Extreme creature actor, Brian Steele, sits down with FDTC's Mr. Chainsaw to discuss his role playing one of cinema's most iconic and memorable monsters in the Robert Rodriguez produced, Predators.
Mr. C: Most people don't realize how difficult it is to act under so much make-up and prosthetics. Can you describe for us briefly how you approach the challenges of acting while heavily costumed? Also, which costume/s was the most restrictive and difficult for you to work with?
BS: Some would say difficult, I would say wonderfully challenging! I usually start my physical training months in advance of the first shoot day. Using the sculpture of the character as my guide, I begin training specific body parts that are going to be utilized the most. I like to say "the sculpture tells me everything I need to do." By design, it shows me what body parts to train most and gives me the basic balance points of it's movements. Using this information I can begin to develop the character. Every one of my characters performances has always come down to making sure that I have physically pushed myself hard enough while training. I have to make "the pain familiar" so that exhaustion never takes away from my performance.
If there was any role that surprised me a bit it would be working on The Edge. In that I did some of the close up fight sequences in an animatronic bear suit. The suit was amazing to work with but, working in the altitude and freezing cold glacial streams in the mountains outside of Canmore, Canada was brutal. I'm not so fond of the cold after leaving Michigan.
Mr. C: Growing up, did you always know that acting would be your calling, and if so, who's work did you most look up to? Is it safe to assume that such legends as Legosi, Karloff, and Chaney played a big role in shaping your fascination with one day yourself playing the role of the creature? What films most impacted you from a younger age and drew you to the genre?
BS: The only acting I did growing up was always trying to fit in. Being 6'7" in Junior High that was a full time job. Around this time, I became a huge fan of Boris Karloff after seeing Frankenstein. I couldn't take my eyes off the TV when the Monster was there. Frankenstein and the Bride of Frankenstein are some of my biggest influences. I lean a bit towards Bride because we get to see more of DR. Frankensteins Monster. I love the story line that "you can create but you cannot control". There is also this sadness for the Monster because we fear what we cannot understand. That fear usually causes one to act out with hate and anger. Truly a genius idea using a Monster to represent such a great story line of the Human dilemma.
Mr. C: You most recently appear in the upcoming film, Predators, where you play one of the titular villains based off the iconic franchise. How did you land the role of playing one of the biggest bad-asses in cinema history and how exciting was it to not only get a chance to play a Predator, but also work with such notable names as Adrien Brody, Danny Trejo, Laurence Fishburn, and fellow Predator, Derek Mears?
BS: It has been a long journey to get to this opportunity to portray a PREDATOR. I've wanted this role ever since I saw the first movie! I thank Greg Nicotero at KNB for recommending me for this role. I have such respect for Kevin Peter Hall. To be able to portray another character he brought to life , the first was "Harry from the TV show Harry and the Hendersons", is absolutely amazing. His performance of both these characters set the bar very high. Not for a second did we ever look at them as a guy in a suit. They were living breathing performance driven characters. Simply fantastic!!!
I couldn't have asked for a more energetic cast to work with. Everyone was so excited to be working on a Predator movie. It seems the original movie had in some way been a catalyst for a lot of our teenage years.
Mr. C: Can you tell us what it was like working with director Nimrod Antal?
BS: There is nothing better than working with a Director that has an intense passion for the Project and has an extreme dedication to the source material. Thank you Nimrod! He pushed me to get every shot "spot on" so that it fit this vision. His energy just made everyone want to dig deeper to get things done. "It's pancakes baby!" that was Nimrods saying when energy was running high and shots were kick'n ass! Loved hearing that after a shot.
Mr. Chainsaw: How do you think this installment of the Predators franchise will compare to the films that came before it? What fresh new ideas can the fans expect to see in this film that serve to further expand the mythology of Predators? What can you tell us of the different kinds of Predators that will be a part of this film?
BS: This story lead me back to why the original Predator had such an impact on me. I hope it does for you also! Without giving story lines away, we will see different tribes of Predators. Ones that have learned and evolved a new skill set.
I portray two Predators, Berserker (aka Mr. Black) and The Falconer. Carey Jones solely portrays The Tracker Predator (aka Dog Handler). Carey also doubled me in a few shots as The Berserker and Falconer. This was the first time I have gotten the chance to work with Carey and I 'm glad it happened on this film! Of course, I also got to work with my old friend Derek Mears, who plays The Classic Predator. That is all I can say without getting into trouble.....
Mr. C: What was it like being in the full Predator get up? How long did it take to get into each day and what unique challenges did the suit present in playing the role?
BS: Basically one hour to get suited up about the same to get out. It felt exactly how you think it would feel to be the deadliest Mother Fucker in the galaxy.
Mr. C:Aside from Predators, you also recently starred in the upcoming, Dylan Dog: Dead of Night, based off the highly acclaimed Italian comic book series, Dylan Dog. What can you tell us about your role in that project, which also stars Peter Stormare, Taye Diggs, Sam Huntington, and Brandon Routh?
BS: I can tell you I play two different roles, The Tattooed Zombie and a hush, hush role....The Tattooed Zombie is crazy strong and absolutely out of his mind. Bam done, that is all I can say!
Mr. C: What do you think of the current convention scene and getting to travel and meet so many of your fans? Do you have any particularly interesting stories about reactions from fans while on the circuit?
BS: Believe it or not, I have only attended two conventions so far. I was just overwhelmed by the response of the fans. It is so appreciated. My schedule has kept me from attending more conventions but, I cannot wait to be out there the later part of this year!
Thanks for having me and it's great to do this for From Dusk till Con. I can be followed on FaceBook ... CreatureBoy or on my website... http://www.creatureboy.com
Mr. C: It's been our pleasure, Brian. Hope to see you on the con circuit later this year.
You can catch Brian Steele in the newly release, Predators, also strarring Derek Mears, Adrien Brody, Danny Trejo, and Laruence Fishburn, in theaters now. Also check out Brian Steele's official website at http://www.CreatureBoy.com