Adrian Holmes discusses his roles as Halle Berry's love interest in Frankie & Alice and Gary Oldman's right-hand man in Red Riding Hood
While most wouldn't immediately recognize the name Adrian Holmes right now, don't be surprised if that changes by the end of the year. The actor, who Smallville fans will remember as Basqat, has a banner year ahead of him with several high-profile projects.
Adrian Holmes plays Clifton, the love interest of Halle Berry's title character(s) in Frankie & Alice, which had an awards-qualifying run last month and will be released in theaters on February 4. Frankie & Alice is based on the true story of a Los Angeles woman struggling with multiple personality disorder in the 1970s, a time when the medical community was divided on if the condition even existed or not. A month later audiences will find Adrian Holmes alongside Amanda Seyfried and Gary Oldman in Catherine Hardwicke's Red Riding Hood, which is due in theaters on March 11.
I recently had the chance to speak with Adrian Holmes about these projects and much more. Here's what he had to say:
Adrian Holmes: Well, I'll tell you. I got a call for an audition and I was at the audition room and they were auditioning for something else and I didn't know what it was. I saw the casting director outside having a cigarette and I asked her what she was working on. She said, 'Oh, I'm doing this Halle Berry project.' I said, 'Oh, OK' and she said I'd be perfect for one of the characters. She basically called my agent and I got a call the next day to come in and read. I was excited, of course. I mean, Halle Berry. Who wouldn't be? I went in and did my thing and had a lot of fun and ended up getting a callback. Before I went in for the callback, she pulled me aside and said, 'Oh, they really really loved what you did. The director was a big fan so just keep doing what you did.' So I went in, did some ad-lib and played with it, had a good time. Halle's people really liked what I did and, the next thing you know, I got the call saying, 'You're hired. Let's go to work.' I was just blown away.
Wow. That's not your average casting story.
Adrian Holmes: No, it isn't. It was just being in the right place at the right time and I asked the right question. Had I not gone out and asked that casting director, who was having a cigarette, what she was up to, there's a good chance I would've missed that opportunity. I might have gotten that call to come in at another time, but you never know.
Halle has definitely played some very intense roles in her past, but I can't imagine her playing anything more intense as this. What was it like acting against that, against both her character's personalities?
Adrian Holmes: Halle is just such a pro. She's so committed to the work. It was her baby, she's one of the producers of this. For me, I wasn't really nervous, ironically. I approached this as a job. Opportunities don't go away, they go to someone else and I really wanted to seize the moment. I just made sure I came prepared and did my thing. She was very, very happy with my work and the whole process was just overwhelming. Watching her do her thing was such an acting lesson in itself. To go between the different characters, from Frankie to Alice, she did it so seamlessly. I just was blown away. I said, 'You know, you're definitely going to get an Oscar nod for this.' I remember telling her that on set. She's very, very modest and was just like, 'Oh, I just hope my little film sees the light of day.' I'm very, very proud to be a part of such an amazing project. Yeah, she's played a lot of damaged characters in the past and this is definitely one that's right up there with the others, like Monster's Ball. She's incredible.
What would you say the biggest lesson or tip you learned just by being on the set with Halle that you will take with you throughout your career?
Adrian Holmes: That it's a job. Acting is a great profession. I'm so blessed to be able to make a living doing it, but one thing I've learned is that it's a job, it's work. It's something you have to respect and take very seriously. When you're around people like Halle Berry, you learn that. You don't just show up without being prepared. Also, they have fun. They don't take themselves so seriously, because it can drive you absolutely insane, playing these different characters day in and day out. You have to have sanity. What I learned over the years, and especially working with Halle, is to enjoy yourself, to really have fun in the process. We're not brain surgeons. We're not delivering babies. We're storytellers, which, not to belittle it, is a very powerful art form, but creativity comes with laughter. You have to enjoy what you're doing. What I really will take from Halle is that she's just such a pro. It's like training for the Olympic games. That's how I approached the work. If you want to get a gold medal, you have to train like a gold medalist would. That's my whole approach and focus towards the game.
You mentioned keeping it light and I have to imagine with a role like Halle had, you really did have to keep it light, to go between these characters and keep sane.
Adrian Holmes: The cool thing is she made everyone feel very comfortable. She was just very cool to everybody and it was very cool to watch.
You also shot Red Riding Hood recently, with Amanda Seyfried and Catherine Hardwicke. Can you talk a bit about that experience and the character you play in that?
Adrian Holmes: Oh wow. That was wild, man. That was a really, really cool experience. Catherine Hardwicke is like a stick of dynamite. She has so much energy and she's very passionate about all her different projects. During the audition process, just seeing the way she was in the room, I was like, 'I have to work with this woman.' She's like a little kid in a candy store. I had a few callbacks for that and I ended up getting that part. I really connected with the character. There were a few other actors that I thought they would go with, but I got the job. Amanda was very cool but the highlight for me was working with Gary Oldman, who is one of the greatest character actors of our time. I play the Captain in the movie, his right-hand man. The movie is about this village that's been terrorized by this werewolf. They have summoned Father Solomon and his army of soldiers to help rid the village of this wolf. I play the Captain, who is Father Solomon's right-hand man. We're basically side-by-side throughout the whole film, Gary and I, battling this wolf. Again, it was really overwhelming to watch someone as great as Gary, seamlessly go in and out of character. He's so good with dialects too. He has this Austrian accent in the film and he just goes in and out of it so easily. He had a great sense of humor too, which was very cool to see. All the characters he's played over the years are so dark and crazy characters and I wasn't sure what to expect, but he was very light, very funny, made everyone feel comfortable and really connected well with me, seeing we had to work so close together throughout the whole film. So, Red Riding Hood, I'm definitely looking forward to that. It comes out March 11.
Catherine directed the first Twilight and now there is this whole fascination with vampires and werewolves these days. Would you say the tone is similar or is it a different animal, so to speak, than the Twilight franchise?
Adrian Holmes: Yeah, Twilight is vampires and they have werewolves as well, but I think this has a darker feel than the Twilight movies. It's definitely a similar audience, but I think this one is going to be a little bit darker than those, but it still has that kind of a theme.
You also have a smaller role in The Cabin in the Woods also. What was it like working with Joss Whedon and is there anything you can say about that character?
Adrian Holmes: Oh yeah. We shot that so long ago, I hope that comes out. I played this tech guy in this building. Basically, we're being attacked by zombies and werewolves and all these different animals and aliens and creatures. It was a real different way of shooting for me because everything was so quiet, so hush-hush. I never got the script. I would show up that day and I would get my sides, what I had to say for the day. If there was a scene before what I had to say, I wouldn't get that material, so I wouldn't know what was going on. He would basically explain to us, on set, what's happening, so we were just thrown into it, in the moment. It was a lot of blood and gore (Laughs). I don't know how many gallons of blood they used in that movie, but it's going to be pretty crazy. I hope it comes out soon. I'd love to see it.
You also have a bit of a recurring role in Smallville as well. Will you be appearing anymore for the last few episodes?
Adrian Holmes: I hope so. There was talk that our characters may visit, revisit again. They're coming close to the end pretty quick, but you never know. I have had a great ride, with what I did, in the ninth season. It was great to be able to fly. I could check that off my list (Laughs). There aren't too many black superheroes out there, so I had an opportunity to have powers like Clark and fly.
You're in rarefied air there, a black superhero that can fly.
Adrian Holmes: Yeah, I know. It's pretty cool. I'll be put in history now, one of the brothers who could fly. But yeah, hopefully I can pop back in and do a little something. Things have been going so well and I'm so busy at the moment. God is taking good care of me, so I have nothing to complain about there. We'll see what happens with Smallville. I just hope it ends on a good note, with Clark turning into Superman and fans will all be happy with how it ends.
Is there anything that you're getting ready to start working on, in the near future, that you can talk about?
Adrian Holmes: Well I just finished shooting a movie called Hangar 14 with "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. We just finished shooting that last week and it's actually our third installment, me and Steve Austin. I did Damage and Hunt to Kill, which are out on DVD, and now Hangar 14. It's kind of funny. We make a joke that I'm in his contract. We get along really well. He's a super-cool guy and he really takes the work seriously as well. He loves the days where we have a lot of dialogue. As much as he is an action guy, he loves the dialogue days. I did that and I just finished on Human Target. I had a great time with those guys. I guest-starred as a guy who is the head of security for this multi-millionaire and all this sh*t goes down.
You were in the pilot for Human Target, weren't you?
Adrian Holmes: I was in the pilot, actually. I was in the teaser, just the teaser of the pilot. I played a hostage negotiator. They ended up bringing me back in because it was so long ago and it wasn't the biggest part. It all worked out.
Finally, Frankie & Alice hits theaters on February 4 so what would you like to say to people about the film and what you hope they take away from this amazing story?
Adrian Holmes: Yeah, well it's a story that really needs to be told. There are a lot of people out there suffering from multiple personality disorder, people that we come across on a daily basis that we wouldn't even know had it. I really hope that everyone goes out to see the movie and support the film and I hope they get moved by it. I know they'll get moved by it. It's very emotional and it's no surprise that Halle is getting the recognition she did for her performance because it's just amazing. It's just really incredible what she does with the character. Everyone go out and see it, support it. I know you'll be happy with it and hopefully it can take us all the way to the Oscars.
Excellent. Well, that's about all I have for you, Adrian. Thanks so much for your time and best of luck with anything that comes down the road for you.
Adrian Holmes: Thanks a lot, Brian. I appreciate it.