I recently got the chance to talk to Rik Sinkeldam about his role in ‘Amsterdam Heavy’. Here, Rik talks about how he got involved in the project and how he got into acting in the first place…
Hey Rik. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me. ‘Amsterdam Heavy’ has just had it’s DVD premiere in the UK.
What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?
‘Amsterdam Heavy’ is about a guy who turns up in a crate at an Amsterdam airport with no memory – just a phone number scratched into his arm. The film is the story of his journey to find out who he is and why he feels a burning desire for revenge. He gets help along the way from an exotic dancer who guides him to unravel the truth about who he is and what happened to him.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
JD is a loner, a tough guy and a ruthless fighter but he discovers more and more about himself as the film goes on – perhaps he’s not such a hard man after all. Although JD kicks ass in the film, he’s got a softer side.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
At the Cannes Film Festival in 2010, the producers and director approached me after a party where I introduced myself as an actor/producer with over 20 years of martial arts experience, plus I talked about my stunt training and (film) fight choreography. After that they approached me to be the lead character, and also to produce the film (with my company TCF Productions).
How would you say this film is different and unique?
This film is an action-driven revenge story with a twist. It’s set in Amsterdam, filmed American/Hollywood style and it features the world-famous red-light district. So that makes the film pretty unique, especially according to Dutch standards.
The film stars Michael Madsen, Alison Carroll, Galyna Kyyashko, Dorien Rose Duinker and your good self – with Michael Wright onboard as director – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set?
Working with Madsen was cool. As soon as he opened his mouth and start rehearsing the scene with me, I sensed a lot of experience there. We had a good chemistry and the scenes went really smoothly.
It’s not my first time working with Alison Carroll. We knew each other already. That helped in creating the relationship between our characters. Most of our interactions together are pretty natural.
Dorien Rose is also a friend of mine, and as an actress it was really fun to work with her. I trained with her for four months to teach her how to punch and kick as she does in the film. She is really committed and focused and I like that in fellow actors… I’m the same. Dorien and I will definitely work together on future projects.
Galyna is an extra in the film. I remember her as being a nice woman, who didn’t complain too much when it was really cold.
Working with Michael Wright went very well. He knew his characters, knew his set up, so his communication with cast and crew was good, with the storyboards etc. He took the time to explain and direct what he wanted. He trusted me completely in doing the fight scenes, which I think is fantastic!
Let’s talk a bit about you Rik. What made you want to get into acting in the first place?…
As a kid I always loved to imagine that I was someone else. I did plays in primary school and little musicals. Then, in 1994 I was asked to play a boxer who got knocked out by his own shadow in the student film ‘The Shadow’. That was for the daughter of my drama teacher.
After that shoot, I knew I wanted to do more acting and especially action-acting. I got involved in a drama society and did a lot of large and small theatre plays. In 2004, I joined a stunt fighting team in Amsterdam and stayed for the next four years. I learned a lot more about action-acting, fight choreography and film-making during my time there.
From there I founded my own little production company to make films, RixPro, by experimenting with different kind of styles, and working with lots of different people.
More and more opportunities came up for me to work in film and now things are really happening for me.
What advice would you give to anyone who wants to pursue a career in the industry?
Do as much as possible! Work with different people, network and make sure people in your network get to know you. Follow some workshops, training and education, hook up with fellow actors and try to tag along with them. With determination, motivation and a bit of luck you can go really far!
We should mention that you’re also a producer, editor, stunt artist – do you find it hard to juggle all of these jobs or is it just a normal day at the office for you?
Well, I learned to wear one hat at a time. Being a producer is something natural for me, but with ‘Amsterdam Heavy’ I learned to be The Actor, as soon as we went into pre-production. I had to rely completely on the production team. That was good practice and it went well, since my business partner Maurice knows how to manage the production from A to Z and he ‘protected’ me from all kinds of production stuff.
Editing I’ve done for years and I like it. So I did a short film after shooting ‘Amsterdam Heavy’ and I’m always working on editing other projects. Again, it’s hard to produce and act at the same time. My focus now lies on acting and assisting my business partner Maurice in producing.
What’s your favourite holiday destination and why?
I just got back from the Caribbean, so up until now, that is definitely my favorite holiday destination! It’s so warm, peaceful and the ideal getaway. I would love to go back there any time….
If I asked you to decorate a room, what colour would you paint it and why?
Sandy tones or earth-colours. I like to be grounded by colours and those colours give me a peaceful state of mind in my busy everyday life.
What is currently on your I-Pod right now?
Ha! I don’t have an I-Pod! But if I did have one, I’d probably listen to Pink Floyd, Johnny Cash and other good ol’ music from the Seventies.
What’s coming up for you in 2012?
Some really interesting projects! I’ve been cast as one of the lead characters in drama-thriller ‘Desert Crossings’, directed by award-winning writer/director Mohydeen Quandour. I play a US Army officer who is investigating the disappearance of Iraqi treasures during the Baghdad bombings. At some point, he goes rogue…
Another lead role I’m playing is a backpacker and prize-fighter who gets into some serious trouble in Thailand. It’s for the action film ‘Floating Orchid’, shooting summer 2012.
I’ve also been asked to play one of the lead characters in the MMA (mixed martial arts) fighting drama ‘The Promoter’. It’s something like a cross between ‘Rocky’ and ‘The Fighter’, and it tells the story of the beginnings of MMA.
Thanks for the interview!