Frank Grillo’s about to have one busy week. He stars in Point Blank, an adrenaline-pumping Netflix Original available now and next Friday, Into the Ashes heads to theaters for a limited release in addition to being released digitally and through rental services on the same day. Among the hustle and bustle, we had a chance to speak with Grillo about the two films and some odds and ends, like a potential future in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Here’s what he had to say about reuniting with Captain America: Civil War costar Anthony Mackie, Point Blank, and more.
ComicBook.com: Point Blank is this bonkers for lack of a better word, adrenaline-pumping film. As a storyteller yourself, how’d development get started on this movie packed full of twists and turns?
Frank Grillo: Initially it’s a film that Gaumont, a French company, put out in 2010 I think, and it was very a successful French thriller. I watched the movie with Joe Carnahan and Adam Simon, who we brought on to help write it with us. We imagined it a bit and wanted to make it a little less French and more global so, we came up with the story ourselves. The movie that you’re seeing, we started that thing. We nurtured it from the beginning. It took us about seven months to come up with this idea. [Anthony] Mackie was the only guy that was going to do it from the beginning and we put it together, and it was fun. It was like giving birth. From the very beginning of a conversation with Gaumont, who owned the original IP, to last night where we had the premiere at Netflix. It’s so satisfying to know that we nurtured this thing to this point, to where it’s a real movie.
How did Anthony come into play? Is it something you two had discussed for a while? Did you picture Mackie in this role from the get-go?
From the very beginning. Mackie and I are buddies, we’re good buddies. We’re brothers and there was a couple of other movies that kind of came and went that we were going to do together and it didn’t happen. He’s very busy and I’m very busy. As soon as this came up I said, “I’m sending you something, read it. I think we can do it in 35 days and I think it’d be fun for us and I think it could start this kind of buddy thing with you and I think we could take other films and apply our relationship.” And that’s what it did. I think Mackie and I proved that we can carry a buddy movie together where there’s something interesting between us.
I did mention twists earlier and Marcia Gay Harden has probably one of the biggest in the film. Tell us a little bit about to process about getting Marcia on board for the film, because she killed it, right?
Well, I got to credit Carnahan on that too because that role is written for a 42-year-old man. I think a 42-year-old African-American man. Joe said, “What if it’s a woman?” and he said, “What if it’s a woman who’s never done this before?” I have to tell you, we were with Marcia Gay last night and she came up to both Joe and I and was like, “I f***ing love this,” she said. She’s a dramatic actress and nominated for Oscars and she’s like, “All I want to do is this. I want to work with you guys all the time, I had so much fun.” You look at her with that shotgun in her hand and she’s a badass, man. When you empower a woman like that, who’s been, a lot of times, the victims in movies…she f***ing loved it and she killed it.
You did say there was an initial IP involved with this, yet this one ends with a teaser of sorts. Are there any intentions of doing a follow-up or did you only want to do this one stand-alone film?
Listen, I think we’ve left it open to another one if the audiences respond to it positively, which is Netflix’s criteria for making another film. We could certainly hatch, what I think is, an equally compelling idea for a second movie.
Let’s move quick to Into The Ashes. I just got done watching it right before this chat and I’ve got to say my jaw’s still on the floor.
Very good. Spooky. When you’re looking at this, it almost is a horror film, right? Did you reference any particular movies or the like to get situated in your role?
You know, the only movie I referenced was No Country for Old Men, and it was the weird Javier Bardem character that was just relentless and unapologetic. Again, it’s very different than that, but that was a jump off point for me tonally, I knew that’s where the director and the writer, Aaron Harvey wanted to keep it. It’s a little movie and it’s a very straight forward narrative and so you got to find the interesting places to make the guy compelling in a story that is right in front of you from the beginning, there’s no real twists and turns. So, I love it. I think, unfortunately, because of the vacuum that the Marvel Universe and movies like that create in the movie business, it’s hard for these movies to get the recognition. That’s a big deal for a little, tiny movie like that.
So speaking of the Marvel Universe, you had a nice little cameo in Avengers: Endgame.
I got in there.
You got in there. Heck yeah, you did. Kevin [Feige] and his team at Marvel Studios are starting to move more to nonlinear storytelling. Does this mean we haven’t seen the end of Brock Rumlow in the MCU?
You know what? I got five more movies that I’m obligated to do for Marvel if they ever call me. So who knows, man? Maybe I’ll be Captain America after Mackie. I’ll be a middle-aged Captain America. A middle-aged, Italian, Captain America. Think about that.
You don’t have to tell me anymore. You’re pretty much a life-long martial artist and fighter and such.
You had a Netflix show with Fight World, but do you have any plans of stepping into the octagon? Do you want to get into fighting or something?
No, no I’m way too old. But I do train with some of the great fighters. I’m fortunate enough because of making the movies, Fight World and stuff, I do get to train all over the place. I do get the opportunity to train with wonderful people, so that’s enough. I’m not looking to fight anybody except my demons and other than that, I’m good. There’ll be no fighting in my future.
With all that experience under your belt, if we’re talking biopics or remakes, is there one dream role you’d love to land?
You know, I’ve always been a huge fan of the movie Billy Jack. I don’t know if you remember that. You probably don’t and if you don’t, you should go see it. Go find it and watch it. Tom Laughlin, the actor, was one of the first actors, if not the first actor, to own the movie and make all the money. He distributed his own film. It’s called Billy Jack and you got to see it. That’s something I always wanted to do.
Spider-Man: Far From Home is now in theaters. Avengers: Endgame will be available digitally on July 30th ahead of a home media release on August 13th.
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