I recently was lucky enough to interview male actor and stuntman Alain Chanoine who can be seen in the upcoming horror comedy flick Evil Feed. The movie will premiere October 23rd at the 2013 Toronto After Dark Film Festival, so if you’re in the area make sure to check it out! In this interview Alain talks about his character Tyrone, who sounds like a total badass, what it’s like to do stunt work and acting, what it was like to prepare for the roll, how he’s a martial arts geek, and how he’s totally psyched about the upcoming Ninja Turtles movie.
Alain has an optimistic attitude that is infectious and it was a lot of fun chatting with him. Make sure to check out Evil Feed and Alain’s other projects.
What inspired you to become an actor?
I always wanted to be. When I was a kid I always loved movies, I always wanted to be an artist, and I was in theater production in high school, but I never actually thought back then that it was how I was going to make a living. With some kind of weird story I just kind of ended up in the business, but it was kind of always meant to be.
What led you into stunt work?
I have been doing martial arts since I was eleven and my teacher, Jean Frenette, was a stunt coordinator and a stunt man and I always wanted to do it too. It’s funny because I wanted to be an actor first, so I got into the business and saw a lot of people doing stunts and thought, “I can do this, I want to do this.” I just ended up going for it too. My transition was from actor to stuntman, but I’m an actor first. I really love stunts and it’s a great profession.
Tell me about your character Tyrone in Evil Feed.
He’s a badass! (laughs) Evil Feed is a special kind of movie. Some characters are out of this world and cartoonish and some others are really serious. Mine is like the badass, saves his friend, I’m dressed like I’m out of the seventies, I’m all about swagger, I kick ass, and I got the one liners that you cannot miss. He’s a comic relief, but a badass at the same time. It was really fun to play because I have never played anything like that. I compare it a little bit to Kill Bill, like we overshoot it so much, but it works.
What was your favorite thing about being in Evil Feed and playing Tyrone?
It was the whole experience, like how I got to mix stunts and acting at the same time, working with friends, and just the productivity. Like if we weren’t rehearsing we were choreographing fights and then shooting and prep. Everything was done so fast. Working with my friends, and all of the stunt people that were on set, all of the actors, I got to know them through the industry and we got to work together. It was great.
Tell me a little bit about the story of Evil Feed.
We’re a group of friends and it’s kind of funny because the beginning part kind of comes from our real lives as stunt people. We shoot videos, we’re martial artists, and we come together and shoot fights. If you look on YouTube there are plenty of videos of fights that we shoot because we love acting, we love stunts, and we just do it. That’s what we do, we’re pretty good fighters until someone gets kidnapped and we go look for him. Then we get into trouble. We realize that Jenna’s father, our friend, got kidnapped in an Asian restaurant and we realize they’re cannibals. Now it’s time to save him, but then we get into the restaurant and we can’t get out. It’s about finding our friend, staying alive, not getting eaten, and getting out alive.
Are you a fan of the horror genre?
To be honest I never really watched any of these movies until I did Evil Feed. I did a lot of research and I really enjoyed the research and watching a couple of those movies. Evil Feed is a horror film. It’s gore, it’s comedy, it’s action, and there are some in Asia, but there are not a lot of these movies in the United States. There are not a lot of them. I’m a fan of action and gore and now we’ve mixed them all together. We’ll see the result!
What were some of the films you watched as research?
A lot of Tarantino. I actually sat down with the director, Kimani Smith, and he showed me parts of certain movies that he wanted. My character is straight out of black exploitation movies, so I watched Jackie Brown and Black Belt Jones that was for my own personal research (laughs). So yes, Tarantino, black exploitation films, and Kimani showed me a couple of horror flicks, but I can’t tell you the names because I don’t remember.
That sounds like so much fun, preparing for a movie by watching movies.
It takes time to do it though! You have to sit down and watch and then, “Okay, that doesn’t do it for me.” I have to find something else and then think, “Okay, well I don’t want to do that.” You don’t want to mimic, you want to make it your own and make it original. It’s still work, but it’s fun work and I love my work.
What is it like transitioning back and forth from stunt work to acting?
Most of the time I take it as two different jobs. When I go into an audition I’m not a stunt performer, I’m an actor and I just act. Sometimes as a stunt performer I’m just a stunt performer. I go in there and do a job as a stunt performer. I’m the bad guy in the fight. What’s cool with acting is that any skill you have will serve you. If you play guitar you will definitely get roles where you’re a musician, if you’re a dancer then you’ll get roles where you dance. I’m a fighter and it just helps that there are a lot of action movies out there, so it helps, but they’re really two different things. I’m not getting any younger, I’m 32 and I’ll be a stuntman as long as I can, but eventually I’ll be an actor who can fight (laughs).
Do you have any advice for people who would like to break into the industry with stunts or acting?
For acting just be yourself. Don’t try to impress anybody, that would be my advice. The more you try to impress people the less present you are. Keep at it, be patient, work really hard, and be yourself. It’s all about how much work you put into it and you’ll get it back. For stunts it’s all about who you know and training, training, training. As they say on your first day, don’t fuck up (laughs)! When you finally get your first job that’s all what people are going to say. Don’t fuck up.
Good advice! Are there any things that you like to geek over?
I’m a martial arts geek. When we start talking about martial arts, we’ll be like “Kung Fu is better this way, Karate is better that way,” and we’ll get with our friends and we talk about it and at the time we’re supposed to be watching a movie and we’re all sitting over there fighting over whose got the best style. I’m definitely a geek when it comes to martial arts because it’s so precise and it’s annoying to our girlfriends (laughs).
That’s cool, I’ve never gotten martial arts geek before.
There are different kinds of martial arts geeks. There are the ones who look at the movies and the ones who do it. We do it, but maybe sometimes at the wrong time. A friend of mine almost hit an old lady at the pharmacy. He was kicking in the alleys and she turned the corner and he literally touched her hat. You can’t do that! (laughs) It was very awkward.
(Laughs) It’s funny now though, at least it’s funny to me.
It is funny now! At the time though we were like, “Oh no, she’s going to call the police.” (laughs).
What are some other projects of yours that we can look forward to?
There’s Pompeii coming out. It’s with Kiefer Sutherland, Carrie-Ann Moss, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, and Kit Harrington who was a really cool guy. We hung out for months. I was the stunt double for Adewale who was one of the lead characters. That’s coming out really soon. It was a huge movie and it was great with a lot of action. There’s a TV series called Mohawk Girls coming out. We just finished shooting the first season. So Pompeii, Mohawk Girls, and Evil Feed. I will be auditioning for Independence Day 2 because it’s hopefully coming to Canada.
It’s coming to Canada probably. That’s the way the acting the stunt work works. It’s coming, I know I’m going to audition for it, I may get stunts on it, maybe not, I don’t know. I’m not saying I’m going to work on it, but it’s coming and I’m an actor, and if you want my services call me! (laughs)
It’s always good to put yourself out there!
Exactly. It’s like anything, I do what I do and if you want it that’s good and if you don’t, I’ve got lots of other things going on.
What is your favorite comic book movie and why?
Comic book movie… Hmmm… That’s a tough one! There are so many. I’d say it has to be the new Batmans. They did it properly. Sometimes with so many of them you’re like, “No! Why did they mess this up?” But the new ones were so good. Also, Ninja Turtles. I was a kid when it came out and it was the best martial arts flick ever! If we’re talking about popular ones, DC and everything, I’d have to say Batman because they did it right.
Batman is also a favorite of mine and I remember seeing Ninja Turtles when I was a kid and I loved it.
They’re coming out with the new one and I can’t wait. I feel like a kid again. I am not kidding, I would line up to go see that movie (laughs).
Watch the trailer for Evil Feed: