We recently talked with Russian bodybuilder turned actor turned director, Alexander Nevsky, about his new film, Black Rose. The crime thriller stars Nevsky, Kristanna Loken, Adrian Paul, Robert Davi and Matthias Hues. Alexander Nevsky plays Russian police officer Vladimir Kazatov who travels to Hollywood to help the LAPD hunt for a killer within the local Russian community.
Black Rose is Alexander Nevsky’s directorial debut. It hits theaters April 28th and releases on DVD and VOD on May 2nd. Stay tuned for our review, coming this week!
HorrorGeekLife: You’ve done so much in your career– bodybuilder, actor, and writer. What inspired you to be a director?
Alexander Nevsky: You know, Black Rose was like a dream project for me. I created that project and the story about a Russian cop who has to join the LAPD for one month to help them find a serial killer that’s in Hollywood. George Saunders and Brent Huff wrote the script, and Sheldon Lettich, who directed Double Impact with Jean-Claude Van Damme and wrote Rambo III with Sylvester Stallone, polished the script. He was also my executive producer and he told me, “It was your project, you’re likely to know everything about that project… you should try acting.” And I never directed before, but I acted a lot and I was dreaming about trying to direct. I was smart enough to create a good team, because I directed the film, but I had to have consultants.
One was Sheldon Lettich, the other one was Bryan Goeres, who directed seven films for Sony, and is a producer and writer. So I have them, and they both advised me, and made sure my directorial debut was going in the right direction. My cast, Kristanna Loken, Adrian Paul, Robert Davi and Matthias Hues, were also very supportive. I had a good team around me. Talking about directing again, I was dreaming about that so many times. It was tough. You mentioned bodybuilding, and the only thing I couldn’t do, I didn’t have enough time to work out at all. Because I was so involved as a producer, director, and everything. But don’t get me wrong, it was a huge joy all the way.
HorrorGeekLife: You had really great chemistry with co-star Kristanna Loken. How did she become involved in the film?
Alexander Nevsky: I’m a huge fan of Kristanna Loken. First I met her in 2003 when she was doing Terminator 3, because I also represent Russia at the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. I work with the Golden Globe Awards and I met with her in 2003. I liked her a lot and, of course, I love Terminator 3. She was the first choice when we started to do casting and I asked to send her the script, and she loved it. We met again, spoke a lot about the character and, actually, about what you just mentioned about possible chemistry between characters. Because there’s like the huge Russian guy and the American girl who is basically a rookie she’s new in the LAPD. But they started to work together, they started to respect each other, they started to care for each other… it’s kind of like Mulder and Scully in a way.
She was so supportive. She understood everything I was going through as I produced, directed, and acted in it. And she’s still supportive. Right now she’s pushing Black Rose, she’s doing press for the movie. It will be open in select theaters on April 28th. And after that it will be on VOD, DVD, Netflix and Redbox. I’m glad we met again, and I just hope the American audience will like it too and also will like an idea about a Russian and American working together, not fighting, working together. And that’s important in my opinion.
HorrorGeekLife: Was it really important in your first film as director to have your culture represented in such a prevalent way?
Alexander Nevsky: Yes it was, and I’ll explain to you why. Of course, everyone is telling me now that I found the perfect timing to release a film about friendship between a Russian and American. It’s perfect timing they told me. But talking seriously, I always fought against anti-American stereotypes in Russia, and I’m fighting against anti-Russian stereotypes in Hollywood. I think you should have someone like me because continue to produce movies with Russian bad guys in every other movie… there are so many of them, especially now. If Russia starts to produce movies like that on a regular basis, what will happen next? It’s the 21st century, we should fight against stereotypes, not for them.
I understand what is going on in the world right now, of course I know. You are right, it was very important for me to make the movie the way I made it. Basically, in the beginning, you think it’s a Russian killer over there and that’s why the LAPD asked Russia for help. And there’s my character and he cannot work with Americans, but he starts to respect them when they respect him. That’s important because film is the easiest way to get to the people, they love it. So yes, for me it’s important to have that theme and actually I have it in my next film, which is almost ready. It’s called Maximum Impact. It was directed by Andrzej Bartkowiak who directed Doom and Romeo Must Die. I have the same theme, with Russians and Americans working together. And I will continue to do that, no matter what’s going on around me. I think that is what should happen. And I think American producers should support me on that idea, and Russian producers should support me. I’m kind of like a little bridge between our countries.
HorrorGeekLife: Since you’d like to be involved in more films with the Russian/American theme, such as Black Rose, do you think a sequel could happen? There’s definitely potential with the characters and setting.
Alexander Nevsky: Actually, I think you are the first one who I talked to about that. It can happen, and we just started to talk about that with Kristanna, because she just organized her own production company Trio Entertainment. Because Black Rose was already released in Russia, it was big a theatrical release, and Russia sold it to about 40 places internationally. Somewhere it was direct to DVD, but it was a success. And to be honest with you, I’ll be happy to go back to that character. The only thing is, basically, they don’t have romantic involvement with each other, but again they’re like Mulder and Scully in a way. Another movie is definitely can be a possibility. I would be happy to do that.
HorrorGeekLife: Fantastic! I’m interested to see what Vladimir and Emily could stumble into next. Do you have any other projects coming up?
Alexander Nevsky: Actually I have two films, one of them Showdown in Manila. It will be released here in fall, probably October or November. It’s an action film, kind of like The Expendables. It has every action hero which wasn’t used yet in The Expendables franchise. It was directed by Mark Dacascos. It stars myself, Casper Van Dien, Tia Carrere, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa from Mortal Kombat and Don “The Dragon” Wilson. Another one is Maximum Impact, which I already mentioned. It is the biggest movie I’ve produced yet, and actually it’s an action comedy. In Black Rose, I mixed several genres, even horror. Maximum Impact is just a straight action comedy. The guy who wrote it, Ross LaManna, wrote the Rush Hour franchise, with Jackie Chan. So I hope when it’s time for Maximum Impact to come, you will enjoy it.
HorrorGeekLife: Alexander, thank you for taking the time to talk about Black Rose. I look forward to seeing your future projects as well!