L’Officiel Fashion Book Australia
June 19, 2023
Congratulations on the Fast X and so many of other projects!
Can you tell us about your character?
Aimes is the new head of “The Agency,” the Fast universe’s version of international law enforcement. He uses his disarming Midwest charm to his advantage but don’t mistake his unflappable smile for weakness; he’s a highly trained fighter unafraid to dispatch entire teams of adversaries on his own.
Did you enjoy working with your castmates?
I mostly worked alongside Vin Diesel, Jason Momoa, and Brie Larson, but met most of the cast along the way. I thoroughly enjoyed every day on set. It was evident that everyone from the top down showed a deep appreciation for the story (and ultimately the audience) by giving it their all.
You mentioned a fun story with Jason Momoa when we caught up before.
Momoa has a penchant for walking around set with any one of a collection of unplugged bass guitars. He’s shirtless, slapping the strings of a bass while everyone’s rehearsing, and once it’s time to film, just before “action” is called, he holds out his hand and a guitar assistance leaps out from behind the nearest shrub or car and whisks the guitar out of frame. It’s a pretty hilarious thing to witness. I want to meet that person at a party. “What do you do for a living?” “Oh, I’m Jason Momoa’s guitar snatcher:”
FF is such a fully charged franchise, are you a petrol-head yourself?
Tesla has taken a real dive in the last couple years. They’re actively removing things like radars and ultrasonic sensors (USS), which seems like a bizarre step backwards. But one of my favorite cars was a P100D. It’s hard to compete with the feeling of instant torque in ludicrous mode. Don’t tell Vin I said that.
Where you a fan of the original Fast and Furious back in the early 2000s?
I enjoyed the original in theaters and loved it as much as everyone else. I didn’t understand then why they’d want to make another, so I didn’t watch the rest until I was brought on to Fast X. I regretted not enjoying the ride earlier. I love a movie that doesn’t take itself too seriously and is good at helping us all escape for a couple hours. For what it’s worth, I do feel like I met the franchise at the right time. I think it’s really hit its stride with X and is showcasing the best this world has to offer.
Your press tour and premiere in Rome looked fantastic, with the Colosseum as a backdrop. Any fun moments from the press tour and reuniting with your castmates?
The Fast X tour in Rome was incredible. Being whisked around by a police escort into some of the most recognizable landmarks in the world was kind of unreal. I will say though, the placement of the hotel made things a little tricky. There was a monstrous like, 100 meter wide Fast X poster across the street that made it impossible to walk out of the hotel. Kind of hard to slip away for a little midday carbonara when a ten-foot high “you” is throwing a casual ‘over the shoulder’ to everyone in the vicinity.
How was your stopover at Cannes Film Festival? Did you visit any premieres?
Cannes was a blast. I think I’m a studio exec trapped in a leading man’s body. I was there to present a film I made with Guy Ritchie to buyers in territories it hadn’t sold in yet as well as to help setup international on an upcoming project. That might sound boring to some, but I love the art and challenge of that side of the business. I didn’t have time to visit any premieres but did have one of the best tiramisus of my life, so there’s that.
Your show Reacher on Prime Video just wrapped up filming its second season. Are you excited for ‘Jack Reacher’ to come back?
Can’t speak to coming seasons just yet, but if you liked season 1 (and millions of people did) you’re going to LOVE season 2. It really showcases the best of what Reacher can be.
The story is quite different from the first season, correct? Its jumping ahead quite a bit to book 11. Can you tell us what can we expect?
The second season is based on Lee Child’s Bad Luck and Trouble and is about Reacher’s old unit getting back together to figure out who is killing off members of the 110th. All the surviving members are equally capable, so we basically get to see a group of Reachers running around kicking ass.
You have another amazing film coming up, which is completely different from your other projects, Ordinary Angels with Hilary Swank. Can you tell us about this project and did come across it?
Ordinary Angels is a total departure from the action space. It’s based on a true story which was known locally as “Snow Baby.” It’s about a father trying to save his sick daughter during the worst blizzard in Kentucky’s history. When season 1 of Reacher aired it set records at Amazon for viewership. The opportunities I was seeing multiplied exponentially overnight. Most of what I was being sent was in the action genre, similar to Reacher. That was the obvious choice though – something that’ll very likely always be a part of my career. I wanted to subvert expectations and use the momentum I had to find something special and unexpected. I feel incredibly lucky that Ordinary Angels came across my desk when it did. It’s a beautiful movie and I’m really proud of what we made.
Can you tell us about working Jon Gunn and Hilary Swank?
Both geniuses. Jon guided this film flawlessly towards an honest retelling. There are a lot of themes of faith in the movie and sometimes when that happens, executives, producers or filmmakers might say, ‘this will attract an audience looking for stories like this, so we need to leave out certain elements of the story.’ I don’t think that’s authentic storytelling and Jon gracefully handled elements like doubting one’s faith or alcoholism with honesty and grace. Real life doesn’t spare us these conversations so our films shouldn’t either. Even if they straddle the line between a heartfelt drama or faith-based film.
Hilary, of course, is brilliant. I think she was a little unsure of me at first because I’m relatively a newcomer. I’ve been in this business for a long time but nothing I’ve done has given me the access and visibility Reacher has. So, movies of this caliber are new for me. Once we began filming scenes together though, she became my biggest advocate and ally. She let me know she was really happy for me and glad we could tell this story together.
It was such a treat getting to watch her work. She is so fearless in her work it’s shocking sometimes watching how fast she can go from idle to 100mph when Jon calls action. Audiences are going to love her work in this movie as they have with so many other great stories she’s told.
What do you do to unwind, if you actually have a moment with such busy schedule?
Parent? Does that count as unwinding?? I love my three boys so much, whenever I get a second away from work, I’m right there with them making adventures happen. My wife is destined for sainthood. I don’t know how she deals with four children in the home.
How was your photoshoot with Mike Ruiz? Did you enjoy shooting with him?
Mike was awesome. One thing I can’t stand is when photographers take 840,000 images of each look because there’s no constraints (like shooting on actual film). I mean if we don’t have it in 12-15 clicks of the shutter, something’s off. He flies though, so loved working with him.
If you could give your younger-self advice, what would it be?
Don’t be a people pleaser. Boundaries will gain you more respect (and ultimately more self-respect) if you make them and keep them. I spent far too much time doing things I didn’t want to be doing because I didn’t want to make people feel bad. I’m at a place now where I’ve learned the freeing power of “no” or that’s not for me. I only wish I’d taken hold of that ability sooner.