Alice Braga Exclusive Video Interview REDBELT

     April 27, 2008

Written by Scott Huver

While Frosty was out of town on a secret mission, I stepped in to help my pal out by stepping in to do a little sparring with the tough-as-nails cast of the new martial arts flick “Redbelt.” Who am I? I’m Scott Huver, one of Frosty’s buds who’s logged waaaay more hours going one-on-one with celebrities at premieres, parties and press days for outlets like People Magazine and than I have in the dojo.

Fortunately I didn’t have to physically throw down with actors, who include intimidators like Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rodrigo Santoro, boxing great Ray Mancini and Ultimate Fighting Champ Randy Couture – even Brazilian actress Alice Braga might be enough of a spitfire to put me on the mat (and in that case, I wouldn’t have minded). But my skills at unarmed verbal combat were fully tested, and I emerged from the ring unbloodied and unbroken.

“Redbelt’s” not your typical martial arts movie – it’s not jam-packed with traditional, bone-crunching action sequences like a Jason Statham film, or even old school Chuck Norris smackdowns. Because it’s written and directed by playwright/filmmaker David Mamet, the master of hard-boiled dialogue who also happens to be a longtime student of Brazilain jiu jitsu, there’s no shortage of machismo on display, but it’s a far more poetic, existential exploration of the psychology and philosophies of fighting – with a few choice beatdowns thrown into a typically twisty Mamet-ian shell game of a plot for good measure.

The story centers around L.A. jiu jitsu instructor Mike Terry (Ejofor), who believes that fighting is solely a means of self-defense, always finding a way out when your back is to the wall – in Mike’s view fighting for competition and profit is unnecessary and compromises the true spirit of his martial art.

But when he suddenly finds himself caught in a tangled web involving a world-weary Hollywood action star (Tim Allen in a great change of pace) and his slick handler (Joe Mantegna), a traumatized attorney (Emily Mortimer), his own ambitious wife (Braga) and an oily assortment of manipulative, not-so-legal operators (including Santoro, David Paymer and Mamet stalwart Ricky Jay), Mike is pulled into the professional fight world and has to decide exactly what he’s willing to do battle for.

In Collider’s video interviews, the stars talk about their own experiences with combat, both on the mat and in the arena of Hollywood – and really, how different are they?

Up now is the interview I did with Alice Braga, and here’s a link to the movie clips for “Redbelt” in case you missed them.

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