North Texas Daily

“Java Heat” Another Appalling Effort At Festival

“Java Heat” Another Appalling Effort At Festival

April 10
23:31 2013

Preston Barta

Film Critic

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Actor and model Kellan Lutz first graced audiences with his role as Chris MacNess in HBO’s “The Comeback” with Lisa Kudrow. His major break came in 2008 when he won the role as vampire Emmett Cullen in the box office smash-hit “Twilight,” and its four subsequent sequels.

In his new action-thriller, “Java Heat,” written by Conor and Rob Allyn (“Red & White” trilogy), Lutz plays Jake Travers — an American who teams up with an Indonesian police officer (newcomer Ario Bayu) to track and take down a dangerous international jewel thief by the name of Malik (Mickey Rourke.)

“Java Heat,” which screened at the Dallas International Film Festival Thursday and Friday, is surprisingly restrained and impressionistic for an action-thriller starring the great Rourke (“The Wrestler,” 2008.) There is no cinematic flare present to make this dull and cliché feature exciting. It plays like a straight-to-DVD release that everyone dismisses at Redbox. Sadly, here is another throwaway film from the festival to chunk in the scum bucket.

The North Texas Daily sat down with Lutz at the Hotel Palomar in Dallas and talked to him about working on the film and with Rourke.

How did you get involved with the project?

“Well, you have agents and managers and they are actively looking for job opportunities. They read tons of scripts. And then you have a director, Conor Allyn, who has a short list of actors that he could see play the lead role of Jake. Then the two worlds come together. I am not sure if Conor reached out to my people, or my people read the script and submitted myself, but it ended up with me taking a meeting with Conor.

I read the script and loved it, so I wanted to do it right away. I don’t think Conor knew too much about me, so he wanted to meet me in person. I obviously had so many lines in ‘Twilight.’ So, he wanted to see what kind of person I was.

When you’re working with someone, you don’t want it to feel like work. You want to make sure everything is going to go great on set and make sure that this person can pull of the physicality as well as the acting chops. It just worked out.

When we agreed to do the movie together, we started to think about other actors. I was just like, ‘What about Mickey Rourke?’ So, we sent the script to his team and did a few meetings. I’m very grateful that he decided to play Malik. I worked with him in ‘Immortals,’ but I didn’t have any scenes with him. So, I felt a little cheated. He’s a legend. I just wanted to work with him and have it out there. So, I can show my kids one day [Laughs].”

As you mentioned, this is a very physical role for you. This is an action movie. Did you have to do a lot of training? You know, learn how to shot guns and whatnot.

“I love action movies. I love being physical. It’s one of my strong suits. Crying on camera? Probably not one of my strong suits. Actors are just good at different things. You can always work towards being good at multiple things, but I’d rather work towards my strengths, which are more physically demanding roles.

With training in the numerous projects that I have done, especially military based ones— I just have a draw to it. People in the military are heroes to me. I didn’t really grow up admiring musicians, actors or sports athletes. So, I look for projects where I can play the hero. I did HBO’s ‘Generation Kill,’ which I played a Marine for seven months. They put us through boot camp and I loved it. Some of the actors quit after that. For me, I learned so much doing all that, and I took that knowledge to the next projects.”

So, the funniest part of the film was when you were on a motorcycle and you “jousted” another dude with a flagpole and flipped him the bird as you were riding away. Was that something that you added in, or was it in the script?

“Yeah [Laughs]. Definitely. We added so much, especially doing stunts with the second unit. We were just trying to make it cool. I was all for doing that scene. By that point, the last week, I was doing two-a-days. I would sleep for two hours, go with the first unit to do all the dialogue and then jump on an ATV and run from some motorcycles.

In that jousting scene— yeah, second unit gave me a lot of freedom. Honestly, I think I lost my mind at that point [Laughs]. I was just so in the moment that I don’t remember giving the guy the finger. Robert Pattinson did something like that in ‘Twilight’ to me. Way to go, Rob.”

“Java Heat” will be out in limited release in May.

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