but also he picks the scripts. I think a lot of times he picks the right script that he feels like is his genre. Also he writes a lot of screenplays, or he writes the story and then he has the writer write the screenplay. But I only have the experience of the one movie and it was a script that Sony bought and they attached Seagal to it and then attached me to it.
Out For Justice (1991)—“Richie Madano” AVC: How was Steven Seagal to work with?
WF: [Hesitates.] You know, in the beginning, when I first met him, he was, like, “I want to make a movie that’s not a martial arts movie.” And I’ve got to tell you, Out For Justice was a great script. It was almost… it reminded me of, like, Mean Streets or something. It had this real quality to it. But, you know, once we started shooting, the nunchucks came out and the world went… [Trails off.] You know, he’s a great and talented martial artist. It wasn’t so easy to do the film. He’s rough, you know? He actually had something going that no one else has had since John Wayne. I think he fell off it a little, but he had something very interesting going, a whole audience that loved him for what he was doing. I think it’s one of his… if there are two of his films that I think are good ones, that’s one of them. And I got to film in Brooklyn, where I grew up, and I got to shoot a guy in front of a place where I used to take my girlfriends for pizza when I was 16. [Laughs.] So for me, that was great. That was the first time I’d ever really done a major film in New York, so that was fun for me.
I didn’t mind Seagal. Actually, there’s a part of me that really liked him. But then there’s that other side. I felt like he was mad at me because I was doing a good job, if that makes any sense. He walked up to me one day and said, “You know, you really need to work on your Brooklyn accent.” I said, “Trust me, you do.” And I don’t think he liked that. [Laughs.] But we made a good movie, and I have to say, it was exciting. I ended up with a cracked tooth from it, though, which I had to deal with afterwards, and it was in a scene that’s one of the least likely that you’d think it would’ve happened. I just got a little extra push, and my face hit a brick wall. I never even said anything about it. I knew it was gone, so I survived the movie and then I had it replaced.
The Glimmer Man (1996)—“Frank Deverell” BG: That was interesting, mostly because I got to work with the great actor Brian Cox, and for the audition—actually, it wasn’t an audition, it was just a meeting. I had done Shawshank Redemption, so I was—for awhile—a fairly hot property. [Laughs.] In terms of character roles. So the big guy [Steven Seagal] invited me in to meet with him, and he sat down, and I sat down across from him, and when I looked across, I saw that he had a pistol strapped to his ankle. And I thought, “Oh, this is going to be an adventure.”
But I enjoyed doing it, and I actually got along very well with him. And he never pulled the gun on me, so I’m grateful for that. At least, he never pulled it on me offscreen. He certainly did on-screen. As a matter of fact, it was the first time I got drilled in the forehead with a bullet, and the first time that a squib didn’t blow, so I had to do it twice, when there was a whole room full of guns firing. I’d never really done a lot of violent films and stuff—when I was in Shawshank, the warden’s hands didn’t get too dirty with violence—but here I ended up having to take a slug in the forehead twice in one day, which was… interesting. [Laughs.] I can’t say I’d put that at the top of my résumé, but it was an adventure.
Steven Seagal. You’ve done a couple of things with him. I’ve done a bunch of movies with Steven Seagal. I’ve taken every smack, every form of punishment from him. I coordinated a couple of commercials with him. One was with Nils Allen Stewart. I got him on it because he’s big. After Seagal knocks me down, he’s got Nils by the hand, and I’m trying to watch from the ground. I see Seagal has his arm around him. So, he just cranks his arm and I hear this pop! I went, “Oh, man …” He popped Nils’ bicep. I went, “Oh, man …” Seagal likes to play hard. My guys don’t like working with him because there’s so much punishment.
You worked on Black Dynamite, which was his baby. Yeah, Michael is a tough, tough son of a bitch. He’s a real fighter. He played opposite Seagal in Exit Wounds. Mike was telling me that they had all these badass dudes on that movie and they’d all try to intimidate Seagal.