THE VIGILANTE SPEAKS: An Interview With Paul Sloan

2013 saw quite a few struggles - mostly in my initial efforts to connect with folks in filmmaking since not a lot of people knew me. Thankfully director Christian Sesma was one of the earlier ones I managed to share circles with as he was aiming toward launching his latest webseries, Vigilante Diaries on the then-active

Since then, the series, a hyperviolent graphic novel-style take on superhero tropes mingling properties like Bourne and Punisher, produced two episodes before tapering off into new life as a feature film just a few years ago, and with some good prospects to boot. The film is finally well on the way to hitting theaters, and in between that time I've had some of the best memories in covering Sesma's work, including his most recent action horror, The Nightcrew which remains as one of my absolute favorite highlights of Sesma's work.

That said, Vigilante Diaries had its fair share of flaws to accomdate some of its higher notes and I discuss them a bit more in my review which you can take a gander at here. Needless to say, it's been a blast having been able to cover this project as often as I could as much of a fan as I am of the process and comradery independent cinema takes to achieve, and particularly with the commitment of its actors, namely Paul Sloan who has been a mainstay in Sesma's workbody for sometime now.

His most recent credit includes co-starring in and scribing the new John Travolta revenge flick, I Am Wrath, and as of the past week, I finally had the opportunity to discuss his involvement with Vigilante Diaries, including his on-set experiences in bringing the character to life, working with Sesma, and much more. I enjoyed talking with Sloan several reasons, and namely out of admiration and enjoyment of the fevor there is for such a character as The Vigilante - a former soldier and government assassin-turned-maverick crimefighter out with a vengeance... What???

Yes, clearly I am still sold on the concept over all and I hope Sesma and Sloan will find a way to bring out the best of this particular character, via sequel or even a Netflix follow-up. In my book, Sloan owns this role and it's put him on my radar of folks to look out for in film for sure. For this and all else, here is my latest chat with star of Vigilante Diaries himself, Paul Sloan, and feel free to click here for my earlier interview with Sesma for some extra perspective!

Film Combat Syndicate: Thanks for agreeing to chat with me Paul! How has the year been for you so far?
Paul Sloan: Lee, how are ya? 2016's been great so far. Last year was a busy one, on the road a lot, so it's nice to be home in California. 
FCSyndicate: Well that's good to hear. I haven't had a vacation since '02 and I'm still grinding [laughs]. Tell us about yourself and how you got into acting and film.
PS: A love for movies and being around creative people - I was just drawn to acting and filmmaking. And I am a beach bum, so I really don't know what else I could do for a living. Make balloon animals on Venice beach, maybe!
I had a little role as a barbarian in the original Scorpion King film way back, and I was basically out-acted by a camel. But that was a great job! I was just happy to be on set. You can spend a lot of time waiting for work to come along, so I tried writing projects of my own that I could act in and be a bit more involved. And, I got very, very lucky.  
Promotional photo for VIGILANTE DIARIES webseries in 2013
FCSyndicate: So upon creating your character, The Vigilante and writing him with Christian, was a webseries always the goal at first? Or was there an attempt to help bring him to fruition as a feature film figure? Tell us about the process it took.
PS: It started as a webseries, something we could we could shoot real bare bones and have fun with. We had a few episodes written - the quick premise was, "What if someone followed a comic book style anti-hero around and made a reality show about him. The 'vigilante' character was more of an ominous, brooding dude, and once we added a natural comedian like Jason Mewes as the director filming this crazy violent maniac around, people responded to that. We got two episodes online and had a great debut at Comic Con.  
The site that streamed the series became something else, and the property sat for awhile and Christian and I went off to shoot THE NIGHTCREW. When we made the feature version of Vigilante Diaries, some of the backstory and the episodic structure remained, but the character and the movie took an entirely new tone... More of an international spy feel, another genre we love, so we went with it.
FCSyndicate: I LOVED you guys in The Nightcrew and I have a question or two about that later on.
What has your training regimen been like in the last several years? How do you stay prepared for action roles like these?
PS: Glad you enjoyed Nightcrew. That was a hard one, and it goes back to your question about training. I try to eat clean and hit the gym four days a week in between jobs, so when a role like The Nightcrew comes up and the director specifically tells you put on more muscle, you have to be able to say "OK". I had some prep time, maybe six weeks and I just ate steaks went to the gym and slept a lot. Not a bad gig, actually!
FCSyndicate: Were there any significant challenges you faced in performing some of the action sequences?
PS: On The Nightcrew, the hardest physical part of that was the cold. We shot on location on the desert outside Palm Springs. It was winter and cold as shit. So that was a lot of fake sweat. 
On the Vigilante Diaries, the feature was shot at a non stop pace. So, not a lot of time to nurse the pulls and sprains and bruises. And we hit like 4 or 5 countries and had different stunt teams in Scotland, LA, and Armenia - getting the choreography down in limited time, sometimes winging it on set 20 mins before we shoot. But, everyone was a pro and it was pretty smooth overall. The director, Christian, is a fighter himself. He has a good grasp of what works on screen, so when it sucks he tells you.
FCSyndicate: What were some of the more hilarious or fun "blooper reel" moments for you on set, if any? Any stories to share?
Mike Hatton and Paul Sloan in VIGILANTE DIARIES
PS: Any scene with Mike Hatton in the role of Barry - pretty much the intel character in the movie. Scenes where he's delivering some info on where my family is being held hostage...I have to stand there and play stoic, and and every take I just lost it. He's also twirling an umbrella and wearing a Union Jack suit, so he did not make it easy.  
FCsyndicate: His wardrobe was pretty loud! Definitely one of my favorite characters from the film indeed.

We meet your character at a certain point of origin and we see him evolve between flashbacks to where he is now. Do you have any plans to continue the Vigilante's story from here on, if any? And if so, can you lend us any ideas on how that would play out?
PS: We all love to do more, ya never know. The character has changed quite a bit and if we continue, we would follow his new relationship with his family and his new partner. I think he's softened a bit, but we don't want him too soft!
FCSyndicate: What are some key lessons you've learned from this endeavor as a filmmaker on both sides of the camera? What do you take with you the most?
PS: The team is everything. When you have a solid bunch of people, from the make-up people to the producers and director, if everyone is willing, it's crazy what you can accomplish. I'm an egomaniac - love the action and the flash, but it's only possible with talented dedicated people making you look good.
FCSyndicate: So what's next for Paul Sloan? Can we expect another pairing with Sesma soon?
PS: Well it looks like I'll be working with Christian again on a Vegas cop thriller called TEN DOUBLE ZERO. It's like a female Training Day. I'm not playing the female role, even though I auditioned for it.  
FCSyndicate: That sounds both hilarious and exciting. And can you give us an idea about The Nightcrew and when it will get a U.S. release?
PS: The Nightcrew was picked up by a great company, eOne Entertainment. They have to find the right slot and so hopefully it will release this summer.
FCSyndicate: My fingers are crossed! Thanks ever so much for this chat Paul! I'll be watching out for more of you on screen, and my best wishes to your fellow co-stars, friends and family!
PS: Lee, thank you for all the support, really appreciate it.  Have a great summer.
Vigilante Diaries opens in select theaters on June 24, 2016 from Anchor Bay Entertainment!


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