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An Interview with Rami Hilmi a.k.a. Ryan Hunter, Star of A Killer Conversation

by Mike Haberfelner

June 2012

Films starring Ryan Hunter on (re)Search my Trash

 

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Your upcoming film A Killer Conversation - what is it about, and what can you tell us about your character?

 

A bizarre black comedy feature centred around 3 characters - Karl: Once a romantic charming fellow, now Mr. Nobody, a drifter in life... The Burglar: A well-mannered gentleman who's robbing Karl of his money and valuable belongings... and Pauline: Karl's ex-girlfriend, a stuck-up upper class snobby bitch who has no regards for people and things, is oblivious to all things happening in front of her.

This is not your average burgling story, those characters when they interact with one another it produces some bizarre, weird and interesting moments and conversations that you'd not expect to happen! The type of film that would make you go: "Hang on, they didn't just do or say that? Did I see what I just saw? I need to watch this again."

 

Karl is a very simple, easy-going guy, living life from day to day, no ambitions, no goals, no future, a drifter, a stick in the ocean controlled by its current taking him to wherever it wants, he ONLY started to think more about life and how it's precious and valuable when he's getting burgled and being a matter of life and death situation!

 


How did you get involved with the project in the first place, and what convinced you to do it?

 

The director David V.G. Davies [David V.G. Davies interview - click here], who Iíve worked with before on other projects, called me and mentioned the film to me. Luckily I had just returned and completed a film shoot, so I was free again. When I got the message about the film I was in the middle of reading another feature film script that I've been asked to do but I haven't given my word to do the film till I finish reading the script, but when Dave called me and pitched A Killer Conversation to me, it sounded such a cool story, so I asked him to send me the script, I stopped reading the other one and jumped quickly on reading A Killer Conversation - and I was hooked! I couldn't let the script down till I completed it, I loved it, I was laughing so much by just reading the screenplay! I fell in love with the story, the characters and how unique and clever the script was, but what convinced me the most to do it was the fact that David was involved in the film. Iíve worked with David before so I was very happy and pleased to get back on set with him knowing he's directing the film as I know his film sets usually are great and fun to work on, plus he's a smashing director and I love working with him, his attention to details and vision is unbelievable.

 

You are known mostly for your roles in action movies, and yet you spend almost all of A Killer Conversation tied to a chair and very limited in movements. Did that at all feel odd?

 

Absolutely, it felt very odd. I was toying with that in my mind when I was reading the script and knowing my character will be tied up, so of course when you have limited body movement and you're tied up to a chair during most of the film, you have to find another way of pushing the character out there and be believable, so I knew my only key was working the heavy driven dialogue with my speech tones, my facial expressions, looks, actions and reactions - I'm hoping this has worked for the character.

 

How did you approach your role in the first place?

 

I usually adopt the Konstantin Sergeyevich Stanislavskiís Method, especially when I approach strong character-driven stories in films. Itís a well known approach for actors, now itís known as Method Acting around the world: You have to have 1. An Objective: The final goal the character wants to achieve, 2. Obstacles: Things that will prevent or complicate the achievements of the characterís objective, 3. Tools or Methods: The means a character will use to overcome obstacles and achieve his objective, 4. Units & Bits: Smaller objectives and methods which build towards a larger goal, 5. Actions: Mini-objectives for each line the character says.

 

With A Killer Conversation being a comedy - to what degree could you relate to the movie's a tad absurd brand of humour, and do you consider yourself a humourous person?

 

It has the perfect balance of tension, drama, suspense with surreal comedy moments that I think the majority of comedy films seems to lack these days. I do consider myself a humorous person, I seem to make people laugh and get in stitches sometime, so I guess I am :) Now I hope the audience will think so too when they watch the film.

 

You have worked with A Killer Conversation's director Davd V.G. Davies [David V.G. Davies interview - click here] before, right? What can you tell us about him, and what are your collaborations usually like?

 

Ryan Hunter in David V.G. Davies'

Monitor

David V.G. Davies is one of those rare directors you find in today's world of cinema... He has the immense talent and vision of the legends of the past such as Alfred Hitchcock / William Wyler and the knowledge and expertise of today's legends such as John Carpenter / Stanley Kubrick / Robert Zemeckis. His films are usually full of unique twists and characters, his stories have a wonderful balance of tension and suspense that keep you on the edge and keep you guessing.

 

Regarding our collaborations, well every time Iím offered a role and knowing Iím working with David, I get extremely excited, as I do love the way he directs, and his sets are always fun and pleasant to work on, he has the perfect scale measure of how to work with his cast and crew and get the best work out of them all. I see David as the 1st director who completely understood my capability as a versatile actor. When Iím working with him, he offers me the strong, deep, sometimes emotional and challenging leading roles, which have big impact on driving the story forward, they are all very different from one another. Only a handful of other directors offer me those roles at this present time, so Iím very grateful to play them to show what I can really do as an actor, and it pushes me to strive further as a performer, as I really dislike being complacent by playing roles that are just too easy to get into and donít have impact and change much of the story. But David V. G. Davies sees the full potential his actors have and he knows how to bring that out of them for the benefit of the film.

 

Rudy Barrow, Ryan Hunter, Melanie Denholme

A few words about your co-stars Melanie Denholme [Melanie Denholme interview - click here] and Rudy Barrow [Rudy Barrow interview - click here], and what was it like working with them?

 

Melanie Denholme and Rudy Barrow were absolutely fantastic to work with, they are extremely talented actors, I felt weíve built the chemistry between our characters in no time. Extremely fast, I was bouncing from their performances really well and we had such a great time working together, they were two of the best actors I had the pleasure to work with. I am so looking forward to work with both of them again, I hope on a few more future projects.

 

I just happen to know that the writer of A Killer Conversation, Michael Haberfelner [yes, that's actually me]  [Michael Haberfelner interview - click here], was on set for the entire shoot. Was this at all helpful, or just my and the director's egos clashing over every little detail?

 

Ryan Hunter, Michael Haberfelner, Rudy Barrow

I have to admit at the very beginning I was a little worried, as I know how much this feature script meant to the writer Michael Haberfelner, it's his baby and it's been with him for 20 years I believe - so naturally I worried to screw it up by not delivering the performance needed and doing the character justice. But then it proved to be a blessing to have him on set and working closely with the director David, the crew and us the cast. I thought we all gelled and worked so well together under the pressure of completing the film within the time limit weíve had. Michael was brilliant and by him being on set it helped us to develop the characters even better, the directorís and the writerís visions have helped adding the extra needed ingredients, spices and herbs to the scenes.

 

A Killer Conversation was shot in a mere three days - what kind of strain did this put on you as an actor, and what can you tell us about the on-set atmosphere? And any on-set anecdotes you'd like to share?

 

As Iíve mentioned on the previous question, time was very limited for such a heavy dialogue- and character-driven film, but the key points that worked for us and made it possible were that we were all ready to work under pressure, long hours and giving everything weíve got to make the film special, the swift directorís work and direction, the chemistry that us, the actors, seemed to have straight away with each other, the wonderful crewís talent and getting the directorís vision rapidly and putting their creative work to place. I remember one night after viewing the scenes left to shoot and realized the time is creeping on us fast, David, Rudy and myself decided to carry on shooting the next big scene between my character and Rudyís through the night to save time and be on schedule again, we finished around early hours in the morning, and then we only had about a couple of hours sleep the 3 of us, but the next morning we werenít complaining, we were very happy and rearing to go, we felt fine as our minds were focused on the job we have on hand.

 

Melanie Denholme, Rudy Barrow, Ryan Hunter, Michael Haberfelner, Paul Hobday, David V.G. Davies, Adam Lanfranchi

Despite the pressure though it was plenty of fun and laughter on set between us all. The atmosphere on set was happy, positive, creative and full of energy. And there were plenty of anecdotes on set, two particular I remember very well that put a smile on my face: Rudy goes over the top action man stamping the floor, and Melanie comes back up as if nothing just happened to herÖ it was brilliant.

 

Even during the shoot of A Killer Conversation, someone (it wasn't me) suggested a sequel. Seriously, did you initially think this was a good idea or even doable?

 

Well I didnít take it seriously at first, I thought it was just a talk thing as people suggest and talk about sequels for films all the time, but the majority never happen, they are just ideas that fade away, and then when the writer Michael send us a synopsis of his idea for the sequel I was like ďwhaaattt!! Really!!Ē - though I thought the synopsis was pretty interesting and clever, I still couldnít see how the sequel could work (I canít give too much of my thoughts here as it relates to our current film), but then Michael said heís half way through writing it, I got even more intrigued and interested, as I wanted to see which direction is he going to take it.

 

Then after a month and a bit here it goes, the writer SENDS us the sequel screenplay! I couldnít wait to read it, here I am half way though reading it, and thenÖ BOOM! It got me so excited, it was unbelievable! Again another remarkable piece of work from the writer, in fact I thought the sequel script even funnier than A Killer Conversation, and now I canít wait to re-unite with the cast & crew and start filming it.

 

Let's go back to the beginnings of your career: What got you into acting in the first place, and did you receive any formal education on the subject?

 

My original interest and what I wanted to be was a pilot, a captain flying airplanes like 747 or Concorde, I love aircrafts and it always fascinated me such huge machines like these can be lifted up in the air and fly thousands of feet above ground. I even thought about Space Shuttles and being an astronaut, I loved space and the idea of setting foot on the moon or on another planet and watch the earth from there, but those were jobs that required a lot of time for studies, training and plenty of money to do them, which I didnít have of course. Then I realized that from such a young age as 6 years old I had always been a performer and had made friends and family laugh, imitating characters from films and being silly. I started performing in kindergarten shows and liked it, so performing was something I realised is part of me and I loved it, and also being all the jobs I canít be in one lifetime, as every role is different and take on a new persona with a new profession on every film. So I did study Drama, Film Studies, Theatre Studies and Performing Arts, I performed in many college shows and outside theatre companies, then I did Drama School and moved on to do acting for TV and film.

 

Can you still remember your first time in front of a movie camera, and what can you tell us about that experience?

 





Yes I do, my background was in theatre, which I loved very much as it keeps you on the edge when you are in front of a live audience - but the magic of film and the camera fascinated me and I wanted to know how to perform for the lens, so I studied and then, many years ago, I started working on an amateur TV soap showing on a Sky Channel. Iíve played a regular character, but I remember the first few episodes were really hard to watch for me, it was odd seeing myself on screen, I didnít like watching myself, I hated seeing my scenes and acting on screen, till after some time I got used to it and started to see myself as the character Iím playing. I felt I was atrocious and sucked as an actor, I have always been very critical of my own performances, but at the same time I had a strong passion and desire for film / TV acting, and because I have always persisted and never quit, I had to find ways to swiftly keep on improving and getting stronger and better as an actor, and so I did. Also when I get criticised for my performances by film critics, I I'm not disappointed, I take them on board with open arms. The reasons WHY they didnít like something help me polish the mistakes and never fall for them again - hopefully. I always take on board some good key points and advices from directors and other fellow actorsÖ etc. I listen to their thoughts and ideas, because constructive criticism helps you progress and develop as a true believable versatile actor. We can never ever stop learning, there are neve- ending ways to approach your profession, finding different angles and new fresh ways to do them.

 

You have also directed a short called Hush. What can you tell us about that one, and about Ryan Hunter the director?

 

Hush was a 5 minute comedy written and produced by a friend of mine, he asked me to direct it and I agreed, it was a good fun little project, only a handful of us cast and crew working closely on the project and everyone did a brilliant job. Iím happy it had really good reviews and it was shown on a Sky Channel a number of times, but it doesnít define me as a director yet, I have films Iíve written and one day in the not too distant future I probably will start directing features, but before that I have to keep my focus on my career as an actor, then when Iím certain I can do the film, I can do it  justice and there are pros with no cons, then Iíll go for it, because I want to make sure my feature film is going to be strong and will have a positive impact in the industry if my name is attached to it as a director.

 

Directors who pop up in your filmography time and again include Jason Impey [Jason Impey interview - click here], Kemal Yildirim [Kemal Yildirim interview - click here], and Russ Diapper. What can you tell us about these men and the films you made with them?

 

Directors in their own right! Yes I have worked with each of them on numerous projects and they are good to work with, Jason Impey and Kemal Yildirim are among the directors who see me as a versatile actor and the roles they offer in their films do vary from one another. Also each of them has another special skill they excel at, Jason is a superb DOP, Kemal is a fantastic Light Designer, and Russ is an outstanding Music Composer.

 




You also play an uncredited role in Ridley Scott's Body of Lies. How does working on a big budget film of this kind compare to working on an indie film like, let's say, A Killer Conversation?

 

Originally I was cast as a credited character in the film, but the unfortunate delays on some shoots (which does happen on sets frequently) meant there was no time to film a couple of scenes which I originally had with Leonardo, but Mr. Scott asked me to fill in on another scene, which was a really small one, but the experience working on big budget film sets is excellent, itís the same as what we do on an indie film except on a much bigger scale. 

I remember it was really fun to work on V for Vendetta as one of the V army members marching on the soldiers in London, a fantastic 3 nights shoot, I was in the front of Vs line that had to jump over barriers and be more physical. I did it for the experience back then, observing and watching the crew and their work on those sets. 

I also did voice over and ADR work in English and Arabic languages for two other big budget films Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time and the new feature coming out to cinemas soon, Black Gold, working closely in Pinewood Studios with one of my favourite directors, Jean-Jacques Annaud - he was such a cool and down-to-earth person, it was a valuable experience and I learned a lot from him.

 

But the one BIG difference between working on a blockbuster budget film and an indie small budget film is on the indie sets you get to know everyone quickly and create a good bond and sometimes you feel like you have made a homely family feel between yourself and the other cast and crew members, you have the chance to work with them closely and know them well. Now on the big film sets itís a lot harder to know everyone and remember everyoneís name and make strong connections with them, because there is a huge number of cast and crew running around busy always, unless of course you are working on that film for few months then gradually you will be able to.

 

Any other films of yours you'd like to talk about, any future projects?

 

Currently I am in the middle of filming a new thriller feature called The Dossier playing a lead role called Deniz Celik (The Governor), directed by Jennifer Hookway and produced by Malcolm Karpeta, so far it's been going so well, again another superb film Iím working on, we have such an excellent team, all the cast and crew full of energy, enthusiasm and talent, the locations planned for the film are amazing with so much attention to detail and work been put in to it, Malcolm has done months of preparation and wonderful work on it before we started filming, and Jennifer is an extremely talented director whoís turning the script to pure magic with her ideas and suggestions, making each scene turn from good to perfection.

I also will start filming a new war WWII/horror film called 44 Kills directed by Rick Roberts, though itís still early days to talk about it. Not to forget the sequel of A Killer Conversation that I am also looking forward to immensely. Now the other films in the pipeline are too early to talk about.

 

During your career, you have also done a lot of stunting and fight choreography. What can you tell us about that aspect of your career, and what kind of training do you need to properly do that even?

 

It's something that seems to come natural to me, to be honest Iíve never thought Iíd be involved as a stunt coordinator and fight choreographer on films, my heart has always been into acting from the start, but I just seem to pick up positions to cover on films when it's needed. I guess it helps when you have a solid background in various martial arts, I have studied various forms of martial arts from the age of 6 years old and itís my other passion. I have trained on a variety of weapons and arms, I also took bodyguard courses. I used to teach martial arts back then and I was head of security and a bodyguard team for key political figures. But of course I gave them up to put my full focus into my film career which I love the most and use my expertise and knowledge from the many years of training and experience for the benefit of the films I work on when Iím asked to do so.

 

How would you describe yourself as an actor?

 

A constant and never ending improving versatile actor, who seeks more knowledge, learning new skills, researching to perfect myself and having a deep understanding and meaning to each of the characters I portray.

 

Actors who inspire you?

 

Talented actors such as Humphrey Bogart, Gregory Peck, James Cagney, James Stewart, Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, Cary Grant, Gene Kelly, Bruce Lee, Clint Eastwood, Michael J. Fox and Joe Pesci for their unique performances on screen.

 

Your favourite movies?

 

I have too many to name here, Iíll give you few titles of my list of favourites: Enter the Dragon, The Good The Bad & The Ugly, Back to The Future, Halloween, Bound by Honour, The Shawshank Redemption, Forrest Gump, My Cousin Vinny, Casablanca, Ratatouille, Enemy at the Gates, The Man from Earth, Taken, Breakfast at Tiffanyís, Roman Holiday, Amelie, The Birds, Itís a Wonderful Life, Falling Down, Dial M for Murder, Donnie Brasco, Howlís Moving Castle, Angels with Dirty Faces... etc.

 

... and of course, films you really deplore?

 

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Nope, sorry I donít talk about or mention anything negative, I have no right to deplore or question other people's work and creativity, everyone of us have a different opinion of what we like or donít like, and if we donít have things we donít like, then we wouldnít have things we love and adore, right?

 

Your website, Facebook, whatever else?

 

I had a website before, I designed it myself during my early stage of the career then took it down, as now my CV is available on IMDb and Spotlight for casting directors and directors to see. I also have a Facebook page set up to add and communicate with cast & crew I work with in the film business and of course friends.

 

Anything else you are dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?

 

I think Iíve jabbered long enough, I donít want to bore people any longer than Iíve already done ;) - but I like to say a big THANK YOU for all my friends out there who have supported me and followed my career and journey so far and I hope I can continue to do so, I also like to THANK all the wonderful casts and crews who Iíve worked with over the years, and the good advices and the positive words from some of my humble friends in the business such as: Matt Damon, Pierce Brosnan, Jeff Goldblum & Phil Charette.

 

Thanks for the interview!

 

THANK YOU, the pleasure was mine.

 

© by Mike Haberfelner


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Thanks for watching !!!



 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD

 

 

Stell Dir vor, Deine Lieblingsseifenoper birgt eine tiefere Wahrheit ...
... und stell Dir vor, der Penner von der U-Bahnstation hat doch recht ...
... und dann triffst Du auch noch die Frau Deiner (feuchten) Tršume ...

 

Und an diesem Tag geht natŁrlich wieder einmal die Welt unter!!!

 

Bauliche Angelegenheiten
ein Roman von
Michael Haberfelner

 

Jetzt kaufen bei
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