Psychopaths Welcome: The Super-Villains Unite
In July 2012, a casting call went out for a "Classic
Villain," a role that applicants would later learn was
for the aptly named Mother Russia. The online flier
requested "a 'roided-out female bodybuilder" who
"needs to be extremely physically imposing and
muscular, though still come across as feminine and
as tall as possible (6'-and-over only)." Mother Russia,
an ex-KGB officer who is now being paid weekly by
Chris to wreak havoc, is the most skilled and ruthless
killer in the game.
The filmmakers were inundated with applications and
trawled through hundreds of hopefuls before they found
their woman in the shape of Russian bodybuilder and
fitness model Olga Kurkulina. Standing an impressive
6' 2" and sporting a chiseled 200 pounds of pure muscle,
Kurkulina recalls seeing the casting call on Facebook.
Via her on-set translator, she offers: "I fell in love with
Mother Russia at first sight. From the first moment I saw
her, I said: 'This part is mine. I won't let anybody else
get it.'" Although she was delighted to play the role, it
proved quite a challenge for Kurkulina, who had never
acted before and didn't speak a word of English.
Wadlow found Kurkulina to be "a force of nature."
He compliments: "Olga was a real discovery for us, and
we knew the biggest challenge in making this movie
would be casting that part. If you look at my Internet
search history, it's quite disturbing. There are all these
bodybuilder fetish sites and weird places where I was
trolling, looking for women over six feet. Fortunately,
after a global search, we found Olga. The credit goes to
Reg Poerscout-Edgerton, our casting director. I'll never
forget when he came into my office with a photo of
Olga and said: 'This is Mother Russia.'"
To a person, the members of the cast and crew loved
having the first-time actress on set. Sums Wadlow: "Olga
was a joy to work with because she was so enthusiastic.
She doesn't speak English, but she was so excited to
be a part of the movie that she worked as hard -- if not
harder -- than anyone else. She was constantly training,
learning to fight and working on the dialogue. She had
to do some very difficult stuff, not just the acting, but
a number of physical things she'd never done before."
Kurkulina shot her first scenes on location in
Toronto. Recalls Pack: "We had acting coaches come in
to work with her. She did a lot of training, and of course
we had a full-time translator. But there was still that
moment, as we were building up to her first day, where
we thought: 'Is this going to work out?' A film crew is
a hundred people, a lot of lights, cameras and people
who know what they're doing. Olga had never done this
before. On her first day when she emerged out of her
car in full Mother Russia regalia, I thought, 'This is
going to be the moment where it all ends up being too
much for her.' But she totally nailed it and just loved it."
The new thespian had another fan in her on-screen
boss, Mintz-Plasse, who raves: "Olga was incredible in
this. You see her, and she's just muscular and ripped
and intimidating. But then you have a conversation
with her, and she's the sweetest
woman you'll ever meet. Every
morning, she was giving kisses as
she greeted you."
Mother Russia isn't the only
hired muscle watching The Mother-f%&*^r's back. Emmy Award winner John Leguizamo plays Javier,
Chris' bodyguard. Now that Chris
has lost both parents, Javier is the
only real family he has left. Wadlow
acknowledges how privileged the
filmmakers were to have landed
Leguizamo: "Chris and John had
such a great relationship, and I've
enjoyed working with him so much. John is brilliant
at improvising but also understands that we're telling
a larger story. We'd do take after take where he'd just
be killing me with great improvs, giving me all these
wonderful options to use in the edit."
Javier was tasked with helping The Mother-f%&*^r recruit his evil army, a group of super-villains
given various evil assignments. This included enlisting
Black Death, played by Daniel Kaluuya, who meets
Chris at a mixed-martial arts (MMA) gym. Another
terrific set crafted by production designer Russell De
Rozario, the gym was home to none other than CHUCK
"THE ICEMAN" LIDDELL, the retired MMA fighter
and former Ultimate Fighting Championship light
After Black Death shows Chris who is boss in the
octagon, Chris hires him to beat up anyone on his hit list.
Javier also finds Big Tony/The Tumor, played by English
actor and magician Andy Nyman, a psychotic thug who
is small but likes to kill. Rounding out the principal baddies is Genghis Carnage, an out-of-work ex-Triad officer.
Played by British actor TOM WU, a martial arts expert
whose skills have been put to the test in films such as
Revolver and Batman Begins, Genghis Carnage is just as
efficient with a blade as Hit Girl.
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