Luke Goss, probably still best known as a third of Bros but some fifteen years into an acting career, and well remembered as the villainous Prince Nuada in Hellboy 2, is making a lot of personal effort to promote his new picture, Interview With a Hitman. It’s a properly independent British film, getting its cinema release now, and due to reach DVD and Blu-ray on August 27th.
I called up Goss recently to speak about this film, about Goss’ future projects as a writer, producer and director, and about his ongoing love of cinema. Here’s some of what he told me, starting when I asked him why he has chosen to promote this picture in particular with so much of his personal time and energy.
This one is a British independent movie, first time director, definitely a pure independent film. I just thought “This is a good little film”, I think the screenplay has a good little idea, I think the story’s smart and I think they’ve done a bloody good job executing it. I start shooting a movie in Mexico soon and it was either not coming to the UK at all or coming early, and showing some support, and I’d promised the filmmakers that I’d come and do this. And here we are. I know it’s a select release theatrically, but it’s already a little success story for a bunch of people, myself included. It’s only my second British film.
I read the script, and I said that I need a conversation with the director [Perry Bhandal] to see where he’s at. We had a two and a half hour conversation, him in the UK, me at my home in LA, but we saw eye to eye. I had a small window, so the producers said ‘We can pull the trigger on this” and in three weeks we were on set.
I knew Perry was a first time director, so I had questions, but he was very clear about what he was trying to do. Sometimes you speak to first time directors and it can be off putting, you don’t know how sure they are of what they want to acheive. Perry wanted to make something quite stylistic but a character piece, and he was quite deliberate and consistent.
My main point about Victor, something that I felt quite strongly about, was that I didn’t want to make him robotic. There are moments for example where he cries. I said that I feel strongly about including that kind of emotion so that later when we see him composed, not quite stoic, we know exactly who he is, we see him and get a sense that this man is carrying pain with him. There’s stuff inside him, that he carries around with him. I was very adamant about showing that, that he’s definitely a man.
I think that if you’re going to play a character who once lived, you have to decide how to tweak that so how it works cinematically. If you’re playing “a type”, then you have to decide how that type looks. You don’t want to see a hitman in a sweater. It’s not cinematic.
This is a very melancholy story, and one of the catalysts in this story is “love” and it’s not love in the sense of the leading girl. You don’t see a lot of that in this genre. Victor has this wonderful epiphany in the middle of the film where he realises that his way of life doesn’t work anymore. You don’t really get a hitman in a character study like this very often.
I think that the poster, for me, is enticing, which is not a bad thing. You need to give the film the best chance you can. But to try and capture this movie… it’s hard. I had ideas for where they could go with this. But you’re going to win and lose either way. If you represent it accurately you might not get all of the business, the film doesn’t realise it’s potential. The poster is semi-Hollywood, and it’s flirting with that imagery, and it’s not apologetic. The proof of the pudding has to be the movie itself, though, at the end of the day.
My love of film, and my love of acting has been validated on a daily basis for these fifteen years. Film is quite a selfless business. The role comes first, and you take the bumps, bruises and cuts for those characters. The characters are the stars. And acting is a wonderful escape – you can be saving the world one minute and having a quiet drink in a bar at night with a friend. As an actor you learn stuff about yourself, about life. It’s an ongoing journey.
I’m producing two movies at the moment, both of which I wrote. One’s a kind of popcorn, franchise thing, I’m doing with myself and Andy Garcia, a Heist-ish story an out and out entertainment film, should be the first of three in a series. And the other film I’ve written is called Your Move, a thriller about a man whose wife is accosted by someone who… I can’t say because I’ll give the plot away. But this man doesn’t have that particular set of skills, though he desperately wants to save his wife and child’s wife. And next year, there’s a couple of films I’d like to direct. I’m just trying to get the rights on one of them, a second world war story set in 1944, towards the end of the war, when men had killed too many men, when everybody was worn down by doing that. It’s a psychological thriller set in France in ’44.
I’d like to find myself in a few years with a crew I like to use, actors I like and having created a wonderful, caring environment in which we make our films.
Fair ambition, wouldn’t you say? I’d certainly like to check in with Goss again some way down the road to see how he’s getting on.
Interview With a Hitman is screening in UK cinemas now. The home entertainment release is set for August 27th.