Written By: Jayme Face
Alexander Wraith plays Agent Anderson in Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D, he has a couple action movies coming up, is a writer, producer, and oh yeah he has the fastest kick in the world!
upfrontNY: Can you tell us what it was like being a part of Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D. and playing Agent Anderson?
Alexander Wraith: I love it. I love going to set. Those sets are so elaborate. I think Disney and Marvel really are very meticulous, especially when you go to Disneyland. They’re very meticulous with anything that has to do with set design or dialogue or action. I really enjoy being on set, being with the other actors. It’s more fun than work, honestly.
upfrontNY: You have several new projects coming up can you tell us more about those?
Alexander Wraith: Yeah. I’m doing a film and we’re shooting overseas in Europe, called The Brave Ones. I’m the co-lead with the Baldwins. It’s an action film based on true events that happened in Albania where there were these giant marijuana fields being burned by the government. They were fighting the cartels out there. So, that is going to be a very fun movie. I have a big fight scene with a guy from Game of Thrones, The Mountain, they call him, I think. He is huge. Then I have a film that I am doing in Thailand. It’s a traditional Muay Thai movie and we’re doing it in the original philosophy of martial arts. Basically you know a lot of things that I do is geared towards motivating children and kids and those who are bullied and picked on. This movie will have that behind it, where it’s not just about the violence and the fighting and being tough. It’s more about overcoming your fears and really having a hero to look up to, a human, a human being who is a hero to look up to. So, you know kids who are in their teens who don’t really have that friend can go to this movie and say I’m going to go out and practice this philosophy. Now a days a lot of the movies are taking away from the philosophies of martial arts and are more towards the violence and that’s not how I was raised.
upfrontNY: You are going to film in Bulgaria and Thailand, is there anything you want to see while you there?
Alexander Wraith: Yes! When I’m in Bulgaria I’m going to be jumping around Europe a lot. I’m going to be there for about 3 weeks. I’m going to go to Istanbul first. In Thailand I just want to really sink into the culture. The energy of the people, because they’re so sweet and so nice, they call it the land of the smiling people for a reason. I want to just enjoy. Enjoy everything, enjoy temples and the food and the martial art aspect of it and have fun. We’re hoping to do a franchise in this where it’s not just one film, but hopefully six movies with motivational action films and it’s going to branch out throughout Europe
upfrontNY: You are also a writer, producer, stuntman etc, where did you get started and how did you end up taking on all of these different roles?
Alexander Wraith: Well, when you come to Hollywood you have to learn how to do everything because when you’re on set you’re on set for so long you realize okay this is what this guy does, here’s the director, here’s the writer and you see everyone collaborate and interact. So, I’m a quick learner and I’ve spent a lot of time on set with a good friend of mine, Oliver Stone. Every time I’m on set with him, whatever film he’s doing, I’m right next to him even if I’m not next to him I’m on set watching, learning, taking notes and mental notes. He’s a master at what he does. He’s got I don’t even know how many Oscars and how many writing awards. I have a film that I wrote, we’re hoping to do by next year. It’s a nightlife project which is an original story by Oliver Stone that I wrote. It’s going to be an amazing, amazing eclectic film, kind of like Saturday night fever meets Studio 54 . That’s going to be really fun to do. I’ve already directed a film called Enter the Fist which is a martial arts comedy. We have a bunch of cameos from these action martial arts guys and icons in the 80s that we haven’t seen in a long time. It’s a tongue in cheek comedy. It’s a great movie, it’s so fun it’s so far out and it’s kind of like a breath of fresh air to be honest. It’ll be crazy.
upfrontNY: This year was your first time attending the Oscars what was that like for you and any particular moment that stands out to you?
Alexander Wraith: To be honest, I was in awe. I could not believe that I was there. It hit me like a day later. After I was there I was like Oh my God! And to be at the Oscars where all that stuff happened, that insane thing at the end, that made it even bigger. Just to be around the stars you really get a sense of why they are stars. I mean everyone wants to be an actor, everyone wants to be a celebrity, but there’s a certain wavelength and energy. I don’t know if you want to call it an aura, I don’t even know what you can call it, just the persona and charisma that these people have when you’re around it. They’re all in the same room or place it’s just a huge, positive, big energy. It was super, super fun to be around and I really enjoyed it. It was really exciting. It was one of the best things I’ve done in my life.
upfrontNY: You are from New Jersey. What is something you feel sets New Jersey apart from anywhere else?
Alexander Wraith: Okay. So, I have a saying at the Oscars Meryl Streep is from New Jersey, Tom Cruise is from New Jersey, Ed Harris, Eddie Murphy has a house in Jersey everybody, everybody that’s from Jersey too I don’t know. I think that Jersey people are so close to New York. So, you get the whole essence of being in the suburbs with a family life and you get that kind of push and education and real support from family, but then you’re in New York City the jungle, the concrete jungle. You get the hustle aspect. So, you go to the streets of the jungle and then you go back to Jersey and you have your friends and all that stuff and it’s just, I think, it’s a special place. I don’t know what it is about Jersey, but the most successful people I’ve met have been from New Jersey. Even Whitney Houston is from Jersey. I could go on, John Travolta is from Jersey, from Englewood, from my town. There’s so many people that come from New Jersey.
upfrontNY: You are experienced in martial arts and have the fastest kick in the world, tell us more about your Martial arts career and was having the fastest kick a goal you set for yourself or is that a coincidence? How did that come about?
Alexander Wraith: That was a coincidence. I say this a lot in Hollywood, I never told anybody about the martial arts. I could do my own stunts. I was always athletic. In Taken 3 I did all my own stunts when I was chasing Liam Neeson. And it’s great because you get to see the actor in the whole frame, you get to see all the action and it really hits the audience. That’s what we’re doing in the next few movies. But, the martial arts I used to hide. When you’re trying to be a dramatic actor you don’t want to say you’re a martial artist, it’s yin and yang. So, it was an accident; a director, producer who I’m really good friends with now, his name is Nathan McCoy, saw me at Gold’s Gym, saw me training and kicking. I was training there with Bianca Van Damme who is Jean Claude’s daughter. She’s great and we have a very good relationship and train. He came up to me and said “Hey, I want to test your kick. I’m doing a martial arts documentary”. So, that martial arts documentary turned into, “Hey I’m testing your speed”. That turned into getting a professor and scientist named Cindy Bir, from Sports Science on Discovery Channel. She works at the USC trauma science sports science lab. They test injuries, football hits, acceleration, all kinds of sports injuries. She had all the proper equipment. She’s done this before. They just put me through rigorous, insane, high velocity, crazy testing for three months and it was really exhausting. During the shoot, he basically said we’re going to test your speed because Bruce Lee has the fastest kick which is 72 mph. I’m like Oh my God there is no way I’m going to come near that! Bruce Lee is my idol. He’s basically like my teacher. I am what I am because I learned his philosophies and I tried to apply them to my life. So, yeah it just kind of flowered into that. It’s come back full circle to martial arts and now I’m focusing and doing a lot of action films. Literally two weeks after that documentary started circling around I was at The Doctors and then I got this film and this other film. So, thank God things are picking up and it’s something that I love to do.
upfrontNY: What is your favorite action movie of all time?
Alexander Wraith: I have so many. One of my favorite, favorite, favorite movies that I can watch over and over, and I’ve had the privilege of meeting him and I talked to him every once in a while, Braveheart with Mel Gibson. That’s just because it’s baffling to me and I’ve asked him this, how do you direct a movie that size and make it that good. It’s just an anomaly to me. Amazing to do that, but that’s one of my favorite films because it really hits every note action wise. Then I have Head of the Dragon, which is an amazing action movie I can watch over and over and over. Chinese Connection, Fists of Fury. I do love The Crow that’s one of my favorites as well. The Crow is a great film.
upfrontNY: What are some of your other interests, what might we be surprised to learn about you?
Alexander Wraith: I’m into … I don’t know… I’m into everything. I consider myself an adventurer. I kind of love to explore and go find new locations and places and hidden artifacts that have not been discovered. I love to be out and do things that don’t have to be secluded to an office or computer or being in the city. I love adventure, I love exploring. If I could do that and get paid I would be gone in two seconds. That’s why I love movies because it’s the same kind of thing when you do a movie. You go on set and you’re in a different country and you’re exploring the country, having fun and shooting and learning.
upfrontNY: Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
Alexander Wraith: I just want to let them know to keep watching, keep looking out. There’s a lot of great films that we’ll be doing that are going to change sort of the wavelength of what’s happening in action now. Hopefully try to bring back what was and what motivated a lot of people and especially me in the philosophy of the arts to bring back that core of what makes a great movie, what gives you motivation, what gives you to get up and train to be courageous and be brave. So, that’s what we’re waiting for, so watch out for those films. They’re going to be a lot of fun.