Talks & Interviews — January 12, 2010 at 4:33 am

Tim Abell: Most heroes and villains share many of the same qualities on the screen

Tim Abell is one of those chameleon-like actors, who can portray almost anyone. They are equally well as the leading guys, as villains, or in a small role.

In an eclectic career Abell has gone from teaching ballroom dancing, to being a US Army Ranger with the 75th Ranger Regiment, to horse training, writing, being a cook, acting and to producing.

INTERVIEW

Mr Abell, your biography mentions, that you did some martial arts, along with boxing. What style of martial arts were you practicing?

I’ve studied Shorin Ryu, Tang Soo Do and Kenpo. Also, military martial arts while serving as a US Army Ranger.

In the mid 90’s you did a few movies for Fred Olen Ray, who is one of the better known «B» and independent type film directors. How did you first start working with Ray? Were you under a contract?

I was introduced to Fred Ray, by Terrell Lee Lankford. I was the bartender at a local jazz club, called Le Cafe in Sherman Oaks (California), where Lee and Fred would frequently come. First film was “Attack of the Sixty Foot Centerfold”. I’ve worked on 8 films with Fred, the last being “American Bandits: Frank and Jesse”, playing Frank James.

To most people you are best known for your work in the «Soldiers of Fortune» TV-series. Considering your past as an army ranger, was it easier for you to adjust to your part, and really feel like a Benny Ray character?

“Soldier of Fortune, inc.”, was an outstanding experience. I was able to utilize all my training, knowledge, weapons skills, martial arts skills, vocabulary and military bearing to help create Benny Ray Riddle. I really wish that “SOF inc.” had lasted 5 years! It was ahead of its time.

Speaking of “Soldier of Fortune, inc.”, it was briefly shown on TV sometime ago, here in Azerbaijan…

Well,that’s nice to know. I have never been in your country, but I do have a friend who is from there.

Being such a versatile actor you are, do you enjoy playing a villain or a hero more? Since you are so good playing both, which one do you like?

Most heroes and villains share many of the same qualities, ambiguities, concerns, desires, wants and needs. Many villains don’t see themselves as bad people and many hero’s struggle with what “the right thing to do is”, in relation to their own personal happiness. Anti-heros are quite interesting to play such as Paul Newman in “Hud”.

I am fascinated with sociopathic behavior and what goes on in a killer’s head who has no remorse or guilt. They take what they want regardless of the pain and suffering to others. Much like a Great White shark. The flawed hero is also a character I like to explore as well.

And the last question… Which one of your movies are you most proud of, and what was the most difficult part to play?

Benny Ray Riddle, is one of my favorite roles. Very fluid, in control, deadly, graceful at his job, competent and confident as a highly trained marine scout/ sniper. I also quite enjoyed, Jim Beckett, in “Instinct to Kill”. Getting into the mind of a serial killer is illuminating. Rene, from “Soldier of God”, was also very challenging.

I’ve had people comment on my portrayal of the stoic, internal warrior/monk. In war these monks are terrors, and when not are very quite, reserved and internalized feelings. Most people wanted to see something big and broad with lots of killing. It was tough to stay true to what I had researched about the Templars, and not try to be some charismatic crusader.



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