On April 28th, ITN Distribution will release the action/thriller Black Rose, starring international action star Alexander Nevsky (Showdown in Manila). It will also be available on VOD and DVD May 2nd.
Nevsky stars as a Russian Police Major who is enlisted by the LAPD to help solve a series of gruesome murders perpetrated against young women by a sadistic sociopathic killer on the mean streets of Hollywood. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machine‘s Kristanna Loken co-stars.
Bloody Disgusting was able to chat with Nevsky, who also directed Black Rose, to talk about his foray into filmmaker and being known as the “Russian Schwarzenegger”.
Interview with Alexander Nevsky
Bloody Disgusting: Your career started as a bodybuilder, were you inspired by Arnold Schwarzenegger?
Alexander Nevsky: Yes, of course. But as a kid, I also really liked Sylvester Stallone. I started as a boxer and the Rocky movies were also a big inspiration. And I have to mention my friend and bodybuilding idol Ralf Moeller. Ralf won “Mr. Universe” in the 80’s and he was the biggest and tallest bodybuilder in the world. I’m sure your readers remember him in Universal Soldier, “Gladiator” and TV’s “Conan”. Moeller helped me a lot and introduced me to Arnold when I moved to LA. He also was the first one to congratulate me when I won “Mr. Universe” in 2010. But Schwarzenegger is so great because he transformed his fame as a bodybuilder into all these other steps of his unbelievable career so he is still a big inspiration!
BD: How did you get your foot in the door with acting?
AN: I really wanted to be in movies but graduated from Moscow State University of Management first. And let me tell you that good education helped me a lot when I started to produce. I studied acting later in Lee Strasberg Theater Institute in Los Angeles. My first US film was Undisputed directed by the great Walter Hill. The first movie I produced was Moscow Heat. I also wrote the script for it with Robert Madrid and starred in it alongside Michael York, Andrew Divoff, Joanna Pacula and Adrian Paul. Moscow Heat became theatrical hit in Russia/CIS in 2005, later it was sold to almost 60 countries and Universal released it straight to DVD in the U.S. After this I was working all the time.
BD: You’ve been called the Russian Schwarzenegger, is Black Rose your first U.S. production? How was it trying to make an action thriller pic for U.S. audiences?
AN: They started to call me “Russian Schwarzenegger” in 90’s, long before my first film was released because I was the first ever bodybuilding star in Russia. Before me they never show bodybuilders on TV, this sport was almost illegal in USSR (because the government considered it “a sport from the world of capitalism”). My first US production was Magic Man which we shot completely in Las Vegas in the summer of 2008. I produced and starred in it with Billy Zane, Armand Assante, Robert Davi and Bai Ling. I’m making my films for an international audience, not just for Russia or for the U.S. And the formula is simple: find a good script, shoot it in English and with Hollywood cast and crew. But my ability to open film theatrically in Russia and CIS helps a lot.
BD: How did you approach the “fish out of water” aspect of the film, with you being a Russian policeman in America?
AN: I just remembered my first trip to the U.S. in real life – it was like a trip to the Moon! Everything was so interesting, new and different. So it was easy to play that in the film. Honestly, Black Rose is a dream project for me because I did it all: created a story for a script, was involved in pre-production and casting, directed the film, produced it, played the main guy, was involved in post-production and made many distribution’s decisions. The film was theatrically released in Russia, we sold rights to many countries already and I can’t wait to present Black Rose to North American audience.
BD: How did you come to make your directing debut with Black Rose?
AN: I always wanted to try directing and I guess it was the right time to do that. I had great consultants – Brian Gores and Sheldon Lettich (director of the action classic Double Impact), they both served as executive producers on Black Rose. And I think that your readers will like my directorial debut because I mixed several different genres – it has action, mystery, and horror! The story is about a serial killer and a couple of torture/murder scenes were so gross we had to recut them. The rating in Russia was 16+ and it was 15+ in the U.K. and Ireland. So I’m glad that an urated version will be released in the US on April 28th in limited theaters and on May 2 on VOD/DVD/iTunes etc.
BD: What did you learn while directing this film that you didn’t know prior? What would you tell yourself if you could time travel?
AN: I learned that directing is a very tough job. You don’t really have time for anything else. But I still had to produce and act. I was smart enough to have a good team with me and I thank again my director of photography Rudy Harbon and my co-stars Kristanna Loken, Matthias Hues, Robert Madrid, Adrian Paul and Robert Davi for all the support! I also learned that a director should be really involved in all the aspects of post-production and I was lucky to have editor Stephen Adrianson and score composer Sean Murray on my side, they both did a great job! And what would I say to myself if I could time travel? I would say that I should wake up even earlier otherwise there would be no time to workout at all!
BD: Black Rose appears to give homage to police thrillers of the 1980’s, like Lethal Weapon, what are your favorites and inspirations? What were you going for with Black Rose?
AN: I like them all! Of course, I’m a huge fan of the Lethal Weapon franchise and I like most of the movies with Seagal, Van Damme, Stallone and Arnold. They all played cops in 80’s and 90’s and their movies always had great action scenes. I loved Above the Law, Cobra, Last Action Hero and many others. But I also liked books about Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle and wanted to make an action film but with some mystery in it. And it was important for me to show that Russians and Americans can be friends and partners, not enemies. I think I achieved that in Black Rose.
BD: With there being an element of horror in the film, how violent does it get?
AN: I mentioned already those torture scenes in Black Rose and I think your readers will appreciate them. I’m a big fan of horror genre myself and wanted to make Black Rose Killer as scary and merciless as possible. As I said before, I wanted to mix different genres with respect to each one of them. So action fans will get to watch gun shooting and fighting scenes, mystery fans will guess who the Black Rose Killer is, and horror fans will have all this bloody gruesome stuff because our bad guy is really freaking violent and he tortures and kills in Black Rose pretty often!
I’d like to thank Bloody-Disgusting for all the support and wish all the best to all the readers! I promise that I will produce a real horror film one day!