Becoming a “Guardian”: An Interview with Kellan Lutz

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Anyone familiar with The Twilight Saga will know the name Kellan Lutz. The former Emmett Cullen has since had a successful career mainly in the action genre. From 2011’s Arena to nabbing the titular role in 2014’s The Legend of Hercules, Lutz has not slowed down one bit. His latest film, the adventure 7 Guardians of the Tomb, comes to select theaters, VOD, and Digital HD on February 23 from Arclight Films.

World Film Geek had the chance to speak with Lutz about making the film and what really “bugs” him.

Kellan, first off, I am a huge fan and I have to say your latest, 7 Guardians of the Tomb, was quite a decent adventure film with scary overtones.
That’s great, I really appreciate that! Thank you.

How did you get approached for the film? Kellan, first off, I am a huge fan and I have to say your latest, 7 Guardians of the Tomb, was quite a decent adventure film with scary overtones.
Kimble Rendall is a great director. I was actually doing a press tour with him for his previous film called Bait. And I was actually dating one of the actresses who was in that movie at the time. So I got to know Kimble and he said, “Kellan, I have this idea for a spider movie, and I would like you to read it and be a part of it.” So I said, “Yeah cool, send it my way”.

A couple of years later, I got this script called The Nest and it was from Kimble and I thought, “Oh he actually did it!” So I read it and it was pretty much Indiana Jones meets Arachnophobia and I loved the character that he wrote for me. And here’s the thing about Kimble. He’s so much fun to impress. He’s such a character himself. He truly enjoys what he does. To work with someone who’s fun to impress, they’re gonna love doing the movie as well. I was not wrong with that so it was a wonderful experience.

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Kellan as Jack Ridley in 7 Guardians of the Tomb (Arclight Films)

What I found interesting is that despite your character Jack being somewhat of a tough guy, he does have his flaws and this shows in an emotional scene with Li Bingbing’s Jia. Did you have any input in developing the character of Jack because I felt this was really a great scene?
Yeah thank you. That’s another great thing about Kimble. He allowed us to bring our own ideas and collaborate with him. With that scene, it was “what would be his motive”? What would be his necessity? What would be his kryptonite? And being there, for me, it was like why is Jack there? Why is he a first responder? Why does he have a chip on his shoulder?

When we got to the down and dirty of it, we did figure out that it was an accident. And sometimes, you can’t save the whole world but you can do your best. So, yeah when we did that scene, I felt it was really important to hash out and connect on an emotional level. And then with the fear of spiders, I was like well, Jack seems like this tough guy, but much like Indiana Jones with the snakes, what if Jack’s fear is spiders and it turned out this is a spider movie and Kimble liked that idea.

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(Clockwise from left): Shane Jacobson, Kellan Lutz, director Kimble Rendall, Jason Chong, Kelsey Grammar, and Eva Liu on the set of 7 Guardians of the Tomb

Li Bingbing and Kelsey Grammer are two greats who I thought did quite well and made the most of their roles as their characters’ loved ones are only part of the film in terms of the mission. What was it like working with these two as well as the rest of the cast?
We meshed really well! I think the producers and Kimble wanted to bring in an international cast and that’s what they did. When I met Li Bingbing, I was kind of ignorant. I had no real knowledge that she was this big star in China, so she was on set with her own entourage. But she didn’t act like she had an entourage. She was always available and I didn’t realize that English wasn’t her first language.

So, I was improvising and changing the script to make it flow more and she would remember just the button. Like the last word of each scene or whatever I say. So then it was really great because she was saying, “I want you to make the best out of your character and my character as well”. So I got to sit with her and collaborate. I would be like, “okay instead of saying this, say that and this is what I’m going to end on, so if you want to change something and say this”, and it was just fun! It was one of the first times I was able to do that and find someone I can trust. She’s just amazing with work with and I was impressed that she did this film with English as her second language.

As for Kelsey Grammar, I worked with him on The Expendables 3 and he’s a legend, man. I mean, I always loved Frasier, and he’s great. And he was always on set. I mean, I’ve worked with some superstars and they would do their scene and head back to their trailers and you would have the director pounding on their doors before scenes are to be shot. Kelsey is a family man on and off-set. He was such a great storyteller and mentor to all of us. We would ask him questions about his life and how he got to where he is and he was so open and so caring. So funny too. Having him and Shane Jacobson, when the cameras would stop rolling, he would be like “oh why did you miss that! Just leave the cameras on!” We’ve had so much gold with those (laughs).

And then we had Stef Dawson. She’s such a sweetheart. She was in The Hunger Games and this film. She was very sweet and very talented to work with as well as Jason Chong. I saw them in a couple of other movies, so it was a great cast and we made a great movie together.

Here’s a fun question. Jack is afraid of spiders. Are you afraid of spiders?
I don’t think I’m afraid of them. I do have a funny story as I grew up in Arizona. I was about seven years old and they had these wolf spiders. I saw one in our kitchen and their back was moving. So like all kids, all we think about is destroying everything, and there are five brothers in the house. So, I see the spider and my first reaction was to just stomp of it, so I did. So I stomped on it, and there were thousands of babies on their mother’s back and they just like shot throughout the house. And I was like “oh my God” so I had to tell my mom and yeah, I got in trouble from my mom for doing that (laughs).

I don’t think I’ve come across many to be scared of. But the thing that really bugs me are cockroaches. I mean in Arizona, we have these massive cockroaches. At a young age, I was sleeping and I felt something crawling up my arm and it woke me up. I was scratching my arm and I felt something move so I threw it. I turned on the light and there was this cockroach! Man, that memory will always stick in my head because it was so disgusting!

Did you have to endure any difficulties while shooting the film?
No at all! It was really smooth. I think the only thing was Li Bingbing got sick during the first week. She had to fly back to China to get some sort of I.V.  I remember seeing a photo and was like “Oh, that’s weird”. So I wasn’t sure if she was sick or nervous, but she came back and nailed all of her scenes. I think she was really sick. Again, it was a cross-world experience so she had to fly back because she couldn’t get medication in Australia. Other than that, everything was smooth. Shooting in Gold Coast is beautiful and fun and it always helps when you’re shooting somewhere so beautiful (Laughs).

Finally, are there any new projects you can let everyone in on.
Yeah, I have a few movies in the works. The first is called The Last Story of David Allen. It’s a very unique story and script. We shoot that in Puerto Rico in April. I’m an assassin so that’s going to be fun. And the second is called Arizona, which is a bank robbery movie. I haven’t done one of those yet so I’m very much looking forward to that one!

7 Guardians of the Tomb comes to select theaters, VOD, and Digital HD on February 23. Anyone who likes seeing Kellan Lutz continue his action film career will enjoy this film. Thank you again for talking about the film.
Thank you. Take care, brother!

A special Thank You goes to Katrina Wan PR and Kellan Lutz for making this interview possible. For more on Kellan Lutz, check out his official Twitter page.

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