Ashley: Welcome to episode #181 of the “Selling Your Screenplay Podcast.” I’m Ashley Scott Meyers Screenwriter and Blogger over at – www.sellingyourscreenplay.com. Today, I’m interviewing Actor and Director, Alexander Nevsky, he’s a Russian body builder, turned action star. And today we’re talking about his new action movie, “Black Rose.” So, stay tuned for that interview.
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I just want to mention a free webinar that I am doing on
Wednesday, August 9th at 10:00a.m. pst.
It’s called, “How to Effectively Market Your Screenplay and Sell it. I’m going to go through all of the various online channels that are available to screenwriters, and give you my unfiltered opinion of them. I get questions all the time of, “The Black List” and “Ink Tip” about various contests. So, in this free webinar I’m going to talk about my experiences with them. Again, this webinar is completely free. Don’t worry if you cannot make it to the live event. I will be recording this webinar. So, if you sign-up. You’ll get a link to the recorded event after it happens. To sign-up, just go to – www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/freewebinar, and “free webinar is all lowercase letters and all one word. So, it’s just, www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/freewebinar. I will of course link to it in the show notes. Also, if you are already on my Email list, you don’t need to register. Anyone on my Email list will get an Email, giving you all the details. So, you can go and take the webinar along with everyone else. So, once again, if this sounds like something you would like to learn about? Just go to – www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/freewebinar.
So, now let’s get into the main segment. Today I’m interviewing actor and Director, Alexander Nevsky. Here is the interview.
Ashley: Welcome Alexander to, the “Selling Your Screenplay Podcast.” I really appreciate you coming on the show and talking with me today.
Alexander: Thank you Ashley, thank you for having me. So, how are you doing?
Ashley: I’m doing very well, thank you for asking. So, to start out, maybe you can tell us a little bit about your background. Where did you grow up, and how did you get interested in the entertainment business?
Alexander: I was very macho, and it was still The Soviet Union, when I was born over there. But, thanks to Stroykov, and Mikhail Gorbachev to change the country. And here in the ‘90’s, I became like the most popular Russian body builder. I was thin as a kid, but there was like a lot of movies, like Stallone movies, there was Van Dam, and all those movies. Knew I was lost, in everything in the country. It changed my life. I started boxing, I started body building. And I became very popular in Russia ‘90’s. I had my own TV show, and channel in Russia. But particular people watch it. I published like, 6 books, about body building. We have martial arts, and fitness and everything. I graduated from State Academy of Management, basically, everything was perfect. Except, here in the ‘90’s. Because of all of the Soviet economy crashed. Basically, they stopped making movies, they didn’t shoot movies over the ‘90’s on the U.S. side. I decided, I wanted to do it. I moved to California for the first time in 1999. I studied English at the UCLA Sentence. I’m sorry, you know, I still have some problems with grammar, but you know. I studied acting at The Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute. And I started producing, you know, I needed internet some ways of producing. I started to publish my movies, in 2003. So, because by 2003, the great Russian machine. And they started to create film, like for example. When I moved out of Russia in 1999, Corporal box office, in all Russia was about $2 million dollars, if you can imagine $2 million dollars.
Alexander: Last year, it was $2 Billion dollars last year, you know.
Alexander: But, a in 2003, it started to get in better slowly. And I produced my first film, “Moscow Heat” it was in English. It required, thrills, and actually I owe below the streets from it. This one was made in Madrid. And we shot it in Moscow. English Indiana, but in Moscow you can do a lot. And after that we sold it for about 98 theaters, pretty much everywhere. It was illustrated here in the states also. And that’s like I said, I was excited, and with that I produced
8 films. And were close as these. Seriously also like my story videos. I have all the funds. But that basically that is short list of my bios.
Ashley: Yeah. No, that’s a fascinating story. I wonder if we could just touch on
“Moscow Heat” a little bit. That’s your first effort as a producer. And maybe you could talk about how you transitioned, I mean, ultimately a lot of producing, is raising of the money. I’d be curious, I get a lot of screenwriters coming to me saying, hey, how can I raise money, how can I produce my own script. If you could talk about that. How did you go about raising the money for “Moscow Heat?”
Alexander: I will talk about that, it’s just that what I want to say, so your readers, your listeners, all your audience. You know, here in L.A. Because right now, I’m in L.A. I live here. But, I’m going back and forth, but my Russian company is based here. I use the latest self.
Ashley: Yes I am, I’m in San Fernando Valley.
Alexander: Where are you? You’re in L.A.?
Ashley: Yeah, L.A. San Fernando Valley, right outside of.
Alexander: You’re in L.A. I’m sure you understand. I’m in here right now. I’m sure you’ll understand what I am talking about. Because there is so many kinds of people, in the people, so many people, right? Actors, writers, new actors, models, whatever. So many other kinds of people. The only ones seeing problems they have. They are waiting, they waiting for someone to give them money, if they are waiting for someone, to give them a chance, for an agent to call. You know, just whatever. They waiting, they should wait. And in my rights, I never have waited. But, I hope, with them, of course, I didn’t know what to do, everyone knew me here in, Russia, everyone. And here, when I moved, here, it was like a moon, it was like a month. But you know again,, I wasn’t the tense spot, it give me those 3 times. So, I was a good PA spot, it was like all my fears, all my acting fears, to like Jean-Claude Van Damme to Arnold Schwarzenegger, to Steven Seagal. And the funny thing is, when I was awkward my first role, in 2001, it was an order. And order with Jean-Claude Van Damme, and Charlton Heston, some native stuff you left at the movies. It was one of the last ones that for Charlton Heston, unfortunately. So, when they opened and made a film, about a Russian, to play the guy that like the hero, I don’t know it? Van Damme has a vendetta and he kicks his ass and everything. Seldom Yankish it and double and back, Ron Tremble, whatever, and he also offered me the part, basically everyone. A dream come true, because Jean-Claude Van Damme was like one of my heroes. But, if I play that. I could play my others in Russia, you know? So, I explained that to Seldom, I explained that to ICM and to everyone else. And I never did that, I never played that Russian. But, I hit my Russian audience, and part of the collection. By the way, Seldom Yankish he was my producer on “Black Rose.” Seldom is my Executive Producer. And he was the one who made sure that there were no idiots going up there in that direction, that was many years ago. I told him about the first steps, I told him about the money. So, I was established Assistant Artist in Russia. Style, but we want movie. When I started to do my first film. I figure out, if I have to go back, to the land, and to the people who already know me. Who’ll watch my films. I will have kind of a kind of a good business plan. You know, because movie difference, having a business plan is really hard. For all your other, audience, for all the people who are looking for the audience, it’s all about the money first. Think about, get out of the crowd. And find something, which will be exclusive, ya know? Because in my case, I meet every big movie star in Russia. And my name is enough right now. So open film, to ask to agree in Russia. I bet next time I’m just doing my steps, be like step 4 with whatever? But, in Russia, I can still get all my money back. But, I’m not making my movies in Russian, I’m making them in English, you see. That’s the custom through, because the country is looking for Russian, for American theatrical release over there, and pretty much everywhere else. We need some in English. Like it was with, “Black Rose” like it was in with my new movie, I’m going to tell you about. So, I didn’t sell my script to anyone. It sort of talked about Moscow script. First, I get created the script. I then, created the story, and then when “Rose” was complete. I started to show it to people, Michael York, the great Michael York, great actor, object? Who went to, I went to meet, Michael York already. And of course in Russia, I found people did spark. He convinced them, he financed an extra, there was enough with it. Because we were to talk about my film. Yeah, my first film, it was 2003.
And everyone told me, ah-ah, you should do movies, convention, for August. And I disagreed, and this, an image, and that’s how it started. So, frankly the question, of course everyone has their own way. You know, to get into the movie business. You have to have something to it. And you have to understand it. That basically, you have to find it, and not wait for someone to give it to you. You can understand what I mean.
Ashley: Yeah. I understand exactly what you mean, and I am a big proponent of that as well. Of just getting out there and doing things. Good things can happen if you’re out there doing stuff. Nothing can happen if you’re just waiting for someone else. So, let’s dig into “Black Rose.”
Alexander: Yeah, let’s.
Ashley: Let’s dig into “Black Rose.” To start out, maybe you can give us a quick pitch or a
log-line for that film. What’s it all about?
Alexander: “Black Rose” is about a different story about a Russian cop, from Moscow, who just joins the L.A. P.D. like for one month to help them find a commuter jet, and a serial killer. Because there’s this feeling going on, that someone killed Russian women. And it’s kind of you know, there are lots of people for real. But they cannot find him, they, no one understands who it is? You know, and they keep it up. They just need to know, in Russian who’s killing everybody? And a Black Rose. So yeah, my character, I’m playing like, a lot of basically, me. The macho comes from Moscow, but, he travels to L.A. and it’s interesting movie in my opinion. Of course I’m subjective. But, It’s interesting because you have so many things that it’s one. It’s like Hardy, because you might get up there. And like big gun, and this one rule. And you know, it’s also “Crocodile Dundee” because my guy, my character runs, 1st time in L.A. He’s full of stereotypes. He rides on the same rail car, you know, he just looks at you know, work side of film he never dreams of here. He’s the fresh out of the water story. Also because he’s macho, he feels larger than life. I cope with my mind wander. I get to wander and work still. But it’s all about relationships. Because the book about the stories. It still means, this time I play the work and a partner, my character, and we start to work together. And Peter starts to come to L.A. He tries to come to hunt the killer. But there’s a thriller, there’s an action film, some comedy moments, and there’s some cooler. Because of me personally. And of which it is a horror film. Huge fan, so we have to make a killer so gruesome, so, nasty or whatever. So, you check the internet, there’s so many American horror, excite sites now, really about the movie. We rate it as a horror movie. I hope that there is something for everyone in this film.
Ashley: Yeah, it sounds like there is. So, how did you get involved with this project? Maybe you can kind of describe, sort of the Genesis of it. As opposed to producer/director, was there an idea? Had you hired a screenwriter, was it a spec. script. that you stumbled into. Kind of where did you find this script, or hire this writer?
Alexander: You know, I think it’s connected to the video topics film, and radio. First, I thought about “Black Rose” as an intertwining markee.
Alexander: You can market it. It was convincing that in Russian put out thousands, for Warner Brothers trust. And they needed it over there. As much as it grossed at once, $25 Million dollars out. From the screen. Which was like a huge for us, is that. And like Warner Brothers sold it. Like the first plan, in 2005. Like and sold it, serious for the copies, in a deal with Universal. And again, replaced this with, I had to find in 2005, union. Which was the material at the time, they had like signed with radio, and record live TV. Because I’m sure you remember what it was like?
Alexander: So, that went well.
Alexander: For big business, yes. It was a different time. So, the idea was micro. Was about this place. Kind of like a sequel “Master Shift” because the “Master Shift” was about a policeman. And then I guess what has happened. American comes to Moscow. And her I thought might give or go late feature, or go delay and deal with what was over there. But, at the Moscow first, a great movie, great spirit. Ask Savana, 3 left. And then, after that. I did the parts in where after that I did something else. So, it was always like, my plate was full, I didn’t have time to go back to “Black Rose.” And for streets of “Black Rose” I defended the idea, this sort of history I got. Like in 2006, Brent Huff, great guy, who directed “Treasure Raiders” for me, and he directed some of the better movies for when. The Burhoff roles of course, those scripts in 2008, or yes, 2008. Joe Saunders, another friend of mine, who worked actually seldomly, each on “Hard Core” with Van Damme hero, “Hard Core.” He basically wrote, for heroes and he wrote front script, like in 2009? 7 relationships himself, like in 2010-2011. I was doing more, I was doing these. But, I remembered my role.
Alexander: I remember the day, in what kind of script allowed. Like in 2011, picking up with that in 2012. And that, I thought I should write it myself. Because I will be in that story for long, no, yeah, I needed stories, I knew the characters, I knew what they should do, and I wanted to try. So, that’s why I took directors back, and tell a different story. Because it was my stimulant, you are producing a film, you’re directing the film, you’re doing all this more for the film. You’re basically acting in it, the main part of it, the film. And you learn everything, it’s just the fun to keep it, a time to work out.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah. So, everywhere we say, is that the entertainment industry is all about well, relationships. And I just wonder if we can just bring you back, to just like George Sanders is a good example of a writer. He’s got like, dozens of writing credits on these types of action movies. And maybe you can take us back and just talk about how you initially met him. I just find it always interesting to kind of hear some of these stories. And maybe there’s some lessons people can learn from them?
Alexander: A, first of all you have to understand, you’re right. You have to be well connected. But, who will make you well connected? You have to make yourself well connected. So, talk about Joe Saunders, who is best friend of mine. I was introduced to him by Miken, who was present with Liken Entertainment at the time. And, as soon as I you know, as soon as I have my first success, with “Moscow Heat” right. I started to think how to extend? So, I opened up a company called, “Storm” opened it ten years ago, 2007. Then, I started to have some projects in development. And because projects in development means, you have to start to write, you have to find who you’re comfortable with, you know, you have to write. Or you have to write to them. Because every movie, you have to be discrete, pre-movies. You have so many people to answer to, you know. So many great people. They had this most important thing about the movies, is script. And also, you sir, Of course I understand, it’s much easier to change the tape in the script, compared to when you do a difficult adaptation in production or even post-production. It makes much more sense, you know, much harder in things that later. So, I also trust George and these are the good guys. And we already got. So, a brand name like “Black Rose.” So, I just said, you know, which is the one I told him, what I like, what I don’t like. And before we introduce the brand, he wrote it, you know. And later after the fact, no touch. George had worked with Sheldon. Sheldon had also, they knew each other well. Because they work on with together,
4 or 6 months later. You know, for me, seldom, it’s kinda like an Icon in that genre. Because all of these films that I lots these films. So, I was used to George, but, the position I was interest in 2-3 weeks in, so before that, the other guys. But, I had a good film, it should be like distribution around had to fill more ratings. So, you just have to have film thing. And shoot go out and do it yourself. And of course this could be to welcome back as possible.
Ashley: Yeah, no doubt. So, let’s talk about directing this. I get a lot of Emails from people. Always asking me, oh hey, I’ve written a script, and I also want to direct it. How should I approach producers? I’m curious, you know, obviously you have a lot of experience producing, and acting, and even writing. But, how did you make that transition? And did you get any push back from your investors, saying, that you didn’t have, you know, a big resume of directing credits. How do you approach that subject with your investors? And how do you get yourself in a position to direct your, direct a feature film?
Alexander: A, first of all. We could talk about investments. When you value films. And when you have an agreement. A special video you want to back. Then your money back is much easier. When you have a satisfier, it’s ultimately yours. And you rush to star, and the movie starts, my movies make money. And make it easy for me to work, to came and invest again. As well as that always American Distribution Company. Because they sold my movies on a regular basis. And of course knowing these things, it’s a dependable business. And it’s all in the same kind of business, it doesn’t matter if you make movies for $2 million dollars or $4 million dollars, or $15 million dollars or $20 million dollars. But smaller movies now it’s really, really, tough. And if, but, for me, might, it’s a possibility to open the film theatrically to other market. Get Russia all that access. So, the same with Eastern Europe. And when you can open to a theater it’s still the same here, and it’s good have a possibility, but, it’s different money. You got a particular film. Even if you cannot get too much from the box office, it’s a complete different deal, TV, from NetFlix, for everything else. What kills me, it’s completely different company. But for this small independent films. It will be hard for me to explain why I want to do that to a film. But, who wasn’t there, it was magnificent. It was the deal about me getting rating.
And you know, I’m amazed, a bit unethical person actually. And I knew it was my first film. If I don’t want to screw it up, that’s my range. To have like a good film in front of me. That’s how they become Executive Producers. Because you would be by my side while we were shooting at some action scenes. Because who better than he can explain what to do over there? Also, I had Brian Gore, who had been selling movies for MTV for them in different locations around the world. In Spain, in Italy, somewhere else, you know. Most of them were like trained to do sequel. He just started movies, but he put in a good effort. So, I have I think guide. And it was kinda like, you know, kinda like going to the University. I don’t know how to price a means? But, when you get into something fast, you know, and just that for me, I had like, south some questions? That we were doing preferably and we ended up with options. Yeah, for him to understand something. What if I wasn’t sure? That I’m doing it for the right reasons? With my duty I can write. Of course I always ask. I of course always ask Brian, and they help. The other thing is that, Of course, it was supposed to be my decision. So, before we start. When we knew, shoot it, of course. You know, of course I went and talk to all the writers. To see if that’s what they set-up. That way I get my directions from them, right. And I, was glad to be as prepared as possible for the film. So, it was hard for me, in my heart. Basically explain my theaters why I did that to the film. It was really hard to correct, and act in it. Yes, it’s useless, but because of a good thing. And because, you know, you had a popular film. So, I want to thanks again, if I can thank Sheldon, If I can thank Brian Gore, If I can thank my GT Director of photography, Borg he did a great job! He’s French, but he working, he did a great film with Coodrosolin
“3000 Miles to Graceland” if you remember the film?
Ashley: Yeah, sure, sure.
Alexander: Ruby Charlotte, MTV did a wonderful job, because that film. Rocks is one of the heroes of it, the film. And they of course did not go here. And this is cyclone, so you will feel Moscow, and you will feel L.A. He shot it great. And ultimately $50,000.00. And he called me big, bear DVD it’s called, “ME” when he gave me some of the license. So, a big fan of them, and these things are my fuel. The greatest work into great engine ball, red run diary. This is news all these guys all the comedy, they all help me, and the truth was, and what I am going through, a big help. But, don’t get me wrong. It was laid up, but huge fun.
Ashley: Yep. So, how can people see “Black Rose” do you know what the release schedule is going to be?
Alexander: Yes, “Black Rose” will be in selected theaters on the July 28th, and it will be everywhere, it’s like the very same date, July 28th it’ll be in theaters, and May 2nd Distributed everywhere. DOD, on iTunes, on DVD’s, and we already made a deal with NetFlix, starting in at the end of June. And hopefully, it’ll be in Redbox in May. So, it should pretty much be everywhere.
Ashley: Yeah, perfect. So, what’s the best way for people to keep up with what you’re doing? If you’re on Twitter, Facebook, a blog, anything you are comfortable sharing, just so kind of so people can follow along with your career.
Alexander: Of course I am comfortable. I am on Twitter, is @NevskyAlexander, also I am on Instagram – 30@AlexanderNevsky, so they can follow and actually the film you can be found now, at newfilm.netflix.org, that’s another I’d give you direct access, but I produce that. And the guy who Directed it, Ozzy Bicoliev, the guy who directed “Doom” and “Robocop Must Die.” I am Carlos the Great. A film called, “Muscular Matrix.” It’s an action comedy. It was written by Cudos Adam Nevsky. Actually the film is in theaters now, my new film at Netflix. That’s another shell it. I didn’t direct that, but I produced it. The guy who directed it, Ozzy Bicolev, the guy who directed “All Robots Must Die.” “Carlos the Great” a film called, “Muscle Woman”, that is an action comedy. It was written by Rockmonikov Carlos Manyana, A FrankK, and I created a story for the cause of my new one. And that one, for the guy to blank those muscle woman that will be a because an extra and 4 and the 3 left. It’s not serious, but it’s complete fun. I think comedy and me and Arnold, and Kelly, and are some great cracks in the movie. So, this quarter has close to show all these to the audience that’s all, and I hope people will like it, that’s all.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah, and when does, “Maximum Impact” coming out?
Alexander: I think next year, next year. Because right now we’re on the final stage draft, and the final 4th stage, final draft. That’s coming out.
Ashley: Perfect, perfect. Well, Alexander I really appreciate you coming on the show and talking with me today, excellent interview, and fascinating story. I really wish you luck with “Black Rose.”
Alexander: Ashley, thank you, and thank you for your support. And again for all your audience, don’t wait for anything, just go and get it. So, you know, thank you very much for your support.
Ashley: Thanks, thank you, we’ll talk to ya later.
Alexander: Thank you, bye-bye.
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On the next episode of the Podcast, I’m going to be interviewing Richie Heirm. He recently did a $1500.00 short film, called, “Lost and Found.” Which you can watch for free over at www.screenround.com, so, if you have a few minutes? Check out that before next week’s episode, as we’ll add some additional context to the interview. We talk through this whole process of shooting this short film. How he did it, how he found people to help him with it. How he found actors, how he found crew members, how he got through Post-Production. Really the whole gambit, Obviously he wrote the script, directed it himself, produced it himself. So, it’s really just a great look at what you can do $1500.00. And this is just a, it’s just one episode in a series I’m currently doing. I did Mark Henry, who did a $200.00 short film, on a couple of months ago. Then Richie is doing this $1500.00 short. And I’m going to have two other short film makers on that produce short films, at very high levels. Each one of these shorts is going to become, you know, just slightly more, and more expensive. But, you know, give you kind of a good idea about what you can do for the money, how you can go about doing it. If you’re thinking, and then producing your own short film. So, keep an eye out for that episode next week.
Anyway, that’s the show, thank you for listening.