Sam Upton (Pearl Harbor, Gone, Lincoln Lawyer) is here to discuss the world premiere of his film GUN, also starring Jared Abrahamson (Netflix “Travelers”), Mark Boone Junior (“Sons of Anarchy”), boxer/Muhammad Ali daughter Laila Ali, Kate Vernon (“Battle Star Galactica”), Jared Abrahamson, and features real punches by professional boxers and MMA fighters like Chicago Golden Glove Boxing Champion, Derek Zugic.
It truly is an achievement to reach the top after struggling for a very long time. In a quick way how would you summarize your life so far?
If this is the top, then I’m really screwed. I’m just getting started.
What is the trade secret to persevering even when going against the social norm?
As the great coach Pat Riley said, “You are either IN or you are OUT, there is no in-between.”
Speaking of social norms, how would you draw the line on when to go against it and when to follow it?
If it’s not right, don’t do it. If it’s not true, don’t say it. Live your life by that motto, and everything will work out.
How did you imagine yourself to be like today? And how do you think you will be like in the next 5 years?
I imagined I’d be 6’9”, and in the NBA. Guess I was a little off haha.
Being in many movies and series, you must feel like a veteran already. Which ones marked a presence with you?
I have learned so much from every single moment. You don’t realize it when you are young, but every moment is shaping you, shifting you, creating who you can choose to really be. So, in essence, every single moment was important.
What is the best moment you always recall or tell your friends about your career?
The day both my kids were born. Without my kids, none of it really matters.
Your latest movie is called GUN. What is it going to be about without giving away too much?
It’s about a washed up, alcoholic, ex-prizefighter that makes a comeback to boxing after his top-middleweight contender son is wrongfully blinded in the ring.
You’re playing the role of a father in the movie. How do you prepare yourself with such a role where you are making a comeback?
You try raising two kids in LA, you’d be prepared for friggin’ anything.
The movie also portrays how depression affects our lives. What do you think should be done to reduce it?
You are your child’s first teacher. I think most mental health issues arise from terrible issues at home. It starts with parenting.
Having it based on your own experiences how was it like writing and directing a movie?
Having a great cast of professional boxers and MMA fighters on set, how was the atmosphere while filming?
Aside from me getting punched in the face numerous times, I got along with everyone, except our catering guy – Gregor — he wouldn’t stop feeding me! HAHA 🙂
With a lot of movies about boxing being out there how do you think Gun stands out?
I didn’t set out to make a “boxing movie” — this is a film about alcoholism, family dynamics, father and sons, and never giving up. It just happens to be set in the world of boxing.
How did the title become Gun, as the first thing that comes to mind is shooting and not boxing?
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the title “Fifty Shades of Grey”?
With all the hard work about to pay off, who would you dedicate and thank for helping you achieve and make Gun happen?
My producer MaryAnn Tanedo. She’s ADD, OCD, a tornado, and I love her.
We will be seeing you in Miles and A Cloud So High soon. What should we be most excited about?
GUN. I think we have a very special movie.
Sam is the writer and director of GUN.
To aspiring actors or directors, or even writers. What would you say?
Make your own shit. It’ll feel more rewarding, trust me.
If you look back to your whole career, what is the one thing you that made you feel satisfied and self-fulfilled?
The things I am the proudest of are the things I created on my own, like Gun and all the short films I made with my childhood best friend Josh Dragge.
In the near future, what should we be expecting from you? Any other projects in or out of the industry?
I’m working on a couple more screenplays. I’m not a “one and done” kind of guy. I’ll be doing this for a while.
To your fans what would your words be?
Believe in yourself. Always.
Photo Credit: Benjo Arwas