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Brad Thornton Talks w/411 About His Role in Interstellar Civil War

July 6, 2017 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz

The B-Movie Interview: Brad Thornton

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Brad Thornton is an actor and martial artist who started in the movie business in 1994 with a part in Kickboxer 4: The Aggressor. Since then, he’s worked in several different genres, earned a law degree, started his own production company, and directed a documentary called Rich in Spirit. Thornton’s latest movie is Interstellar Civil War, which reunites him with Kickboxer 4 director Albert Pyun. In the movie, Thornton plays Captain Starslayer Burk of the Star Warfare Rangers. In this interview Thornton talks about Interstellar Civil War, his movie and martial arts career, and more.

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Bryan Kristopowitz: How did you get involved with Interstellar Civil War?

Brad Thornton: Albert had posted on Facebook that he was casting the role of Captain Starslayer for his new film. I asked him if I could audition for it. He said yes and sent me the script and sides. I taped the audition and sent it back to him. And the journey began from there.

BK: What was it like working with director Albert Pyun? How different was Interstellar Civil War as compared to Kickboxer 4: The Aggressor?

BT: He is an amazing talent and the kindest director. He’s the biggest supporter of his actors. I was really young and new at the craft of acting when Albert gave me my first film Kickboxer 4. He always had my back then and now. Albert is soft spoken and lets the actor bring to the performance their own choices in their characters. Then if he wants the scene to be delivered differently, he gives great direction in a way actors understand. He has a lot of faith in his actors. I remember one scene in KB4 with Michelle “Mouse” Krasno that Albert had felt was 8 pages too long. So right before we shot it, he comes up to us and says “OK. This scene is too long. I want you to start here”, as he points to the sides, “and end here. In between. Just improv.” And away we went. That’s faith in his actors. He still has the same faith in his talent today. He was a little quieter when we shot Interstellar Civil War, but still had the same love for filmmaking and his actors. I have much love for him as well.

BK: How did you prepare for Interstellar Civil War?

BT: My preparation as an actor starts with making the lines of my character my own. Memorizing, adding intention to each line, finding my character’s objectives, creating a background for my character and so on until all the work I put in lets me let it all go when I’m shooting and just be the character living truthfully in imaginary situations. Prep for the stunt fights began with thinking up the moves in the fights, training them with some bad ass stunt guys, revising the moves, and more training.

BK: What was the hardest part of making Interstellar Civil War?

BT: Well, the last scene in the film we did in one take. Thirty five pages in the script and we shot it all the way through like a play. That was the most challenging for me I think.

BK: How would you describe your character Captain Burk?

BT: A leader, complicated, loyal, damaged, focused, violent, righteous. The kind of guy you want guarding your back and one you don’t want to cross.

BK: You also served as stunt coordinator on Interstellar Civil War. What did that job entail for the movie?

BT: Basically getting the amazing stunt crew together, creating the fight scenes, and rehearsing the moves.

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BK: How did you become a stunt coordinator in the first place? According to imdb you’ve worked as a stunt coordinator on most of the projects you’ve been involved in.

BT: We all had many hats to wear on this film. Michael Su, producer and director of photography, and I wanted to add some more action so I was the coordinating force in the fight stuff out of necessity. I’m not a stunt coordinator in any other film I’ve done. I just do all my own stunts in my films.

BK: What’s your favorite part of the movie game, the business side or the performance side? How are the two similar (or at they similar?).

BT: Performance. As Joseph Campbell said, “follow your bliss”. My bliss is the creative side. I’m like a kid playing on the playground again on set. The business side is a necessary part of making a film. It’s called “Show Business” for a reason. But that being said, I’d rather be stunt fighting in the desert than typing up a business plan for my investors.

BK: You started in the movie business in 1994. How has the business changed since Kickboxer 4?

BT: I think it has changed a lot in areas of distribution. A lot of new avenues for indie films to get distributed like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon. Also social media has really changed the business, especially how we promote/market a film and even how a film is cast.

BK: You’re a martial artist. What sort of martial arts are you proficient in?

BT: I’ve been a student since I was 13. Trained Shotokan Karate until I was 19. Then some BJJ for a couple years and Muay Thai. Then TKD/Hapkido and Cacoy Doce Pares Eskrima for about 8 years. Now I train mainly kickboxing/boxing, Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do and Eskrima.

BK: Any new projects on the horizon?

BT: Yes I’m starring in the grindhouse martial arts horror film Highway 666 being directed by Xavier Kantz.

BK: You’ve worked in multiple genres as an actor: what’s your favorite kind of movie to do?

BT: I love action films with some awesome fight scenes but I also love the dramatic roles with a great character arc.

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BK: What do you hope movie watchers and Albert Pyun fans take from Interstellar Civil War?

BT: That the film is an amazing introspective journey from a legendary director. It is filled with subtext within the story and dialogue that relate to Albert’s own inward challenges. It is a film unlike any other Albert has made.

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I want to thank Brad Thornton for agreeing to participate in this interview and for david j. moore for helping set it up.

Check out the Interstellar Civil War Facebook page here.

Check out Brad Thornton’s Facebook page here.

Follow Brad Thornton on Twitter here.