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Review of Interview: Dolph Lundgren Talks Castle Falls, Shooting Aquaman & Expendables

Dolph Lundgren’s latest film Castle Falls is out later this week. Shout! Studios is releasing the action flick in theaters, on demand, and digital on December 3, 2021.

“After decades of neglect, Castle Heights Hospital, this symbol of the city’s segregated past has been packed with dynamite and is ready to be demolished,” reads the official synopsis. “No one knows that a gang leader, now in prison, hid the 3 million dollars in cash he stole from his rivals inside the abandoned building. Now, three desperate parties want the money – a blue collared ex-fighter (Adkins) who finds it while working as part of the demolition crew, a prison guard (Lundgren) willing to do anything to pay for his daughter’s cancer treatment and a ruthless gang who claim to be the rightful owners. The demolition charges are set, everyone clears out and the Castle is set to fall in 90 minutes. The clock is ticking. Who will find the cash and: will they get out alive?”

ComingSoon Editor-in-Chief Tyler Treese spoke with Castle Falls director and star Dolph Lundgren about his latest film, the new version of Rocky IV, and the exciting projects he has coming up.

Tyler Treese: I know you have a martial arts background and you’ve hosted the World MMA Awards. There are some great mixed martial arts scenes early on. How great was it to show off that sport a bit and show some grappling in the film?

Dolph Lundgren: Yeah, it was fun. It was part of the original script that the main characters is an MMA fighter, kind of down on his luck. So obviously Scott Adkins wanted to give it a good go and design a fight that’s kind of real, but it’s still entertaining. So yeah, it was fun. I could stay out of it because that Scott’s very good. We had a good fight coordinator and a really good operator and good stunt people. So it was just a pleasure for me to watch this thing come together. Really enjoyed it.

I thought Scott Adkins was so great in the film with you. Can you discuss getting him on board and when you knew he was the perfect fit for Mike Wade?

Yeah. You know, Scott and I had this other picture we were supposed to make about two years ago and it fell through for some reason. Then I was asking for prescripts, there were two-handers, and I found one called Castle Falls, which it was quite a bit different. Originally Ericson was kind of a bad guy. Scott’s character wasn’t sort of as developed, but then we developed it and made them both have good motivation for going after this money. And then Scott, when he read the script and he was in from the beginning. So I had him and then we just had to put it together and execute during COVID, which was difficult, but we did it anyway. The hardest part of it was getting shut down for six months and then having to come back and do it again.

How was that? You had started production and then it shut down after just one day. How crazy was that and how demoralizing was that to just stop?

It was disappointing. Then it turned out that I had six months where I was not doing much, I just had this project so I could prepare more. I could talk to the actors about their characters. I could work on the fight choreography a little more with a guy in Sweden. I think that the extra time certainly, well, I don’t think I could have done it in 17 days if I didn’t have that extra six months. I think there was good karma actually came that it happened the way it did.

This isn’t the first time that you’ve starred in a film that you also directed. Over time what lessons have you really learned about being in front of the camera while also directing the action and making it all come together?

Obviously, the good thing is that you’re in charge. So you can actually use your own experience and judgment to make the day go easier. Some things you may want to just do very fast because you’re not going to use it. In other things, you can stay on longer. So there’s a certain security in the fact that I am in control of the whole thing. I had my plan, but then it does happen that you’re more interested in directing the other actors than worrying about your own performance. So sometimes I ended up struggling as an actor because suddenly it’s my close up and I’m like, “Okay, what was this about again?” But otherwise I find it pretty stimulating to do both.

I was really impressed with the action scenes in the film and you really let the viewer follow the action rather than having constant camera cuts. Can you talk about your philosophy when it comes to shooting fight scenes?

Again, I was lucky I’ve got Scott Adkins, who can do these fights and he’s very good. We can rehearse for the stunt coordinator, some stunt doubles, and then we break it up into little sections, but each section is quite long. So, if you had a regular “actor,” you couldn’t do that. It has to either have the guy rehearse for nine months or you’d have to use a double. And then when she used a double you’re limited in how you can shoot it and it becomes cutty. Whereas in this way, there were a few actors who could do the kind of fighting Scott can. We did some stuff together, him and I had this fight and that’s unusual. So I was lucky in that respect. I try to keep the gunplay down a little bit and not have people fire the rounds all over the place. I was trying to keep that [down], basically just one shootout, but yeah, I was trying to keep it real and stuff that could happen in real life.

The Director’s Cut of Rocky IV just came out. I was curious if you had any thoughts on just that whole process of a revisiting a classic?

Well, it’s interesting. Sly has spent so much time working on this for a year. It was last year he started during COVID. I remember he sent me little clips and things. It’s great that he did that. I’ve been in a lot of movies over the years and some hold up and some don’t hold up to the test of time. I think Rocky IV, there are some things that were dated in it a little bit, but I think the filmmaking for that picture was quite modern. With freeze frames and the slow-mo. Some of this stuff really still works. I don’t think it’s that dated. I think that people are still enjoying it without being distracted and like, “Oh, it’s an eighties movie. It’s an old movie.” But I think that with a new cut, I’m sure more young people are going to, but it should be interesting to see how they feel about it.

This is an exciting time for you as you have two blockbusters coming up: Aquaman 2 and Expendables 4. How wild is it to be doing these back-to-back and around the same time?

Yeah, it is. It is wild. It was strange that they both ended up shooting in London around the same time. So it turned out that I could start on Aquaman and go to Expendables for two weeks, then back to Aquaman, which is only gone now, and then I go off to finish Expendables in Greece and Bulgaria. But it was also because the people at Warner Bros. were very helpful, and also Millennium Films. I’ve know those guys for years, 20 years. So they were very helpful to make it happen.

And it’s fun because Aquaman is a kind of film of perfectionism. They have a lot of money. Everything has to be perfect for the outfits, and the visual effects. Then you have Expendables, which is like a wild west show. Big personalities, the characters, and shooting, it’s just like an old-school action movie kickass. Aquaman is all perfectionism and the other one is, is kind of like a raw strength to some degree. They are different, but it’s fun to be part of both.

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