Kiko Ellsworth: Talking Tekken with Staunton Hill’s Bloody Hero. By Brian Kirst.
“I love interacting with people, but I never wanted to act,” Staunton Hill’s main man Kiko Ellsworth asserts. But once Ellsworth, who has gone on to appear frequently on television (the supernaturally tinged Port Charles, Heroes and Dexter) and film (Bad Boys 2, the upcoming Tekken), accepted a gym friend’s challenge to meet his agent – his life was forever changed. “They recommended I go to an acting class. One class gave me such a case of stage fright– and I didn’t like it. I took it as a challenge to myself to overcome that fear and became an actor.”
Ellsworth has been testing his limits ever since. “On All or Nothing – where I met my future wife- I played this wild, psychopathic killer. Up until I think I had been classified as a pretty boy, but with that I proved I could play a bad guy.”
When his gig as Jamal on the soap opera Port Charles took a ghostly turn in late 2001 into the supernatural to help boost ratings, he ran with the changes there as well. “I dug the supernatural element. It was entertainment. Some of the things were a little crazy, but there was nothing about the acting that was hokey and we were proud of that. Everything was believable from an acting standpoint.” (Indeed, in its final year, the show was nominated for several Daytime Emmys – including Best Show.)
“During my time there, I also learned what not to do – not only as an actor but in living, as a person and as a friend. It was a great time. It was like the dorms, college – we would chase each other around and have bowling tournaments down this long hallway.”
It also led directly to his first major film role, Bad Boys 2. Unlike, direct to DVD action epic Lady Jane: Killer (which was “more of a whim – I auditioned on a Thursday, got cast on a Friday and filmed on a Saturday. My blood brother, Jason Widener, was in that – nobody ever asks about that film, though!”), Ellsworth found himself auditioning, directly, for Jerry Bruckheimer and Michael Bay. “It was amazing being able to take direction from Michael Bay in an audition situation. I was scared to step it up, at first, but my true actor stepped up – because he always does – and I had a wonderful time. Will Smith was amazing and he taught me how to be the consummate professional. I watched how he acted with the director, with the fans, from everyone in all walks of life – I watched how he changed in each situation. How he interacts with people is a beautiful thing – the world would be a much better place with more Will Smith’s in it.” Besides the important life lessons learned on Bad Boys 2, Ellsworth, also charmingly admits, “It was truly a rush doing all the action and working with the guns, as well!”
Moving onto important guest shots on shows like Dexter and Heroes, Ellsworth notes “I’ve been very blessed to work with humble, down to earth folks who have really been into the craft of acting. But, then again, I am a firm believer in you reap what you sow and the law of attraction. You put out positive energy and you receive it back.”
Currently, Ellsworth is receiving some spine tingling chills, though, with his association with Staunton Hill, directed by Cameron Romero. “Cameron (son of zombie movie legend George) is a very nice guy and he has a great family. I’m glad he’s directing and developing his craft- using Staunton Hill as a springboard to take things to the next level.” As co-producer on the project, Ellsworth admits, “Not everything worked out how it was supposed to, but it was a learning experience. We also cast my future wife in the project and it was great to travel and be on location with her.”
With Staunton Hill hitting the shelves at Best Buy and other outlets, Ellsworth is now thrilled to be promoting two upcoming projects, Tekken and I Am.
Of Tekken’s spring 2010 theatrical release he says, “They’re already talking a possible sequel. It’s got a great storyline – it kept the truth of the video game while taking it to the next level. It was an honor working with everyone on that film- a great writer, a great director. The director truly built the core to make it great!”
“I Am,” meanwhile, “is going to Cannes. It’s the best work I’ve ever done – the defining moment of my career. It was the defining moment of how an actor is supposed to work with a director. We can say that is our work up there –a collaborative effort, something that couldn’t be done individually.”
Of course, Ellsworth (who admits, “I am all over the place, creating things”) can rest assured that his many fans, eagerly await all his collaborative efforts, horror and otherwise.