Bad Cupid – John Rhys-Davies on Playing a God, Revisiting Franchises

For John Rhys-Davies, there's a delight that comes with playing a mischievous god in the indie romantic comedy Bad Cupid. The star plays Archie, the cupid of the tale, who's on a mission to ensure love always wins, or if short of that, someone is going to die trying. I spoke to the actor about what intrigued him about the role, the relationship he's had with fans from his previous franchises, and if there's any interest in revisiting them. Bad Cupid is directed by Neal Howard and Diane Cossa. Howard co-wrote the film with Ira Fritz and Anthony Piatek about a heartbroken guy Dave (Shane Nepveu) and his cousin Morris (Briana Marin), who's trying to snap him out of his funk. "It's an original idea, I think," Rhys-Davies said. "Cupid, he's on the job, middle-aged and rather disliking human beings. He's obliged to put people together, and why? People are useless at most things. There's a sort of Greek god quality to it as well. He's human in many ways. There's sort of this dispassionate quality that the Gods that they have."

Bad Cupid – John Rhys-Davies on Playing a God, Revisiting Franchises
John Rhys-Davies as Archie and Shane Nepveu as Dave in Bad Cupid (2021). Image courtesy of Freestyle Digital Media

Rhys-Davies embraces Archie's experience with humanity with a bit of cynicism. "There's an anarchical and inherent violence about him. I think it's unique in the characters I play," he said. "There's this disregard for the normal rules of civilization while at the same time, performing a service for mankind. They love mankind, but I don't think Cupid does. It's a job that runs in the family. Do they know who I am? Do I care what you think? My job is to get people naked all the time. It's a job. I think he gets satisfaction from the job. Sometimes he finds satisfaction to the most perverse and painful way to get the job done." While Archie's held sort of a jaded view of humanity and shows in his actions, Rhys-Davies developed an appreciation. "When I was a younger man, I didn't care much for people," he said. "As an old man, I have to tell you I like them more and more. They teach me so much. This will sound lofty. I have been to several conventions, and I didn't think much of the fandom at first, but I realized slowly in time that everyone there had a proper and real-life because of imagination and fantasy. I think I always had respect for people, and it has multiplied over the years. It's a great thing to discover over the years."

Bad Cupid – John Rhys-Davies on Playing a God, Revisiting Franchises
Briana Marin as Morris, Shane Nepveu as Dave, and John Rhys-Davies as Archie in Bad Cupid (2021). Image courtesy of Freestyle Digital Media.

With numerous studios re-exploring beloved IP in recent years, Rhys-Davies has been part of the most successful with being one of a few actors to having recurring roles in the Indiana Jones films as Salah, the science fiction TV classic Sliders as Prof. Maximilian Arturo, and Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy. "There's no question The Lord of the Rings is of real cultural significance over the years, he said. "Tolkien had an impact on the fiction of the past 60 years. To be a part of that on the celebrity of a character he created is a great privilege. One would also think that one might have contributed to the continuity and continuation of his legacy, making Gimli a full cinematic of the character I think he imagined. I've been very lucky to be a part of it regardless if it was how he originally imagined."

Bad Cupid – John Rhys-Davies on Playing a God, Revisiting Franchises
John Rhys-Davies as Archie in Bad Cupid (2021). Image courtesy of Freestyle Digital Media.

When it comes to Amazon's upcoming Lord of the Rings TV series, the timeline certainly wouldn't fit since it pre-dates his character Gimli. Rhys-Davies opened the door to the possibility of showing up at some point, but with conditions. "The general inquiry did come if I would be interested," he said. "It would take an enormous amount of time, which is not something I have a lot of. It would be nice to work in New Zealand. I suppose I should say 'Never say never,' but I don't really want to reprise a dwarf, like Gimli." He also wouldn't mind one last hurrah between Indy and Sallah with the character appearing in Raiders of the Lost Ark (1980) and The Last Crusade (1989).

Bad Cupid – John Rhys-Davies on Playing a God, Revisiting Franchises
Harrison Ford, Sean Connery, and John Rhys-Davies in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989). Image courtesy of Paramount

"As far as Indiana Jones, if called, I would serve [laughs]," Rhys-Davies said. "I would love to have another go at Raiders of the Lost Ark. I think the character [Sallah] has a certain significance. I'm pretty sure they must know how powerful it could be to have Indy and Sallah reunite. It would be poignant and very well regarded by the audience. It's a unique and probably last opportunity to do it. There are times in your life you do know the time is ticking." Freestyle Digital Media's Bad Cupid, which also stars Claybourne Elder and Christine Turturro, is out on digital.

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Tom ChangAbout Tom Chang

I'm a follower of pop culture from gaming, comics, sci-fi, fantasy, film, and TV for over 30 years. I grew up reading magazines like Starlog, Mad, and Fangora. As a professional writer for over 10 years, Star Wars was the first sci-fi franchise I fell in love with. I'm a nerd-of-all-trades.
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