ERASER: REBORN Exclusive Interview With Star Dominic Sherwood ("U.S. Marshal Mason Pollard")

As Eraser: Reborn arrives on Blu-ray and Digital today, we recently sat down with leading man Dominic Sherwood (Shadowhunters) to talk about his role and rebooting the Arnold Schwarzenegger classic!

Twenty-six years after Eraser, Warner Bros. has rebooted the 1996 classic starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Vanessa Williams with Eraser: Reborn, an all-new modern take starring Dominic Sherwood (ShadowhuntersPenny Dreadful: City of Angels) and Jacky Lai (Shadowhunters; V-Wars).

With the John Pogue-directed remake arriving on Blu-ray and Digital today, we sat down with the leading man to get all the intel on his new film. We also spoke with him about his career at large, his dream role, what Schwarzenegger film he'd like to reboot next, his American accent, and a whole lot more.

Check out the full video interview below!

ROHAN: I saw that you took this film about a year into the pandemic when things were first starting to recover, what was it about the Eraser: Reborn script that convinced you that this was the project that would get you back to work?

DOMINIC: Wow, you really hit me hard with the first question, Rohan, I love that. It was such a horrible time for everyone in every career, nobody could work and money was dwindling, and people were suffering, and, for me, nothing mindset-wise had really changed. I try to take jobs based on a new challenge, based on something that I haven't tried before, something that I think is going to push myself in a different direction and that hadn't really changed post-pandemic - Pre-pandemic, I'd done a TV show called Penny Dreadful, with John Logan for Showtime, which was a very, very different character, it was a period piece, and this presented new challenges that I was excited about, everything from sort of the stunts to the limited time to filming in a new location to filming with a whole new group of people. That's an interesting thing that people don't really talk about, in our industry, everything's exactly the same, but a little bit different if you film in a new place. So, also filming in a new place is a fun little challenge as well and I think when I read it, I was like, this is the challenge for me, this is the one that I want to do.

ROHAN: You've done action before on something like Shadowhunters, but nothing quite on this scale, what was your training like to get ready to play this kind of hero? What kind of challenge did it present?

DOMINIC: First of all, all of the credit goes to our two amazing choreographers, they put so much work and effort into each individual character and defined each character based on sort of the martial arts that they would have learned and their body structure, their experiences, actors, what we could perform, and what we could work through and they really did put in the time with us and then, we saw, it's called a pre-vis, which is sort of a roughly thought out film of how this fight scene is going to go and then, you get there and you practice it and you make adjustments and then, when you get to set, you have to make other little adjustments because it's raining or because there's something there that we didn't think was going to be there, whatever it is.

But you're right, it was a new challenge. Shadowhunters was swords mostly, it was taekwondo and kendo was one of the martial arts that we learned, and this was much more military fighting, like put someone down as quickly as you can to stop that person being a threat for whatever reason and that is what we sort of worked on and it's much less sort of balletic, it's much less like a dance, there's a sort of a brutality to it and that's what we worked on. Then, we worked on, as you were saying, sort of the realism of different elements. So, towards the end of the movie, there are different wounds that start to start to evolve over the course of the film and you start to realize that those wounds actually have a huge impact on your body, they stop you from using an arm for example, or they stop you from doing XYZ and we have to build that into the fight scenes and both of our choreographers were absolutely amazing at taking those sort of notes and elements and developing them into into these scenes that we put together, so all of the credit goes to them.

ROHAN: You have a lot of scenes with McKinley Belcher III in this film, was there anything special you guys did to bond and cement that relationship as partners?

DOMINIC: That's such an interesting thing, because the only member of the cast and crew that I met before we got South Africa, which is where we filmed was Jacky because she was on Shadowhunters with us. It’s an interesting thing when McKinley and I first met - I was leaving a stunt rehearsal and he was arriving to a stunt rehearsal and I sort of hung around to say hi, since we have to develop this rapport as partners and it completely escaped my mind but I was wearing a mask, obviously for the COVID protocols, I said, “Hey, McKinley, how's it going?,” and he just sort of just gave me a confused look and I was like, “oh, shoot, sorry, it's Dom, hey, how's it going?”

Then he got it. I think one of my favorite things about working with McKinley is he has this integral intelligence, that is sort of run with passion when it comes to these jobs, so he developed these people and these relationships from a wildly intelligent, fairly inspiring point of view, which was really quite special to be a part of. Working with him was - one of the great things in this business is when you work with someone new, and they inspire you to, “Oh these are really cool elements of how you do your job, and I want to take some of those in and move forward a little bit more like you.

ROHAN: Having worked with Jacky Lai on Shadowhunters already, did that help develop your chemistry on this film?

DOMINIC: I guess not really, no, I mean the benefit of that is I understood starting off how Jacky sort of works and how she operates, which is great, but we're developing two completely new characters with two completely new relationships, so I think you always sort of start from a blank book, as it were, a blank page and have to sort of build these characters up as they were, but the benefit there is definitely that I already had previous experience of how she works.

ROHAN: There a surprising amount of animals, which makes sense due to the nature of the plot, and while some were CGI, were there any that were real and on-set with you?

DOMINIC: Yeah there was, actually was it Day One? No, that can't be true. It was within the first week, for sure, but the ostrich is real. She was a real bird and they had two of them on set and I was really excited to meet them, a little intimidating because they're big, thick, very strong creatures and I was a little intimidated there. These two gorgeous birds and I can't remember the South African word for it, but it basically just meant silly bird, that was her name, that's what they called her and she was impeccably well trained, but there's a fun story about ostriches.

So, ostriches like shiny things, they’re drawn to them, like back in the day, they used to eat diamonds off the floor down in the diamond lewd stretches of Africa and as a result, I didn't have anything really shiny on me except my United States Marshals badge, which is down on my waistband. So, we'd be filming with these two ostrichesa and they were impeccably well trained. There was the one that we filmed with and then the younger one that was learning from the older one how to behave on a set. The only issue we had is every now and then, I'd see it sort of eye my badge and I'm like, “Nah, it's very close to a sensitive area there, let's not go pecking around there, you know what I mean?” *laughs*

It was honestly, the wranglers there as well, the animal handlers were absolutely incredible. They said exactly how to work with them, how to move with them, and honestly, the ostrich that we had, in that room, on that day was so impeccably well behaved, we had maybe two or three shots with her and she did exactly what she was meant to do. She was sort of the perfect actor, to be honest.

ROHAN: Having done this new Eraser reboot, have you thought about any other Arnold Schwarzenegger films you'd like to maybe remake someday? 

DOMINIC: Oh, man. Wow. I haven't until you just mentioned it and now, I'm sort of thinking, God, the man was my hero growing up, so there are so many that I would, maybe Running Man would be a good one. I love Running Man. I thought it was such a great movie, but then also there's that there's that tricky thing isn't there, because, 1996 was Arnold's original Eraser movie with Vanessa Williams and James Caan, which, again, was one of my favorites growing up, but then when we get this offer, there's a real, I don't want to try and redo what he did, because I loved what he did.

I don't want to try and remake that, I have to sort of try and attack it with my own elements. So, there's sort of this weird paradox that you end up in where I would love to do something like Running Man, I would absolutely love to, but then it wouldn't be the Running Man that I loved. It would be sort of a new version of this story, so it's tricky. Would I want to do that? I guess I'm kind of in two minds about it. At the end of the day, I'm an actor, if they keep offering me work, I'm going to keep taking it.

ROHAN: You had to do an American accent for this film, which is a really good one. I've noticed that it's often easier for English actors to do an American accent versus an American actor to do a British accent, would you agree? Why is that?

DOMINIC: I would agree, mostly, and I think a large part of the reason that the American accent for Brits is so much easier, is just the saturation of American media over the world. So like growing up, we were watching The Simpsons, and they all had American accents, and then we got a bit older, and we start watching South Park or whatever it was, there were all these sort of American shows, we were listening to the American accent, and whether you sort of realize it or not, you're going to school and you're mimicking Bart Simpson, you're saying his words with his accent.

Really, as far as sort of British voices, I think, especially in sort of the 90s, which is where I was growing up, there wasn't a huge amount for American viewers. It's a lot better now, you know, Game of Thrones and Downton Abbey, and all of these wonderful shows and movies that have British accents in them, but I think the difficulty may be there lies just from lack of exposure, it's something that we have inadvertently been practicing since we were kids and then I did a movie where I wasn't happy with my American accent and I did like one of my first American tests, like my big American auditions, I did an American accent and they mentioned, we're going to get you a voice coach for this, because we want you to get this role and we want to just fine tune a little.

I was like, great, and this lady was amazing. She came to my hotel room worked with me for two hours, and it's such an intricate, it's like an instrument, it's like pushing the wrong buttons on an instrument. So, I'm trying to say these words, but I'm using the front of my mouth and my tongue in my teeth, which is how a Brit would say it and when you shift into an American accent, I can feel it move kind of right into the back of my throat and back here, it's a completely different sound. As soon as you sort of understand, “Oh, this is how I play this instrument,” then it gets a little easier to try and figure those things out, which was also very helpful for me.

Then, the last thing, I guess, is I keep the accent on when I'm at work, so I did it with Shadowhunters and I did it with Penny Dreadful, and I did it with Eraser, and I can't remember what other movies I've been American in, but I keep it on throughout the filming day, and the benefit of that is, especially when you're working with Americans, is I can feel if I say something wrong, people can say that is not how we say that, you would adjust it to this, so even on Eraser, I remember there was a day where I had to - because there's two different ways I guess an American, and correct me if I'm wrong, to say “Sure,” the word sure. It's sure or sure, like two different sounding vowel sounds, so I had to ask John which one of those is correct and he went, “I don't know. I think they're both correct.” You just want to say yes. So yeah, it's I think, a big part of acting in general is the understanding that you're always learning, and you can't fill a full cup, you have to be open to these new educations coming at you.

ROHAN: Loved that answer - you did a great job with your American accent in this film. I could tell you worked really hard because if I didn't know you were English going into it, I would've just assumed you were American.

DOMINIC: Thank you so much, man, that really means a lot to me.

ROHAN: What kind of roles are you seeking? Are there any on your bucket list?

DOMINIC: It's so interesting. There's one very particular role that I've wanted to play since I was a kid, it's Bond, it's James Bond. Every every young British man wants to play Bond at some point, every young British actor, arguably every young British person has fantasized about themselves being Bond at some point. That is a very serious goal of mine, it's something that I've been infatuated with for a long time, so there's that.

Then, I guess the other side of that is it's so material driven. I don't know that I want to play a part until I get the script and I go, “Oh, wow, actually, this is the part I wanted to play. The show I just finished was a show called Partner Track, which is based on the books by Helen Wan, for Netflix, and I didn't know that I wanted to play a young lawyer in New York. That's not something I was seeking out, but I got these scripts and started reading them and Georgia Lee, the showrunner, and her team did a great job with the scripts and the adaptation, and from just five, six pages in, I was like, “Oh, this is the job I want to do and I'm gong to go after this, because this is really cool.”

That could be anything though, I just read a script about cowboys, which I thought was amazing. I just read a script about criminals, which was an interesting sort of concept, and for me, I just don't know until I have like, “Oh, this one, I like this one,” Then, you have to hope that you're the guy for the role and you audition your ass off, just like everybody else.

ROHAN: Since you're talking about dream roles, have you ever been approached or have you ever auditioned for a superhero role?

DOMINIC: I have auditioned for a couple of them, which to me, even that is a is kind of a bit of a blessing, because I don't think everyone gets the opportunity to audition for them. What's interesting is very often you don't know what they are, you get dummy sides, and I think all of the Marvel guys have been very open about how protective they are over their stories and stuff, which I understand. There's a lot of people out there who think there's some benefit in showing the rest of the world something on grainy camera footage, when that's not how it was meant to be received, like it was meant to be received in the theater. That's why we all work so hard to put it together for the audience. So I understand why they're so protective over it.

I have read for a couple of things, I don't even know what really, that's the issue, I don't know what they are or what they were. I don't even really know what the project was necessarily, but I know that I've read for them at some point, and, you know, fingers crossed, here's hoping my supersuit is waiting, just somewhere.

ROHAN: It's been a few years since Shadowhunters ended, and television has changed considerably since then as streaming has become more popular and leading to revivals for stuff like Teen Wolf. Have you and the cast ever had any discussions about potentially bringing back Shadowhunters?

DOMINIC: Yeah, so I actually don't know who would own the rights to Shadowhunters, which is embarrassing to say, because I was on that show for four years, I should have known the full ins and outs. Kat and I have a podcast now called “Return to the Shadows,” where we sort of relive some of the Shadowhunters stuff, which is good fun.

We we do talk about it every now and then, “What would it be like? How would the story be told?,” whatever it is, but I think there's also a world in which - not necessarily for Teen Wolf or whatever, I'm sure they're going to do an amazing job - But there's a world in which my Shadowhunters journey is over. I did my piece there and I loved every second of it and I'm really happy with the way it ended, although it was sad that it ended, I was really happy with what we did with the ending and the guys there, the writing team, they did such an incredible job putting this ending together and I was really proud of it.

ROHAN: I imagine you have a similar approach to different characters, but have you noticed any difference in your approach to movies versus your approach to films?

DOMINIC: Totally, so really only in one way, because my approach to developing these characters is always kind of the same. I write a journal from the point of view of the character so like, Mason, for example, I found myself sitting in like coffee shops writing in my journal taking in because, I spoke to some US Marshals about how they trained and what they did, and this, that and the other, and the number one thing that kept sort of coming up was awareness, like constant 360 degree awareness.

So, I'd be writing my journal and I'd be seeing like, this person just walked in with this color top and I would then try and not focus on that and keep that in my head whilst keeping the other details in my head and putting down my journal, and that's always sort of the process. The only real difference for me, is that in TV, I don't know how my story ends. With the movie, I know how the story ends. So, there's a sort of tricky balance there with twists and turns that are written into films, I know that they're going to happen at some point in the story, so I have to sort of forget about them to do whatever the scene is, or remember that that's the case and I use a little sort of trick that another actual friend of mine taught me years ago is the A to C of a scene.

What that is, so you come into a scene with an A, with a goal, whatever it is, you have an ambition, there's something that drove you into this room for whatever reason, and that's your A. Your C is what you're trying to achieve, to what you want to leave that room with, whether it's a conversation having been finished, or if you're going into grab your wallet, whatever it is, every one of us goes into a room, knowing that there's some reason to go into that room, right, and the middle part is the B, which is how that's changed in the scene.

As long as I keep those in my head, the A, wherever I just came from, what am I trying to achieve? The B, obviously happens in the scene, and then the C very often is the next A, does that make sense? It's the next page, the next scene, and that's always sort of been my, even a lot of my scripts will have the handwritten, “This is the A,” or whatever, and then when we get our sides on the day, I'll put them down, This is the A for this. This is where we're going. This is the B, this is the C, and it sort of helps me keep my head in a place of where we're at, but yeah, I think that’s the only real big difference between TV and film for me.

ROHAN: After Eraser: Reborn and Partner Track, do you have any other upcoming projects you're allowed to tell us about? 

DOMINIC: So, yeah, I finished Eraser last year, and then was very lucky, because almost immediately went into Partner Track, which is the Netflix show that's coming out in - soon, I hope, I don’t know. And then, yeah, so we're now back in that place of like trying to find the correct role. There's a couple of scripts that are on my desk that I'm sort of slowly reading through and it's just about, like I was sort of mentioning earlier, it's just finding that one that really resonates with me and I can feel it as I'm reading, the pages turn a lot quicker and I'm like, “Oh, this is exciting. This is what I want to do.” We as a team, my agents and managers, we're all one team and we discuss about which scripts are exciting. So, that's where we are now, I have to go back through these scripts and find the one that excites me.

U.S. Marshal Mason Pollard specializes in “erasing” people – faking the deaths of high-risk witnesses. With the technological advances of the last 25 years, the game has upgraded, and it’s just another day at the office when he’s assigned to Rina Kimura, a crime boss’ wife who’s decided to turn state’s evidence. As the two flee to Cape Town, South Africa, with a team of merciless assassins on their trail, Pollard discovers he’s been set up. Double-crossed and fueled by adrenaline, he needs to be at the top of his game, or he’ll be the one who’s erased. Permanently.

The film stars Dominic Sherwood (Shadowhunters) as Mason Pollard, Jacky Lai (V-Wars) as Rina Kimura, McKinley Belcher III (Marriage Story) as Paul Whitlock, a mentor to Pollard and Eddie Ramos (Animal Kingdom) as Sugar Jax, a local gangster.

The film is directed by John Pogue (The Quiet Ones, Deep Blue Sea 3) and written by Michael Weiss (Jarhead3: The Siege). Hunt Lowry (Donnie Darko) and Patty Reed (Pure Country Pure Heart) produce for Roserock Films. The creative team includes cinematographers, Michael Swan and George Amos, production designer, Franz Lewis, costume designer, Neil McClean and casting by Harriet Greenspan in the US and Bonnie Rodini in South Africa.‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

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