This week, I had the pleasure of talking to actor/director/writer/producer Alexander Nevsky, star of Moscow Heat and the man behind the new action flick Black Rose. Rose is sure to please fans of our beloved genre as well, as it features a serial killer with savage traits. Black Rose marks the directorial debut of the action star, Nevsky. We talked about how this film came to be and why horror fans might dig it so much.
Horror Society: What made you choose this project to make your directorial debut?
Alexander Nevsky: I created original story for Black Rose by myself, Brent Huff and George Saunders wrote the script later. Sheldon Lettich polished the script and was the first one who told me that I should direct it. Sheldon directed great action films with Van Damme (Double Impact and The Order) and he wrote Rambo 3 with Sly Stallone. I always wanted to try directing so I realized that it was a perfect timing.
HS: Did you enjoy the directing process?
AN: I produced this film and was in almost every scene as an actor (except prologue) so directing it at the same time was tough. I was involved in every aspect of pre-production, production and post-production and really didn’t have time to even eat properly or to work out in the gym enough. But don’t get me wrong – I enjoyed every moment of it! And I was smart enough to surround myself with very experienced professionals so thanks again to executive producer Bryan Gores, to Director of Photography Rudy Harbon, to editor Stephen Adrianson and to score composer Sean Murray for all their great work!
HS: Did you have any influences as a director?
AN: I was a skinny kid in USSR and started boxing because of Rocky and later switched to bodybuilding because of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s films. So I loved classic Hollywood action films from 70s, 80s and 90s! I graduated from Moscow State University of Management later but was always interested in movie business. I watched all films made by John McTiernan, Walter Hill, George Pan Cosmatos and Richard Donner. I was inspired and influenced by all of them. Black Rose is kind of my tribute to classic ‘old fashioned’ action films and to great people who created them!
HS: Did the script come to you or did you develop it?
AN: My production company Hollywood Storm based in Los Angeles and this is the best place in the world for movie business. I know many good writers and I always have several different scripts in development. But I created an original story for Black Rose by myself as I mentioned already.
HS: The cast features great character actors like Adrian Paul and Robert Davi. Did you specifically have them in mind for the cast?
AN: I know Adrian Paul since we worked together on action film Moscow Heat (2003), he’s a good friend of mine. He couldn’t star in my other movie Treasure Raiders because he did Highlander: The Source at the same time in 2005. Adrian is an action hero but he’s a very good actor also and I wanted to work with him again. He was great in Black Rose as tough LAPD detective!
Robert Davi is my friend too, we made thriller Magic Man in 2008 in Las Vegas. Robert is a great actor and I did have him in mind for the role of Police Chief Dalano from the moment I started to work on Black Rose. I should mention my friends and other co-stars Matthias Hues (Dark Angel) and Robert Madrid (Half Past Dead 2), they did a very good job also!
HS: How was working with the amazing Kristanna Loken?
AN: I’m a big fan of Kristanna Loken. She’s a very good actress and she’s team player. Kristanna supported me a lot during the shooting. And right now she’s doing press for Black Rose release in the US so she supports me again! Kristanna is beautiful and intelligent, it was a joy to work with her!
HS: Los Angeles is like a character itself in the film. Why did you choose LA to set this story?
AN: I love LA and I love Moscow. There are so many different sides of this great cities. I shot several films in Moscow and wanted to do it in LA too. And thanks for the compliment! Actually it’s my DP Rudy Harbon’s achievement also. He’s French but he works in Hollywood. His first film I saw was 3000 Miles to Graceland (starring Kevin Costner and Kurt Russell) and in this movie Las Vegas really was one of the the characters. So that’s was an idea – to shoot Los Angeles the same way in Black Rose and to show it as beautiful and sunny place but with dangerous and dark secrets.
HS: The story comes close to being a horror movie with the serial killer character. Was that the intent to give him a very “horror movie character” feel?
AN: I tried to mix several genres in Black Rose. We have action scenes in this movie, we have mystery, we have some funny ‘fish out of water’ moments and we have horror. I’m a big fan of horror genre myself and I wanted to establish Black Rose Killer character as merciless and violent as possibly. We had very good make up artists working with us so that’s why those torture and killing scenes were so nasty and believable.
HS: Did you do research on real serial killers for the film?
AN: I didn’t do much of the research but my writers did while they were working on the script. And it was my idea to include the scene in LAPD office with Police Chief talking about most well known serial killers of the past. I think it made Black Rose stronger.
HS: Was anything “too disturbing” while you were on set?
AN: Oh yes! All torture and killing scenes looked too violent first. We even had to recut it later because of the rating. In Russia rating was 16+, and in U.K. and Ireland it was 15+. But I didn’t know that ITN and eOne would be ready to release unrated version of Black Rose in the US! If I knew it – I would change it to the original film and horror fans would appreciate it even more.
HS: Do you prefer directing or acting more?
AN: Acting is not an easy job but it’s a vacation compare to directing. And can you imagine to do it all together – act, direct, produce, promote etc? That’s exactly what I did with Black Rose. So to be honest with you, I’ll definitely direct again but not in the near future :)
HS: What do you have coming up next?
AN: My next film Showdown in Manila will be released in October or November. It’s Expendables type of movie directed by martial arts legend Mark Dacascos. I produced it and starred in with Casper Van Dien, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Tia Carrere, Olivier Gruner, Don “The Dragon” Wilson, Matthias Hues and Cynthia Rothrock. It’s a non stop action film. I have another movie called Maximum Impact and it’s on the final stage of post-production right now. This one was directed by great Andrzej Bartkowiak (DOOM) and will be released in 2018.
Thank you and your readers for all the interest and support! I hope you’ll like Black Rose and I promise that one day I produce (and maybe direct) a real horror film!
Huge thanks to Alexander Nevsky for taking the time to talk to us. Horror fans will definitely want to check out Black Rose today. It is now playing in select theaters and is available on VOD and DVD. Check out the trailer here: