Drew Van Acker Interview: Spy Intervention [Exclusive]

Drew Van Acker and Blaker Anderson in Spy Intervention
Drew Van Acker and Blaker Anderson in Spy Intervention (Courtesy of Cinedigm)

Drew Van Acker has the looks, the features, the talent to be that ultimate dream secret agent. Did we already mention the looks?

Spy Intervention is a hilarious spoof of the secret agent films from the 1970s and 1980s that featured good-looking spies, action sequences, gadgets, and exaggerated villains.

The film stars Drew Van Acker, Poppy Delevingne, Dave Sheridan, Blake Anderson, Natasha Bassett, and Brittany Furlan. It is the directorial feature film debut for Drew Mylrea from a script written by Mark Famiglietti and Lane Garrison.

Here’s the short synopsis:

When Corey Gage (Van Acker), the world’s greatest spy, suddenly meets the woman of his dreams (Delevingne), he decides to abandon his adventurous existence and settles for the security of suburbia – a quaint existence he’s never known. It doesn’t take long for him to be completely bored, and while he refuses to admit it when an evil plot to ruin the world pushes his former spy friend (Anderson) to enact a “spy intervention.” He is easily convinced that if he returns to his old life, the adventure will not only help save his listless marriage—it will also save the world.

LRM Online exclusively spoke with lead actor Drew Van Actor on the phone about the preparation on the role and working with very different actors in the film.

For more information on Spy Intervention, visit its Facebook page here.

Spy Intervention is in select theaters today.

Read the exclusive interview below.

LRM Online: This film made me smile. The entire movie was a whole lot of fun, and I kept laughing.

Drew Van Acker: That’s all I can ask for. As a whole, from the producers to the director to the cast, that’s all we can ask for. I love hearing that.

LRM Online: I think you did an excellent job. Let me start with the obligatory question. Why were you attracted to Spy Intervention, besides showing off your abs?

Drew Van Acker: Well, that was the only reason. So you figured it out? [Laughs] I was approached with a script by Sunil [Perkash], one of our producers of the producing team. They came to me with this idea that Mark [Famiglietti] and Lane [Garrison] had written. What was on the page was very intriguing. I told Sunil that what’s on the pages was interesting– we needed a fun and refreshing way to do this. The need was a director who has a unique vision for this. It set a lot of things in motion because it’s incredible. Mark and Lane had a particular tone that they wanted to set.

So it was all there. It just needed someone to kind of take to that next level. When we sat down with Drew Mylrea, who directed the film, it was a no brainer. He’s a talent you can’t find a lot of in this town or this industry. He inspired me right off the bat. One day, he came to a meeting with three weeks’ worth of work, prep, knowledge, clips, videos, and storytelling ideas. After leaving that meeting, I remembered thinking, “Wow! This guy is special.” We found a diamond in the rough. As soon as we met him, the train had left the station. We were all just kind of very excited to be on that train.

LRM Online: Now, your character, Corey Gage, is a super spy. How did you want it to approach that character, or did you try to emulate individual spies in other movies?

Drew Van Acker: I’ve thought about that. Spy Intervention very much has that old school vibe to it. So I wanted to watch a couple of old spy movies — obviously, a lot of the early James Bond films like Dr. No and Thunderball. Then I viewed Our Man Flint with James Coburn. I’d never seen the movie and thought it was an exciting version of the spy genre. There were bits of the young James Bond mixed with this James Coburn’s Flint.

The overall approach was with a modern twist to him. Just being able to explore that was exhilarating. The whole process was eye-opening for me as an actor.

LRM Online: Could you talk about the look of your character? This clean-cut, handsome, type of guy. How did you manage to pull this off?

Drew Van Acker: There’s a lot of physicality to him. I talked to Mylrea in depth before filming about a month. We spoke on how [Corey] was this world-class decathlete. He excels in every aspect of the physicality. We wanted him to be light on his toes and fast, but also strong and agile.

I had a pretty strict diet, keeping the cardio up with a lot of uphill running and training outdoors. Corey is to model this classic spy archetype. It’s whole male fantasy of this impenetrable character, both physically and emotionally.

LRM Online: Off subject. Do you miss your long hair and facial hair from Training Day, which has an opposite look?

Drew Van Acker: It’s funny, man. I don’t miss it because I sort of have it right now. I had been letting my hair grow as I was doing Titans and with another project. The dates kept getting pushed. So I talked to the director to let everything grow, and see what happens. Then we can always cut it as before. Things kept getting pushed and pushed. Movie business happens with financing and fall out.

At the moment, it’s somewhat, lengthy and I got a little bit of a beard. I don’t miss it too much because I’m living it right now. It’s a lot of work, man. It’s a lot of work–more work than I had previously thought.

It was long in those days in Training Day. It’s fun. I’m also somebody who likes to switch up my physical appearance as much as possible. I want to play around with different ideas.

LRM Online: Well, diversity is an excellent sign of acting, and I do appreciate that you do that.

Drew Van Acker: I appreciate that. Thank you.

LRM Online: Let me talk about some of your co-stars because seemingly, you have different styles of approach with each actor. Let start with Blake Anderson. He’s notoriously notorious for improvising. How do you act along with him?

Drew Van Acker: I want to say it was very tough. But it wasn’t tough because he’s so good at it. During our first read-through with him on our first scene, I was a little nervous and also excited in a way. I wanted to pick his brain and learn from him being in the scene with him. By watching him work, I studied him a lot.

I do that using my life, too, as well. I’m fascinated by how different people work and what makes them tick. By watching him be so fluid and so present in the scene, but there was this spark of creativity. It’s limitless.

We would have scenes where Director Drew would say cut–we would keep going. Sometimes he wouldn’t say cut, and we would keep riffing. We would have fun with each other and see where we could go in certain scenes.

I can say that I learned a lot from him. As far as the improv and the comedy, it all goes and being present in the scene. It is one of the greater pleasures that I’ve had in my career.

LRM Online: It sounds like you enjoyed improving. Are you much more improv guy them?

Drew Van Acker: I did a lot of improv when I was younger. It’s pivotal to an actor’s craft. The idea of staying present in the scene, but also having that ability to be free, not be self-conscious and not overthink. That’s what improv is. At least in my experience, it benefits all actors to have experience or knowledge in improvisation.

LRM Online: How do you keep a straight face around Natasha Bassett? She tries so hard to be sexy in a weird, funny way.

Drew Van Acker: [Laughs] There’s a lot of that going on the set. A lot of me trying to keep a straight face. A lot of me pinching myself to take the attention away from what was happening. [Laughs] The actors came on set so present in the moment, grounded in the reality of their situation. There are times where the scenes and characters are so absurd, you kind of get lost in the moment. Some tough moments were trying to keep a straight face. With everybody having the same mindset and same goal in mind, we eventually got there. But we had a lot of fun too.

LRM Online: Speaking of at absurdity–the dancing. I just cracked up when you start getting down on the floor. Talk about your freestyle. [Laughs]

Drew Van Acker: Mylrea and I had talked about what style this was and what kind of music we were going to do. We wanted something absurd, different, insanely unique, and never see anywhere else. A lot of inspiration came from Spike Jonze’s videos.

I was a mashup of a lot of different styles. We had a choreographer come in one day on set to develop our moves. We came up with things that would be quirky and different. That was the primary goal. We wanted something weird enough to be unique. [Laughs]

LRM Online: Well, I loved it.

Drew Van Acker: I appreciate it.

LRM Online: Of course, I have to talk about your main co-star Poppy Delevingne, in which you acted alongside her. You have to have a different approach with her because her character was more serious throughout the entire movie.

Drew Van Acker: First and foremost, Poppy is very easy to get along with. She’s incredibly prepared. Right off the bat, she knew her character and all the dialogue. It was effortless to jump from Corey’s relationship with Blake’s character Poppy’s character. They were both locked in on what they are bringing.

Poppy is someone incredibly talented, naturally. Right off the bat, we’ve developed this rapport that made it easier to dive into those scenes. It’s building these scenes of struggles and going through the trials and tribulations of newly married life. She made it very easy for me.

LRM Online: Director Drew used a green screen to exaggerate some scenes. How was that experience? I don’t know if you did a lot of green screens before.

Drew Van Acker: No, not a lot. It was a lot of fun. [Laughs] Being new to that process, you read a lot of stories and watched interviews with actors talking about working on a green screen. You can never really prepare yourself until you’re in it. It’s a different type of acting altogether.

With this movie, we wanted the absurdity of certain environments and scenes to take the forefront. [Laughs] We didn’t want the green screen images to overshadow the acting or vice versa. We played around with a lot of different versions, but it was fun.

It was something I can see myself doing more of in the future. This experience you don’t forget because it’s something about to live in this truth of the environment without being in it at all. It was interesting.

LRM Online: Let me wrap it up with one more question. You had a fan following with a DC’s Titans. How was that overall experience playing a superhero? It seems like you had a lot of fun.

Drew Van Acker: I did. Titans is something that came across my desk for me. Right off the bat, I was very, very excited. I was familiar with the Titans growing up. With the show Teen Titans, I was very familiar with the character, with the story and with the group on where they fit into the whole DC world. As with any actor, or with any kid getting into acting, you dream of playing these characters that you grew up watching.

I have nieces and nephews who know these characters as well. For me, it was a no brainer to kind of jump in and had as much fun with that. The idea of getting fitted for a super-suit and working with DC was unbelievable. You can see how much care, time, and effort they put into the suits, the style, and the world. It was unforgettable for me, and the fans are amazing. The fans are incredible. They found nothing, but to love. So it’s all you can ask for.

LRM Online: I think you’re doing very well. Hey, thank you very much, Drew. I appreciate this conversation. You made me laugh in Spy Intervention.

Drew Van Acker: I appreciate it, man. Thank you for taking the time.

Spy Intervention is in select theaters today.

READ ALSO: Drew Mylrea Interview: Spy Intervention [Exclusive]

Source: LRM Online Exclusive

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