Michael Jai White Interview // TheActionElite.com
Alex: So according to IMDB Steven Seagal apparently turned down the movie as he apparently doesn’t like to co-star with you. Any comment?
I’d say that was true. I don’t know what it is; Steven doesn’t like me and Jean-Claude even though we don’t have anything against him. There are theories to it but actually we kinda squashed it. Steven and I ran into each other in Thailand when I was shooting Triple Threat with Tony Jaa and Scott Adkins. So I saw Steven; he was in the same hotel and I went over and said hello. We talked and kind of identified the nucleus of the misunderstanding and we just put it beside us and kept going. I don’t think I’m his favourite person (laughs) but I don’t think there’s any animosity there. There never was any on my side; I was a big fan of his for a long time. When his movies like Above the Law come on, I watch them all the time, you know? I never had a problem with him. I think that when we were shooting, there was a representative that confirmed Steven wasn’t too keen on working with me and I didn’t quite know why. We worked together before and got on fine. Like I said, it seemed to be a misunderstanding from a third party. They said something that misrepresented something I said; anyway, I never thought it was a big deal and I guess it’s not even now.
Alex: So you’ll not exactly become bowling buddies but you’ve nothing against him.
I don’t know; I still want to work with the guy. I got nothing against him; maybe it’s because some of your first images you’ve got of somebody stick with you and I thought he had so much swagger in Above the Law and Hard to Kill. I really dug that and I became a fan of the guy. I think he’s particular and maybe very guarded. I think when the whole world is in your mix and there’s people trying to gun for you there can be egos in the martial arts sometimes. He could make the assumption that everybody is trying to get something from him. I mean, we worked together before and he was cool. Nobody was trying to cheap shot anybody and everything was cool so maybe sometimes you’ve gotta be guarded I guess. I don’t quite get it but it’s cool now.
Their second picture went even worse, shot in Castel Studios, Harvester or Attack Force as it began ranks amongst Seagal's fans as one of his worst. Keusch protests it was the studio who recut the film in haste, but the original cut was fuelled by problems between the two again.
'Steven turned up before shooting with a copy of the film 'Predator 2' and says he wants Harvester to be like Predator 2; i tell him we had a script which he said he hadnt even read. The first thing he said to me after reading it was that he refused to fight Ileana Lazariuc who is the alien queen. I didnt like this aspect either but it was there'. Seagal was apparently 'horribly depressed' on the day about the scene refusing to come out of his trailer to shoot it. When one of Seagal's confidantes heard an extra saying that 'If Ileana will give him a blowjob then I bet he will come out' and told him, Seagal said he would walk off the picture unless the person who said it was fired. Keusch says 'Long story short, that person was fired and Seagal came out and did his scene but was very unhappy'
If you read this you should say that Seagal does not like it when people are disrespectful towards women. Keeps me thinking if any of those current allegations against Seagal right now are not some 'quick money grab’ initiated by one woman, followed by many others who got the same idea.
Michael Caine: Every actor has a role they regret turning down. What was yours?
I never made that kind of mistake. I only made the ones in the opposite direction — what I didn’t say no to.
Like On Deadly Ground, where you played a villain opposite Steven Seagal?
It wasn’t one of my dream experiences, to put it nicely. We were in Alaska. He was quite pleasant, but I never saw much of him; he never came out of his motorhome very much. He was one of the top whatever it is — jiu-jitsu, whatever it is they do. I’d never argue with him. I didn’t want him to throw me over.