STEP INTO THE RING. Frank Grillo shows DA MAN why he’s the perfect embodiment of the age-old adage that age “is just a number”
When you see him going toe to toe against the good guys in “Captain America: the Winter Soldier” (and later this month in the upcoming “Captain America: Civil War”) it’s hard to believe that Frank Grillo, playing Brock Rumlow aka Marvel supervillain Crossbones, is 50 years old. Take a peek at his social media accounts, though, and you’ll quickly see that he’s just as much at home in a boxing ring or MMA cage as he is on the set of blockbuster movies.
Grillo’s acting career goes back almost a quarter of a century, yet the past few years has seen a resurgence in his popularity as he has landed more and more leading roles in major productions. In 2016 alone he will appear as the main character in “Beyond Skyline” (which was shot in Indonesia and features “The Raid” alumni Iko Uwais and Yayan Ruhian) while reprising his role in the newest “The Purge” (that would be “The Purge: Election Year”) movie and in hit TV series “Kingdom” where he plays, quite appropriately, a mixed martial arts trainer. And all of this is on top of his appearances in the Marvel cinematic universe, three other starring roles in big-budgeted motion pictures and his regular (grueling) training regimen.
Not that Grillo’s newfound prominence is all that surprising, mind you. His extensive filmography has since the beginning included plenty of big titles such as “Minority Report” and “Poltergeist: the Legacy.” So, it’s not so much a case of “better late than never” as it is “about damn time.”
DA MAN: Hi, Frank; extremely excited to have you with us. And it seems that 2016 is shaping up to be a great year for you. Let’s start with “Captain America: Civil War,” which is about to hit theaters soon. How excited are you right now?
Frank Grillo: It’s been a busy year, yes. Great? That remains to be seen. Ha! “Captain America: Civil War” looks to be a big summer hit, so hopefully Crossbones will make a splash.
DA MAN: Those familiar with the “Civil War” comics know that your character, Brock Rumlow aka Crossbones, plays an incredibly pivotal role at the end of the story arc. Are there any hints about your character’s significance in the movie version of this story that you can reveal at the moment?
Frank Grillo: Crossbones is pivotal for sure, but the film does not follow the comics; so, fans will see Crossbones in a different capacity.
DA MAN: On a more personal note, do you have a favorite moment or a particularly memorable bit from playing in two “Captain America” movies?
Frank Grillo: My favorites are always the fights. Fans of “Captain America: the Winter Soldier” will not be disappointed with “Captain America: Civil War.”
DA MAN: Still looking back, how did you react when you first learned about the character you were going to play? Particularly the part where he would continue to evolve across multiple movies.
Frank Grillo: I was happy to get the role; however, Marvel is very secretive, so the extent to which your character [will grow] in these films—unless you’re a main hero—is always questionable.
DA MAN: There’s also a fair bit of excitement about “Beyond Skyline” here in Indonesia, since it was shot here and features Indonesian actors. So, first and foremost, how was your stay here? Did you get a chance to play tourist a bit?
Frank Grillo: My stay in Indonesia was very pleasurable. I worked every day, six days a week, so no time to play tourist much, but we did get to explore and have fun.
DA MAN: And the question of the hour: what was it like working with Iko Uwais and Yayan Ruhian?
Frank Grillo: They were awesome and we became fast friends. We trained together and hung out a lot. I love both of them dearly.
DA MAN: Having worked directly with Indonesian actors and filming crew, what is your overall impression about our movie industry?
Frank Grillo: It’s an interesting thing working there. The laws are different and the culture is very unique, but once you find the right rhythm it works well. They are beautiful people.
“It keeps me sane, getting punched”
DA MAN: You also play in the latest two “The Purge” movies. Now, “The Purge: Anarchy” wasn’t directly connected to the first film. Does this year’s “The Purge: Election Year” reinvent itself as well, or are there some connections to either?
Frank Grillo: “The Purge: Election” continues where “The Purge: Anarchy” left off.
DA MAN: “The Purge: Election Year” is coming out during a vital time in American politics. What are your thoughts on this?
Frank Grillo: The film directly parallels the GOP [the Republican Party] race in america. It’s scary that what some candidates are saying isn’t too far from what “The Purge” is doing.
“It’s scary that what some [presidential] candidates are saying isn’t too far from what ‘The Purge’ is doing now”
DA MAN: On the TV front, the third season of “Kingdom” is set to air this year. What can fans of the show—and newcomers too—expect this time around?
Frank Grillo: “Kingdom” is something I’m most proud of. I wish more people knew about it. The third season premieres with more of the same ups and downs for this incredible group of people. Fans will be very happy as I believe this is our best season yet.
DA MAN: In “Kingdom” you play a retired MMA fighter. What a lot of viewers might not realize is that in real life, you’re a bona fide MMA practitioner. Can you tell us a bit about your background in combat sports?
Frank Grillo: I was raised with wrestling in school and started boxing and jiu-jitsu later on. I’m an avid boxer and still spar every day. It keeps me sane, getting punched.
DA MAN: On a related note, how well does your real-life fighting skills translate to the more showy fight scenes of movies like “Captain America” and other action films?
Frank Grillo: My foundation with all things related to fighting is very strong, so I can pick up fight scenes after only 20 minutes of rehearsals.
DA MAN: Do you have any long-term career goals?
Frank Grillo: Keep working and keep improving. I have three kids in school.
DA MAN: On the flip side, when you’re not busy filming, what do you usually do? Do you still actively train?
Frank Grillo: I train three to four hours every single day. Boxing, conditioning, and so on. Seven days a week.
DA MAN: Do you have a favorite quote or saying that keeps you going through busy days on set (or heavy bouts of sparring in the ring/cage)?
Frank Grillo: “No matter how you feel, get up, dress up, show up and never give up!”
DA MAN: Lastly, your career as a leading career is soaring. Where do you hope to go from here?
Frank Grillo: Ha! “Soaring” is generous. I still want to work in more films with great directors and actors. I feel like there is so much more for me to do as an actor, to push the limits. But I’m grateful for all the wonderful things I’m getting to do.
To see more pictures from this shoot, get a copy of DA MAN April/May 2016 here. And check out these outtakes below:
Join us for a quick tour behind our photo shoot and interview with Frank Grillo of “Captain America: The Winter Solider” fame (as well as “Captain America: Civil War,” “Beyond Skyline,” and the latest two “The Purge” movies).