Ara Paiaya is a martial artist and a filmmaker, who has been making action movies since 2001, and his project – Skin Traffik – is nothing like he has ever done before.
The action thriller with a human trafficking background packs a star-studded cast: Gary Daniels, Mickey Rourke, Michael Madsen, Jeff Fahey, Daryl Hannah, Dominique Swain and Eric Roberts.
BZFilm spoke to Paiaya about the project, which, judging by the trailer, promises to be anything but boring.
“Skin Traffik” was produced and financed by Raging Pictures – which Paiaya is the co-chairman of. The movie will be distributed in theaters, home video, VOD and television, worldwide, according to Paiaya.
“I wanted to do something that had never been done before in the UK – a British independent action film with an all-star Hollywood ensemble cast,” Paiaya told BZFilm. “The story was to be set in the UK, Amsterdam and USA. The film would feature my particular flavour of action and fight scenes as well as an interesting array of characters and dialogue.”
Paiaya admitted that the human trafficking element to the film is actually a sub plot.
THE BRIT LEADS THE WAY
The leading star of the film, Gary Daniels – is an established, experienced, veteran action star who has fought on the screens ever since the early 90’s, and is still going strong. Paiaya told BZFilm how he decided to get Daniels for “Skin Traffik”.
“I’ve always planned for a lot of action and fight scenes in this film, so when it came to casting the lead, there were a number of criteria that had to be fulfilled,” he said. “For example, the lead had to be British and be like a martial arts/anti-hero James Bond kind of guy, between a 45-55 age range, Caucasian and be able to perform all the physically demanding fight and stunt scenes without the aid of a double.”
Does Gary Daniels fit the description? You bet.
“I had been aware of Gary Daniels for some time via Jackie Chan’s ‘City Hunter’. I looked him up and he was a perfect fit for my detailed requirements. I knew if he was good enough for Jackie Chan, he was good enough for me,” Paiaya said.
“I’m very particular on how I choreograph and shoot the fight scenes, so in other words, I’m very demanding, which means lots of takes until I’m happy,” he explained.
“Gary gave me 110% on doing whatever it took to get the shots whether it was for fight scenes, stunts or precision driving. His acting was superb and I am very pleased with my choice,” Paiaya said.
By the way, according to IMDb, Daniels performed all his own stunts in the film, while Paiaya insisted that full contact be made where possible in all the films fight sequences.
THE STAR-STUDDED CAST
Paiaya’s ‘Skin Traffik’ is the first film in 30 years to reunite Mickey Rourke, Eric Roberts and Daryl Hannah since ‘The Pope of Greenwich Village’.
And speaking of Mickey Rourke, Paiaya said the star of “Wrestler” was the nicest guy he has met in the film business.
“I’ve learned a lot from him. He invited me to his home and we have kept in contact. He’s a gentleman and an inspiration,” Paiaya said.
Aside from Rourke, the film packs so many familiar faces for die-hard movie fans, and Paiaya agrees it is really amazing.
“I cast each and every star for very particular reasons,” he said. “All of these stars are known around the world. I am a die-hard movie fan myself, so I specifically cast every single one of my favorite actors and actresses that have all been lead stars in various films some of my favourite films in fact.”
Paiaya further brought up an example of how the “Skin Traffik” cast was assembled.
“Imagine you have a DVD collection and you’re me thinking what to watch with a friend… There was always this space for a film that I wanted to watch but it hadn’t been made yet. I am looking through a bunch of films. I love Bond but he never fights the way I would like to see it, that’s because I’m a huge Hong Kong cinema fan. Kill Bill is a cool film, I love Michael Madsen and Daryl Hannah together.
I really like Jeff Fahey in Machete, he steals the show and he’s great in Body Parts. Dominique Swain looks great in Face Off and is superb in Lolita. Or how about a British film like Snatch, Alan Ford as Brick Top is classic. Taken, that’s a great fast paced action film. Maybe I’ll just watch The Expendables because there’s a bunch of stars in that and Eric Roberts is the man.
Hang on a minute… What if I made an Independent British action movie starring Gary Daniels as my martial arts anti-hero/James Bond guy, that can fight like in those, my favorite Sammo Hung Hong Kong flicks but with an assemble Hollywood cast. Imagine if I got all of them in my film, that would be a film I’d want to watch tonight a chop suey mix of everything I enjoy, but the way I want to see it – in my story and with my action. That’s what I’ll do for my new film! Make the film that’s missing from my DVD collection.
The only thing that could be the icing on the cake for such a film would be if I got an A-list actor in the mix, one of my favorite Hollywood actors ever, Mickey Rourke! But have him do a role that is so very different than we have ever seen him do before, something really quirky and out of the box. That would be really cool.”
“Then I spoke to the talent, shared my ideas, cast them all and made my film,” Paiaya said. “The only thing now is there’s a space for this revenge film that would sit nicely next to the Charles Bronson’s Death Wish collection, Rolling Thunder and Mr Majestyk. I guess I’ll have to fill it now…”
After a project is done, there’s always something else. Paiaya, in this case, is on to his next adventure – an action film titled “Instant Death” to be exact.
“I’ve accomplished everything I had intended with my vision of Skin Traffik,” said Paiaya, who didn’t just direct the film, but also produced it, wrote the story, was the director of photography and even appeared in the film as well.
“I am on my next adventure now,” Paiaya said.
The synopsis of the film goes as follows: A vicious gang war for drug dominance draws in a disturbed Special Forces veteran Bradley. Trying to adjust to normal life and haunted by visions of a violent past, the underworld’s retribution on the Bradley’s last connection to humanity, his sister and niece, drive him into a descent of fury and violence that not even the brutality of gangland is prepared for.
ADDITIONAL PHOTOS (provided by Ara Paiaya)
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