Today we are bringing you Part Two of our interview with Actor/Writer/Director/Producer/Filmmaker Bryan Larkin of Dead End. We hope you enjoyed Part One and now onto Part Two.
What interested you to get into acting?
I think it was Robert De Niro in Taxi Driver and then Edward Norton in American History X that inspired me. Seeing those performances was like a light going on in my head. I just think I must have said to myself- 'that's the kind of actor' I want to be.
What was your experience at Drama School like?
It was strange to go back into education 9 years after leaving high school. It was a whole new experience for me. I was a shy kid in school and going to drama school and pretending to be a tree or getting up in front of people and being exposed as my true self was a major shift. It gave me a lot of confidence that I never knew I could have.
What are your favourite types of characters to play?
I think I've still to discover them. I try to expand on what I've previously done the best I can with each role. I tend to lean towards tough, but with a vulnerable side. Flawed emotionally, you know? Combining action with a three dimensional character is really what I want to do. If theres just too much mindless action it bores me. That's not what I'm about. It's not the kind of work that interests me.
How do you prepare for a role?
It really depends on the demands of the script. I've gained and lost weight before, I've trained with weapons, learned a language and all the usual things actors do. For me it's about digging for gold, finding moments in the script that give me room to extend my reach as an actor. It also comes down to the kind of director you're working with. Are they open to it? Some are and some aren't. Maybe they don't have time or they have a clear vision and I'm very happy with that. I'm a facilitator of somebody else's vision, not the creator of it. It's important to know the difference.
Do you have any advice for up and coming actors?
Get in front of a camera as much as you can. Film yourself. Just start anywhere. It's the easiest way to improve. See how you move. Get used to just being in front of it. Don’t just use dialogue to talk. Listen. Really listen to the other actor. It shows on camera when you are or not. It doesn’t lie. Think deeply about what's going on internally the words come from feelings and thoughts . And scrutinise your weaknesses.
Do you have any tips for a great audition?
Let the nerves in. Embrace them. Too many actors let that audition process intimidate them. The best thing you can be is nervous. Casting directors know that.
You are there to solve the casting problem. Know your lines inside out. Go in there and respectfully blow their socks off then leave. Forget about it. It's somebody else's job to give you the job. If you don't get it, then just let it go.
Do you have any great audition stories?
I once had to kiss an actress on lips and she was okay with it. It was just a peck. Nothing too much. Apparently she had been kissing other actors all day. I was freaked out by it and refused on the basis of contracting something like a cold sore. We settled for a hug instead. I didn't get the part.
What is your favourite Film/TV show that you’ve worked on?
I really don't know. Every experience is different. The people are different. I've has as much enjoyment on big movies as I have had on low to no budget movies. London Has Fallen was very memorable for many reasons. Gerard Butler wanted me to have a great experience and he made the effort to make that happen where he could. He's very supportive of everybody but he knows when to crack the whip. A total pro. I was treated with as much respect and given as much time as the stars.
How was your experience working with Donnie Yen on Chasing the Dragon?
Very involved. Donnie chose me for the role from a self tape. Right from the start he told me that he wanted me to improvise and my contribution to the text would be respected. It was similar when we were shooting the action scenes. He'd trust you can deliver . That you are capable. He'd just say, 'show me what you got'. He'd tweak the action then we'd shot. I loved every minute working with him and I know he did too.
How did you prepare for your role on Chasing the Dragon?
There was very little to work with. Mike Leeder the casting director sourced some background on my character Ernest Hunt and it was a good reference on what not to do. There was accent work, lots of improvisation and I found myself just finding the character as we went along. I got a lot of latitude in that role. There was nothing much in the script to learn so I'd access the scene and got an idea from Jason Kwan and Wong Jing (directors) the rough shape of the scene and where I came in and left. The rest was mostly improvised.
How was your experience working on London Has Fallen?
Pretty special. For my first Hollywood film, it was everything and more I hoped it would be. They gave me more material than was in the script and I thought I must be doing something right.
I know that you’ve done some editing for your films. Do you have any tips and tricks for editing?
Loads. It depends on the style, pace, event and tone of the work. I like to watch everything fresh and if I see something that really strikes me, I mark the clip and keep watching. I then assemble a scene based on the 'wow' moments. The performances.
Essentially I try to find the key moments and then edit around them I'll then perhaps add temp sound elements or score and seeing I'm hitting the right tone for the scene.
What is your editing process like?
I usually have about 3 or 4 shots I really like lined up. I look for story first. Does this tell the story? Is it clear for the audience? If there's a performance I particularly like or a delivery of dialogue that really makes me listen then I'll take that as my first choice and commit to that.
What has your experience with Fighting Spirit Film Festival been like?
It feels like being part of a family. Soo Cole, Weng, and the team are so passionate about the festival and what it stands for. It's as much about showcasing action as it's about the humility behind it. It's as much about supporting up and coming filmmakers as it is about building a community of like-minded individuals who share the same morals and standard as human beings. That's essentially what is at the heart of the films being shown and the demonstrations by the martial artists. It has a lot of substance. And that's something I can identify with.