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article imageSteven Swadling discusses new film 'Kickboxer: Retaliation' Special

By Markos Papadatos     Mar 3, 2018 in Entertainment
Actor and producer Steven Swadling chatted with Digital Journal about the new martial arts film "Kickboxer: Retaliation."
Swadling played Joseph King and served as executive producer of Kickboxer: Retaliation. "To be totally honest, it's a little surreal. I grew up watching these films with Jean-Claude Van Damme and to now be apart of the same film as an actor was extremely humbling. As far as executive producing, it makes no difference to me what the film is, it's a job that I take immense pleasure and pride in doing," he said.
In this martial arts film, he worked with such actors as Alain Moussi, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Mike Tyson. "Alain is my friend, so that makes working with him extremely easy and fun at the same time. Jean-Claude was a little different for me. I do not get starstruck at all but during a camera reset, I stood there staring at him while we waited before I charged in for our very first scene together in Kickboxer: Vengeance," he said.
Swadling continued, "I had a sudden moment of realization that Jean-Claude freaking Van Damme was standing in front of me staring right back and I got pulled out of character and forgot everything including my first lines, just as our director Dimitri called action. What you see on screen was pretty much the result. The magical word action put me right back where I belonged and Joe King was introduced to the franchise. Mike Tyson is great and extremely professional to work with, and all I can say is that he's the real deal."
When asked what inspires him as a producer and actor, he said, "Entertaining others has really been a part of my life from a very young age. I always knew what I wanted, and just needed to pave the way. What inspired me then, inspires me now and that is everyone around me. I try to surround myself with honest like minded people who not only allow me to learn from them but also share my vision and appreciate what we all have in life. My two boys are a huge piece of me and my wife is my soulmate. That was an easy question."
His plans are to continue writing the pages to the chapters in his book of life. "I don't know what the future holds and nor do I particularly want to know. I enjoy waking up each day knowing that it's a new dawn and whatever happens, happens. I'll keep telling stories, whether it's through writing, performing, or producing, that much I do know. As far as films already in the making, the third installment of the Kickboxer trilogy, Kickboxer: Armageddon is in pre-production and I'm exploring a couple of period films and another action film teaming back up with Liam McIntyre."
For aspiring actors and producers, he encourages them to "stay inspired." "Never let your flame flicker even when someone else is trying to blow smoke up your ass. There are a lot of people who want what you have because what you have many do not possess. Always give just enough of yourself so that it leaves them wanting more and always save a little bit of the best for last. You should never wait for anyone to give you permission to do what you do. Stay true to yourself and do not break your own character to satisfy others. People will treat you the way they perceive you, so remember that the world is a stage and the audience is always watching," he said.
Digital transformation of film business
On the impact of technology in the film industry, Swadling said, "We live in a world where technology advances at an astronomical rate daily, so for it to have impacted the entertainment industry was inevitable. Some is currently positive and some is negative but eventually technology will stamp out those negative elements like piracy and restricted content reaching our children's young, easily influenced eyes. One specific area that technology has skyrocketed and excelled in is in the effects arena. De-aging people and bringing back actors who had passed on is happening and the effects realism is hard to separate from reality. One thing is for certain, as long as we're here, technology isn't going anywhere, so always be ready for new advances."
Regarding his use of technology in his daily routine, he explained, "Everything we do uses some form of technology. I challenge anyone to try going through a day without any technology at all. It's not as easy as you think unless of course you sleep the entire day outside on the dirt. I would have to say my main source of technology for my daily routine has to be my cell phone and computer. I'd like to think that I could easily revert to conventional ways if those two possessions were eliminated but it's hard to imagine going back to actually writing a letter and waiting days or weeks for a reply. It's almost impossible to imagine not having a computer or phone, it would certainly become a lost culture without them. As long as we can still be creative and physically entertain an audience, we'll be good."
For movie fans, he concluded, "Kickboxer: Retaliation is a fast action packed roller coaster ride with back-to-back martial arts battles ranging from 425 pound beasts to UFC world champions to international soccer stars and many more. What I love about this franchise is that it's not taking anything away from the 1989 classic Kickboxer. This story re-imagines the original film and then goes on to continue the story of Kurt Sloane, whereas the original started and stopped with Kickboxer. This trilogy is the story of what if and that's what makes it original and exciting. It's a must watch for all martial arts/action movie fans of all ages, nostalgic and new all in one trilogy."
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