Horror, Hellboy and beyond
Luke Goss has officially settled down in the States. Los Angeles, to no surprise. Long torn between Tinseltown and England, this actor has been mired in the glories of air travel for years – call it suffering for his art – while he cultivated his career. “[L.A.] is actually my home now,” Goss says to Shock during some pre-interview chit-chat. “You get so caught up in people thinking, ‘You love L.A.? You must be a flaky, lightweight whatever.’ I’ve met some of the nicest people in the world here, so stereotypes can kiss my ass.” But what would he know of stereotypes, right? Upon first glance the man has to be a walking stereotype to some. Astonishingly enough, he transcends the persona you might think a sharp, blue-eyed former UK pop star might have. He’s humble, polite and not afraid to speak his mind – okay, maybe that rock attitude lingers on – but Goss treats you like his chum, and when he speaks of the genre, he speaks of it highly.
The Blade II star is in a cyclone of meetings (something “for television” and something “big” that he only hints at) when Shock gets him on the horn to chat about his role, Kale, in Matt Leutwyler’s Unearthed (read our interview with the director here). In it, he’s a determined archeologist who inadvertently unleashes an alien menace on a small town. Whoops. Unfortunately, he tells us he can’t make the film’s Tribeca Film Festival premiere because of some guy named Guillermo del Toro and a little sequel he’s calling Hellboy 2: The Golden Army in which Goss plays a pretty significant part. More on that in a bit, first…
Shock: This was sort’ve Leutwyler’s first venture casting outside of his acting troupe of friends – so how did your auditioning process go with him?
Luke Goss: I didn’t really audition, we had a meeting with him and the producers. I didn’t want to read on that kind of film because Kale is a quiet, silent dude and it’s an internal process of making these types of characters. I think the audition process for certain roles is just stupid. For some roles and actors, the journey is the director having a faith in an actor and secondly you’ve got to work it out. Like Nomak from “Blade II,” for example, none of that was on the page. You could see how much he doesn’t say, so what is it? An evolution of the thought process. You can’t invent that in a day and if you can the character probably deserves more and so does the audience.
Shock: There’s no major prosthetics for you this time – nothing as extravagant as Nomak or your work in ‘Frankenstein’…
Goss: In this one I have a tattoo on my face. Matt wanted a mohawk but that’s when it gets a little contrived for me. A little cheesy, so we scrubbed that idea.
Shock: Well, that tattoo is a reflection of just how absorbed Kale gets in his mission to discover what happened to this Native American tribe, right?
Goss: He’s an anti-hero who knows something and everyone thinks he’s nuts. To an extent he’s a little over-intense and he’s a little preoccupied to the point where he isn’t getting out much. But he knows he’s right and he knows that if this thing gets out and it goes beyond this small town in the middle of nowhere, people are gonna be f**cked. He’s on a mission and when the shit hits the fan, while everyone gets into this clusterf**k of trying to sort everything out, they head to Kale. He’s this odd guy they only hear about – who’s had his funds revoked by the university, he’s now their last hope, I guess.
Shock: And Kale teams with Emmanuelle Vaugier’s Annie?
Goss: I love Emmanuelle, she’s one of my favorite female actresses I’ve ever worked with. She’s amazing.
Shock: Was it her worth ethic or her great looks?
Goss: For one, it was her work ethic, she’s a real trouper whether it’s a bump on the head or whether she gets covered in water – probably not the most sterile water on the planet, she’s not a primadonna in any way. She stays focused until they say ‘wrap.’ She knows why she’s there, she’s bloody fun to hang with and on top of that, she’s gorgeous.
Shock: You know, when we talked to Leutwyler, he said the exact same words about you.
Goss: If he did, you tell me so because I’m gonna kick his ass. [laughs] I’ve had enough of that.
Shock: Kidding, kidding. One thing Matt did tell us is that you took quite a scrapping yourself on set – where does that dedication come from?
Goss: Truthfully – and someone will probably read this and say, ‘Bullshit, whatever.’ – I’m very blessed to be making films. I came from music, I’ve paid my dues, but dues don’t always translate…I know really tough-working people who haven’t found their break. If you’re fortunate enough to be on set, and on a set where people appreciate you, it really is a blessed position. But regarding the tough stuff, I have my stunt double, Jimmy, look at the stunt and assess it – and he’s just like, ‘Luke, you can do this.’ I said to Matt one time, ‘So, what’s real in this car?’ Because I’m under this car where there were all of these jagged bits of things sticking out and Matt says, ‘All of it.’ So I cut my head, got a few bruises, cuts and scrapes, but we got a great shot. I’m lucky to be there and I’m really like a big kid. In a bizarre way, if that’s what happens in the scene, weather it and keep moving as your character would.
Shock: Obviously some people would have a problem with the director throwing real cans at them.
Goss: Matt did that, and he’s like, ‘It doesn’t hurt!’ Yes, it does, brother. And he got one dropped on his head, he had a big lump on his head. He’s a funny guy.
Shock: In comparison to some of the other directors you’ve worked with, it sounds like you had a good experience with Leutwyler. How is your time with him different than with someone like Guillermo del Toro?
Goss: To be truthful, it’s an unfair comparison because Guillermo is utterly my favorite director I’ve ever worked with and probably will always be my favorite director on Earth because he’s understanding, because of his talent and how generous he is. It’s unbelievable how infectious his child-like enthusiasm is. Matt is a really talented director and he makes it fun to be on set, he doesn’t crowd you – he has faith in what you’re choices are. Gives a nudge here and there. When you’re on a budget you’ve got time restraints and you wish you could have twenty takes, but you just can’t. You make the best film you can – I don’t think people get that sometimes. It’s not an excuse, you just make the best thing you can with the budgets you have. As an actor I always want to do those movies where you can try and pull it off. It’s nice to have those $100 million “Hellboy” movies but it’s also nice to be part of a camaraderie of, you can say, circus people. You get it, ’cause you’re into this genre as well…
Shock: Well, some people get high off of the challenges of limited time and money. It’s a creative rush.
Goss: It is and people who think it’s corny or trite or something, well, God bless ’em and f**k them! [laughs]
Shock: Exactly! Looking at your history you’re obviously a guy who likes horror.
Goss: I try and call myself a stylish geek just to take the edge off. [laughs] But I was initiated by fire during “Blade II.” I realize the genre fans have such a wonderful, astute understanding of storytelling and content on every single level. One of the reasons I was so happy to see “Pan’s Labyrinth” get nominated is because he’s such a hero in the sense that he made people realize how incredibly difficult it is to make these movies but also, the prep in these films, people get spoiled sometimes. The fans really insist upon filling in the blanks or they’ll kick your ass for it.
Shock: You shot “Unearthed” out in Utah – a setting like that can bring the cast and crew closer together, so give me some incriminating war stories.
Goss: It was a little tough out there, I’ll be honest, for the whole rock ‘n roll effect because you had to bring your own parties to that place. The people were really lovely but Matt in his leadership moment, not, suggested Emmanuelle and I steal alcohol from the bar after they closed. If we did that he’d give us a hundred bucks each. So when they pulled down the shutters to close up for the night, we both jumped up on the bar, linked arms, laid back, poured two taps of beer and smothered our faces in it. We jumped off and received our money. That was fun.
Shock: What’s this film you’re working on called “The Dead Undead”?
Goss: Some buddies of mine – stunt guys – wanted to make a movie. This is a very low budget movie about vampires who get infected with something that is pretty incurable other than shooting someone in the head. It’s just a lot of fun. They’ve got bigger guns than you probably need, more guns than you probably need, more blood than you need. Camp, but a lot of fun. I had a cool time doing it, I had just a few days on that one. I think these guys are onto something, especially with the “grindhouse” thing. In that vein, if it’s received as a fun bloodfest people will dig it.
Shock: What can you tell us about your turn in “Hellboy 2”?
Goss: I’ve got so many restrictions from Universal it’s ridiculous, but, I play ‘the Prince’ and in simplistic terminology he’s the nemesis. The great thing about him is he’s not trying to take over the world, he’s a rounded character that’s not just driven by greed and I think people are going to enjoy the depth Guillermo brings to him. Like with “Blade II,” I’m a big fan of taking the maniacal out of anything. Certainly ten years ago it was like ‘bad guy’ meant ‘maniacal villain’ – they were great actors not in the best roles. Dr. Evil was created out of performances that were meant to be valid. From Guillermo’s script, without giving it away, let’s just say I’m a big fan of internal pain and anguish. All of these things elicit a truthful direction rather than just [fueled by] greed or ego. This character, the Prince, his father’s the King so… It’s just a bloody great role. Visually, it’s stunning.
Shock: Until next time, man. Safe travels.
Source: Ryan Rotten