*Ask Terrence Howard about his latest film “Showdown at the Grand” and he’ll share his appreciation of the project as a whole as well as his co-star Dolph Lundgren. While he loved Lundgren’s performance, Howard was left wondering whether it was the “Expendables” actor he most interacted with or his character, Claude Luc Hallyday.
“I was trying to ‘reach’ him because there was a distance there. He’s like George Washington, talking to you, but there’s still this God-like being in him. You just don’t expect someone to have that consistent radiance,” Howard told Movieweb about his efforts to bond with Lundgren. “I stayed there trying [to reach him] and thought, ‘Did I really get to deal with him, or did I deal with this character? Was he this person outside of it?’ But that was the toughest thing. I didn’t know who I was dealing with. And that was just him being a thespian. That’s just him being a professional. He literally was locked into Claude Luc Hallyday and would not come out of it.”
Featuring Howard and Lundgren, “Showdown at the Grand” centers on Howard’s George Fuller, a proud business owner who finds himself defending his family business — a lush historic movie theater — from corporate developers.
After George discovers a corporate developer sent thugs to scare him into selling his theater, George is determined to fight the takeover. Among his allies are new usher Spike (Piper Kurda) and, in what Movieweb described as a “groovy twist of fate, legendary action star Claude Luc Hallyday (Lundgren), who suddenly becomes the man who can save the day. George’s theater, considered a local treasure, is known for featuring vintage films, particularly those starring Claude Luc Hallyday.
Arming George with determination and spirit, Howard’s love for his character runs deep. So much so the “Empire” star sees a parallel between George and a character from the Bible.
“He had no toleration for rivalry,” Howard shared with Movieweb about George. “He reminded me of a character in the Bible, Jehu. He was riding through [town] with his chariot and he saw another young man and he said, ‘Is your heart upright with mine and having no tolerance for rivalry against the true God?’ And he said, ‘If it is, then climb up on my chariot as we go and destroy all the bell worshipers.’ That’s who George Fuller was. He was Jehu. He had a heart for what was right. So it was that sense of, ‘I’ve been called to this position,’ that made me really love George. He did what he had to do, knowing that he wouldn’t personally win from it, but that the principle of what he did, did stand. You know, we need that today.”
As George’s fight to keep his theater and Howard’s performance registers with filmgoers, Howard believes filmgoers will be “surprised” with Lundgren, considering his reputation as a tough character in real life. The “Rocky IV” star’s approach to Claude may throw some fans off.
“I think audiences will be surprised at Dolph Lundgren’s ability to poke fun at himself,” Howard shared. “That means a lot because that’s like having Arnold Schwarzenegger come in and do an impersonation of his entire career. That’s what Dolph did. He took all the hard work he’s done [in films] and put it into this character.”
“I didn’t expect him to be such an accomplished actor,” the Oscar nominee added. “I didn’t think he would play his character so seriously. It meant everything and I think it made the movie. What surprised me more than anything in the world was how good Dolph was and the choices that he made as a thespian.”
“Showdown at the Grand,” which also stars Amanda Righetti, and John Savage, is in theaters and available on all major digital platforms now.
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