If you haven’t seen Outpost 3 yet, you need to set that at the top of your list. Bryan Larkin’s performance in the film is one of my favorite so far this year. He’s in total BEAST MODE the entire picture. I was lucky to get a chance to fire off some questions to Bryan about Outpost 3.
LEGLESS CORPSE: Your character, Dolokhov, in Outpost 3 is certainly badass. What did you do to prepare for the role?
BRYAN LARKIN: When I first read the script and Kieran Parker (The Director) said he wanted me to play the role, I immediately thought, ‘I think you might have the wrong guy!’. But I kept my mouth shut, got blindly drunk with him and we hit it off. His confidence, enthusiasm and scale of reference, having produced and co written the previous two films in the series, shattered any doubts that I had in portraying Dolokhov. He was like a cross between Wolverine and some cartoon character from a WW2 comic. So I initially struggled to find a ‘launch’ scene that would get me into character. Some humanity about him something beneath the soldier. What does he do when he’s not fighting for Mother Russia? So I talked to Kieran about that. We came to the conclusion that he admires and loves his men. So it was about making a connection to his obligation to their survival. Every time one of his men die, a piece of him dies too. My job was to find a way to internalize that without words. So then Carlos the DP and Kieran would shoot that. The emotional stuff was never in the script. Sure, I mean Dolokhov was a killing machine but he’s a patriot and a human being. So I started to look for moments to humanize him. The physical preparation like gaining weight came later as did the combat training which is a different discipline. So I started lifting weights, doing cardio and tripled my calories.
Kieran has said that he wasn’t sure I needed to gain size but if I did it was not lean muscle mass. It was more rounded bulk. Like Dolokhov was a blunt weapon who had learned how to handle himself in bar fights or in prison. The other thing was that when James Thompson was cast as the Berserker at 300lbs and 6’5″ of muscle, Dolokhov has to take him out in a fight. So he had to look convincing.
LC: Are you the type of actor that would stay in character between a scenes or do you let the character go when not in front of the camera?
BL: It all depends on the role and the time I have to prepare. I tend to think staying in character means trying to maintain a degree of professionalism. If I was to stay in character as Dolokhov then there would be a lot of dead bodies littered across the set, lol! It was a very physical role and required very precise movement. So there was a lot going through my mind when the cameras were rolling so I’d keep myself to myself. Besides we only had 28 days to get it in the can so I was ‘on’ all the time. The creative process in making a film (the stuff that happens on set) is scheduled and requires a lot of concentration and a line of communication that gets everybody at their best. You have to get along. With Outpost 3 it all came from the top. I wanted the movie to work, I cared about Kieran’s vision and I would do anything to protect that. It make his life easier.
So most of the time between takes I’d just think about what I was doing next and kept limber and referred to my prep notes on character.
LC: Since there is a lot of physical scenes for your character, especially fighting, did you go through any training before shooting?
BL: Yes, but there wasn’t as much as we would have liked. Carter Ferguson our fight director has an enormous amount of experience in all kinda of combat and he took us through Systema ( The Russian martial arts) Krav Maga, Jujitsu and others. The training was short but intense and he got us fluent in only a few short days. He made it clear early on that it’s all about trust in your opponent and the relation the action is to the camera. It’s all a matter of angles – This looks like a hit or that misses and so on.
LC: The film is more of an action film than a horror film, what was it that interested you most in the project to want to become involved.
BL: Initially I had something to prove to myself because I had missed out on a role in a previous Outpost film and needed to process that. But it was a different challenge to anything I’d ever done before as an actor. I loved how visceral the script action was, I wanted to immerse myself in the period and I knew where Dolokhov was coming from. But in the end it’s all about challenging yourself when you have the opportunity to do so.
LC: Do you enjoy working around the special make up stuff?
BL: I love everything about it. What goes together to create a moment on camera that entertains people is fascinating to me. The make up department are like bees, swarming around making things look more gory or a bit more convincing here and there. We had a great team of prosthetics artists, designers and as there are mostly practical effects, it feels more involved. The guns were real and when they fire it just adds to your performance.
LC: Has there been any hints or talk about you and Dolokhov returning in an Outpost 4?
BL: I have heard nothing. There could well be something in the works for the series to continue but I have a feeling that it is beyond anything imaginable right now. Kieran has other projects with Arabella (his producer and wife) but it maybe some time before we see another Outpost from them, but you just never know!
OUTPOST: RISE OF THE SPETSNAZ is out now on DVD.
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