Interview: Luke Goss Talks PAYDIRT, Val Kilmer, Art & Music

Luke Goss took the music world by storm in the 1980s as member of the mega-selling pop group Bros. However, over the last 20 years he has carved-out a hugely impressive array of acting credits, having starred in such varied productions as a TV version of Frankenstein (playing the creature), the thriller Bone Dry and a pair of Guillermo del Toro films (Blade II and Hellboy II: The Golden Army). Goss’ lasted film sees him top-line the energetic heist thriller Paydirt. The Christian Sesma directed movie is a fun thrill-ride which sees the actor share the screen with the great Val Kilmer

Movies In Focus got the opportunity to talk with Luke Goss about Paydirt and we discussed a wide-range of subjects which included channelling Steve McQueen, working with Val Kilmer and the future of Bros as well as Goss’ burgeoning art career. 


Tell me about Paydirt and the character you play?

My character, I didn’t want to play him as a traditional leading man. I’m a big fan of McQueen and Eastwood and these guys and there’s that kind of minimalistic quality, where I really wanted to wring out reacting to everything I’ve ever done in the past. All the lessons I’ve learned, to take the acting out of it.

We all came together as buddies, none of us were getting paid and we said, look, let’s go make a movie that’s fun and goofy. And the fact that you like it is great. Cause I needed one of those movies. I wanted to sit back and watch a film that was fun with friends and filmmakers that were established and things, you know what, Lets go do this. 

Even my best mate, Lorin McCraley plays the bartender with Val and he’s also my writing partner,  but his dream was to work with Val, and I didn’t know that. And I told him, I’m producing this movie with Christian and Mikey and Jack and the guys, I want you to play this character. I said there’s a part that you’re tailor made for, although not a big, big part for what he’s used to. Anyway, he looked at me and just said, are you really asking me, do I want to go and do a one-on-one scene with Val?  Every step was like, let’s go make a movie and do it right! And do it right on a budget. We put our sweat into it and if it does well, then we’ll do well. I think people really responded to it.

What do you think of it? Did you enjoy it? 

You know, I thought it was great! It’s pure entertainment.

Going back to your wanting it to be a homage to Steve McQueen, I thought you were very much like Steve McQueen  – that low key humour. You’re almost the straight man to everyone to everyone else’s zaniness. I thought it was perfect. 

Thank you, man. What I said to Christian was, I don’t, I want to take all the orders and all the barking that could be there in this character. I wanted to be like, listen, I know I’m the right man for what I do and you guys know what you do. But more importantly, I love you guys, you’re a bunch of misfits. In his own way he’s genuinely happy to see them, but I think it was a bunch of dudes. You know, there’s no ego or posturing in this film. It’s just a bunch of misfits. and I kind of under-glue and keep the gang together. And I think it’s a nice kind of team-play. I really enjoyed it. 

Well, that’s the thing. In team, everyone has their moment to shine. People often lose who the character is in this type of ensemble film, but everybody had a little character moment that made it pay off and make it worthwhile for everyone. 

Even the usual thing, like for example – when I first saw Val- arms wide open hugs, literally for 30 seconds, we were so happy to see each other again. We hadn’t worked together for some time, but he brings really a diversity and his struggle and the victory he just had through that battle with cancer. And here he is now, I mean, literally he’s a bringer of light, love and joys and cuddles and mischief. And then on top of all that, he happens to be Val Kilmer and you can just see that he just wants to bring his A-game. And I don’t know what you thought about his performance – but for me it was so faceted and it was beautifully unrewarding and times from the sense of his victories on the screen, but then the way that he brings it and we come together at the end, it really helped me feel bad and hurt, that I’d basically fucked his (character’s) life.

I said, that’s on me. I want to make this right. It wasn’t the usual machismo stand-off. It was two men who had literally in real life, been through wars. He’s been through wars, I’ve been through wars. and with that professionalsisn in the middle of a date farm in Palm Desert, doing this scene, it just felt so much more relevant than just the scene. It almost flirted with our lives. I said to him, I think it’s the same, you know, we had a good run and we looked at each other, then that smile generated the true moment. And it was very cool. I really enjoyed it.

I was about to mention Val Kilmer and his performance. His character could have been very one-note, but you add the depth with his daughter, which is his daughter in real life. Was that something that was in the script or did you develop that because Val Kilmer was in it? 

No, I mean, Christian wrote, I have to give a hundred percent credit to Christian for that. And I think it was really  inspired casting because you know, they’ve never worked together and this is an introducing role for her. And I think having that infrastructure of her, you know, her legendary father, but also I could see he was so joyful. And then we had the big street scene. We had everybody turn out with the wonderful costumes, so it was really just inspired casting. And I think my goodness, I mean her debut performance is rather remarkable. It’s a beautiful performance. She did a great job. And I think knowing that he has that onscreen relationship now with a daughter in a movie who is actually, his daughter…I’m glad, you know, whatever my contribution to it being in the same room, frankly. It’s nice to be a piece of that memory because I was there watching it with a big lump in my throat like everybody else. 

Those are two very touching scenes, which add so much to the film. So I think it’s actually brave of you guys to sort of keep it in – because it’s not necessarily integral to the part or the plot. 

I think it kind of is, because when you think about it, my character wouldn’t have an opportunity to go and say to Val’s character, look man, I’m a dick for doing what I did to you. I hadn’t had time to really think through the ramifications of your life as an individual. You know, you’re a father, you’re this, you know.

I love that element of Christian’s writing and I just obviously expand upon that within my performance, but I was sincere. I didn’t want to play it…I put the gun away when I approached. None of these things are written, but between the dance of Val and I, you know, we, he was in deep character. I was in deep character and you can just go and be and be and be. And the thing about working with someone at  his level, is  just so beautiful now he’s back on his A-game and he’s in Top Gun obviously and he’s done a great few things. And having that blessed position to stand in the middle of a date farm in California and say some really good words together. I don’t know, man, I’ll always have a big soft spot for this experience. 

I was not expecting the kind of the ride that I went on with it. The film was just so much fun, you know? 

Did it pick you up? Did it give you a little bit of a giggle. 

Do you know what, it did? I thought that the script was incredibly sparky. 

It’s goofy, isn’t it? 

Yeah. It’s just what we need right now. Just a good kind of summer movie.  

There you go. That gives me goosebumps. I swear to you right now, I got goosebumps. Just remember what people don’t realize is that not every movie is with a big studio budget. The guys in the movie and the guys who put their sweat and tears into it to make it happen. It’s literally, that’s the story. You know, we didn’t get paid. And I mean, literally didn’t get paid because we wanted to make a film that we needed. I mean, we’re grown men. We know how to conduct ourselves in a boardroom, but we all need to appear a little silly sometimes  and  put it in a story. No one’s really getting hurt in that film. It’s all a lot of fun and it’s like you saying it was needed and it gave you a little ride for me as one of the participants in the film – that feels properly, properly good. As we say in Southeast London –  that feels proper nice. 

You totally, totally got me. Another movie I love of yours is Bone Dry. 

Well, that’s one of my first, man. I lost myself in that character so badly that I wept. I wept for about three weeks after the film. I kept weeping about what I’d done and I kept weeping about what I’d done to his family. I kept weeping about, you know the experience of being out there. And we were literally dealing with 150 radiant. One of the hottest summers ever. My God, I’m glad you mentioned it because it’s one of those lost movies that  nobody ever really saw. But my God did I work hard for that? 

I rave about it! I reviewed the movie years ago, I emailed Brett Hart, the director, and Brett and I have become good friends from my review of the film. So it’s one of those things I champion constantly. 

I’ll be honest with you – he’s probably the hardest directors I’ve ever worked with. Without a doubt actually. For a first-timer I thought he had a lot of potential. I thought we were making something kind of hip, but again, independent films, they do fall  through the cracks and you know that better than anybody – you cover them more than I do, of course. But you know, some of them just fall through and  Bone Dry was one of those little movies that just fell through a crack. 

I think it was released at the wrong time. 

And also remember a lot of these independent films as the public doesn’t know is that distribution is everything. I directed a movie. I won an award in London for best director, but then the distribution guys put this weird cover on the front of it. It wasn’t even my body, it had helicopters and shit. And I was like guys, this is a film, noir, sort of stylistic, you know, David Fincher inspired Michael Mann thing. 

That’s where your daughter is kidnapped?

The one I wrote and directed. Yeah, 

I’ve seen that as well. I really enjoyed that too. 

Thank you. But you know, again, that movie, the distributors put on a sticker as I call it, a cover, which was, was a guy with these guns and these things and a sniper rifle thing. And I called them, I got the guys that designed the Hunger Games artwork, and we got that poster. We delivered it to them as a guide. This is just digital, please. Can we replace this artwork it’s misleading and it’s cheap and it looks dodgey and before you know, it, they said no. They just couldn’t be bothered. So they literally took my debut and put it out, knowing that the director and lead actor was miserably miserable about the artwork and also the producer. That’s how the industry works on independent movies. You’re dealing with individuals that shape things that are far, far from its inception and you have to take a big deep breath. You can’t get bent and twisted and prickly about it. You’re just going to say, look, this is the game we’re in. 

Even Paydirt, to an extent, the poster sells it as this sort of gritty action film. And that’s what I expected. And I didn’t quite get that, but I’m happy that I didn’t. 

The poster is great. I love it. We depend on people like you, literally depend on you to say you do get the poster for sure, but you get this and that and the wonderful thing about free speech and free will is that someone hates it then they’re going to tell you, but if someone loves it, then the minutia of that movie comes through the creative dynamics and facets of someone like you and your writing. That’s the collaboration. I’m speaking this way because I’ve talking the last few days about my art and my film and life and things, and I just don’t like…I’m not going to have that them and us vibe anymore. I’m like, look, couple of dudes on the phone, you’re going to cherry pick what you need out of our chat. We’re going to have a nice open thing. We’re all going through the same bloody thing. 

Yeah. I make movies and I’m painting. And I sometimes get on stage and make some noise. People seem to enjoy it, but I’m a dude first and I just think it’s that time where we have to learn to speak with this lovely, beautiful kind of step closer to each other, ironically with what’s going on. Certainly now audio and our written hand or whatever communication. So I’m just a fan of saying, look, fuck these fences that we’ve been talking over, let’s grab a chair, crack a beer and talk about stuff. You know, that’s how I want to roll for the rest of my life. 

Everyone just needs to sort of enjoy life. 

And each other!

You said you’re doing a lot of art at the minute it What sort of art is that? 

Do me a favor, if you please, please – if you have a few minutes to go to my Instagram – it’s @thelukegoss and if you could look at – there’s a Jesus painting. Cause I knew I wouldn’t be able to walk away from that. I’ve been drawing for years on my iPad and sketches and a lot of people say, wow, these are really interesting ideas. And I got hundreds of them. And so, you know, pandemic came my best mate over here said to me, and she’s also my executive assistant, she said you keep talking about this canvas, go buy it. And so she nagged me to do it as mates do and I went and did it.  Then five weeks later, blood, sweat and literally, well, certainly tears and I learned to paint. I’d never painted before in my life. 

Now I’m just starting my 12th big art piece – some of them as big as five feet wide and I’ve acquired, thank God, a guy called Sergei, who does all secondary art. The only man, who does Doctor Seus artwork, he also does Bob Dylan and a bunch of other people. He’s just committed to doing all of my art with lithographs and prints. And then with the odd one, I’m going to sell originals. So that’s about it, but I’ve decided I’ve got a full team in the UK and here now, and it’s growing really quickly because people have been attracted to it. I’m going to be a painter for the rest of my life for sure. Alongside the other stuff I do, but I’m not playing at this anymore. I just started a new canvas last night – it’s a four and a half foot square painting called Lonely Girl.

I just did another one called Church. So the whole exhibition is  about love and faith, not religion, but basically to do with primarily God, Jesus and the Holy Mother. Not in presentation, but within energy of love and faith and encouragement. So each piece is designed when it goes into exhibition it’s going  in a golden pool of light. And it’s going to be each piece of art can have its own space with beautiful music so there is time to heal, reflect and feel safe. And every piece of art I’ve done is designed to bring calm. It’s designed to bring love. It’s designed to bring a sense of healing. So that’s what I’m doing.

I’m doing an exhibition now, which has been completed now, I’m gonna keep adding to it until such time when it’s going to be in a room, but we are looking now…we’ve got a choice of some absolutely remarkable installations. And what I’m trying to do is find an installation where the public can go see it for free, but it can be seen within this setting. So to find that, I’ve got a couple of locations that would service that and I’ve asked it to be in London for the first time because I want it to be iin Britain, you know. It’s a big, big exhibition, but anyway, that’s been a big, big part of my day outside of film. It takes up 75% of my whole team’s output. 

Is that where you’re going to move into?

I’m going to keep it 100% art, 100% acting, 100% music and 100% writing when I do those things. But when I’m not doing that. I’m just a dude sitting around like everybody else, you know, wondering what’s next. And the thing is, even with music, we’re trying to set up a gig right now for Bros. I suggested something that Matt loves  – to do a gig in the desert, which could be filmed with lots of cameras safely. A transmission can be broadcast, so we could still get that fun thing. And Matt and I were talking about a lot of interactive stuff. A lot of live links through all the mediums that we can use. And so that’s that’s the music stuff. And we’ve already been asked to do a Paydirt 2. 

Well, I was going to ask you about that because it sets itself nicely up for a sequel. 

This is the origin story. This is the one before the big budget one. This is the one that says, Hey, this is us before we started to do well. This is  before we became, you know, the Clooneys and those guys with the a hundred million, both in, probably in their pockets and on screen, but this is an off-strip story of a bunch of dudes that decided to do that big job and, you know, see if they could make it work, you know? But, yeah, there’s part two, for sure. Without a doubt I’ve already said yes, Christian has already said yes. So as long as the deal is right. And obviously it has to be a good deal, but as long as the do it, right, we’ll make it work. Cause I to, I want to be him again, that guy again, and I know the Christian wants to direct the gang again, so yeah. 

Yeah. I felt it was set up for sequel. I didn’t want to say too much, but I felt that, you could go global with that 

Quick question. Would you go see this? Would you be like, glad that there’s another one coming out and you’d be like, Oh, I’m going to go watch that. It’s Friday night.

For sure. If it keeps the same tone, same cast, I’ll be there in a heartbeat. You know, I’ve already given you a positive review on Rotten Tomatoes.

Thanks man. We’re getting along. And I didn’t know that, but the thing is with Rotten Tomatoes, you know, the reason why it’s a funny system to me is because it’s obviously a subjective thing. But if it’s somebody who loves as I do a Wes Anderson movie and you know, a certain genre, you know, I see often not an observation from an open filmmaking standpoint, and it’s more of t’s utterly taste driven. And sometimes I feel that that can be misleading, but if you’ve given a great one, then thank you. 

I think if a movie sets out to achieve the aims that it obviously sets out to achieve and it hits those aims – then it’s a great movie and your movie did that. And I know we’ve run over time. So I will wrap things up. 

I’ve really enjoyed talking to you. 

Thank you very much, me too. And I hope the movie is a success. 

Give your family, all of them a big fat hug form me. And stay safe, 

I will do – and same to you. 

Paydirt was released on DVD and digital on Monday 24 August 2020

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