Cam Gigandet takes us behind-the-scenes of the August Blu-ray release Priest, in stores August 16th!
In a post-apocalyptic world, a savage war between man and vampire has raged for centuries. A warrior priest (Paul Bettany) has received word of fresh attacks. But now it's become personal, as his niece has been kidnapped by a new hive of merciless ghouls. To save her, he must break his vow of peace and hunt down this vampire hive before it's too late.
Priest comes to Unrated Blu-ray, Unrated Blu-ray 3D, and Theatrical Edition DVD today, August 16th. To celebrate this release, we have an exclusive clip from the special features that explains how director Scott Stewart brought his vampires to life on the big screen. We also have an exclusive chat with actor Cam Gigandet, who plays Paul Bettany's right-hand man Hicks in this action thriller. Check out both below.
It feels like we've been talking to you about Priest for the last two years. Is it a relief to see the promotional side of this end with the release of the DVD and Blu-ray?
Cam Gigandet: It's been a long road to go down, but I am excited about it. It's coming out on my birthday. So that is an added bonus. Hopefully it will bring me some good luck...
Good luck for the Leo...
Cam Gigandet: Yeah, I am a Leo!
Did you get to participate in any new special features for this release?
Cam Gigandet: No! I don't know what they are using for this DVD release. I am sure there will be some bloopers on there, but that will be the extent of my involvement. The blooper reel!
Are you a fan of the blooper reel? In my house, that's the first thing that gets watched on any DVD...
Cam Gigandet: Oh, it is my favorite thing. I can't get enough. There is a real honesty that comes with a blooper reel, and it gives you good insight into what its like to make a movie. We had some really good ones on ours. Hopefully they will make the cut.
As the movie arrives on DVD and Blu-ray, and you no longer have to talk about it in interviews, what is your last definitive thought on Priest?
Cam Gigandet: I thought that, visually, it was more than I could have ever imagined. And it is as entertaining as I could have imagined. As an actor, having shot it, there are things that you wish could have made the movie. Whether it's a scene or a moment, or some part of the story that your character is involved with telling. Those usually never make the cut. Which is fine. I was happy with how it came out, though. I was entertained by the whole movie. Hopefully, people will share that opinion once they get to see it on Blu-ray.
I dig it. I think its pretty cool. Now, as an actor, did you learn anything new working with Paul Bettany that you will continue to hold onto and apply in your future projects?
Cam Gigandet: I learned more from Paul Bettany than I have on all of my other films, combined. He sets such an amazing example of etiquette on set. And how you go about solving problems. There was a freedom in this collaboration that was amazing. You would sit behind the monitor and watch him work, and whether it was five takes, or ten takes, he will act through it as though it were the first time he has ever done it. God bless him. So, every single moment of every take was different. How he does that? I am not sure. But from now on I will try to emulate Paul Bettany whenever I am on set, trying to make a movie. He seriously is the best.
You always have a very strong presence in these films, especially in terms of the action we're seeing on screen. I know you engage in a lot of your own stunts. How did this differ from your past films, especially in that CGI is really being used to not only help in the stunt work, but to also enhance the style and atmosphere of the story?
Cam Gigandet: This was different from my work in the past, simply because most of the movies I have done had just fighting stunts. But now, they have this whole added element of motorcycles and weapons. There is an added danger element. I don't think the insurance companies would allow me to jump off a motorcycle and onto a train, as much as I'd want to. There were days when I was just there watching my stunt guy, making sure that he did everything as cool as I would imagine I could do it. He accomplished that hands down. As far as the CGI goes, it was great. Because our director Scott Stewart made our environment using as much realism as possible. When you see Paul Bettany and I do something, like climbing up a cliff, we are actually doing that. The CGI comes in for the extensions, so that everything looks much more grand, and much more elaborate. As far as doing what we are doing, we weren't on a green screen. Which was great for us as actors.
I have heard you talk many times in the past about how you enjoy playing the villain more than the good guy. This, of course, is one of your few heroic roles. What does, if anything, playing the hero afford you as an actor? Do you ever get anything worthwhile out of it?
Cam Gigandet: Gosh, playing a good guy? I have always looked at it this way. When you are playing the good guy, you always have to stick to a more strict set of rules. With the bad guy, you have unlimited freedom, and you really get to use your imagination. It poses a different set of challenges when you are playing the hero. Still, even on the movies I shot after playing the hero in Priest, I am still trying to figure out how to balance and stay within those guidelines and rules while still allowed myself to have as much imagination and as much freedom, and as much creativity in telling the story that I want to tell. So, I really don't have an answer on how to accomplish playing a good hero just yet. This is still a work in progress. Hopefully one day I will figure out how to play a complicated good guy. I don't think I have quite accomplished that yet. But I will let you know when I do.
You have a real edge that you can't shake. It reminds me of Kiefer Sutherland. Even when he's playing a good guy, there is something off about him. You just can't get rid of that...
Cam Gigandet: It is a part of who I am. I am thankful that is who I am. I feel that, in this day and age, you can have both. You can have a hero who does skirt the line between good and bad. Whether he is a good guy trying to do the right thing through the wrong means, or vice versa. I feel there is a happy medium that an actor can find. I am still working on that.
Don't you find that most audiences want that edge to their heroes? I know I do...
Cam Gigandet: Of course. You can look at some of the best performances of the past year, and the best characters fall in line with that. You have Jeremy Renner in The Hurt Locker. Even Ryan Gosling in The Notebook. They all have an edge. Even these perfect guys are a little dark. There is something off-kilter about their moral ground. Through that, you end up loving them even more.
Its interesting to see the progress director Scott Stewart has made between this and Legion, his last film with Paul Bettany. What was it like to watch that evolution on set, and what do you think you personally added to his story-telling technique?
Cam Gigandet: It was fascinated watching Scott Stewart work. I think he'd watched Legion a thousand times. He developed Priest based on the things he felt were mistakes on Legion, and he corrected them instantly. He knew that he wanted it to be a visual movie. From the get go, it was a visual movie non-stop. As actors, we all had that in mind. He was very clear about it. When it came to the story and the relationships, he knew he had to take his time. He still had to grow, and he had to have his characters grow, and go on this journey. You could see him working through this. He had no ego about it. He knew that he was still in the process of learning. He knew that he was still figuring out his tastes and opinions on how this movie should be made. That is what was so great about Paul Bettany. Here was someone who was so experienced, yet he was still in collaboration with Scott Stewart on this movie, and their were no egos involved. Which was so unbelievable to watch. You were inspired ever single day. Whether we disagreed, or whether we were wrong about a scene we'd just shot, we kept moving forward. We tried to make this the best movie we could. That is what we were really focused on.
So this was a pretty open environment, where you could express your ideas and opinions?
Cam Gigandet: Oh, yes! 100%. That was the great thing about having Paul Bettany there. He had set such an amazing example on set. Whenever he was on set, everyone took a deep breath, and we all knew we were in good hands. Then when you have someone like Scott Stewart, who is such a visual genius, you know everything is going to work out. You can't beat that.
Before I go, I have to ask you about Never Back Down 2. I know there was at one time talk of you doing a sequel. But I just saw the trailer for Part 2, which looks nothing like the original, and it's going straight-to-DVD. Were you a little disappointed that you didn't get to make a true sequel to that film?
Cam Gigandet: Yes, you know...That was one of my first real movies. One of my first real roles. I loved it. I loved the director and I love the cast. It's always a bummer. I thought a true sequel to that movie could have been better than the original. But, you know, life goes on!