“VOLITION is the feature directorial debut for Tony Dean Smith (Rakka), who co-wrote the script with his brother and producing partner Ryan W. Smith (Next Gen). The film stars Adrian Glynn McMorran (The Revenant), Magda Apanowicz (You), John Cassini (The Possession), Frank Cassini (Watchmen), Aleks Paunovic (War for the Planet of the Apes), and Bill Marchant (Godzilla). It was produced in association with Paly Productions and Smith Brothers Film Company.”
Aleks Paunovic (War for the Planet of the Apes, This Means War) took time to talk with Horrornews.net about his new film, Volition. Aleks is an actor, producer, he does stunts. He has quite the film resume. He talks about his character Terry, filming during the pandemic (safely, of course) and much more.
Hi Aleks, its so great to talk with you. How are you?
Aleks- Hi Janel, I’m doing great. Keeping safe?
Yes, staying safe. Thank you. I loved the film, Volition. How did you get involved and why did you decide to take on the role of Terry?
Aleks- Tony Dean Smith and Ryan W. Smith, the directors of the film have been long time friends. I’ve known them for years. Tony asked me to be a part of the project and after I read it, even though he asked me, I was like, please don’t change your mind because I just thought it was such an innovative, interesting, out of the box type of script. The way they were talking about the shooting aspect of I, I just think they were onto something absolutely remarkable with the film. When he gave me the role of Terry and we discussed Terry, that to me, felt really great with the vision we had. Terry is not a bad guy, he’s been wronged throughout his life, conned and manipulated. His motives weren’t bad, he just wanted a better life. What he does in the movie isn’t driven by power or aggression, it’s basically driven by fear of not wanting to go back. I just thought it was written wonderfully. It was great, it was a privilege to be a part of.
You always play such different characters in each film and show. Do you do anything special to prepare before filming?
Aleks- Yes, I think I prepare with every role that I have. A lot of it is the initial response that I have, that almost knee-jerk response is when I read something. I try to jot it down because I think those are the most truthful and then I build the character around those small ideas. Just by doing that, I realize some of those ideas may not work but its lead me to another idea. The preparation of each role kind of takes on a different life but the true line is my knee-jerk reaction.
I know that everyone is sort of still working from home and not all people are filming but are you working on anything else or do you have any other projects coming out?
Aleks- I actually shot during the pandemic, it was basically a pandemic film where I worked with Rick Dugdale, him and I worked on an Anthony Hopkins movie called Blackway (2001). He called me and he goes, “listen, I think we should do something in this time where everyone’s got to be in their houses.” So, they wrote an amazing script and zoom is involved so it’s like 90% on Zoom with five people that don’t know each other that have to know each other and trust each other. So, that was exciting to be a part of. We did our own costumes, makeup, camera operating, it was pretty great. Right now, we are in British Columbia, Canada. We are shooting season five of Van Helsing with all the restrictions and the protocols that we’re lining up to shoot. We’re getting approvals from everyone and I feel like we’re the guinea pigs of the shooting world because we’ve just started getting up and running. The protocols are quite stygian. Everyone is being as safe as possible and as loving to everyone else as possible. I’ve been lucky to be a part of a couple projects that are going right now.
Oh, I’m so excited for season five of Van Helsing.
Aleks- Yes, thank you. Season five, I’m excited.
What do you want to say to the people that will be watching Volition? From you’re perspective?
Aleks- I really want them to take away the idea of decision-making, the idea of every little decision that you made leads to a totally different road.
What was it like working with the cast? I think all of you did a great job.
Aleks- The cast was phenomenal. It was one of my favorite projects to be a part of, just obviously for the storyline but also the people involved and the friendships that were already in place.
I have to ask this because I have seen so many different films that you have been in. Do you have a favorite character so far?
Aleks- I’m not going to lie; Terry is pretty awesome. I love playing Julius from Van Helsing. It’s just been a joy. I love the character that I did in See. It’s a tough one but a film that I did called Numb.
Thank you so much Aleks. It was an honor to speak with you. You do such a great job. You have so much talent. Thank you.
Aleks- That’s a beautiful thing to say, I’m going to wear that all day. Thank you so much.
Aleks IMDB www.imdb.com/name/nm0006820/?ref_=tt_cl_t5