Sniper is a 9-film franchise, and with the legacy series’ newest addition Sniper: Rouge Mission just releasing on VOD, Blu-ray, and digital—it’s time to talk to star Chad Michael Collins.
Sniper: Rouge Mission is the second film in what some are calling an Oliver Thomson mini-trilogy. Yeah, that’s right. SPOILER ALERT: they’ve already greenlit Sniper 10. But let me slow down and let Chad tell you about that and more.
This being the 9th in the franchise that seems to not lose any steam, it doesn’t disappoint in the thrill ride category at all. In fact, it kicks it up a few notches and is full of action, espionage, laughs, and revenge. There are familiar faces (one of which is one other than Chad Michael Collins himself), and there’s all-new action with stunt coordination by Hits International—including an amazing knife fight between Chad Michael Collins and Sayaka Akimoto, and various exciting plots.
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The A-plot is familiar if you’re a fan of the series, while the B-plot is relevant, timely, and full of revenge. Lastly, the C-plot is a twist you don’t see coming and a dash of a love story. Sounds like a lot, but what’s great is that it’s only an hour and forty mins. The Mission: Impossible franchise better take some notes.
We were able to chat up actor Chad Michael Collins, who tells us why number 9 is the charm, why knocking on the door of double digits is so exciting, and how this addition to the franchise is a bigger and better popcorn movie experience. But you don’t have to take my word for it; let Chad tell you all that and more in the interview below.
Chad Michael Collins Shares Sniper Thoughts & More
Chad, first of all, amazing job on this film. This is the ninth Sniper film and your sixth time appearing in the franchise. You're reprising your role as Brandon Beckett. Tell us a little bit about Brandon, and how we've seen the character progress from the last installment. Chad Michael Collins: We are knocking on the door of double digits, and I couldn't be more happy about that. So this is the ninth in the franchise over a couple of decades. So Sniper: Rogue Mission, coming out August 16th here in the States, Blu-ray, DVD and digital and everything else too. But what a ride. Brandon Beckett, from baby faced soldier doing the infantry thing with the Marines to now going rogue around the world, taking out the bad guys that need taken out with his new friends, Ryan Robbins, Agent Zero Lady Death played by Sayaka Akimoto. The Colonel is back with us, Dennis Haysbert, fantastic actor. We had such a good time meeting up with him. And we've added a character named Intelligence Pete to the team, who is Josh Brener. And he's going to have people cracking up in this movie. He is fantastic. I feel bad for our editor because he gave us so much pure, comedic genius. That there's no possible way that they could have used it all. Sadly, I'm sure a lot of it had to end up in the cutting room floor, but you could probably make a whole movie about Intelligence Pete with the amazing zingers he gave us in this movie. What did you want to bring to the role of Brandon this time around that wasn't on the page? Chad Michael Collins: I think that Oliver Thompson, who's our wonderful writer-director-producer on this, he wrote an amazing script. He gave Brandon a whole new journey. He sat him down to a desk at the CIA. Spoiler alert, it didn't go well because Brandon's not meant to be with a Windsor knot in a suit, taking orders from people and stapling papers and filing reports. He gets the itch and he scratches it and he goes off-book and he's going to basically turn in his badge. So it didn't work out all that well, but I love that he gave us that journey and it just kind of lays the foundation for the team that we're building with all these characters together. So it's fun. Brandon gets back to doing what he's doing. He ditches the suit for the long gun and we set out to try and make the world right again. Oliver Thompson, who wrote the last film, [directed] this film, which is vastly different than his first film, which is a comedy called Welcome To Happiness. Can you talk to me a little bit about working with him as a collaborator? And he also did the music for this film, if I'm not mistaken, which was brilliant. Chad Michael Collins: The music alone is a standout on this film. It's something like you haven't ever seen from us. And I mean, you talk about multihyphenates in this industry and I've already listed writer, director, producer for Oliver Thompson, which is a lot, but then he does all the movie, the score. He does the music and the score and everything else, because he's incredibly musically talented on top of it. So next thing you know, he's going to be the lead actor at this point. And I think he's talented enough to pull it off. But I love that you caught that because he had such a vision for this movie. It's very stylistic. And sometimes you feel like you're watching an old Sergio Leone Western film. Sometimes you're watching an old samurai film. Sometimes it's like, "Is this from Tarantino?" With the way that he blends the music with the shots and everything else. So he had an unbelievable vision for this movie. I think it makes for pure entertainment across even just dialogue scenes and fight scenes and everything else throughout. So I think audiences are really going to sit back and find out that this is the best popcorn experience they've had with one of our movies in a long time, maybe ever. What did his directing style add to Sniper: Rogue Mission this time around? Chad Michael Collins: Oliver is very collaborative. We've always had wonderful conversations. What's nice is, I've been around the block on these movies. And so he's always very, very encouraging to come and have a conversation with him. It's like you know this character better than I do, I would love your feedback, I'd love to have a conversation about sort of stuff. So he has a very collaborative style mixed with a very, very specific vision. And I think that just makes... That's a complete package for a director. And it's really wonderful to work with Oliver and to see the direction he's taking this. And they've talked about it before, it's a mini trilogy, that was their vision. A mini trilogy within the franchise. So a reboot of sorts taking things in a brand new direction where you're all getting on planes pretty soon to go and make Sniper 10. Oliver again, directing, writing, producing. So I've read the script. It's incredible. It's going to be fantastic. And carrying on what he's already built. This little universe here, it's like the Marvel's got their 20 whatever films to build their universe. And we've got our little three, two so far and a third coming soon to build our little sniper universe within a universe. It feels a little bit like what they did with The Fast and the Furious franchise, where they almost rebooted within the own franchise itself. Ryan Robbins also returns to the franchise from the last Sniper film. Ryan plays another great character, Zero. I love the relationship between him and Brandon. How do we see the relationship progress in this film? Chad Michael Collins: We have so much more buddy cop stuff with Brandon and Zero, Ryan Robbins and my character. It is a lot of fun because we really just open it up. We get to know about each other's personal lives, extensions of that at a certain point in this movie, when we're up against a rock and a hard place, I end up meeting Zero's ex wife and her new husband and having dinner with them, which lends itself to a lot of hilarity, as you can imagine. Forging that bond, it's kind of like he is blunt. He is hammer, I'm the nail. I just shoot the nail from far away, but he's up close and personal as you'll see in some of the fight scenes in this movie, he's a bulldog and the elevator scene he does with a fight in the elevator, fighting a phone booth that Zero has with one of the thugs that we take out is unbelievable. So testament to him, our stunt coordinators hits international and of course all credit to Oliver Thompson for finding an amazing way to film that. That was a fantastic action sequence. One of the things I absolutely love about the film is this high level intense action, like that ally scene with Lady Death played by Sayaka Akimoto. Can you talk to me about the preparation that goes into fight scenes for this film? Chad Michael Collins: Yeah. For the last two films, Sniper: Assassin's, and for this current one, Sniper: Rogue Mission, we work with an amazing team called Hitz International. And we've been really lucky to have them because they do high level stuff like Warrior, Halo, you name it. And so it's lucky to have them coordinating these fights for us. So when we're not filming in front of the camera, all the actors are off doing the fight choreography training. We're rehearsing, we're learning these dance moves. They are complicated. They're complex. There's a lot going on. They're very busy and they want to push the envelope. We have wonderful stunt doubles to work with, but of course me, Sayaka, Ryan, we'd rather not use the stunt doubles. We'd rather do it ourselves. It's harder, but that's the kind of actors that we're all bringing to the table is we'd rather do it ourselves, it makes for a better film. It's more entertaining when you don't have to cut away from faces. But we did have incredibly talented stunt doubles. And for some of the stuff, I was happy to have them, but in the meantime, we tried to do as much of as we can. And so they worked us. They drilled us every single day that we weren't on the clock on set. We were set working this choreography as much as we can to get it as dialed in as we can. And we're ready for John Wick. Bring it John Wick. We feel pretty confident at this point that we could take John Wick. One thing I don't want to get lost in this at all is that this movie is a lot of fun. There's a lot of fun comedy elements to this film, especially with Zero and Intelligence Pete played by Josh Brener. I have to ask you though. Sunkist or Fanta? Chad Michael Collins: I haven't had a soda in 15 years, but I just think Fanta is more fun to say, so I'm going to go with Fanta. I forgive me, is Fanta more of a bottom shelf soda pop offering and Sunkist is more premium? I'm not really sure. I'll go for the underdog. I thought that scene was hilarious. And then for anyone that's watching, there is a post credit scene that's a lot of fun too, with everybody at the end there too. Chad Michael Collins: The Intelligence Pete's character is fantastic. And Jocelyn Hudon played our... She has so many scenes with Josh Brener's Intelligence Pete, and they just hit it off. And I won't say much about it other than "puzzles." This film has a lot of action, but a ton of a fun. Did that translate behind the camera as well? Chad Michael Collins: You couldn't meet a better group of cast and crew. I mean, we really have fun offset onset, we make sure we're ready to do what we need to do for the day, but everyone is lighthearted, everybody is happy, making these action movies together and collaborating in that way. So a great group of people we filmed in Winnipeg up in Canada and we had some amazing local talent come in for a sector. Paul plays one of the heavy, maybe bad guys, dubious bad guys. David McGinnis was somebody that I had a big fight with when he played one of the bad guys there and on and on and on it went. So really, really fantastic group of people. We did have a lot of fun offset as well. There was a local microbrewery around the block from where most of us were staying. So every Saturday after we'd wrap on a long, hard week, we'd all just meet up and get some food and have a beer and just celebrate and laugh and bond. And it was a really wonderful experience. And I think that's going to come through in the film. The cast chemistry kind of jumps out at you when you watched the film: you, Ryan Sayaka, Josh, Jocelyn Hudon, who plays Mary Jane. You guys have great chemistry. And you talked a little bit about building that chemistry, but talk to me a little bit about them as just coworkers and what they brought to the set. Chad Michael Collins: Man, each and every single one of them was... They had their own unique personalities, but we had the best chats, we had the best conversations. Jocelyn Hudon loves to play with switch blades and nunchucks. So she was always kind of working on her fun stuff, if you go to her Instagram, you'll see that she's becoming more like Bruce Lee every day, which is impressive as heck. Sayaka is very, very wonderful to be there and she's such a gamer. The choreography she has to pull off for these films is not easy. So she really invests and really focus into that. But she's just such a sweet, sweet woman. And of course, Ryan is fantastic. He's a vet in this industry. He's been in more projects than I could possibly remember, but he's a heck of a nice guy. And you look at him and you see this kind of a bulldog of a man, but couldn't be more of a sweetheart, which I think fits the Canadian stereotype for the people and their actors. And then of course, Josh Brener, is he's just the barrel of monkeys, man. He's hilarious, deadpan, dry, sarcastic, very witty, very, very funny. And I love what he brings to this character, but he was a joy to talk to off camera as well.
You've played Brandon Beckett six times now. What do you think you've learned about yourself through playing Brandon? Chad Michael Collins: What have I learned about myself through playing Brandon Beckett? That's a great question. I love to play the pretend soldier stuff. I really do. I think it's such a blessing. I had so many influences growing up from GI Joe and action figures and He-Man to Thundercats to Tango & Cash and Stallone movies and Schwarzenegger movies and everything in between Chuck Norris, you name it. I love the chance to play in this world. Play in this universe. I'm no Arnie, but I love to represent soldiers, my family, a lot of former and current servicemen and women as well and in law enforcement. So it's something that's kind of in my bone bones in my DNA. So I love to be able to play it on camera, but you also learn very quickly to have a lot of respect for what the real soldiers in the world do. And while I'm just doing it, playing pretend what they have to go through to get there, especially at the highest level is unbelievable. And that's why they're elite. Most people couldn't do that, hack that, hang with that sort of stuff and bring those skill sets to it and do what it takes on a mental and physical level. What I've learned is to be humble because while I do get to have the glory of being on camera, faking my way through this, I'm under no illusion that I could not do this so well in real life. So it does keep you humble in that way. And yeah, I think that's always been a really interesting thing to keep in the back of my mind. I know that with a movie and a franchise like this comes training. How proficient are you at long range shooting at this point? Chad Michael Collins: That's a great question. I wouldn't say that I'm very proficient at all. Certainly I try to do my due diligence. I try to work tactical combat stuff. I try to get to the gun range. I try to be as familiar with this sort of stuff as I can, but the long range shooting is a whole different animal. And I was talking to someone the other day and it's just, people don't know that to get through Sniper School, they say it's harder to do that than to get through Ranger School or Navy SEAL School or anything else. It's not difficult, it's just complicated. There's so many factors that go into between the field craft and the calculations and the math and the arithmetic, but also the physicality, the mental ability to stay motionless for seven days or to hike somewhere by yourself with a 30 pound long gun strapped to your back for 50 miles in the dark. And I've heard all these stories and it's absolutely incredible. It's such a mental, physical combination that these soldiers have to pull off their feets and that's why they're so rare. They're so elite. They're so unique. So I'm not even going to pretend that I could hold the candle to what these people can pull off, because this is the whole different animal. I just got a PS5, and I know you're the voice in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. I need some video game recommendations. Chad Michael Collins: Warzone, baby. Listen, you're coming to the wrong guy. I play Alex in Call of Duty, but trust me, when it comes actually playing the game itself on my best day? I'm mediocre, and I'm getting smoked by 12 year olds. You don't want advice from me; I basically have residency in the Gulag.
If this interview was any indication of how great the latest Sniper movie is, you better go and see it ASAP. You’ll stay glued to the edge of your seat but left wanting more. Sniper: Rouge Mission is available on Blu-Ray, VOD, and Digital today.
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