Los Angeles — “Kamusta, Janet!” Tom Holland, who was in London, cheerily greeted us at 7:30 a.m. in Los Angeles, when we interviewed him recently for his latest action-adventure movie, “Uncharted.”
It was enough to wake us up and make us smile!
The 25-year-old English actor, whom we all know for his “Spider-Man” movies, is portraying a young fortune hunter, Nathan Drake, who is supposed to be a descendant of famed English explorer Sir Francis Drake.
“Uncharted,” which is directed by Ruben Fleischer, is based on the popular video game of the same name. The movie serves as a prequel to the game.
Mark Wahlberg, who portrays Drake’s mentor Victor “Sully” Sullivan, is the seasoned fortune hunter who previously worked with Nathan’s brother Sam (portrayed by Rudy Pankow).
Wahlberg, who is a good friend of Manny Pacquiao, told us during our interview that he couldn't wait to go to the Philippines. In fact, he says the boxer “will be helpful in giving us all the best locations and access to the most beautiful locations of the Philippines so we can showcase that and continue to remind people why it's such an important place to go and visit.”
In the movie, they were supposed to swing by the country but due to the pandemic, they had to settle at sending a small crew to the Philippines to digitally create the islands.
We talked to Holland, Wahlberg and director Fleischer and below are excerpts of our conversations with them:
You were supposed film in the Philippines, but they put another country there instead. Would you have preferred to be in the Philippines instead?
I would've loved to have come and shoot in the Philippines. Unfortunately, we've been dealing with this global pandemic, so traveling was a little tricky. We sent a small crew out there to film your beautiful coastline instead, so that we can recreate it in our digital world.
But I would love to have come, and I'm sure I will do soon. I'll come with Jacob (Batalon in “Spider-Man”). Jacob will take me.
You mentioned in the notes that you trained more here in this movie, than in “Spider-Man.” Can you talk more about that?
The training for this movie was very different to that of the training for “Spider-Man.” When we are preparing for a “Spider-Man” movie, we're focusing on flexibility and agility, because he's a very supple character.
Nathan Drake is a little bit more stoic. He's more calculated in the things that he does. So, I wanted to be stronger and fitter. So, the training I did was different. But I really enjoyed it and it was unique and different for me.
Tati Gabrielle used the karambit and the karambit is used in a Filipino martial art style called Kali Escrima. Were you able to also train with some Filipino martial artists in this movie?
Unfortunately, I wasn't. My character wasn't required to train in any sort of martial art. I was just doing boxing. But I know that Tati has a background in martial arts. I think she's a black belt in karate. So, the karambit was something that she picked up very quickly. And she's obviously incredibly menacing in the movie and very believable as this character. So, she's fantastic and I'm really excited for fans to see what she comes up with.
How much do you know about Ferdinand Magellan before you did the movie?
To be honest, I knew nothing about Ferdinand Magellan. It was a nice little history lesson for me making this film. It's a pretty incredible story and I'm sure somewhere out there is this massive treasure, whether we find it or not, I'm not sure. But I'm sure there is someone out there looking for it.
How fun was it working with these two kick-ass girls in the movie?
It was pretty awesome. The pair of them were fantastic. They really brought it and they gave it their all. I remember Sophia (Ali) had to do this stunt where she had to slide down this car and bless her, she had this massive bruise on her leg. But they were both amazing. Tati (Gabrielle) as well. The action sequences with Tati, there's a bit in the film where she kicks me in the chest, and she really didn't hold back. She really kicked me in the chest. So, it was a lot of fun working with a pair of them. They're fantastic.
The most exciting for me was the fight scene in midair in the aircraft. How fun was that or scary?
It was a lot of fun. It was tough and yes, you're right, it was very scary. At times, we were doing some aerial stunts that were 80, 90 feet in the air and it was daunting at times. But we had a great team of people keeping us safe, a great set of engineers who were operating the cranes. And also, my two stunt doubles, Greg and Luke, are the best in the business. So, I felt pretty safe and supported.
How was it working with Tom Holland? Did you know you're both Geminis? You're both born in June.
I didn't know that. I didn't know that he was a Gemini too. No wonder he was driving me crazy all the time; always trying to be competitive with me. And I'm like, "Why is this guy always trying to compete with me?" Like, I'm trying to help him out. I'm trying to be a mentor. And he just wants to compete with me, wanted to beat me at everything.
But had great chemistry. We had a great time. And I really admire what he's done in the short amount of time that he's done it, but how he's also moving forward in his career and balancing the “Spider-Mans” and “Uncharteds” with small movies, and really focusing on showing people what he can do as an actor. So, I like him a lot.
Did you train with some of the Filipino martial artists as well? Did you use the karambit, the bladed thing?
I didn't really get to use it. That was Tati's weapon. Tati (Gabrielle) who plays Braddock. She was the one who was doing all the martial arts training.
Sully, my character, is more of like a brute guy. He just fights with his hands and uses whatever he can grab. But they did quite the bit of training. I always felt like Sully was a guy who wouldn't fight unless he had to. He'd always make Tom's character do all the heavy lifting and do all the tough action, and he'd sit in the helicopter and smoke a cigar.
How was it working with the two kick-ass women?
They were amazing, especially Tati who I did most of my scenes with. And she and I were supposed to have a history together. And we became friendly before we ever started making the movie, which was really nice. And whew, she's tough. She really is a martial arts expert. So doing that fight scene was a little scary for me. She's tough.
And did you know anything about Ferdinand Magellan before you did this movie?
I did not know before I did the movie, but I became an expert. All the research that I was doing from their travels and how they were in their pursuit of the gold, and then the 18 who decided that they were going to try to keep the gold once they had discovered it. It was fascinating.
In your experience in all your travels, what was the most memorable for you?
We were shooting in the pandemic, so it was tough. We started out before all the COVID shutdowns. But then as soon as the shutdown started to happen, everything changed. Shooting in the summertime in Berlin turned out to be very different. And also, Barcelona and various places in Spain. So, it was a bit tough not being able to experience it the way you would normally, but hopefully the next go round, we'll be able to really enjoy it.
Congratulations on the film. How was it working with Tom?
Tom is amazing. What a dreamboat, that Tom Holland. He's just so talented, so charming, so funny, so committed. And he's just incredible with all the action that we had him do. He's practically a stuntman himself. It was a great experience working with Tom Holland.
This is a globetrotting film, and you went to different places like Barcelona, Berlin, London, and supposedly in the Philippines. Tell me what stood for the Philippines, and how come you didn't film there?
I wish we could've gone to the Philippines. It's a place that I've always wanted to visit. But due to the realities of shooting a movie in a pandemic, we were contained to Europe. We shot the movie in Berlin and in Spain, and we used the Mediterranean Sea as a stand-in for the Philippines. But when you watch the film, you'll notice in the third act where they supposedly are in the Philippines, all of that environment was created digitally. It looks like the background for your screen - the incredible water and all. That is all featured very clearly in the film.
That is Palawan in the Philippines.
It's so beautiful.
Tati Gabrielle had a lot of martial art skills here using the karambit, which is also used in a Filipino martial art form, Kali Escrima. Did you have any Filipino martial artists who trained her?
We had a lot of martial artists with incredible training, but I'm trying to think if any of them were Filipino. I don't want to misrepresent it. "I'm not sure," is the answer. But the stuntmen who were responsible for the martial arts in the movie are all trained in different disciplines. And so, we did our best to present the karambit in an authentic way.
Tom told me that he had more physical training in this movie than in “Spider-Man.” Can you talk about that?
Tom probably told you better than I can. But the thing about “Spider-Man” is when he puts that suit on and he pulls the hood down, I think the rest of it is taken over by a computer. But unfortunately for Tom, he can't get away doing that in this movie. When he's hanging out the back of a plane, that's actually Tom Holland who is right there at the center of the frame.
How much did you know about Ferdinand Magellan before you did the movie?
I knew as much about Ferdinand Magellan as the average person who graduated high school and studied. But I certainly didn't know the depth of his experience. I didn't know that he didn't actually complete the journey. I had assumed that Magellan had gone all the way around the globe, and I was surprised to learn that he actually died in the Philippines on a beach. And it was his first mate, Juan Sebastian Elcano, who was the one who completed the journey.
How is it having two kick-ass girls in the movie?
If you can get some kick-ass girls in your movie, I recommend it. It's always a good thing. I was lucky enough on my first film, “Zombieland.” Emma Stone was my first kick-ass girl. She set the bar pretty high. But Tati (Gabrielle) and Sophia (Ali) are both so incredible in this movie, and they're certainly kick-ass. — LA, GMA News