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'I am the coolest dad in the world'

By MOHNISH SINGH
July 27, 2022 10:56 IST
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'This was Hollywood, as big as it can get.'
'It meant the world to me that my sons were next to me.'

IMAGE: Dhanush with sons Lingaa and Yathra at the Los Angeles premiere of The Gray Man. Photograph: Kind courtesy Dhanush/Instagram

In an interesting conversation with Dhanush and the Russo Brothers -- Anthony and Joe -- the Hollywood film-makers spoke about how they made the Indian movie star a 'sexy Tamil' in their Netflix film, The Gray Man.

With the movie getting a lot of love on Netflix, it may even spin off a franchise like the Russos' Avengers series.

"If we do continue forward with the story, I can guarantee you that Dhanush's character will be a part of that movie," Joe tells the media, with Anothony adding, "I keep getting a text from the people I know and they just say 'More Dhanush' in the next." Rediff.com Contributor Mohnish Singh listens in to the conversation.

What appealed to you about your character, Avik San? Because he is not your standard cold-blooded assassin.

Dhanush: Yes, absolutely.

There are many interesting things about Avik San.

He is mysterious, and a man of few words. Just like me.

He has his own code and ethics.

He has his own morals.

It's not often you come across a character like that.

You are no stranger to building franchises. Can we expect The Gray Man to become one?

Joe Russo: Certainly. It is based on a book series.

There is an opportunity to expand this into a big future movie.

We would love to keep going with this world because we loved all the characters.

But we need the audience to tell us whether they want to see more of these stories.

If we do continue forward with the story, I can guarantee you that Dhanush's character will be a part of that movie.

Anthony Russo: I keep getting a text from the people I know and they just say 'More Dhanush' in the next.

IMAGE: Dhanush, centre, with Joe Russo, left, and Anthony Russo, right. Photograph: Kind courtesy Dhanush/ Instagram

What would it take to come back and do another one with them?

Dhanush: A phone call.

Dhanush, you have some thrilling fight sequences. What were they like to shoot and how much preparation went into it?

Dhanush: It was amazing to film those sequences.

The stuntmen can train you in such a way that you surprise yourself.

I was very surprised to see how fast I could move.

I got about a month-and-a-half of training.

They start with the basics, you know, how to move, how to stand, where your fist should be, your leg should be.

I was thinking, I have done about 50 films, I have done so many stunts, I know all this.

But then no, you don't.

You are not ready for what's going to come.

They know, of course, so they prepare you step by step.

Towards the end, you feel like a pro.

What were Ryan Gosling and Ana de Armas like to shoot with?

Dhanush: They were really good.

They trained as hard, if not harder.

Ana was really fast, really quick.

I still remember the first day, I had to do a kick and raise my leg to a point. They were stretching my leg to make it easy for me.

And then Ana just comes in, and goes like boom!

I was like, 'What?'

She was so good and Ryan was so in his character.

He would try to make the stunt choreography suit his character.

IMAGE: The Gray Man cast with the directors: Dhanush, Jessica Henwick, Rege-Jean Page, Anthony Russo, Ryan Gosling, Ana de Amas, Chris Evans, Joe Russo, Alfre Woodard, Billy Bob Thornton and Julia Butters. Photograph: Kind courtesy Dhanush/Instagram

At the Los Angeles premiere, your sons were with you. What do they think of the film? Did it make you the coolest dad in the world?

Dhanush: I am the coolest dad in the world, all weekends (smiles).

They love the film.

They were very excited.

They were really chilled.

I mean, they were so cool and it really surprised me because I was so nervous.

I am very comfortable in front of the camera, but very uncomfortable doing everything else.

I have stage fright.

I was thinking all day, 'Oh, everything should go well.'

But these guys were so cool, playing games on their phones.

They loved the whole experience.

It meant the world to me that they were there.

This was my first and this was Hollywood, as big as it can get.

It meant the world to me that my sons were next to me.

IMAGE: Ryan Gosling in The Gray Man.

In an interview, Ryan Gosling mentioned that he enjoyed working with you and he would like to work in a film with you where the two are not fighting each other.

Dhanush: It would be great to work with Ryan Gosling again.

He is a fantastic human being.

He is very kind, very sweet, and very welcoming.

He made me feel very, very comfortable on sets.

We have amazing mutual respect for each other.

It will be really great to work with him, regardless of whether we are fighting or not.

You have always said that you are always referred to in articles as a South Indian actor, rather than an Indian actor. Was it necessary for your character to be referred to as a 'sexy Tamil friend' in the film?

Dhanush: It's not absolutely necessary but there is nothing wrong in it.

It's like, you know, for more detailing.

The Russo Brothers told me more the flavour, the better.

So we were just trying to add some flavour.

I don't think there is any harm in saying he is a Tamil guy from India.

But yes, I would appreciate if they collectively call us Indian actors rather than South or North actors.

The world has shrunk and the borders are fading.

This is the time to come together and make it one big industry.

It will be great if we function together and make movies for everybody, not just for the South or North audience.

It's not a regional film, it's a national film.

Every film is a national film.

Now, with the digital platforms, everybody has easy access to watch everybody's work.

This is a great time to be an actor.

If you do your job right, you will get noticed by everybody.

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MOHNISH SINGH