Updated: April 25, 2020 8:38:54 am
Actor Randeep Hooda was always certain that his foray into Hollywood wouldn’t be an Indian guy-in-American film caricature. This is also why he grabbed the opportunity to star in Sam Hargrave’s latest action-thriller Extraction.
“The opportunity here was to play an action person, which I don’t think any male from the subcontinent has done in Hollywood,” Randeep said in an interview with indianexpress.com.
Excerpts from the conversation:
You and Chris have shot a couple of high octane, elaborative action sequences. How was it for you to be in the middle of such madness on set?
It seems like madness, but it was a very well organised madness. There were months of rehearsals, and a team was put together to make sure everything was safe. So, it was a very well choreographed madness.
As an actor, when you are in the middle of an action scene, what goes in your head? Does it get difficult to focus on the emotional aspects of the character and the story?
No. That’s part of our job. What goes in your head is the content of the scene. For example, I have to kill him and take away the boy. So, that’s what’s going on. The action becomes second nature because it has been rehearsed so many times that it is at the back of your mind. Go slow, fast then super fast.
So all that is part of the preparation, I have been doing that for so long. The preparation is the same. Giving your 110 per cent to a scene and there was the same sort of commitment from Chris. His energy is absolutely unbelievable.
Q. How much do you enjoy action as an actor?
I love action, but this kind of action was a challenge. They had called me for the rehearsals and showed me roughly what they would be doing. I was like ‘Whaaat?! Really?!’ Then they showed me how by breaking it down.
While growing up, I would watch action films a lot and always wondered how it would feel like to be in Rambo. And here I was riding on a helicopter and holding a gun. I told people I felt like I was in Rambo, and they replied, ‘Dude, you are Rambo!’ So, it was really cool.
What drew you to the project?
The script was great and the fact that I wasn’t going to play a stereotypical part of a person from the Indian subcontinent, which is usually the IT types and millionaires. The opportunity here was to play an action person, which I don’t think any male from the subcontinent has done in Hollywood. So that was a big draw for me. Now hopefully, I will get to do more action films in India as well.
There is actually nothing extraordinary about your character, Saju. You being an Indian in an American film with Chris Hemsworth felt very organic.
That’s Sam Hargrave’s doing. We started with a video call after my audition was approved. He is a big fan of the western genre and so am I. Sam always said Saju is his favourite character in the sense that you don’t know which way it’s going to go with him. There’s ambiguity and you don’t know which side he’s on.
The film might be all action, but it has got a big heart and a big family angle. Everyone is dealing with their demons, problems which are discussed and fought for. That emotion makes it larger than life and makes you invest in these characters as an audience.
You think Saju can have his own film, like a spin-off?
Haha! It is early days. It is up to Sam and the producers what they want to do with it next. It is their property, but I will be definitely elated and game to play that.
You did Extraction and also worked on Radhe with Salman Khan. Were the differences between the two worlds more glaring to you?
They are different people, to begin with. They have got similar qualities as well. Both of them are good looking, childlike, but there’s a cultural difference. We, as a culture, are more worshipping.
Chris felt like he was a Gladiator or Beatles when he came here and saw thousands of people peeping out of their windows and shouting his name. That’s something which would be very normal for Salman. So there’s a whole cultural difference. And with that idolising, comes the other part – it can make you a different person. But I feel both are very grounded and have a wicked sense of humour.
After almost 20 years as an actor, what has been your biggest takeaway?
It’s that the love for work and the work for love is the most central part of anything. Just keep treading along.
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