Game of Thrones junkies, you may have wondered why Daario Naharis — aka “Fabio,” due to his long locks — wasn’t being played by Ed Skrein in Season 3 of the HBO hit. Now you know: The currently clean-cut Brit scored the lead in action flick The Transporter: Refueled, taking over for Jason Statham as Frank Martin, a highly efficient chauffeur/bodyguard for criminals. We talked to Skrein — a married father of one — from the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Miami about No. 3 in the high-octane franchise.
Did you watch the first two “Transporter” movies to prepare?
I hadn’t seen them but did watch them before I auditioned for [producer] Luc Besson. I needed to get an understanding of this character and what makes up his fabric. Frank is so original — he’s not a killer or a murderer. He’s trying to stay on the right side of the moral divide even though he’s working for these shady people. He doesn’t use guns or knives or actual weapons to take anybody down — he’s more like a sculptor or an artist, which is why the action scenes are so amazing.
I’m a very physical person, even when I’m not working.
You were working steadily on “GoT.” So how did this part come up?
I was out in Serbia shooting a movie and got an email basically telling me about the audition. I thought, ‘Wow, this looks like great fun and kind of a natural fit for me.’ So I was relaxed going in, even though the process was rather extensive. I figured even if I don’t get the job, at least I can learn from the experience. I’m still at an early stage of my career. I want to grow and improve and be around people who have been in the business. You are never going to get a better teacher than Luc Besson.
‘Transporter 2’ was filmed in Miami
You are either fighting or driving at high speeds for most of the movie. How did you prepare for this intensely grueling role?
I mean, I’m a very physical person, even when I’m not working. I train six times a week. I’m addicted! I lead a very healthy lifestyle, too. But I knew the challenge ahead of me and what the part called for. It was definitely the most difficult undertaking I’ve had in my career thus far. Twelve weeks before shooting, I did strength and conditioning work at the gym, then came martial arts. About three weeks before starting, we went to Paris and I was [working out] nine hours a day, five days a week, maybe more. We’d take a lunch hour, then go back at it. At the end of the day, everyone was like, ‘We have to go now, Ed.’ I just loved it. I didn’t want to leave.
After all that work, what do you think of the final product?
I saw it in Los Angeles, my, we smashed a lot of cars! There was absolutely no CGI for those sequences. I have to give credit to the special effects crew for the nonstop action. Transporter Refueled was a fun script when I read it, a fun shoot to do and is a fun watch for audiences. I’m very proud.
How’s the press tour and Miami treating you?
Just looking out at this beautiful scenery, I wish I had more time than 24 hours here. I just want to go out on one of those boats and explore. I have to come back when I’m not working. I definitely have unfinished business. I wouldn’t mind filming a movie in Miami for a few months, frankly. As for the tour, I think I am one of the few actors who actually enjoys this side of the business. I’m having a great time traveling: Toronto, Amsterdam, New York, Asia. What a blessing. I’m thankful for it.