Scott Adkins never misses an opportunity through his action films or comedy, and the Accident Man franchise allows him to do that. Based on the comics by Pat Mills and Tony Skinner, the Boyka: Undisputed and upcoming John Wick: Chapter 4 star plays Mike Fallon, aka The Accident Man, who must beat the top assassins in the world to protect the ungrateful son of a mafia boss, save the life of his only friend, and rekindle his relationship with his maniacal father figure. Adkins spoke to Bleeding Cool about the follow-up to the 2018 film in the sequel Hitman's Holiday, comparing original director Jesse V. Johnson to the sequel's directors George and Harry Kirby and bringing back Ray Stevenson.
Scott Adkins' Challenge to Follow 2018's 'Accident Man
Bleeding Cool: After the initial 'Accident Man,' what went into planning the sequel 'Hitman's Holiday?'
Adkins: The first one came out in 2018, and we got the green light [for 'Hitman's Holiday'] in 2019. [Stu Small and I] started writing the script, and the pandemic didn't help us. Eventually, we got there and were happy to bring the sequel out because I was a big fan of the comic book growing up. I started reading it I was 14 years old and always thought, "Wow, this makes a great film." Nobody made it, and I found out a big-time producer was also trying to make it. I was lucky he didn't, and I could secure the rights. To have been a 14-year-old with this comic book and now to be here releasing the second film, and I'm starring as the Accident Man, that's pretty cool.
What was the biggest challenge trying to one-up the original film?
That's exactly it, isn't it? "You've got to do better than you did the last time, but we're not going to give you any more money. We're not going to give you any more time but do the same again. If you can, do it better." It's very difficult. The directors, Harry and George Kirby, did a fantastic job. They got a very visual style and understand the action and visual effects. They're very much into the comedic side of things as well, so they were the perfect fit for 'Accident Man: Hitman's Holiday.' They brought lots to the project, and that helped a great deal.
Comparing Directing Styles of Jesse V Johnson and the Kirby Brothers
Was there a particular stunt you couldn't do in the original that you were able to in 'Hitman's Holiday?'
There were a lot of kills in 'Accident Man.' He kills people and makes it look like an accident. One of them didn't make it into the first film, so we put it in the second. When we shot it, we read it again and realized we didn't need it. Maybe we put that in the third film [laughs]. We're always finding new ideas for killing people in inventive ways.
How do you compare the directing styles of Jesse to that of George and Harry?
Jesse is a brilliant director, and I've done some great films with him. People say that my best film is 'Avengement,' by Jesse. With 'Accident Man,' the truth is the comedy, zaniness, fun, and the 'Monty Python' sort of stuff is not his thing. He wouldn't choose to direct a film in that way. So when we did the first film, I was like, "Jesse, can you direct this for me? I want to funnel through here my ideas and want to help me make it the way I want to make it."
Jesse has his style, and we get an amalgamation of both ideas, and we end up with something that isn't wholly what he wanted and what I wanted in some respects. I'm very proud of the first film. I think it works very well, but there was a little bit of that, and I will work with Jesse again. When we're going through the zaniness and outlandish comedy of 'Accident Man,' the Kirby brothers are better suited to direct it as I visualized it. 'Hitman's Holiday' is more of what I wanted the first film to be like. They're perfect for telling the story in this style, so it worked out well.
Can you break down the chemistry you and Ray had and how important it was to bring him back?
We're very lucky to have Ray Stevenson in the movie. Anything he does, he elevates as a fantastic actor and one of the best. When we wrote Big Ray in the first one, the idea was always to write meaty monologues to attract a good actor. Luckily, we got Ray and brought him back for the second one. We had to cut out some of Ray's scenes, unfortunately, because it wasn't working structurally. I wish he was in the movie more. He's an amazing actor, and we saw he always elevates in everything he does.
As far as scale goes, is the sandbox considerably different with a smaller project versus a bigger one? Is it a little more constrictive on a big project?
If I'm doing a big project, I probably have got zero control, and I'm just going to have to do what I'm told and be happy to be there. [The other side of that is] I probably get paid more, and the stairs I got to fight on, and fall are probably padded. The catering is much better; there's more time and less stress. You don't get to be as creative and put your ideas on film. If I'm delayed in the movie, it's a lower budget, and it's not got a longer shooting schedule. I get to do, for the most part, what I want to do. You've got to compromise just for the logistics of, "We can't afford that" or "That location fell through at the last minute. Can you come up with another one?" It's not like you get to do the film you have in your hand because you haven't compromised all the time, but at least you've got an element.
Samuel Goldwyn Films' Accident Man: Hitman's Holiday is currently available in theaters, digital, and on demand.