This is quite the international production. What was it like on the set, working with such an eclectic crew?
Camacho: Working with such an eclectic crew was amazing. I had no idea about the level of skill or passion these filmmakers had. It was also refreshing to see them work and to collaborate with them.
Paul: I have worked in Russia a couple of times, and it is always different. The challenge when working in a different country is always the language, seldom the culture. The crews are all the same, except for levels of experience, but this time for me, the challenge was working in two different languages, not so much the environment of working on set. Russians are very passionate people, and I had a great time on this set with some of the cast and crew. The funny thing is that practical jokes are universal, and there were a couple.
Shockley: It was such great fun to work with the amazing cast and crew. I had many scenes with Vladimir Yaglych, and we discovered a wonderful acting bond that we share. We both studied the Meisner Technique, and fortunately for me, Vladimir speaks English, allowing us to dig deep into our characters and the work. We truly related to each other as not only actors but friends on and off the set. This is my second film to do in Moscow, and I absolutely love Moscow and the people that I have had the good fortune to meet. Igor Dobrovolsky, our Producer, was such a pleasure to work with. He is so kind and supportive. We have become close friends and have ventured into other projects together.
“…I wanted the few fights in the movie to be not only exciting but true to their time.”
Wild League deals with the introduction of soccer to Russia by the British at the dawn of the 20th Century. What appealed to you about this specific moment in history?
Paul: I have always loved history. Look at Highlander. It was full of it. I studied history as one of my subjects in school, and I played soccer for all my young life. I still do occasionally, although now it’s my son’s turn, so when I was asked to do this, I was very interested right from the start. I have always wanted to play soccer in film. Funnily enough, my character wasn’t supposed to, but we shot a scene when I got very bloody the day before shooting the soccer section, and there was blood all over the costume, with no double. So they put me in the soccer jersey outfit. I told them they may as well use me playing the game too.
Shockley: Period dramas are probably my most favorite genre of movies. I love going back in time historically, and the opportunity to film in Moscow on a project set in 1909 was a real treat. The turn of the 20th century was rich with emotion and events, and bringing together elements of a British character, which I played, living in Moscow, was a dream. The costume department did an incredible job with our costumes. Unbelievable knowing how many principal actors they had to design for, along with hundreds of extras on a given day. And the production design was equally great. Our sets were so authentic and amazing.
Camacho: When I first read the script, I was really drawn to not only this time in history, but to the love and fish-out-of-water story that was intertwined with these historical events.
The fight sequences are beautifully shot, as are the soccer matches. Can you talk a little about preparing for those scenes?
Camacho: As a filmmaker, I cut my teeth on fight action, first as a stuntman and then as a fight choreographer. This film was so different from anything I’ve done in my career, and I wanted the few fights in the movie to be not only exciting but true to their time. The Russian coordinator and his team delved into research and kept the fights honest. I just captured the moments with the camera at various speeds to take the viewer into each character, as the character was experiencing the fights. The fights were so real to the background actors that they did not need too much coaching – they were cheering or hissing during the fight action.
Paul: I have always been physical. I have done martial arts for many years. I have a company now called “The Sword Experience,” where I teach the general public sword fights from movies and TV shows, so the fighting is a natural progression for me. Although, I just don’t bounce back up as easily when I hit the floor anymore. The soccer was interesting. Before I shot my scenes, I spent most of the day kicking the leather ball you see in the movie. I hadn’t realized quite how different the footballs (soccer balls) were back then. Today, the ball is lighter, not a heavy leather weight. My leg muscles and ancillary knee muscles even got to the point of feeling strained just by kicking the ball constantly. Playing a sport after a long time, even one that you have done all your life is like riding a bicycle: you can get back on, but you need time to regain your balance.
Shockley: I played Jones, the British soccer coach. I was on the sidelines of the matches, so I was not involved directly with any of the action on the field. But it was a lot of fun to watch the talented soccer players that were brought in to play opposite the actors.