Matthew Marsden, 40, rose to fame on Emmerdale and Coronation Street before moving to America. The Staffordshire-born actor talks to Roger Crow about life in LA, missing proper rice pudding and keeping his Walsall accent for new fantasy adventure Bounty Killer
WAS YOUR NEW SCI-FI MOVIE BOUNTY KILLER FUN TO WORK ON?
It was an absolutely brilliant movie to work on. I think you can tell by watching the movie that we had a lot of fun doing it.
Everyone was great; the director was fantastic; my co-stars were amazing; the script was fun and I knew what I was getting into. I’m very proud of it actually. I think it’s a great little movie.
WAS IT A HARD SHOOT?
Things can be enjoyable and difficult at the same time. It was an 18-day shoot and we only made it for a million dollars, and a lot of people don’t realise that.
I’ve been on movies where they spend way more than that on one action sequence.
It was tough and physically demanding getting all those scenes and keeping the continuity in your brain.
A lot of people not involved in the movie industry don’t understand that; it’s a difficult thing, especially on small productions like that, because you don’t have a lot of time. It’s not like you get 50 takes.
You get your take, and then you move on.
So it was difficult, but I love that. I’m very fortunate to do what I do. I’m happiest when I’m on set.
DID YOU HAVE TO SPEND A LOT OF TIME IN THE GYM, OR IS THAT PAR FOR THE COURSE IN HOLLYWOOD?
Yeah, you have to go all the time. Different roles require different things. Sometimes when you get in shape and become too ripped, it becomes too unrealistic, so I wanted my character to have a physicality, but not be over the top. Both for the aesthetics and to be able to do the job, you have to be fit.
IT’S NICE TO HEAR YOUR WALSALL ACCENT ON BOUNTY KILLER, NOT A GENERIC AMERICAN VOICE
Well initially we did a loose read-through we me doing an American accent, then I reverted back to the British accent and the director said, ‘Drifter [Matthew’s character] is no longer American, he’s British. We want that. We love it’. So I was like, ‘Okay’.
I can do either one. It does require a little bit of work to do the American one, but I’ve done it so many times now, it’s second nature.
DID YOU HAVE TO PINCH YOURSELF WORKING WITH SYLVESTER STALLONE ON RAMBO?
Oh yeah. The first time it was really surreal, he asked me to go round to his office to hang out for a couple of hours, and that was a really trippy thing.
He told me that ‘Schoolboy’ [Matthew’s character] was meant to take over the franchise.
He wanted to go more to the Trautman character and bring Schoolboy in, and in the original script we went off to do another job together.
I think for Rambo fans it was a really good way to end the movie and to finish the franchise.
YOU LIVE IN LA NOW, WHAT DO YOU MISS ABOUT THE MIDLANDS AND LIFE IN THE UK?
I miss the people; there’s something very special about the British people.
I miss going up the Albion and I’d never miss a (West Bromwich) game.
I still watch every single game; I check the newswires every morning.
I went out the other day and I got some Ambrosia Cream Rice and gave it to my kids and told them, ‘This is what Daddy ate back home’.
And a decent Indian meal; you don’t really get good Indian food over here.
I don’t miss the weather at all...
YOU BECAME A FAMILIAR FACE ON EMMERDALE AND CORONATION STREET. WORKING ON A TIGHT SCHEDULE MUST HAVE STOOD YOU IN GOOD STEAD FOR LATER PROJECTS?
Oh yeah. With these bigger movies you get a lot of time. I always say, ‘You get paid to wait not act’, because you’re sitting around a lot.
When we were making Black Hawk Down, we would be sitting around for two or three hours while they were setting up all the squib (explosion) shots, because there were so many bullet hits.
But again, there’s a discipline in that as well because you’ve got to keep focused and you’ve got to stay in the moment.
Doing Corrie, I had a fabulous time on that show. It’s been a long time since I left and I loved the people on it.
It’s kind of like back in the day when you’d do repertory theatre to earn your spurs.
So when you go into these films and you’ve got an entire day to get two minutes of footage, you’re like, ‘This is easy!’.
England’s the only place where I think we don’t embrace people moving on from doing soaps.
The Aussies do and the Americans do. It is a good training ground, but you’ve got to want to push yourself.
:: Bounty Killer is available on VOD (Video On Demand) ; DVD and Blu-Ray