Magnet Releasing, Foresight Unlimited & Signature Entertainment / BMP Presents A Magnet Release
UNIVERSAL SOLDIER: DAY OF RECKONING Directed by John Hyams 113 min., 2.35, 35mm
FINAL PRESS NOTES
2012 Fantastic Fest
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Jean-Claude Van Damme, Scott Adkins, Andrei “The Pit Bull” Arlovski and Dolph Lundgren star in UNIVERSAL SOLDIER: DAY OF RECKONING, which ups the ante in the UNIVERSAL SOLDIER series, giving you more hard-hitting, bloody, no-holds-barred fighting action. John (Adkins, The Expendables 2) wakes up from a coma after his wife and daughter were slaughtered in a brutal home invasion. Haunted by images of the attack, he vows to kill the man responsible, Luc Deveraux (Van Damme). While John tries to piece his reality back together, things get more complicated when he is pursued by a relentless UniSol (Arlovski). As John gets closer to Deveraux and the rouge army of genetically enhanced warriors led by back-from-the-dead leader Andrew Scott (Lundgren), John discovers more about himself and begins to call into question everything he believed to be true.
ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
The fourth installment of the Universal Soldier franchise reunites Jean-Claude Van Damme (The Expendables 2, Kung Fu Panda 2, Universal Soldier), Dolph Lundgren (The Expendables 2, Universal Soldier), Scott Adkins (Undisputed III: Redemption, Assassination Games), Andrei Arlovski (Former UFC Heavyweight Champion, Universal Soldier: Regeneration) and Director John Hyams (Universal Soldier: Regeneration, Rank documentary, The Smashing Machine documentary, “NYPD Blue”). The film also stars Mariah Bonner (The Social Network). Principal photography of Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning was shot in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Director John Hyams describes Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning as, “a mystery, action, physiological, thriller...an amnesia story. The film is based on the mythology of the Universal universe of all the Universal Soldier films and takes on a new approach by telling the story from the perspective of the Unisols. Universal Soldier: Regeneration ends Luc Deveraux’s disappearance and establishes the idea that Unisol technology has moved past reanimating dead soldiers to the use of cloning and genetic reengineering. With only those elements carrying over Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning is self-contained and set in a Unisol world that is clearly in an advanced state.”
Director John Hyams wrote the script during the production of Dragon Eyes and wanted to come up with some new concepts for the fourth installation. In the process of writing the script and speaking with producers, they came up with the concept of amnesia. “In trying to breathe new life into this franchise each time out, if I don't risk alienating some fans then I'm not doing my job. This one certainly challenges many of the ideas and conventions that define the Universal Soldier franchise. That's exactly what excites me about it. I always want to provide the viewer with the unexpected -- to knock them on their asses and blow their minds.”
Hyams is accompanied behind the scenes by a talented group of filmmakers that includes director of photography Yaron Levy (Never Back Down 2, 51), production designer Nate Jones (Never Back Down 2, 51), Special Effects Technician Brian Montgomery (True Grit, Body of Lies), and editors John Hyams and Andrew Drazek.
The film’s producers are Moshe Diamant (The Black Dahlia, Universal Soldier: Regeneration) and Craig Baumgarten (Never Back Down 2, Universal Soldier: Regeneration). Executive producers on the film are Mark Damon (Universal Soldier: Regeneration, Upside of Anger), Courtney Solomon (Dark Circles, Universal Soldier: Regeneration), Borislav Ranghelov (Brigada-2), Gregory M. Walker (Flypaper, The Ledge) and Steven A. Frankel (Suicide Blonde), Allen Shapiro and James Gibb.
In Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning, surviving Unisols Luc Deveraux (Jean-Claude Van Damme) and Andrew Scott (Dolph Lundgren) must battle anarchy and build a new order ruled by Unisols without government oversight. They are weeding out the weak and constantly testing their strongest warriors in brutal, life-and-death combat. Luc has emerged operating the Unisol Church of Eventualism, a self-help organization that takes in wayward Unisols whom the government has been secretly operating as remote-controlled sleeper agents. His mission is to liberate these Unisols from the implanted memories and the lies the government has inserted in them.
Universal Soldier, John (Scott Adkins) appears different, stronger, and more resistant to Luc’s efforts to liberate him. The impediment may be John’s implant, but that may be a technology Luc can use for his own strategic plan. In an effort to steal the technology and liberate John, Luc and his men invade John’s home and furiously beat him into a coma. As he is being pummeled he sees his wife assassinated and it’s seemingly clear that Luc is the perpetrator of this brutal attack.
John awakes in the hospital from his coma and his memory is foggy. He feels lost and struggles to put the pieces of the past together, much like amnesia. As pieces of the incident flash back to him he remembers the face of the man responsible for death of his beloved wife and daughter and embarks on a mission to hunt down Luc down and avenge his family’s deaths. Armed to the teeth, John seeks out Luc’s remote military compound in the woods, and demands an explanation about his wife. Luc insists it was all a lie and that his family existed only in his implanted memory. John refuses to believe Luc, which leads to a series of action packed standoff’s until only one Universal Soldier remains standing...
The film was shot on a sound stage/warehouse in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Hyams had some specific thoughts on what the Unisol universe should look and the location allotted filmmakers to create that world. Production designer Nate Jones on his conversations with Hyams, “John had a strong feel for the way things should come across and as an artist himself he set the standard of the film. We talked about the darker tones and underlined social themes”. One the most important sets is the Unisol compound that houses the chapel, which is the heart of where the Unisols gather. “When designing the compound we flipped through thousands of photos researching places like the Cu-Chi Tunnels in Vietnam and the Dover Tunnel in England. We wanted that type of depth”. With the temperatures in Baton Rouge sometimes reaching a little over one-hundred degrees proved to be a little challenging at times. Production designer Nate Jones, “In this type of heat it takes the sets a day or so more to dry. Especially with the many layers we wanted to pop on screen”.
True to the Universal Soldier franchise, Day of Reckoning is filled with action packed fight sequences. To make sure the fighting is true to form, Hyams looked to fight coordinator/stunt coordinator Larnell Stovall. It’s great working with a filmmaker that knows exactly what they are looking for. It makes it easier for me to prepare the actors for the sequences. John had specific directions. He wanted to stay grounded and realistic”, states Stovall. Hyams on the fight chorography, “The point of the action in this film is to serve the overall story. So we decided that we wanted to ground the action into a much more realistic style. Larnell understands the narrative elements of fights and how a fight itself can tell a story and that’s what I want to come off on screen. Each of the characters fight-style and sequences tells a story.
In the Universal Soldier series it has always been about making the soldiers more and more human. In Regeneration Luc Deveraux had become humanized, yet in order to save the day he has to give up all his humanity. In Day of Reckoning Luc Deveraux and Andrew Scott are on a mission to avenge their creators and taking back control. The franchises returning main characters are Luc Deveraux (Jean-Claude Van Damme) and Andrew Scott (Dolph Lundgren).
Jean-Claude Van Damme on his character Luc Deveraux: “Luc is part of the Universal Soldier legacy, so of course I accepted the part and I feel good about how it picks up from Regeneration. Lux now understands that he is a real man and he now understands the truth. At this point the character is physically and emotional tired, but is set on freeing “his people”. The casting is amazing because we have a combination of amazing talent in both the fighting world and acting and with Hyams directing I felt exceptionally good because he has a new way to bringing this world to life.
Van Damme also had a clear picture on what he wanted to see in regards to the style of the film and after seeing (Hyams) Smashing Machine and he fell in love with the style and wanted to work with him. “I called John up and thankfully he accepted Regeneration and now Day of Reckoning”.
Dolph Lundgren returns as Andrew Scott, “In Day of Reckoning Scott and Luc are on the same team fighting again the powers that be. I feel as if Luc brought Scott back as a spiritual leader. This aspect of the script intrigued me and I immediately signed on. The dynamics is different from any other of the other Universal Soldier films. To Scott, John’s character is a little unusual and he is determined to get him in the outfit”.
When casting Hyams and the producers wanted to make sure that when it came to the lead they wanted to make sure that they cast someone who had professional MMA moves, but also could act. Filmmakers initially wanted Scott Adkins in Regeneration, but it didn’t work out. Moving forward with casting for Day of Reckoning a mutual friend brought to John’s attention an interview where Scott Adkins had glowing remarks about John and Regeneration. “I had not had the opportunity to see any of his work, but what I liked about Scott was he was very persistent and really wanted the part. He reached out to me on Facebook and didn’t stop until the part was his. I loved that because when writing the script and developing John’s character, it was really important that the actor really wanted the part and could pull off, Scott is both”, states Hyams.
Scott Adkins sincerely wanted to be in this film and made sure John (Hyams) knew it, Scott states, “I really wanted to be in Regeneration but it didn’t work out and when I saw the film I was so jealous that I wasn’t in it. I thought John did a phenomenal job with it. Soon after I heard about Day of Reckoning and I immediately sought out John (Hymas) and started emailing him. Fortunately he was a nice guy and responded. I honestly would have taken a lesser role just to work with him, but it worked out that I got the lead role of John”. Scott was up for the role including doing his own stunts showcasing his martial arts background. “It’s really hard work but one of the best parts of this character is that I get to kick-ass and work with one of my idols, Jean-Claude Van Damme. When I saw Bloodsport I knew, this is what I wanted to do and John also did an amazing job with the dynamics of the characters which makes the overall film and role an exciting chapter in my career”.
The silent but deadly Unisol character, Magnus is played by Andrei “The Pit Bull” Arlovski. “He doesn’t say much verbally in the film, but we know exactly what he is about through his actions”, state Hyams. Hyams continues, “I had a chance to work with him on Regeneration and glad he is back on board”. Andrei on his character, “I love acting, when they called me about this role there was nothing to think about. I love doing this type of thing”.
Filmmakers needed a beautiful yet strong woman to play Sarah. She had to be beautiful but could pack a punch. Bonner on her character, “Sarah is a lady of the evening, a nice way to say hooker, but she is still a lady and will fight for the man she loves. I was most excited about being able to do a few of my own stunts and throw a few punches”.
ABOUT THE CAST
JEAN-CLAUDE VAN DAMME (Luc Deveraux) –started martial arts at the age of 11. His father Eugene Van Varenberg introduced him to martial arts when he saw his son was physically weak. Jean-Claude started with Shotokan Karate and later studied Kickboxing, Taekwon-Do, and Muay Thai. He won the European professional karate association's middleweight championship as a teenager, and also beat the 2nd best karate fighter in the world. His goal was to be number one but got sidetracked when he left his hometown of Brussels.
He came to Hong Kong at the age of 19 for the first time and felt insured to do action movies in Hong Kong. So in 1981 Van Damme left Hong Kong and moved to Los Angeles, where he was trying for 5 years. He took English classes while working as carpet layer, pizza deliveryman, limo driver, and thanks to Chuck Norris he got a job as a bouncer at a club. Norris gave Van Damme a small role in the movie Missing in Action (1984) and in 1984 he got a role as avillain named Ivan in the movie No Retreat, No Surrender (1986).
Then one day, while walking on the streets, Jean-Claude spotted a producer for Cannon Pictures, and showed some of his martial arts abilities which led to a role in Bloodsport, grossing 30 million worldwide and audiences supported this film for its new sensational action star Jean-Claude Van Damme.
His martial arts assets, highlighted by his ability to deliver a kick to an opponent's head during a leaping 360-degree turn, and his good looks led to starring roles in higher budgeted movies like Cyborg, Lionheart, Double Impact, Universal Soldier in 1992. In 1994, he scored with his big breakthrough $100 million worldwide hit Timecop, followed by The Quest, which he also directed; Maximum Risk, Double Team, box office hit Kung Fun Panda 2 and upcoming Dragon Eyes and Assassination Games.
DOLPH LUNDGREN (ANDREW SCOTT) -attended the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden. He received a master's degree in chemical engineering from the University of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, in 1982, and the next year was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to MIT. In New York City, he met drama coach Warren Robertson and decided to try his luck as an actor in action movies. His film The Shooter was shot mainly in Prague, Czech Republic. Lundgren has a second-degree black belt in karate and is aiming for his third-degree black belt.
Dolph Lundgren was born in Stockholm and lived there until the age of 13 when he moved to his grandparents in Nyland, Ångermanland, Sweden. Despite an early interest in music and the fine arts, Dolph decided to follow in his father's footsteps and pursue an Engineering degree. After completing his military service he enrolled at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. It was in the military when Dolph first came in contact with the martial arts. Five years later, Dolph had become a World-Class competitor in Japanese Karate and was deeply involved with a discipline that was to become an important part of his life.
After graduating high school, Dolph spent considerable time studying in the United States and abroad on various academic scholarships. He attended Washington State University and Clemson University in South Carolina. In 1982, he received a scholarship to complete his Master’s Degree in Chemical Engineering at the University of Sydney, Australia. In 1983 he was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston, one of the world's top engineering schools.
Dolph's motion picture debut came in the James Bond feature A View to a Kill; however, it was his performance in Rocky IV that year that got him noticed. Following the success of Rocky IV, Lundgren moved to Los Angeles and has since starred in more than thirty feature films. Lundgren portrayed the classic action-heroic lead in such films as Masters of the Universe, Showdown in Little Tokyo co-starring Brandon Lee, and Blackjackby Hong-Kong action legend John Woo.
Lundgren has also continued to turn in memorable performances as the main adversary to other action-stars, most notably in Universal Soldier andJohnny Mnemonic. In February 2004, Dolph Lundgren directed his first feature film as well as starred in The Defender and went on to direct The Mechanik, Command Performance and Icarus. Lundgren can also be seen in The Expendables.
Dolph has also managed to not let his Hollywood career stand in the way of his athletic background. He has been awarded his Third Degree Black Belt by the World Karate Organization in Tokyo. His accomplishments include being the Captain of the Swedish National Karate Team, as well as a Champion of the Swedish, European and Australian Heavyweight Division titles. Lundgren still regularly performs Karate exhibitions at international tournaments worldwide.
In addition to his Karate expertise, Dolph was selected by the U.S. Olympic Committee to serve as the Team Leader of the 1996 U.S. Olympic Pentathlon Team during the Atlanta Games. He is actively involved in promoting the image of this sport.
Lundgren's production company, Thor Pictures, is developing several projects in which he will produce, star and/or direct. He is also a founding member of "Group of Eight", a New York theater group started in 1994. Lundgren has also been working on a fitness book and sportswear line for men, the creation and launch of a new Dolph Lundgren brand, a licensing, media and publishing program and the development of future entertainment and media projects.
SCOTT ADKINS (JOHN) - Adkins was born in Sutton Coldfield, England, on June 17th, 1976, into a family that for generations were butchers. A natural athlete, Scott enjoyed a variety of sports as he grew up, but when he was 10 years old, he accompanied his father and brother to the local Judo club. The attraction was instantaneous. Idolizing stars such as Bruce Lee and Jean-Claude Van Damme, Scott began to train every day. He took over his Dad's garage and turned it into his own Dojo.
At the age of 14, Scott went on to train in Tae Kwon Do under the instruction of Ron Sergiew with the T.A.G.B. After a few years, he moved on to Kickboxing under Anthony Jones. He is now a fully trained Kickboxing Instructor for the P.K.A. A self-confessed "film junkie" Scott's attention was drawn to acting through the Hollywood greats. At the age of 21, Scott was offered a place at the prestigious Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art. However, as an impoverished student, he found it hard to make ends meet without a grant and was forced to leave without completing the course.
His first break came when he was offered a role in a Hong Kong martial arts film called Dei seung chui keung(2001) (aka Extreme Challenge). Spotted by Head of The Hong Kong Stuntmen Association and director Wei Tung and English-born Hong Kong movie expert Bey Logan, Adkins found himself in the East for the first time. Scott got the chance to work with some of Hong Kong cinema's leading action directors including Woo-ping Yuen, Corey Yuen, Sammo Hung Kam-Bo and the legendary Jackie Chan. Acting roles started to come in and he was offered a guest role in BBC's "Doctors"(2000), a few episodes in BBC's "EastEnders" (1985), "City Central" (1998), and BBC's "Holby City"(1999).Starring roles in feature films soon followed with his portrayal of Talbot in Special Forces (2003) (V) and Yuri Boyka" in Undisputed II: Last Man Standing (2006). It was this film that broke him into the mainstream with his villainous portrayal of a Russian MMA underground fighter Boyka. Adkins went on to more action films; The Bourne Ultimatum (2007) and The Tournament (2009), and played Jean-Claude Van Damme's main adversary in Sony Pictures The Shepherd: Border Patrol (2008) (V) and X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009).
MARIAH BONNER (SARAH) -Mariah was born in Baltimore, Maryland. She and her family moved to France when she was 8 and she began studying ballet with Jennifer Goube of the Opera de Paris. At 15 she was discovered by a model scout on the Champs Elysees and her modeling career which took her all around the world appearing in campaigns for Lancel and Prada and in magazines like Elle, Vogue and Black Book. She continued auditioning for acting work in Paris and soon landed a role in the French TV film “Qui mange quand?” on France 3.
In 2007, she graduated from the prestigious Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London and has since then appeared in David Fincher’s The Social Network, “Rules of Engagement”, “CSI” and stared in the Mercedes Benz Escape The Map ad campaign in the UK.
She is a new member of The Actors’ Gang, a theatre company founded in 1981 by UCLA graduates, among which actor Tim Robbins, who is now artistic director. She appeared in their recent production ATOMIC HOLIDAY FREE FALL directed by Stefan Haves and is thrilled to be part of the company.
Andrei “The Pit Bull” Arlovski (Magnus) – was born February 4, 1979 in Minsk, Belarus) is a Belarusian mixed martial arts fighter and a former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight champion. A veteran of the UFC, he holds notable wins over such fighters as former UFC heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia, IFL light heavyweight champion Vladimir Matyushenko, IFL heavyweight champion Roy Nelson, Ben Rothwell, former Cage Rage heavyweight champion and current Cage Rage British light heavyweight champion Ian Freeman, and three-time world Brazilian jiu-jitsu champion Fabricio Werdum.
At age 16 Andrei joined the four-year police academy program. It was at the police academy in Minsk and as a requirement for graduation, Andrei first started training in the Russian martial art of Sambo (similar to Judo), and quickly showed himself to be a highly competent and competitive. In 1999, Andrei won the European Youth Sambo Championship and later the World Youth Championship. Not long after, Andrei became one of the few - first Master of Sports, and then International Master of Sports. He also took a silver medal at the Sambo World Cup and another silver medal at the World Sambo Championship.
Andrei began taking a greater interest in other martial arts and at the age of 18 he began studying kickboxing and developing his striking skills to complement his Sambo based grappling abilities under legendary kickboxer Dmitry Stepanov. It was there Andrei met Andrei Dudko, US K-1 Champion, and became his training partner.
At the age of 19, Arlovski began his professional MMA career at the Mix Fight M-1 in St Petersburg, Russia in April of 1999. It was a fairly inauspicious start, losing by knock out to Viacheslav Datsik. Not deterred, Arlovski returned in 2000 to M-1 at the European Championships, taking the heavyweight crown with a submission and a knockout victory. Arlovski made his Ultimate Fighting Championship debut at UFC 28: "High Stakes", defeating Aaron Brink by submission. He was thrown in against top opposition early on in his UFC career, taking tough losses against future UFC heavyweight champion Ricco Rodriguez and heavyweight contender Pedro Rizzo. Despite those early defeats, notable wins over Ian Freeman and Vladimir Matyushenko propelled Arlovski back into the UFC elite.
The motorcycle accident injury suffered by UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir in 2004 led to the creation of an "interim heavyweight title". It was decided that the two top heavyweight contenders would meet to declare the interim champion. On February 5, 2005 at UFC 51, Andrei would face the former heavyweight champion, Tim Sylvia. The two competitors were well known for their hard hitting style, with Sylvia having won ten of his last twelve fights by KO or TKO. Andrei showed greater mobility and accuracy when striking. He connected with an overhand right and dropped Sylvia, following up with an ankle lock (a popular Sambo move) on the ground that forced Sylvia to tap out at 47 seconds of the first round, making Andrei "The Pit Bull" Arlovski the new UFC interim heavyweight champion. On August 12, 2005, the UFC announced that it now recognized Andrei "The Pit Bull" Arlovski as the UFC Undisputed Heavyweight Champion of the World.
Andrei's success lead to a WAMMA title shot versus the #1 ranked and virtually undefeated heavyweight champion Fedor Emlianenko on January 25th 2009. After a dominating first round and the goal of ending Fedor's reign in a defining fashion, Andrei went for his signature-flying knee only to be caught by Fedor's overhand right. Regrouping after the loss to Fedor and a loss to Brett Rogers, Arlovski took to film where director John Hyams cast him as a lead role in Universal Soldier: Regeneration and Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning. Andrei currently lives and trains in Chicago, but regularly goes out to LA to train with boxing coach Freddie Roach and strength and conditioning coach Alex Ariza. In Chicago he constantly works with his long time boxing coach Michael Garcia at his gym called "JABB", and his strength training is supervised by Tim Allegetti at "West Loop Gym".
ABOUT THE FILMMAKER
JOHN HYAMS (Writer, Director & Editor)
John Hyams began his career as painter and sculptor, selling and exhibiting his work in Los Angeles and New York, before turning his attention to film. In 1997 he wrote, directed, and produced his first feature, ONE DOG DAY. He followed that with the internationally renowned documentary THE SMASHING MACHINE, which penetrated the world of Mixed Martial Arts fighting. It premiered at the 2002 Tribeca Film Festival, and headlined the 2003 season of HBO’s acclaimed series AMERICA UNDERCOVER.
In 2003 he directed and edited the documentary FIGHT DAY, about Mixed Martial Arts Legend Renzo Gracie. In 2003-2005 he moved into episodic television, directing and producing the ABC hit series NYPD BLUE. In 2005 he directed the ABC prime time drama BLIND JUSTICE. In 2006 he directed and edited RANK for IFC, a documentary about the lives of professional bull riders. It premiered at the SXSW Film Festival and was released theatrically in June 2006.
In 2009 he directed and edited the acclaimed action/thriller UNIVERSAL SOLDIER:
REGENERATION, starring Jean Claude Van Damme, Dolph Lungren. In 2011 he directed and edited the short THE IGNORANT BLISS OF SUN AND MOON, which played many film festivals, including the Palm Springs International Film Festival and the Tribeca Film Festival and distributed by Tribeca Film. He followed that with AfterDark Action’s DRAGON EYES, starring Cung Le, Peter Weller and Jean Claude Van Damme, which was released theatrically in spring 2012 and winner of “Best Fight Scene” at ActionFest 2012.
Most recently, he wrote, directed and edited the 3D action thriller UNIVERSAL SOLDIER: DAY OF RECKONING, starring Scott Adkins, Van Damme and Lungren, set for theatrical release in the US November 2012 by Magnet Releasing.