Stopping the “Occupation”: An Interview with Lead Actor Dan Ewing

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Australian actor Dan Ewing made an international impact when he scored the role of Dillon in Power Rangers RPM. . He would also star in the films like the horror film Red Billabong and he is following that up with the upcoming sci-fi action film Occupation, coming to theaters, VOD, and Digital HD this Friday from Saban Films.

World Film Geek had the chance to talk to Ewing about the film.

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First of all Dan, thank you for talking about Occupation. Saw the film this past weekend and it blew me away. I actually found this to be better than most films of this genre. I will admit, I like it better than a movie called Independence Day (laughs).
Thank you so much! I appreciate that. I think the thing is with all these Hollywood studios they have the money and they would use it for blowing up cities. I mean, there isn’t really a story behind it and you don’t get to feel for the characters involved whereas this film, we didn’t have as big a budget, but we wanted to bring more of a character driven story in the alien invasion and how it affects the characters involved.

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Dan Ewing gets ready for war in Occupation (Saban Films)

How did you get approached for the role of Matt and how would describe his character?
That’s a good question! I read this script by Luke Sharpe, who is also the director and originally Matt was supposed to be like Captain America (laughs). However, when I heard that he was going to be a rugby player, I was researching things about injuries and addictions to painkillers. I thought this would make more sense to have Matt be this type of character as it is more human. I brought the idea to Luke and he thought it was a great idea so I was able to change the character of Matt to something more human rather than a hero type and I just drove with it.

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(L-R): Izzy Stevens, Temeura Morrison, Charles Mesure, Rhiannon Fish, Charles Terrier, Felix Williamson, Zachary Garred, Stephany Jacobsen, Dan Ewing, and Trystan Go make up the ensemble cast of Occupation (Saban Films)

This film had quite an ensemble cast, including Temeura Morrison, Stephany Jacobsen, and Charles Terrier. The chemistry between all of you was great and brought a more emotionally driven style usually not seen in this brand of film. What was it like working with them?
Oh 100% they were great! We had a lot of extras who were locals because we did actually shoot in this small town. I’m out in Sydney, which is a big city but not as big as cities in the States, but yeah, the cast was great. I mean man, working with Temeura Morrison, the guy’s a legend. He was actually working on this and Aquaman at the same time. He would go to work on Aquaman then he would come out and work here and he’s just great! And Charles Mesure too. I mean this guy is Blackbeard on Once Upon a Time and he’s been on Desperate Housewives and V. Everyone was just great to work with.

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Dan Ewing as Matt in Occupation (Saban Films)

The action scenes were quite fun as well, using both the typical firepower but added a bit of close quarter combat. What was it like shooting the action of the film?
Oh I love it! I mean Matt is a rugby player so I got to use that and what’s great even when I was on Power Rangers, which was my first major role. I learned fight choreography while doing Power Rangers and it was so much fun and yeah, we got to do some close quarter combat against the aliens in the film and it was great. Plus, I was already in good shape because I play a lot of sports during my free time, so it was easy for me (laughs). I mean you have to respect how people have to change for certain roles, but I didn’t have to go through that for this film.

What would you say was the most difficult thing about shooting the film?
Wow, I mean it was a great shoot. I would have to say it is more of a budget issue. I mean we didn’t have a big budget like other films in Australia, so it tended to be a no-nonsense shoot and there were long hours involved. I mean there were times when we had to shoot long hours, but we couldn’t have been more supportive of each other. So I think the toughest thing was the timing for the shoot.

Are there any new projects in the works for you? I do know of one called 1, which is another sci-fi drama but are there any others?
Oh definitely! I actually just completed, well, I’m not sure if it’s going to come out in the States, but I did a rugby rom-com with Isabel Lucas. I mean she’s such a great actress to work with. She’s done stuff like Transformers, Red Dawn, and Immortals just to name a few. I had such a pleasure working with her. The film is called Chasing Comets, so I have that.

1 is quite an interesting film. It is a documentary style that melds drama and sci-fi. I play, well, the last man of Earth because something happens and I attempt to look for the woman I love. So it is emotionally driven, but it does have that sci-fi edge to it so it’s going to be quite a film.

I heard rumors of a possible sequel to this film. Please tell me you are going to return to kick more alien butt!
(Laughs)Well, let’s see if everyone will come out to see this film. I mean, it will be quite great to come back if it does happen. I loved the experience making it, so it would be great to return if there is a sequel.

If anyone wants an alien invasion film that is a cut above others, I highly recommended Occupation, which comes out this Friday in theaters, VOD, and Digital HD in the U.S. Thank you again Dan for talking about the film.
Thank you so much and I have to say this! I think it’s awesome to talk to someone who loves films. I’ve spoken to loads of journalists and they always have to bring up something like politics and that. But when it comes to talking to people about movies or sports, it really brings more of a comfort level. And I couldn’t have been more happy talking to you about the film. I definitely will keep in touch! Thank you so much again!

A special Thank You goes to Katrina Wan PR and Dan Ewing for making this interview possible. You can follow Dan on Twitter and on Instagram.

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