Mark Strange ('The Displaced')
'Stranger Than Fiction!'
In 'Displaced,' a humanoid alien named Stel teams up with a British soldier, John Marrettie, to find a top secret file which holds information on advanced energy production, captured space crafts and their alien pilots ... including Stel's missing father, Arakawa, imprisoned on Earth by Core - a human paramilitary group.
The displaced file falls into the hands of a renegade 'special forces' leader named Wilson whose plans are to sell the file to the highest bidder, leading to a deadly game of survival, combat, intrigue and deceit.
Chatting recently with Mark Strange star and producer of 'Displaced,' he filled us in on the background behind the movie and all its incredible stunt work:
Firstly, just how does one, on a 'budget' like the one you had, actually convince Sir Ian McKellen to do a voice over narrative?! "We contacted Ian McKellen in the early stages of our production, while he was still working on the 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy. At that time he was unfortunately too busy to helps us. Then a couple of years later we contacted him again, as we were still in production, and he was working on a soap opera which was being shot locally. He replied and agreed to help us, which was fantastic! He was genuinely interested in our film and was happy to support our project."
When did this story line first originate for you and by the time it had been visualized on the screen how much had it changed? "The original script was written in 2000 and was only intended to be a short film. Then when we started filming and it just grew and grew, and we developed the script along the way into a full feature."
At the beginning of this film there was some - for an independent movie - very impressive CGI re: the spaceship, etc. Was that where a lot of your initial budget landed? "Originally we started developing model space crafts with British props and model maker Richard St. Clair (James Bond, ‘Troy’, ‘Alien vs. Predator’), whom I met during the filming of ‘Batman Begins’ at Shepperton Studios. However, due to budget constraints this proved impractical. So another contact from Shepperton put me in touch with a company in Berlin called 4K Animation who were willing to do the CGI shots for a good price. We shipped over the director, Martin Holland, to work with them on developing the space ships and the other CGI in the film."
Was it filmed entirely in the UK ... and why the UK? "Yes, the entire film was shot in the UK. Due to budget constraints the entire film was shot locally in the North West of England. Also we thought it would be cool to produce an independent action film in the UK, and to make it as big as we could."
Were they real in-operation Army barracks ... or an old, rundown one that they allowed you to film in? "Actually, no army barracks were used in the film. The location was actually a local disused (and condemned!) rubber factory, which we used as a military base. We used this location for three years until it was demolished. Also all of the soldiers used in the film comprised of my friends and students from my martial arts academy."
It seemed that the large warehouse-type square space was used many times for many scenes ... was it your go to area for all battles, etc due to money, allotted space, etc.? "We actually used several buildings which looked the same. The first building we used was knocked down three years into filming (we don’t seem to have much luck with locations, they all seem to be pulled down after we start filming in them!) so we had to find others which matched. We used locations like this as the wide open space provides a great arena in which to stage the action scenes."
This story / film features some very strong female lead roles! In fact, I don't think I've seen so many sexy, strong-character, butt-kickin' women in the same place at the same time! What was your reasoning for including so many of these strong (character wise) women in your script? "Our aim was always to make a film with beautiful women who could kick as much ass as the men! We just wanted to make a great film filled with strong and memorable characters – both male and female. Also we hope our male audience appreciates our efforts too!"
Where did the look of your acting alter-ego 'Radius' originate from ... and how hard on your was it to act two different roles virtually (due to time factors) at the same time before the cameras got cold? "Radius was born when the director, Martin Holland, and I were messing around with costumes, equipment and balaclavas before filming one morning early in production. The first time we saw him in the completed uniform we thought ‘wow, we have to get him in the film’! So he was written into the overall story there and then!"
"Playing two roles was very demanding, as they were both heavily action orientated, but great fun! Some days I can still feel the knocks I took during some of the scenes!
The Fun Five:
Why did the one woman take off her black wig in her office just prior to her death? What was the point you were trying to make? "We had a major continuity problem with the actress. The scene in question was filmed years after her previous scenes and when we managed to get her back for the additional filming we found out that she had permanently died her hair blonde. So in the film we had to give her a wig as a ‘disguise’. The wig wasn’t exactly the best, so she couldn’t have kept it on during the whole scene."
Why did the male alien come back to life but not the female alien? "It is actually explained in the film when the two female characters, Barker and Kopek, are discussing alien physiology. But I’ll tell you anyway; the female alien was shot in a vial organ, whereas my character shot himself in a non vital area, to make him look like he was dead. Also my character has advanced healing abilities, as long as he isn’t fatally wounded."
I bet that boy who played the son being dropped off (red hoodie) with his mother at the house was pissed ... as it was his first acting moment and at no time did you allow him to turn around and face any cameras let alone speak! His bad luck or something more sinister, perhaps?! "The reason being is that it was not the same kid as in the first scene featuring Marrettie’s son. He wasn’t available so we had to bring in a double, and hope no one would notice!"
It also seemed like these aliens knew an awful lot about fighting primarily using karate! In your creative mind's eye had they all been watching Jackie Chan movies up there before they came here?! "Haha! Actually, Jackie Chan is a big inspiration to me, and I was lucky enough to work with him in Hong Kong, on ‘The Medallion’ and ‘Twins Effect’. As for the aliens in ‘Displaced’, there is actually a back story which we did not have time to explore. On their home planet the Kise (good guys) are resistance fighters and are trained from a young age in all forms of unarmed combat and primitive weapons. However, the Murka, who oppress the Kise people, use sophisticated futuristic weaponry."
When asked how long before your back up was arriving, your character replied that it would be 24 hours ... and yet they were there just a short few moments later! Please explain! "24 hours on the planet Kise is actually about an hour here on earth!"
OK, and now being back on track ... as no father was found by the alien son, will there be a sequel as it's obviously been left wide open for one! "Yeah, we kept it open for a sequel in the future, and would love to do one – but with a big Hollywood budget next time! Also a certain masked character is hoping to get his own spin off movie, which would be very cool."
Lastly, what's next for you film wise now this one has finally been done and dusted? "I have completed two feature films since ‘Displaced’. The second was ‘Underground’ – a bare-knuckle tournament movie set in the UK, which is now available to buy on DVD in the U.S. and across the world. My third feature ‘Bodyguard: A New Beginning’ was shot in Hong Kong and the UK and stars Cary Tagawa (‘Memoirs of a Geisha’, ‘Elektra’, ‘Mortal Kombat’), myself, Richard Ng (‘My Lucky Stars’, ‘Millionaire's Express’) and rising Hong Kong stars Vincent Sze (‘Sha Po Lang’ a.k.a. ‘Kill Zone’, ‘Dragon Tiger Gate’) and Carl Ng (‘New Police Story’). ‘Bodyguard’ is scheduled for a 2008 release worldwide. I also have a very busy schedule for 2008, with lots of new projects in development."
"Finally, we would just like to thank all the fans and everyone who has continued to support ‘Displaced’ over the years."
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
'Displaced' DVD Purchase Link
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