Actor Adam Beach on the psychological western thriller DIABLO and his role in the upcoming SUICIDE SQUAD.
Native American actor and activist Adam Beach has been in the business for decades (many will recognize him as Nicolas Cages co-star in John Woos underrated war flick WINDTALKERS) and, though he has never been in an outright horror film, he has found himself in several films that tread into terrifying territory.
Recently, Beach appeared in David Hackls fantastically pulp killer bear thriller RED MACHINE (goofily re-titled INTO THE GRIZZLY MAZE for its DVD release) and now, he can be seen in director Lawrence Roeks bizarre and gory psychological western DIABLO.
DIABLO (releasing January 8th from Momentum Pictures) stars American actor, producer, director and western icon Clint Eastwoods son Scott Eastwood as Jackson, a haunted hero wandering the strange plains looking for his lost wife. He continually runs afoul of a leering, black-clad gunslinger (HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES, DJANGO UNCHAINED and THE HATEFUL EIGHTs Walton Goggins) who, after pontificating with malice, casually mows down anyone who comes near Jackson. As Jacksons stree-levels are pushed to the limit, he starts to realize that the connection between these two men is far more intimate than first appears
Beach plays Native Chief Nakoma, who tries to aid Jackson in his seemingly hopeless pursuits; his presence adds gravitas to this violent, mean and beautifully shot (by John Carpenters favorite DP, the great Dean Cundey), recalling vintage oaters with a dash of ANGEL HEART.
Soon to be seen as Slipknot in the juggernaut anti-superhero flick SUICIDE SQUAD, SHOCK got some time to talk to Beach about his days spent wandering the nightmarish Canadian prairies in DIABLO.
SHOCK: There seems to be a surge in violent, independent westerns as of late. Any ideas as to why that is?
BEACH: Well, I think westerns were always here in some form and always will be. They are always going to be something glorified in North America; theyre about a time when settlers came to the country to plant their seeds. Im glad theyre gaining popularity again because theres nothing better than these classic mythologies of cowboys and Indians
SHOCK: On that tip, I know how active a voice you are for native issues. So with that said, when youre asked to play a character like Nakoma, do you ensure that you have ample space to adjust that character and steer him away from cliché?
BEACH: Yes, I usually have some leeway to develop the characters as I see fit because of my history, my identity of being a Native American. I know a lot of the history, so Im very accurate in my presentation of them on screen.
SHOCK: But Hollywood is not known for their sensitivity to Native portrayals. Look at this new Adam Sandler comedy, THE RIDICULOUS 6; reportedly, Native actors walked off the set in protest of its ugly portraits
BEACH: You know, Im always proud when people can walk away from a negative depiction of Native Americans or one in which their plight is ridiculed. I have never really seen many people in comedy make jokes about Native American ancestry, their trials and tribulations. Because its not a joke. Its not funny and it should be handled with care and respect
SHOCK: One of your biggest films was working for Clint Eastwood in the film FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS. Did you meet Scott at that point?
BEACH: Yeah, Ive known Scott for a while. Hes like a brother to me and great friend we hang out all the time. Hes very serious about his work and in DIABLO, where hes the lead, he wanted to make sure he had a great support of actors and talent around him so taking the lead, he wouldnt go wrong. I think its a great looking film. You know, his father is his hero and he knows he has big shoes to fill, especially in appearing in a western. And you see his dad so much in this movie. Its something he knows he has to maintain.
SHOCK: You had one of the greats, Dean Cundey, shooting this flick
BEACH: Dean wanted the movie to be really cinematic and wide so there are not a lot of things going on around the characters. Its sparse. Theres just one house on the prairie, you know. Minimal. And when hes going to meet the chief its just a Tepee; thats partially because of the low budget, but it adds to the films tone, so you dont lose focus of the characters.
SHOCK: You just did the massive SUICIDE SQUAD. Going from the indies to a prominent role in such a big film; it must have been one hell of a payday!
BEACH: (Laughs) Well, Ive never been afraid of going broke though there have been times where sometimes I havent worked for a year. But I believe if youre passionate, the money will be there eventually. The most important thing is bringing those moments to the screen. And in regards to SUICIDE SQUAD man, I am SO lucky! It was a strange thing. I mean, in the comics, Slipknots a Jewish chemist, and they wanted me. Its very exciting to know that a billion people will watch this crazy story about this team of misfits.
SHOCK: So are you already getting attention from the fans? I mean, presumably youll have your own action figure…
BEACH: Yeah I will! Everybody is calling, everyone wants to more about the movie; but we arent allowed to talk about certain scenes. Its just a very cool thing to happen to me professionally and Im grateful.