Scott Adkins has donned military uniforms for several movie roles in the past and has put his martial arts skills to use on as many occasions, but for his latest flick, “One Shot,” it’s all about realism.
“Our movie is so plot-driven, [you’re] so much immediately in this situation for my character, it’s all about the mission for him,” Adkins said of Lt. Jake Harris, a Navy SEAL who leads his team alongside a junior CIA analyst (played by Ashley Greene) to prevent a terrorist attack on Washington, D.C.
As its name suggests, the film – also starring Ryan Phillipe – was made “in one continuous take,” showing 90 minutes in one character’s life, Adkins said. Director James Nunn and Adkins created the concept for the Netflix film, which is available for streaming on Nov. 5.
‘One Shot’ is ‘all about the mission’
The film is so plot-driven, according to Adkins, that the audience is “immediately in this situation” with his character.
“I felt like it’s all about the mission for him,” Adkins said. “That’s what he’s all about, so I could just focus on what’s the mission and how do we get out of this situation.”
As for the military community, they’ll enjoy the “close-quarter combat” in the film, Adkins said.
“We start off with guns and we get to a place where the bullets run out, and it gets a little more up close and personal,” Adkins said. “You know, I’ve done a [lot] of crazy martial arts films, but we wanted to stick with the tone of the movie, which was realistic.”
To keep that realism alive, Tom Leigh, a Royal Marines Commando veteran, was brought in as a military adviser. Leigh spent seven years (2008-15) serving, including time with the U.K. and U.S. special forces in Afghanistan.
How much time Leigh has for a given project determines how much he is able to work with the actors on specific areas. For “One Shot,” time was limited, so his main focus was weapon-handling and ensuring confidence among the actors.
“It’s massively important for a film,” Leigh said. “We can expand from there to how they hold their body, how they move, how they talk.”
Adkins and Ryan Phillipe were “brilliant,” according to Leigh, because both had prior experience with other film roles.
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“Everyone put in 110%, which is amazing,” Leigh said. “In fact, Ashley Greene, I must say, I would say, was the most dangerous person in terms of how good she was with those weapons. She’s a real natural for it.”
Following working with the actors on proper weapon-handling, Leigh turned their focus to movement.
“There’s some distinctions between the way the SEALs move and the way they handle their weapons, the way the Marines move and handle their weapons and the way the insurgents move and handle their weapons,” Leigh said. “Everyone’s got slight different things to tell them apart, so we really worked hard on that.”
Showing a ‘chaotic feel of battle’
The “minor things,” according to Leigh, are what the military community will pick up on but are “rarely” seen in Hollywood depictions of that community.
“You’ll see someone handling a weapon and think that’s cool and then they’ll watch and see actually he’s doing a brass check on his weapon,” Leigh said. “He’s pulling out his magazine and checking how many he has left and putting it back in.”
The SEAL team, Leigh said, is no exception to those details, with the actors checking corners before clearing a room and clearing doorways.
“Because it’s one shot and you’re always in the action, everything’s moving really fast, it really does replicate that chaoticness and chaotic feel of battle,” Leigh said.