Breen Academy instructor Steve Payne recently had the opportunity to interview actor Ed Skrein who had trained with Bob Breen in preparation for his role as the villain in Deadpool...
Steve: Ed it’s great to see you again. I know we’re looking forwards to seeing you in Deadpool next month. It’s out on the 10th? right
Ed: Great to see you too my friend. Deadpool comes out February 10th in the UK. I’m really excited for people to see all of the hard work we put into it, I think people will really enjoy it. It gets pretty crazy.
Steve: I know Bob (Breen) trained you up for some of the fight scenes in that. Was that fun?
Ed: It was a lot of fun. I had an amazing experience working with Bob, he is a warm and generous man in both spirit and energy, and a tower of knowledge on combat. We had a good time whilst learning as we both enjoyed the process, and I am very thankful for Bob's education and time. He taught me so much and I am determined to build on it.
Steve: How did you find doing the 4D Combat stuff and the Filipino martial arts, in particular the double sticks. Was it hard to get that down.
Ed: It was hard to get down but a great feeling when when you get it right. Luckily I enjoy the challenge and the training so it was a matter of relaxing and letting the repetition and practices sink in. When you watch the second fight I have in Deadpool, you will see a lot of the skills Bob and yourself taught me. I have a double handed axe fight that becomes a knife fight and ends up hand to hand. The things I learnt with Bob in Hackney I could put to use directly on the Deadpool film set in Vancouver, Canada.
Steve: Bob said that you were one of the best actors he’d ever trained, including Fassbender. I suppose your athletic and swimming background helped a lot. I know you and Bob both have an interest in extreme endurance events.
Ed: I know I am not a natural but I know how to be a good student. I know the process is longer than one imagines but I love the process. The athletic and aesthetic gains of pushing your body to its limits are secondary, the primary benificiary is the mind and I am thankful to learn and be able to train and learn for my job. And I love a challenge.
Steve: Had you had an interest in martial arts before?
Ed: I had no history in martial arts before 2014 when I worked in Paris with Alain Figlarz and his stunt team (for The Transporter Refueled) and fell in love with it. They taught me a foundation in boxing, Kali Eskrima and Krav Maga. I felt like the beginner I was but enjoyed it so much and wanted to keep learning. I am lucky to have kept that education up with Bob. Still feeling like a beginner, still learning, still loving it.
Steve: Bob said that the main thing he wanted to achieve with the training was to not have you looking like an actor doing martial arts but like a martial artist or bad MF who just happens to be acting. I know he was really pleased with how it turned out. He said you’ve got the same look as some of his most experienced Black belts and that that is a really special quality.
Ed: When I was on set I felt like a fighter rather than an actor and that was thanks to Bob's education. He would teach me why we would do each strike and the endless possibilities of angles and combinations whist making everything seem very simple; he also spoke a lot about a fighter's mentality. The fighting you see on screen in Deadpool is made in 4D and Bob's image – I was just trying to look as bad ass as Bob!
Steve: How did the training you’d had go down on set? Were the stunt guys pleased with the level you’d got to?
Ed: They knew of Bob and spoke very highly of him. They are great guys themselves, Phil Silvera and Rob Alonso. They are incredibly talented and dedicated to their work and both move phenomenally. We had a great time putting together the fight choreography and executing it. The work they put in will look awesome on screen and those guys deserve a lot of credit along with the stunt guys Alex, Adrian, Jeff and Andre and all of the crew.
Steve: Deadpool looks like an awesome movie. Anything else in the pipeline? I know I saw you in an X-Men actors line-up with Hugh Jackman, Channing Tatum and I think Ryan Reynolds amongst others. Is that something coming soon?
Ed: That was a photo from San Diego Comic Con with the cast of X-Men, Deadpool and Gambit. It was for a Empire Magazine photoshoot rather than a movie but all of those guys exist in the Fox Marvel Universe so things can cross over however the writers and producers see fit. It is great to have contributed to the X-Men timeline and it is a dream of mine to be involved in it, whatever the future holds.
Steve: What about martial arts? Did the training with Bob ignite any sparks. I know he said he’d had loads of fun, made a new friend and was interested how it would look in the movie.
Ed: I definitely want to continue my education, keep learning and growing; gain a higher understanding of the art forms and keep up the momentum, especially in the Kali and boxing. I am grateful to call Bob a friend and can’t wait to train with him again and I am excited for him to see the movie and the results of our hard work. Hope I make him proud!
Steve: I’m sure you will.