MONA LISA AND THE BLOOD MOON: Check Out Our Exclusive Interview With DEADPOOL Star Ed Skrein!

Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon star Ed Skrein talks to us about his standout role in the new fantasy thriller, sharing why the character is perhaps the one that stands out more than any other he's played.

In Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon, Kate Hudson and Jun Jong Seo star in this mind-bending thriller from visionary director Ana Lily Amirpour (A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night).

When a struggling single mother (Hudson) befriends a mysterious mental institute escapee with supernatural powers (Jong Seo), she sees a lucrative opportunity to make some fast cash. But when they draw the attention of a detective (Craig Robinson), their luck starts to run out as the cops close in on their crime spree.

Ed Skrein and Evan Whitten also star in this delightfully quirky and compelling romp that takes moviegoers on an unforgettable trip through New Orleans, and we spoke to the former this past Friday. As drug dealer Fuzz, Skrein subverts all expectations with a potential career-best performance that is, in equal parts, surprising, fascinating, and iconic. 

During our conversation, the actor reveals his main sources of inspiration, why the character, Fuzz, resonated with him, and the process of working on the project with his fellow actors. Skrein also shares why Fuzz may be his favourite role ever. 

Be sure to watch the full video as we also hear from Ed on potentially returning as Ajax in Deadpool 3, the first movie's legacy, and the comic books currently on his pull list. 

I had so much fun spending time with Fuzz in this movie, so I can only imagine what it was like for you to shoot this project down in New Orleans.

Yeah, we were having the most amazing time, man. New Orleans is an intoxicating city due to its energy. Ana Lily is an intoxicating director in her energy. The script has so much life and vibrancy and takes such unexpected and wild turns, it was always going to be like 5am at Shangri La or Glastonbury. It’s like a journey you wake up from and you’re like, ‘Did that even happen?’ If we didn’t have the movie, I’d be saying, ‘I don’t think that happened. That was my imagination because it was too crazy.’ I was sober the whole time. I didn’t have a beer or anything in New Orleans, but I was intoxicated on the vibes, on creativity, the script, Ana Lily, and the cast. It was so much fun and like a blueprint for the kind of projects I want to be part of. I think you can see I was having fun. I think you can tell. 

Intoxicating is a good word to describe Fuzz. When people first see him, I think it’s fair to say people might have certain expectations from the character, but he subverts those in a big way as the movie progresses. Do you find yourself looking for projects where you can turn audience expectations on their head?

Absolutely. I’m aware that with my physicality, even if I’m playing it as a nice guy, there are societal connotations to all of our looks, I suppose. I think a lot about subverting expectations and I really try not to be so judgemental and don’t judge books by their cover. You have to give people a chance, man, and Fuzz…Fuzz is the golden ticket. You turn away from him and you miss out. He’s the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland. He exists outside of the human struggle. He’s the only person in this whole story who knows his place in this world. He’s at peace with it.

We meet a drug dealer who asks a girl to come to his car and say, ‘Man, you look so cool in your straightjacket’ and asks her for a kiss after giving her cheesy crisps. On paper, there are alarm bells ringing, but this is a man, as we find out, who will give without expecting in return. I hope I’m like that, but I don’t even know. It got me thinking afterwards and even questioning myself like, ‘Damn, I need to be more like Fuzz.’ It sounds kind of comedic and messed up, but I’ve never had a character who I’ve played, left, and been like, ‘I need to be more like this person.’ That may seem obvious when you think about all of these bad guys because, obviously, I don’t want to be like them. Fuzz was a special breed, man. 

You’re working with a great script, but when you are part of creating a character like Fuzz, do you like to have a lot of input and bring your own ideas to the table?

I think it’s impossible to not bring yourself to it. The more I’ve gone into my career, the more I’ve let go. The more I’ve let things happen and tried to control things less. I fill myself up with all these influences and preparation and then, it’s like when they say cut, I ask, ‘What happened; what did I do?’ Then, they say, ‘Do this more or do that more.’ Alright, I’ll try, but I might not [Laughs]. I’m on autopilot and different things come out! It’s almost like Fuzz is an accumulation of a lot of things I’ve been trying to do in acting. I think he is such an unexpected character, but I think I had to bring parts of myself to make him even more f***ed up, weird, surprising, and lovely. 

I know you have a history rap, so did you find yourself pulling from that world and bringing some of your own experiences into this character? 

I did kind of base him and his cool on one of my best friends, Evo. He was the coolest man I ever knew, so I saw him and tried to bring that through. On the street side of things, I always like characters like that and Craig in Naked Singularity who was a Staten Island dude. I’m like, ‘Yeah, I can do this.’ Sometimes, I see actors and I’m thinking, ‘I don’t think you should have taken that role. Just stick to the private school archetypes.’ [Laughs] Not everyone feels authentic, but with those guys, I’m like, ‘Yeah, let me at them. Let me bring some of me to them.’ I know a lot of Fuzzes. He was an amalgamation of a lot of people I know. 

I was blown away by Evan Whitten’s work in this film, and the two of you have a great rapport, so what was that experience of working together like for you?

We were just like that in real life. We were cracking jokes the whole time and I’d be there with my New Orleans drawl, they’d call cut, and then I’d be talking like this and we’d be taking the piss out of each other and messing around. Whenever there are kids on set, I always mess around with them. I love working with kids. I’m a kid person. I’ll always say to people, ‘I want to do a whole movie with a kid’ and they’ll say, ‘You’re mad.’ I’ll just say, ‘You don’t know me, man. I love kids so much.’ Maybe when I do that movie, and you’re interviewing me, I’ll be like, ‘Yeah, they were right…I shouldn’t have done it.’ But, no, working with Evan was amazing, and that scene in the car was definitely my favourite scene in the whole movie. It’s really sweet and when he’s looking in the mirror and going, ‘If you look chill, you’ll feel chill,’ it’s great, and he’s got a really good career ahead of him. He’s done some other great work, so he’s proved he’s professional and reliable. How old is he? 13 years old? That’s crazy. He’s got the world at his feet and nice parents as well. They’re a lovely family. I hope he stays humble, keeps working, and we get to work together again. He’s my little dude!

What is it about Mona Lisa that you think draws Fuzz in and did you and Jeon do a lot of work behind the scenes to create this unique bond that they have or was it something you found naturally on set?

Nah, we found that naturally, man. I didn’t do any work off camera with anyone. There are some things you want to rehearse, especially technical things, but for vibes, I like it in the petri dish when you put in the chemicals and see what happens. If it’s horrible, alright, we start again and do it with different variables. It was just a vibe, man. I could believe that Fuzz was true. They were soulmates. Fuzz is a special dude, man, and is enlightened. He’s the Cheshire Cat with the key to the city and the key to the truth. It shouldn’t surprise us that he sees the truth in her. It does subvert us because he has face tattoos and he sells drugs and drives that car, but maybe that’s our judgement rather than him.

I think that’s what makes him so beautiful. He's this character that gives but doesn’t expect to receive, and he looks so unique and fresh. I want to hang out with Fuzz. I wish he was here. I wish he was my friend. I wish he lived in Hackney in East London and I wish I was more like him. Maybe not the face tats and I might not wear the trousers, but I really, really, really hold a place in my heart for Fuzz. I hold a place in myself for all of my characters. All of them will never leave me because the experience is too intimate that we have together, but Fuzz is in my heart. He’s deep in there and different from all the others. 

Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon arrives in theaters, on Digital and on Demand on September 30, 2022.

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