Jordi Mollá – Riddick (DVD)

January 17, 2014 by  
Filed under Chaléwood, Interviews

Actor Jordi Mollá knows what it takes to play the bad guy. From an insane Cuban drug lord in “Bad Boys 2” to a notorious Spanish arms dealer in “Knight and Day” to a violent henchman in “Colombiana,” Mollá has found a comfortable niche playing characters on the wrong side of the law. He continues on that path in his latest film “Riddick,” the third installment of the Vin Diesel –led franchise that started in 2000. In “Riddick,” Mollá plays Santana, a bounty hunter who travels with a team to a desolate planet to locate Riddick (Diesel) and bring him back dead.

“Riddick” was just released on DVD and Blu-ray Jan. 14.

What is it about the antagonist in the film that attracts you to those kinds of roles?

You know, I think this industry, in a way, needs to label things for the audience. I guess I’m just another label. Of course as actors we try to escape from the label. You can also apply that for musicians and artists. If someone like Prince doesn’t play “Purple Rain,” he’s not Prince. All of us are condemned to a label. So, my label is to play bad guys of Latin origin in American movies. I’m happy with that label. I prefer to play that than to play a city boy. The bad guy is always something very tempting for the audience. Anything that scares the audience on the screen is good. They won’t forget. They’re scared of the guy. If you see “The Shining” with Jack Nicholson, you remember him not only because he is Jack Nicholson and because he does a wonderful job, but because he is a threat. The bad guy is someone people will have in their minds forever if it’s a good bad guy.

You seem to be comfortable being “labeled,” so when you do get those roles that are different than the norm, do you know what to do with them? Is it a challenge for you to switch it up?

Well, my career in Europe and Spain is different. I think [playing the bad guy] is something related only to the American industry. It’s hard for the American industry to see a Latin actor playing something that is not a gardener or someone in a cartel. It’s hard to find the material that tells a story of a Latin or European Spanish guy that is not a bad guy. But on the European side, I’ve been able to play very different roles like saints and doctors and homosexuals and poets and romantic guys. I’d like to try to show to American audiences all my potential as an actor. But, as I said, I’m more than happy to play the bad guy until then.

I couldn’t agree with you more about Latino actors getting labeled a certain way. I think that’s why someone like actor Oscar Isaac has done something pretty amazing and rare with his lead role this year in “Inside Lllewyn Davis.” You just don’t see those types of roles ever going to Latino actors.

Yeah, I know. But someone will break the rule again, my friend. Somebody will do it! It just needs to happen. My dear friend Javier Bardem, in the American movies he’s played the bad guy very often. It’s something related to the American point of view. But I’m sure it will change.

Well, let’s talk a little about your new bad guy role as Santana. What did you like about him as a character?

Yeah, Santana is a crazy guy. He’s part of a team, but he has his own rules and plans. I have to deal with everyone. That gives me a lot of responsibility to have to deal with so many characters. I’m not only against Riddick. I’m against everyone, basically. That gives a lot of different colors to the role.

Was this the most special effects you’ve worked with in your career? Were you comfortable on the green screens and pretending to fight off CGI jackals?

Well, I just finished shooting a film with [director] Ron Howard (“In the Heart of the Sea”), which has a very spectacular scene with special effects. This might be the most special effects, it depends. I mean, “Knight and Day” with Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz, there was that scene with the bulls and there were really no bulls. You had to image everything – the bulls running, the people running. But, yeah, in “Riddick,” everything was green. Besides the jackals, everything was real. We had a huge, massive spaceship on set. The green screens were used more for the planet and how the planet looked.

Since starting your acting career in the late 80s, what have you learned about yourself as an actor over that time? Has anything become easier or more difficult?

I really don’t know what I’ve learned, but what I can say is that every time I get in front of a camera I still get nervous. Obviously, I have more technique and experience, but it’s a strange thing. I’ve been doing this for a long time and I still get nervous! I think that’s part of acting – to still get nervous and control that fear. I don’t know how to get rid of that.

Riddick

September 6, 2013 by  
Filed under Jerrod, Reviews

Starring: Vin Diesel, Katee Sackhoff, Matt Nable
Directed by: David Twohy (“Pitch Black,” “The Chronicles of Riddick”)
Written by: David Twohy (“The Chronicles of Riddick,” “Waterworld”)

The term “pulp” gets tossed around quite a bit when it comes to movies that some people find charming in spite of their obvious drawbacks. Whether it’s bad acting, sub-par special effects, or a story that an over-caffinated 3rd grader would reject as too scattershot and unrealistic, when a film registers as pulp to a viewer, all sins are forgiven. Sure, to the rest of the world, the film sucks. But to those who have allowed the pulpiness wash over them, the movie becomes endearing, something unappreciated by the masses. Which brings us to “Riddick,” both the movie and the character, Richard B. Riddick.

Introduced 13 years ago with little fanfare in the small-scale sci-fi thriller “Pitch Black,” Vin Diesel’s Riddick was a deep-voiced antihero that struck the right note with fans and corresponded with Diesel’s  “Fast and Furious”-fueled rise to fame. With that success came madness, apparently, as Diesel and director David Twohy followed their cult hit with the fantastically bombastic “The Chronicles of Riddick,” which, in hindsight, plays like a proto-”John Carter” complete with the subpar box office and obtuse mythology (I mean they called it “The Chronicles of Riddick” for crying out loud). The giant shrug that greeted that film paired with Diesel’s fading stardom seemingly marooned Riddick on the remote planet of failed sci-fi/fantasty franchises, whiling away his days with whatever Mark Wahlberg’s character’s name was in Tim Burton’s “Planet of the Apes” and the polar bear from “The Golden Compass.”

A few more successful “Fast and Furious” movies, though, earned Diesel the movie-star right to make a new Riddick adventure, albeit without the budget “Chronicles” was able to command. After some unnecessary house-cleaning bridging “Riddick” to its predecessor, the film becomes lean and sparse, foregoing the epic feel audiences rejected the last time out and instead turning Riddick against a small crew of bounty hunters and a planet’s worth of lethal alien reptiles. Eventually the mercenaries hunting Riddick must form an uneasy alliance with the criminal if they hope to make it off the planet alive.

While I suspect “Riddick” will undoubtedly find fans that appreciate it as a pulp sci-fi adventure, most audiences will likely find it a chintzy knock-off of things they’ve seen numerous times before, including “Pitch Black.” The bounty hunters are all cribbed from every space-faring bounty hunter to hit the screen since the beginning of time, the dialogue is pure string cheese peppered with curse words, and the alien landscapes evoke all the awe and wonder of a Canadian soundstage wallpapered in green screen. The two most interesting characters end up being a computer-generated alien dog and Katee Sackhoff’s microwaved spin on her role as Starbuck in “Battlestar Galactica,” only this time she gets to cuss for real instead of having to resort to saying “frak.” Riddick may be the unlikeliest franchise in Hollywood right now, which makes its pulpiness even more disappointing.