June 2017 | by Carl Marsh
Was it always your intention to go into acting after your first career in the music industry with Bros, and what prepared you best for being an actor?
I think acting was somewhat a ramification of my life at that time. When I left the band I knew Matt wanted to do his thing and I guess I didn't want to be a victim of sitting on my arse wondering what is next. I knew it would have to be something that felt like it was mine. I have to give credit to a British stage director called Marina Caldarone because she asked me to do a show called Plan 9 from Outer Space which was without doubt the catalyst for my love affair of film and acting. It was a very modest beginning, repertory theatre as you know is certainly not a place for prima donnas, it's a place where you've got to work your arse off. We did a show, and on the opening night I broke my arm and I thought that was God's way of saying "Do you really want to do this, can you work around a broken arm on the opening night of your first ever lead role in a show?" I saw the crew, the cast, the director and the choreographer and we rallied together, we rejigged a few things, the audience stayed which is such a beautifully romantic thing for me because they all stayed, they didn't leave and I was in hospital, I got a cast and then rushed back to the theatre. I was extremely scared obviously as it was my first ever show. It was a big success, and so much so that we ended up doing a British tour of that show. That was the kick off really, I felt more camaraderie and support and friendship from the cast in that little show than I had ever felt in years of music. I am quite a simple person in my heart, I am a down to Earth individual, I would like to think so but there was just a friendship there, and a camaraderie there, and a support system there that was about trying to succeed in any theatre show or anything to do with drama. It's a collaboration, and this feels great, something that is pretty beautiful, and that was the kick off. Then followed theatre in the West End and over 50 movies up to now. That was the beginning, it was just the civility in that room that was beautiful, and the communal talent, the crew needing to know what they were doing, the cast are all working their arses off and then you, just a part of that game. I loved the collaborative energy of drama, and of film and of stage, it's just something quite intoxicating.
You have nailed this acting lark, especially with the movies, but do you think you would go back to the stage at some point?
You know what, maybe one day in the future, maybe a decade from now if there is a really lovely little play, and I mean something not like The Woman In Black even though I do love The Woman In Black in the West End, but that simplistic thing that's really dependant on the writing and maybe a co-star or two, and do a play that's a little more intimate because a lot of the time in film it is more grandiose at times, and certainly with the band it's just this huge machine compared to a small play, it's just beautifully intimate about people listening to words and a stunning disbelief in believing that with some sound effects and a wicker basket, and then people believing that this wicker basket is a carriage, and they will say "OK, it's a carriage" you know, it's an experience, so yeah, maybe one day in the future I'd like to do it, maybe with a friend, someone like Robert Davi or an actor I have worked with in my career that fancies it also so we can say hey, let's see what we can do. For example, if you look at Michael Caine and Terence Stamp who back in the day when artists were colleagues and friends, the rivalry wasn't about no-one giving a fuck about who's got more followers, then that would be something that would really be a nice idea. We'd say something like let's do something like this for seven or eight weeks and then call it. I wouldn't want to a long run again, I know that but maybe, one day, I'd like to do a small run in the theatre.
I know you have now ventured into filmmaking yourself as a director, so how will your approach set you apart from other directors?
Well I've been producing and writing screen plays regularly but with my first feature that I am directing I don't think I would be bold enough to say something that would set me apart, but I love photography, and I am inspired by Michael Mann, Micheal Bay, David Fincher and as far as composition is concerned, Federico Fellini is the Holy Grail of composition. With Hollywood, it's becoming if you like on one level a very entertainment based, almost like a theme park mentality, you know, give them a ride, lots of CGI, and I don't know what your take on it is?
I like the long shot, stunning photography also but the long take, if someone can do that, then...!
Yeah yeah, let it breathe, and also, we all have busy lives that I think sometimes sitting down to watch a Little Miss Sunshine or another independent little movie that's shot and its not just a traffic cop, something just cut and action, it's a director that might have that static shot thats almost awkward in its length that its deliberate and you don't get a sense that it's a mistake as he or she is creating something. For me, I don't want to be an employee for the rest of my life. The problem with film at the moment is that there are so many people trying to achieve for the reasons that they have such as a lot of them want to have fame, they want notoriety, they are playing the game, they are networking. I... couldn't... give... a... fuck... about... networking!, it's the most tedious and most time consuming that I always say that if you are a beautiful woman, it might do you some good but if you are a dude that wants to do some work, I don't think networking necessary is going to procure the role that I am certainly looking for. The casting process in LA is almost getting to the point that if you go into a room without your hat in your hand, they would think that you were too confident not matter what your body of work is representing your talent. Your talent is like I want to work with people that love film, aren't dependant on a $200 million dollar budget and a $200 million dollar P&A Fund, we are like hey, let's just see what we can do with some glass, and some media and just shoot this thing with the script, the character, composition and see if we can pull it off. If I can do that and I can find a much bigger audience for my films that I am directing, if I can find an audience that digs it then I can keep doing it until I drop. I am trying to find a way where it's like do you make an album or do you make a single and try and compete in the singles chart. I would be more like 'hey, I am going to make a fucking album', I don't want to think about or deal with the noise of the Top 40, I want to just go and make something and go and find an audience that appreciates as much integrity that I can bring. I pride myself with that and I think what sets me apart from what others are doing is that I'm not hungry for that, I don't need to be one of the hot kids on the list coming up, I just want to be someone that people will say that they like his films and they like his integrity. So if I can pull that off at some point in my career consistently, then I'll have got there. I think letting go of the ego element of the business is something you can only get to in time. As Robert Davi said "You and I are soldiers of cinema". And you know, we are, we work but we don't have the luxury of picking and choosing at the $200 million dollar level so we've got to find a way that creates something that is truthful and authentic than not. It can literally chew you up and spit you out if you go with the ego game and try and get the new hot thing. I've got some movies coming out this year, three of them actually, some of them might hit, some of them might not, you've gotta just take a deep breath, I think that's what sets me apart as I want to do it for the rest of my life, and that adjusts how you approach things I guess.
The three films that you just mentioned that you have got coming out, can we talk a little about them without giving too much away?
Of course, we've got the one I am directing called Your Move which I am massively proud of as its been a label of love and a great deal of work, 2 and a half years in the making so far, we are weeks away from finishing, probably a month away from having it completed, locked and delivered. It's a story about a fan that is in love with my wife and believes she is his and there are ramifications of that. She is Mexican and is an Olympic gold medallist from Mexico in the equestrian world and we are on a FaceTime call and I witness a very brutal attack on my wife and my child, then he hangs up and it is down to me to go and see what I can do. Her father is extremely successful and in the underworld, so I have to keep some of my information from him in fear that he would kill him and I would never find my family. So what I did was I directed it in a way where I share with the audience my experience, they see the villain, they see the bad guy right at the beginning and they share my frustration because the police say he has an alibi, which he does have but I know and the audience know that he's guilty, so there is that frustration of me trying to get the information out of him and it turns out without giving anything away that this man is probably going to take this information to the grave with him than tell me where my family is. Its a cat and mouse situation but also an old school thriller of what a man would do to, well certainly try to do to save his family but without connections to the CIA, FBI or any of these agencies like the movie Taken. Its more about a man and what he would have to do on his own to try and save his family.
Who will be appearing with you in Your Move?
With myself I have Robert Davi, Patricia De León and an actor I found called Alain Mora, and he is a fucking tour de force as an actor and I am lucky to introduce him to the planet, he really is so worthy of some accolades, as is Patricia De León, the woman that plays my wife is just bloody remarkable, you've got snot, and tears, and couldn't be more convincing and real and beautiful. And Davi gives what I think is one of his most character driven performances I've seen in the last 10 or 20 years, he is just incredible. I am in in too and I play the main character.
And the other 2 films, what about those...?
Well, did you see a film called Interview With A Hitman that I did?
Yes, of course, saw it a few years back now!
Well the director of that Perry Bhandal who is a dear friend of mine, we are producing a movie together, he had an idea for a script called The Last Boy and we worked very closely on that script as I said I'm very happy to make this happen, we'd defer a payment and get it done, get the movie made, which we have, it's in post-production now, and 99% completed. I am very proud of it and as I am working with Perry again, it's something I will do on and off as we have this really good way of working together. I'm really intense about my desire to get the script and feature right, as is he, so we did that.
The other movie I did was with Paula Patton and Omar Epps and a wonderful director called Deon Taylor called Traffik - it's about human trafficking and I play for the first time in a while the nemesis of that story, quite a revolting character, I'll be honest with you, it's the first one in a long time that I was just really happy when it was over because he is a fucking arsehole, but that's what he is meant to be. I was a bit intimidated and the reason I did it was because I said I was really fearful of doing that kind of thing, you know, of invading a woman's space on film, I know I can do it but I don't know if I wanted it on my resume, I don't know if I want to experience it and I thought you have got to face your fears. So Deon asked if I would do the role, and I said absolutely, I would be honoured to work with him, I would be honoured to work with Paula and Omar, they are great actors. This is going to be a great piece and if you look on IMDB, you will see that we have a really prestigious director of photography called Dante Spinotti. That's going to come out in theatres this year and globally also. That's the 3 that are coming out.
You just touched on it then when you said you are playing the nemesis character but overall I take it you prefer to play the hero type of role or if the part is right, like it is in Traffik but do you really predominantly aim towards the good guy role?
I'm happy to play both but to be honest with you, villains in scripts lately when you read them, they can be a little dastardly; a villain that I love is a Benecio Del Toro villain, I don't think it gets much better than his villains because they are normal quite tragic characters, and somewhat like it's very hard to not understand them, he gave you that with Blade. With this character in Traffik it was a necessity, it was within the story and someone had to do it, and I knew I could, so I hope what I did was right. I like heroes but I would rather them be flawed, or dirty or edgy in some way. If their motive is take over the world then I probably don't want to play the role, I couldn't give a fuck about that! If they have an issue that they believe is right and the audience can understand his point, it's twisted..., for example Victor in Interview With A Hitman, that was my single, biggest, kind of hurdle, I was like, how the fuck do I make this character likeable, and watchable with what he is doing! It was a massive challenge that I said people like stoicism if he doesn't have any arrogance, if he doesn't have any posturing, I think if he is watchable they will like watching him, so I just made him unaware of what he is and that is what worked. Eventually it was either be killed or kill, thats what go him into the business, he was bloody good at it but guess what, he wants out. And getting out for a hitman was obviously his demise. I loved playing a somewhat anti-hero but they are doing the right thing and they will go to the extreme lengths to get it done as is necessary. Wearing a pair of tights and saving a cat in a tree is not my ideal and I don't want to be that hero.
I heard recently from the director (Gavin Rapp) of a film you are about to start shooting called The Mob Priest, I presume the lead character you are to play is going to be what you touched upon, a hero with a flawed history?
I am a very spiritual boy and so I have to feel like it's been honouring of that certain order of people, and I want to be respectful but at the same time if the question is would a man kill, no matter what his vocation, would you kill to protect your family. That's what I love about film and make believe, you can flirt and you can experiment to say this feels too much or it doesn't feel quite enough, it needs to be more shocking perhaps, only then it becomes somewhat of a debate and controversial, and then as soon as people start debating, you have them because if they care enough to start debating it, then you have impacted someone in someway. The thing about The Mob Priest is it really does exist and it's that contradiction of spirituality, the confession yet corruption, and I certainly think we're working hard to try to make sure we get the right cast. The script also feels super tight, yesterday Robert (Davi) and I had a conversation to just do what we did when we were working on my movie Your Move, we went through dialogue to make sure that it was human and also to keep things moving as it still is a work in progress. I love the world, I love the character, I love the idea of the contradiction of mob and priest, it literally being the Yin and Yang of things. I think there is a great opportunity there visually and certainly composition wise, we've got to discuss the VP but in my opinion and with my input on this, its all the shadows and the Hitchcock approach for a movie like that. I love areas of the screen that you don't see and the audience can guess watching those shadows and they are then filling in the blanks themselves. If we can make a movie where we credit the audience with being smart and enjoying it and them filling in some of the blanks, then for us not spoon-feeding them, it makes a proper independent movie like this, just that little bit more sexy. That would be the idea, so I'm excited about doing it and I am involved in producing it, we just want to make sure that The Mob Priest goes down the right road. It's certainly an exciting project and working with Robert is always fun, he is a tour-de-force with what he does. I am thrilled to be working with him again.
What kind of film shoots do you hate the most?
If I am honest with you, I hate movies that are front lit and over bright, those that are somewhat formulaic in the way that they are shot like TV, and up really close. Let's say you've got a war-torn warrior who is a 26-year-old and every single camera take is on the nose, you know, "it's cut, cut, cut, cut" - nothing lives, like you've mentioned earlier about those shots that live. I remember watching Kingdom Of Heaven and at the beginning you have a man that you would not only drink with but you would follow him into battle. I'm not a fan of movies that don't allow you to experience the emotion, for example if you get a sense that the movie has been cut by executives and I'm sure you know the ones, I'm literally feeling like I'm being dictated to so much to process, process, process, I like a movie to breath. I can't mention a specific movie as that would be super disrespectful to the filmmakers but I do think cinema is funded by story, and characters, and composition, and I think at times movies that abandon that, then we are looking at somewhat of an 80% video game. Again, another thing with some of the superhero movies at the moment, I never thought I'd reach a point where I'd wait for the DVD. I used to be the guy literally saying it comes out on Friday and I am going to the fucking movie theatres. There was a time when and I always say this, that I think Bruce Willis is one of the great action heroes and when you've got a movie like Die Hard, which was just fantastic, and he was trying to save all those people on that top floor, and it was one building, and one group of people for the entire movie and more than anything else, to save the woman he loved, his wife. So the movie has already given me something where a human life is profoundly valuable to me, I'm a spiritualist and I love people, so I'm already invested at that point. So now you see a movie doing $17 billion dollars worth of damage, hundreds of people are killed and you've got these guys at the end saying we've saved the day, I'm like "you've saved shit!" You have now got to spend the entire economy of every country on Earth to clear up 'today's' mess, forget yesterday's!'..., so it get's to a point where I am desensitised by the jeopardy, then there is another $7 billion dollar building that has gone down and I'm then "OK" and before you look at it, there is nothing left but we are told that we are meant to believe there is some sort of victory there. I don't enjoy it, maybe it's my age but it does not turn me on, I get desensitised where it's destruction, destruction, destruction. For me independent film feels much more sincere at the moment.
Would you agree then that many of these action films that are made are always trying to compete with let's say a Michael Bay production, as for me he is the master of the action film, and people try to imitate him all the time?
On the record I have to say that Michael Bay is still then dude that does it right, he know's his shit! The first Transformers was super charming where you had these cars that were really great characters, they had a lot of heart and hiding down the side of buildings, there was something charming about it, and I really did enjoy it. Obviously people are emulating the master of action that is Michael Bay. Another guy I loved watching and God bless him, he is no longer here and he was hugely influential and I just want to honour him because he was such an influence to me, and that was Tony Scott. He was a glorious director and a lot of people are saying that the movie I have made (Your Move) is a little Man On Fire at times, so that is a great compliment. That is a glorious film. With Bay though, he has loads of lovely high shots, they are on track and moving around going from high in the sky to moving behind the lead character, my God man, it's fucking great, you know I am a big fan of big cinema too and the good thing about Bay is that when he does it right there is still a lot of story there. I just find myself with some of these reboots and I don't want to mention any because I don't want to hurt myself! You're just like "give me a minute to catch my breath from the last one before we reinvent this thing".
You know the entertainment industry is particularly judgmental, so how did you cope with it initially with Bros, and how have you coped with it in your acting career?
I'll be honest with you mate it doesn't get any easier, people think that celebrities have this bizarre thick skin and you know what, some of them do, but I don't. I accept it comes with the territory as you're either too skinny, too big, too tanned, too pale, you're too round headed, you're too bald, you're too whatever... and then on the other side of it you're just right. So I think the trick is just to say look, from my point of view I look in the mirror and say that dude there with the round head is all I've got, and it's the best I've got and you can't squeeze more juice out of an orange, you know, once you've squeezed it, that's all you have got. I feel that accepting yourself doesn't flirt too much with obsession, for me, accepting myself is a great part of my daily meditation. I meditate at 04:00am every day for an hour, I pray to God every night before I go to bed because it humbles me, its a great way to face truths about yourself as a human being and as a person, and as a professional or as a spiritual person or whatever, then you can apply that to life. So the simplistic humbling of your day by meditation and prayer really stops the noise getting overwhelming for me at times because when you are trying to run film careers, promotion careers, other movies that are coming out and a tour, and blah, blah, blah, blah, to arrange..., it's a cacophony of stuff, so I find that the way I handle it now is to say "look, yes, feels like shit", and try and discard it. It does hurt to be ridiculed, its not pleasant, but it comes with the territory. I always say that if you ask for an opinion, people will give you one, as by the fact that what I do is a subjective art form and is a public kind of territory, you have to be ready to see both sides and not be affected by either. It's the same with the good and the bad comments, and comments that are funded by insight that could be massively nourishing for an artist more than most of us admit if I'm honest, its the truth, its a tough ride and you have just got to take a deep breath or two, and just take it on the chin as it comes with the job.
Have you always been very spiritual then?
I have been because my grandfather was a spiritualist and a healer, and I was raised by him and my mother who I lost 3 years ago. It's been a big part of our life but I say that what happened to me was just in the process of trying to work out how to be the best filmmaker or person that I can be, I just decided to take a year off from film about 18 months ago, I just said no films for a year so that I could get my value back and because I knew I was making film, because I love making movies. I was on set too much and it was a tough decision to make but I said to myself that I'm going to use this year for the first time in my life to address some of the spiritual needs and meditation needs, and a simplistic approach for a year where I just got an idea of who I was, and then people said to me when I came back and did the Bros stuff recently, they said "Wow, you're so calm" and I said that "it's all a bit of fun"; I take it seriously of course but that you have just got to get over yourself, so the spiritual approach makes it all the more doable for me.
Keeping in shape seems to come with your job but what sort of routine do you have to do to stay as good as you are?
I decided years ago with my wife where we do something called 'our life age', I came up with this concept a long time ago where you say how old do you feel, what does your spirit tell you, and live it..., just live that..., live that energy..., live that feeling of whatever and it's not that I am trying to avoid my actual age but for me I have the philosophy of thinking that your actual age can sometimes be a scam, it can pull you into the way you dress, the way you move, the way you train. For me, I eat healthy and I avoid carbs after my first meal of the day, and then I go to the gym every single day that I can as I work out between 5 and 7 times a week. I eat right and I work out as hard as I did when I was in my 20's, and now I work harder than I have ever worked out, I lift heavier, I do loads of reps so that I don't get too big but I stay super strong and really agile and I look after myself. I am just going to keep going until I drop! I believe age is a way to get rid of us so that the cycle of everyone can just rotate. I think we can avoid it if we just say that I feel as strong as I did when I was 28, or my early 30's which I do, and I am going to work, play, eat and sleep that way. I do think that the subconscious of our age can really pull us down because you feel like just be default that you are somewhat combating your own kind of mortality, and I am saying "fuck that...!, I don't feel that age!". I am not going to embarrass myself, don't get me wrong, I know there are limits and I am not going to put my cap on a certain way and do a fake limp but I really do think that you have got to attack life, and I say that every 7 years, if you push hard and test your body a little harder every 5, 6, 7 years, I do think you can retrain your DNA and your genetics to behave in a better way. Having a kind heart and having a loving temperament is the best way to stay young. You know them too, those mean individuals out there with their cynicism and being mean, it will put you in the ground early. I'm a bit of a hippy if I am honest about it, I love people, I love doing anything I can, sometimes I get messages on social media of people in trouble, and I don't have that "them and us thing" where I am a celebrity, and you are the fan. I will take time to send a motivational quote personally to somebody or give them advice or just be a caring voice to them because I know that 5 minutes of my day, will help 24 hours of theirs.
And longer, much longer!
Yeah, or longer yeah, it might be something they will treasure and I don't necessarily feel worthy of it but I do know that it would have a positive impact, and that in itself is worth doing. I am a bit like that where I think one of the reasons I am here on Earth with me being a little drip in the ocean, literally, is to give a little bit of light back because there is so much of the other stuff, and I want to be at least an opposing force, albeit a very small one.
You touched upon the tour earlier that you are about to do with your brother Matt with Bros, I'm just curious to hear what you personally want to get out of this tour?
For me it was something I wanted to do, I don't need to do it and most people that know us will know that as we have our own other stuff going on which is a nice place to be in, for me though I want to have music in my life again. Luckily my movies are what they are and my instrument in the band are the drums so I think a lot of dudes are like "cool", but if I was a fucking keyboard player with spiky hair then I might have lost a fan or two but drums are a cool instrument, and I get to kick the fuck out of the things for two hours (laughs). So for me it's this weird thing that kind of works and I really love playing the drums, and the thing is, when me and Matt starting talking about it again, I just thought about how nice would it be if maybe once or twice or whatever times a year I got to do it on a big stage, see the fans and play some loud music and what I would like to do is create a sound that would somewhat segue if Bros does do music again in the future, we segue a live show this time and it will show the fans what the new stuff might sound like. It still gives them the songs that they have not heard for a quarter of a century but to do it in a way where you get all the sour faces saying "are you doing it for the money?" or "blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,...", yet I say to them "dude, I have spent twice as much as I should have on this show so that the fans get a contemporary gig that stands up with the Bruno Mars of this world", as this will be huge and expensive but it's an investment for Matt and I, but we want to do it right. Our profit margins are much lower than they could have been because we want to give the fans a great show. We are also filming a documentary at the moment and I don't know if you know about that but James Corden's production company Fulwell 73 are doing a documentary on Bros and our life but not all this stuff that you have heard before, it's about our journey pretty much after the band, it's a behind the scenes documentary and a real fly-on-the-wall stuff which we are doing as we speak. That's coming out in theatres and we are also going to film the show, so there will be opportunities for people to see it live. I want the fans to feel like that's some cool fucking music right there that sounds good, sure they are poppy but they are heavier and a little edgier. It's a full band on the stage, it's nice and live, chunky and just a little vibe that I would feel comfortable playing at my age, so and I hope that at the end of this the 'equals' sign should be the fans love it, that would be the idea, so that the extra expense was worth it. I'm doing it for them and for myself but it's definitely a bit of a 50/50 situation. I just hope that people come along and enjoy it.
So besides the tour, what else can we expect from you in the next 12 months?
Well... I am definitely going to be directing another movie but I just want to find that one piece that I want to put my life into but you know what it is like, directing a film is not something you just show up to for 4 or 5 weeks, get paid, do your role and back on a plane home. Directing a movie, you finish the set and then that shit follows you as you go to the edit suite to put it together, so I'm going to find a story as there are a couple of scripts I am playing with right now as far as ones that I think I would like to direct, so there will be that, then obviously more films where I am choosing a higher standard of script, basically just keeping it moving because as it is tempting to do more but also when film is your source of income, you have got to be careful not to say "right, its what I use to live" but I don't want to jeopardise the career by doing too much. I am going to be very mindful of what I pick, and again there's still a relative scale on that as I'd love to be a number of characters but you have to look through the minefield of crap that's out there and try and find ones that not only I enjoy, or my gang like, but hopefully that you think the fans that I do have, would they like it too. It's a debate to try and find those right projects, so it's going to be a combination of stuff I am producing, directing and acting in.
What do you want people in 20 years to know Luke Goss for?
Well I'll be well into my 60's so I don't know, I just hope that I have had a chance to represent myself more accurately in that time because obviously when you are in a phenomenon as a kid, that ripple, (laughs) fuck... me...! it's enduring so, but I can't say it was always accurate as I was a young boy, I was a deer in the headlights and people just immediately assumed you were arrogant, and really I was like "dude, what is going on, where am I", and so there was that. The other thing is that I would like to feel that there is a consistency in what I do whether it be musically, whether it be with writing or the products I am working on, the companies, the film and there is a consistency of authenticity and a genuine energy of what I do. Obviously I'd like to have a favourable reputation at that point where people say he is a good dude, he's legit and he is a talented boy. You have got to earn that reputation and I'd like there to be a continuity of who I am, and how people see me, I'd like them to match because it's getting there but its a long way, we will get there, I just have to keep being a hippy about it and keep plugging along.
Occupation: Actor / Musician