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Exclusive Interview: I Am Wrath and Vigilante Diaries star Paul Sloan!

06.07.2016by: Eric Walkuski

They don't make 'em like PAUL SLOAN very much anymore. In a way, he's a man out of time, the kind of action star you saw plenty of in the 80s and 90s but has since become nearly extinct. Still, Sloan is carving out a name for himself in the genre, and that's because he's making his own luck. Serving as writer as well as performer, Sloan has established himself in the action/thriller world thanks to titles like The Vigilante Diaries (which began life as a web series but is now a feature film), The Night Crew and, most recently, I Am Wrath, which co-stars John Travolta and Christopher Meloni. Sloan clearly understands this business won't hand you anything for free; you've got to go out and grab success by the horns and make it yours.  As a longtime friend of the site, Sloan was all too happy to talk shop with us regarding his two most recent films and what's to come!

With NIGHT CREW, I AM WRATH and now VIGILANTE DIARIES, 3 films that you wrote and starred in, coming out on the big screen over the course of 2 years; you’ve been a pretty busy guy. Would you consider yourself to be a work-a-holic?

I think the only time it feels like work, is when it’s not working. When you really feel like you’re busting ass, and for some reason, a project doesn’t come together. That’s in any profession I guess. It is a non-stop hustle trying to get movies made, but once they are actually going, it doesn’t feel like work, I enjoy the hell out of it.

What do you enjoy more, acting or writing? (If you had to choose JUST one, which would you go with?)

Acting. Writing feels like homework for me. And acting feels like recess. I am really good at recess.

What is Paul Sloan’s writing process? Does it involve Starbucks? Is booze on the menu?

The booze comes as soon as I finish. But first, I bitch about having to write for a few days, then I just lock down and do it. I sit in a coffee house with hot tattooed waitresses and that’s it everyday until I’m done. I need a deadline or I’ll never do it. Sometimes a story comes to you, and you just have to bang it out. That’s when writing is enjoyable. I respect guys who can enjoy the process and just find writing in itself rewarding. Those are true writers.

In many ways you’re an action star from the 80’s and 90’s but in 2016 as you got the machismo, one-man-army vibe and the muscled physique down pat. Can you give us a glimpse of your weekly workout/diet regimen?

I lived in Venice Beach CA for years, so a lot of my buddies are trainers and bodybuilders, I was lucky to learn from them. My workout and diet is pretty basic in between jobs - four, five days a week in the gym, hiking, and trying to eat clean. Weekends not so much. Also, you had me at action star.

Speaking of working out. You were fairly massive in NIGHT CREW but much slimmer in I AM WRATH. Was that intentional? What did you change in terms of your workout and diet to achieve that transformation?

Oh yeah, thanks, you hope someone notices that! For THE NIGHT CREW, the director wanted me to pack on some muscle. That character was ex-Delta and had to look like he gets the job done, not just a guy with nice abs. He had to be a tank. So it was a lot of steak and eggs and hitting heavy weights. For I AM WRATH I had to be a little leaner, that character was a street thug and probably just did curls and crunches while he looked in the mirror smoking crack. So that was more cardio and a lot less calories. Look, getting paid to go on a diet is nothing to complain about. It’s not easy, but am totally ok with it. I like physical roles. And I don’t see me playing CEO’s or brain surgeons in the near future.

What was your reaction when you found out folks like John Travolta, Chris Meloni and Chuck Russell were going to be bringing your script I AM WRATH to life?

I worked with Chuck way back on Scorpion King, and was glad we got him onboard. The cast came together much later. I didn’t meet Travolta or Meloni until we were on location in Ohio. Then I realized, oh shit, wow. I love movies, and both of those guys are fantastic, so it was great. I mean there’s no way to downplay it, it was awesome.

What was it like to play opposite a screen icon like John Travolta? Did Staying Alive ever come up?

Travolta is such a pro and so funny and easygoing on set, that sometimes you forget this is f**king John Travolta. We talked Face/Off. And of all things, his cameo in Goldmember. You just learn watching guys at that level, they set the tone for the set, and really, watching Travolta just kill scene after scene was amazing. He’s also not afraid to throw down when he has to. He rushed me in one scene, drove me into a wall. Cracked the plaster, blew the circuits. No shit. He gave me a head ups though.

How different is the I AM WRATH final product from your original screenplay?

I’m not precious about changes and the script was tweaked along the way, but honestly most of the script made it to the screen. What changed was the tone. Chuck brings his flavor of crowd pleasing action, and the combination of Travolta and Meloni brought a dark humor to the movie. And almost everyone agrees that the buddy movie vibe between their two characters is the highlight of the film. You can’t write that, or know it’s gonna play that way until you see two actors at the top of their game, make the material their own. I know that’s all douchey actor talk, but it’s the truth. Those guys took the movie and along with Chuck’s direction made it their own. It was fun to watch.

If you learned ONE valuable lesson when it comes to the I AM WRATH experience what would it be?

I think with movies, and with life, you really can’t give up or dismiss something that is not working out. Sometimes you have to step away from a project for a bit, and focus on something else. On WRATH, that movie had many ups and downs, and seemed like it was not happening. Then one day you’re on set and John Travolta is slamming your head through a wall.

When’s the last time you punched somebody in the face in real life? Why did you do it? Was it worth it?

I hate fighting so last brawl was probably just a face push. I’ll tell you last time I was punched in the face in real life. A drunk fitness model clocked me in the Adam’s apple. I faked like it didn’t hurt, but when she was gone, I dropped a manly tear of pain. That chick could punch. I still don’t know who she thought I was. Probably her ex. My head was shaved, maybe she thought I was Fallon.

Talk a little about your collaboration with director Christian Sesma over the years; how has it evolved?

You know you have become friends with a director when he makes movies without you in them, and you don’t hate the guy. Met Christian through usual manager hook up, at a screening of one of his movies. We hit it off, just talking action flicks. He tells me we should work together. Nice guy, but everyone says that:) Then I get an email a few months later, Sesma’s like “hey I wrote a part for you in my next movie, get your ass out to Palm Springs.” And from that, it’s just been a shorthand of liking the same material, and a similar attitude about getting the job done. It’s fun watching him get the attention he deserves. But if he does a MARVEL movie and doesn’t cast me, yeah, then, I’ll hate him.

Vigilante Diaries started as a webseries, then grew into a feature film - what's next for The Vigilante? A sequel?

I would love to say I know, but I don’t. That project has nine lives. It was so much fun, hope to get together with that crew again.

What was your favorite sequence to act out in Vigilante Diaries The Movie and why?

We shot a foot chase/car chase through Yerevan, Armenia. If you are an action movie junkie, locking down streets in a foreign country, and running and shooting and driving… that’s it… I mean years of eating up Bond and Mission Impossible movies and Bourne and Indiana Jones… as an actor, it is something you don’t get to do very often. On any budget. And this was a tiny budget, just a little over half a million. So all of us were aware of that. Only with insane producers and a ballsy cast and crew did we pull it off. Most of the films that you’ve starred in are very physical.

How do you keep in shape during an actual shoot? Dumbells on set?

Once we start rolling, fight training and the hours help you keep the weight off. I usually drop weight during a shoot.

Would you like to direct some day? Is that a goal of yours?

Right now, I enjoy being told what to do. The biggest rush for me is working with directors. I love that dynamic. I’d hate to lose that collaboration. I think the director should be the best man for the job. So many amazing filmmakers out there, and really, if I directed myself, the movie might have a 12 minute title sequence of me doing tricep extensions.

Millennium picked up your project King of the Vampires in 2011. Then we heard nothing. Any updates?

That movie has been optioned a few times, I have the rights back now. It’s one that I get asked about a lot. Vampires and people want to make movies in Thailand. It’ll come together eventually.

I have to ask NIGHT CREW 2? A possibility?

That was discussed when we screened it. Without spoiling it, the producers wanted that tag at the end. EOne Entertainment is supposed to release it here in the US this year. Still waiting on that.

AITH founder John Fallon was very vocal about you playing CONAN in the reboot. Now I heard that you will play a barbarian in his next film as director. What can you tell us about the project?

I don’t want to get fired, so I will not say too much about THE PRIZE. But John’s gritty style in that genre, I think it will be THE GREY meets GAME OF THRONES. I saw The Shelter last year, and that kind of restrained minimalist directing, focusing on the actors, not the just the spectacle, John will make something special. The script is great. But really, if Fallon called and said I couldn’t read till I was on set, I’m saying yes anyway.

Eventually wielding a broad sword aside, what’s next for you acting/writing wise?

Looks like a Vegas cop thriller TEN DOUBLE ZERO, shooting with most of the gang from Vigilante Diaries. Late summer I think.

Being in this up and down bullshit laced business for so long, how do you avoid getting cynical?

I’ve learned to really stretch out the little moments when shit works out. A good screening, or a fun day on set. Working with people you admire. And friends. And sometimes you get paid a little. I realize I chose the douchiest job in the world. But I love it. I love movies. I’m being interviewed by a site I click on twice a day. Shit like that keeps me going.

Any words of wisdom to share to anybody wanting to be an action star?

You better love it. Everyone will say it’s impossible. But If it’s all you think about all day, and you are only happy when someone is aiming a fake gun at you, and shit’s blowing up, welcome to the party pal.

WATCH I AM WRATH HERE!

BUY I AM WRATH ON DISK HERE!

PRE ORDER VIGILANTE DIARIES HERE!

Extra Tidbit: Vigilante Diaries comes on ITunes and in Theaters ion June 24 2016!

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