Metal Life Interviews Rob Baard, Star of ‘Ninja: Immovable Heart’ Also Starring Danny Glover
An “authentic” ninjutsu film cloaked in the cape of a superhero blockbuster, The Ninja: Immovable Heart brings together veteran action movie star Danny Glover (Lethal Weapon,Predator 2) and rising martial-arts star Rob Baard for a high-flying action-adventure that’s part Dark Knight, part Bourne Identity. On the eve of the film’s DVD and VOD release, Metal Life spoke to Baard – based in his native Australia – about his adrenaline-pumping new action franchise.
I take it from some of the articles spotted online that you’re already hard at work on the sequel. Is that right?
We’ve just shot “Interlude To the Ninja” which is a short film that focuses on the spin off characters in the series. It fills the gaps between the Ninja Immovable Heart feature film and the next film “The Ninja Reckoning”. In a way the Interlude spin off is like what Marvel have done with Agents of Shield. It fits into what the franchise is about and our next phases which is films and TV series.
The short films that preceded Ninja : Immovable Heart, are they what helped get you financing? Or did you back the film yourself?
We had a private investor for the feature film. More so for the company, he saw what I had planned, what I’d done and looked at the business end of what we were doing. I’m sure past worked helped, it shows we could deliver, I think what investors want are guarantees on returns, it’s the numbers that count and then the question, can these people deliver what they promise.
How many roles did you actually play on this film – it seems you carried quite the load!
To be honest I couldn’t count. I wrote, produced, directed, starred in, was the fight choreographer, acting coach to others, post production supervisor and more. My plan was to succession plan as many people as possible giving them the chance to work in the industry and groom them into positions in the industry that they wanted to work in.
I run the company so at the end of the day the load and finally decisions rest on my shoulders and I’m extremely aware of that responsibility.
Was there ever a time when you considered shooting Ninja : Immovable Heart in America?
We’ve had offers to shoot in many locations; it all comes down to the logistics and finance. Sure if the finance meant we’d shoot there then I would have. I think to be smart on a micro budget we needed to utilize as many places we could where we were that were all in close proximity. Geelong was great for that we were 5 minutes from everything we needed which meat costs were kept down.
Tell me about meeting Danny Glover for the first time. Was your introduction on set?
I met Danny on the day when he arrived. I was already busy making sure we were on top of the script elements and had created quick reference charts for his character arc. He’s so busy I knew I’d be dealing with him on limited time and that I’d need to know his part, it helps that I’ve coached actors and directed before. We were able to get him in, work on his piece and get him out. He’s a great guy, he really listened to what was needed, he went for it and was amazing. I write with actors in mind, this piece was written for him, so in a way I’d kept the feel of other character’s he’d played like in Lethal Weapon, he could slip into what was needed easily.
There’s some great fight scenes in the movie. What blend of martial arts is that?
The fights in the film are all authentic Ninjutsu, specifically through now what is known as the Bujinkan. While the Bujinkan now focuses on calling it Budo Taijutsu, which was once Ninpo (Ninjutsu) and Togakure Ryu (Ninjutsu) and there are differences with the art now, what I use stems from my teacher who is a personal student of the grandmaster and is a 15th Dan. His ranks up to 9th dan we’re in Ninpo (Ninjutsu) before the name change. Our training specifically up to 1st Dan (Shodan) is in Ninjutsu. I note this because many out there get caught up on name changes and other silly things, hopefully I’ve been as specific as I can while remaining relevant here. The long story short version so to speak haha.
What do you hope audiences get from the film?
I hope the film inspires and empowers people. That’s the aim of the company. I hope they watch it and find that it’s got a story with many layers, so much so that it changes each time they watch it. That’s the reality we’ve experienced with others who have seen it, even those close who worked on it.
The idea is that the film reveals more each time you watch it and that’s the magic of it and the art. Like a ninja hiding in plain sight.
For more info on The Ninja: Immovable Heart, go HERE
For more on The Ninja series, visit http://theninjamovies.com/