Tom Jolliffe chats with British filmmaker Ross Boyask, director of Warrioress…
Brighton born film-maker Ross Boyask has been flying the flag for UK action films over the past decade. He’s directed a host of short films, including Pure Vengeance which starred Scott Adkins (Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning, Undisputed 2 and 3) and was featured on Jonathan Ross’ show Stop! Kung Fu!. He’s also helmed a couple of cult martial arts movies, Left For Dead and Ten Dead Men, which have both sold worldwide.
Currently being sold for distribution is his latest film, Warrioress, a martial arts fantasy in the vein of Xena: Warrior Princess. It’s a fantastic, low budget, kick ass martial arts flick, well worth checking out when it gets released. Ross was kind enough to take time out to answer a few questions for Flickering Myth…
Tom Jolliffe: Tell us a little bit about Warrioress.
Ross Boyask: Warrioress was the original vision of our esteemed star, producer, music composer, costume designer and fight choreographer, Cecily Fay. We discussed the project and story after filming Left For Dead and during production on Ten Dead Men, my first two films as director. The main characters Boudiccu (Cecily) and White Arrow (Joelle Simpson) and their relationship stem from Cecily and Joelle’s real life friendship. We initially shot some “test scenes” in Guernsey with Cecily and Helen Steinway Bailey (who plays the assassin Djahn) and were happy with the results so continued to produce the feature. Most of the test scenes ended up in the final film.
Tom Jolliffe: What camera did you shoot Warrioress with?
Ross Boyask: We shot initially on a Canon XL1S and then switched to a Sony Z1, which gave us a few issues in post-production…
Tom Jolliffe: Do you envision Warrioress as a potential franchise?
Ross Boyask: Indeed. Two sequels are planned, as well as a proposed TV show. Fingers crossed.
Tom Jolliffe: How difficult is it trying to get action films made in the UK?
Ross Boyask: Unless you do it yourself it is nigh-on impossible.
Tom Jolliffe: Have you ever considered trying to ply your trade in America?
Ross Boyask: I would love to do so but it’s about finding a co-producer who’d like to work with me. Any takers feel free to contact me!
Tom Jolliffe: Who are you main influences?
Ross Boyask: Sam Peckinpah, Walter Hill, John Frankenheimer, John Woo and Luc Besson, as well as terrific action directors such as Isaac Florentine and Jesse Johnson.
Tom Jolliffe: Do you have a film that you’re most proud of?
Ross Boyask: I haven’t made that yet. I’m more proud of the work that everyone else has contributed to the films I’ve made than of my own work.
Tom Jolliffe: What do you see yourself as, first and foremost, writer, director, or editor?
Ross Boyask: In all honesty I see myself as a director/editor, but I’m getting into writing. I also love shooting but the more technical side of things like lighting still mostly elude me.
Tom Jolliffe: In 2001 you did a short film, Pure Vengeance, with a pre-fame Scott Adkins, do you look at his career now almost like a proud dad?
Ross Boyask: Now that’s funny. Scott was actually already on his way up when we worked on Pure Vengeance. It’s easy to say things like this but he was amazing to work with and I wish we’d had more time/crew etc to finish the film to a higher standard. And yes I’m massively proud of his success. He totally deserves it and I’m sure there’s much more to come.
Tom Jolliffe: Do you think you could call in a favour from Scott one day and have him appear in one of your upcoming films?
Ross Boyask: I’d never assume anything but it would be great to work with him again and I’d be keen to see how we’d make that work as well, in terms of us both having more (and different) experience and so forth.
Tom Jolliffe: Do you have an action film pet hate?
Ross Boyask: It’s probably obvious but I detest shaky-cam sequences, complete with insane close-up shots and incomprehensible editing. It’s no substitute for doing things properly.
Tom Jolliffe: If someone is new to the action genre and you had to recommend one film to them, what would it be?
Ross Boyask: Hard Boiled. Best action film ever made, and it’s never been topped. Die Hard comes in in a very close second place.
Tom Jolliffe: Do you have any advice for any aspiring UK writers or directors?
Ross Boyask: Work your arse off. Never assume anyone will do anything for you. Always remember to take time to thank people for helping you, or for contributing their ideas. And approach your work with passion.
Tom Jolliffe: What have you got in the pipeline?
Ross Boyask: I have two features that I’m hoping to film in the next year or so. The first is a balls-to-the-wall action horror called Tower of the Dead, and the other is an OTT action packed revenge thriller called The Executioner, which is basically Get Carter meets Taken.
Tom Jolliffe: Finally, do you want to marry Cecily Fay as much as I do?
Ross Boyask: No, because I know her. She’s all yours.
Tom Jolliffe: It’s okay Ross, the missus would kill me. Thank you very much for your time.
Many thanks to Ross Boyask for taking the time for this interview. Read our review of Warrioress here.