KNIGHTS OF THE ZODIAC: Check Out Our Exclusive Interview With Stars Nick Stahl And Mark Dacascos!

We talk to Knights of the Zodiac stars Nick Stahl and Mark Dacascos about their roles in the action-packed Saint Seiya adaptation, including their approach to fight scenes and the franchise's mythology.

Based on the international anime sensation, Knights of the Zodiac brings the Saint Seiya saga to the big screen in live-action for the first time. In the movie, Seiya (Mackenyu), a headstrong street teen, spends his time fighting for cash while he searches for his abducted sister.

However, when one of his fights unwittingly taps into mystical powers he never knew he had, Seiya finds himself thrust into a world of warring saints, ancient magical training and a reincarnated goddess who needs his protection. If he’s to survive, he will need to embrace his destiny and sacrifice everything to take his rightful place among the Knights of the Zodiac.

Fear The Walking Dead star Nick Stahl plays Cassios, the hateful right-hand man of Famke Janssen's big bad. Starting off as a cage fighter, he later receives some enhancements that make him a force to be reckoned with when he goes toe-to-toe with Seiya.

Mark Dacascos (John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum), meanwhile, takes on the role of Mylock, Alman Kiddo (Sean Bean) and Sienna's (Madison Iseman) bodyguard who proves himself Knights of the Zodiac's biggest badass. 

We recently got to speak with both actors about their work on this project, learning about how they approached the franchise's complicated mythology, their respective fight scenes, a couple of favourite memories from working with Janssen and Bean, and their hopes to return to this property for an eventual sequel. 

You can read our full conversation with Stahl and Dacascos below. 


You’ve both been part of big franchises like Terminator and Marvel, so did your experiences with those help prepare you in any way for the work that went into understanding the mythology explored in Knights of the Zodiac?

Mark: Nick, I can feel you wanting to speak.

Nick: Yeah, I’m busting at the seams here [Laughs]. Truthfully, I’ve done probably way more smaller films than bigger ones like this, but I think the experience on things like Terminator probably does help. It’s amazing when you have a lot more time to get these scenes the way you want them to be. It’s a real luxury. Although I’d done a couple of action movies, I hadn’t done any fight choreography, stunt training, or anything like that. I’d done very, very little of that stuff before this. That was a new experience for me. On the other hand, as an actor, you approach stories the same way regardless of the size of the budget and from a character standpoint. The experience before was valuable for this, definitely.

Mark: Josh, I 100% agree with Nick. Every movie you do, there’s a chance to learn and grow as actors. I like to think my best work is whatever I’m working on because I’ve got that past experience. Hearing Nick say he hadn’t really done much fight choreography, I’ve got to tell you, Nick, you’re a badass. I’ve said this behind your back and told my wife that! You look like you know exactly what you’re doing and it’s really impressive because I love actors such as Nick who are all in. They do the verbal dialogue and the physical dialogue. They embody the roles. If you hadn’t said what you just said about not having done much fight choreography, I’d have never believed you.

Nick: Well, thanks, man.

Mark: You’re welcome! 

Nick: They’re really good at making quick cuts to the stunt guy as well. 

Mark: [Laughs] It’s true! We had a good team.

Nick: They definitely make us look good and the team in place on this movie was incredible. Andy Cheng and his crew. 

Mark, Mylock is a very strong, silent type in comparison but later in the movie, you really get to show what he’s capable of in this badass fight sequence where you kick so much ass - what was it like shooting that? 

Mark: [Laughs] Thank you. It was really exciting. Like Nick said, we had Andy Cheng and his great crew. That particular day, as with most days, time is of the essence. We had good preparation time which is a luxury so we could prepare and know what we were doing beforehand. We went in and had the minimal amount of time, but the team were just spot on. I remember, right off the bat, I think the first or second take halfway through the choreography, I made a mistake. They didn’t. I did. I said, ‘Sorry!’ and we went right back to it. The team in that scene was very supportive and calmed me down and we were able to get the footage that we needed. Andy and his team…the choreography was fun to work with and playing with the props was a joy.

Nick, when we first meet Cassios, he’s a cage fighter and, later in the movie, you’re going to war suited up as this unstoppable force of nature. I’d love to know how it felt for you to go from one extreme to the other in terms of those fight scenes?

Nick: It was cool! I really enjoyed doing this role and that’s one of the reasons. Cassios goes through a metamorphosis and, alongside Seiya is doing his own dark version of ascension. He’s trying to embody this God but it’s ultimately the jealousy and intense spite he has for Seiya that’s one of the reasons he’s so driven. It drives the character’s actions and makes him more intense. His search for this kid is him trying to bring him down. 

Mark, you spend a lot of time working with Sean Bean - what did you enjoy about bouncing off him in those moments? 

Mark: Like so many others, I’m a huge fan of Sean Bean. He just came on the set and was so grounded and warm and comforting and collaborative. It was just a joy. From scene one, it was just fluid and easy to work with him. I was a little intimidated and didn’t know what to expect. I love his work. He just comforted everybody that worked with him and he was so rooted, it was easy to attach on to that and go with him. It was a joy, again. 

Famke Janssen is a great villain in this film, but for you Nick, what was it like having her be your character’s boss and how did the relationship between the two characters play into your dynamic on set?

Nick: It was interesting because there was one point where we were establishing those rules between the characters. I remember, there was a scene where she grabbed me by the throat, and Cassios is a badass who has dominance over everybody. He meets his boss [Laughs], and she knocks him down a peg. At one point, we were just rehearsing, and I was saying a line and Famke grabbed my mouth and it was hard to speak. I had an issue with it and said, ‘Let me get the line out!’ [Laughs] It was interesting even in rehearsal that we were sparring a little bit…

Mark: That’s fantastic.

Nick: …and then we settled on, ‘Okay, it’ll be the neck.’ I noticed that she had an instinct to do something and I was immediately like, ‘No, you wouldn’t do that to me.’ She turned out to be right and I realised that so I admitted that was my pride a little. She’s a great actress who is so professional and so much fun to work with. I’ve been a fan of hers for a long time, so it was a real pleasure to get the opportunity to work with her. 

I’m not going to get into spoilers here, but Knights of the Zodiac is definitely a franchise with spin-off and sequel potential, so how would you guys feel about revisiting these characters?

Mark: We’d love to! 

Nick: Yes!

Mark: Nick, I loved the dynamic with you and Famke on and off camera. Awesome. 

Nick: [Laughs] Thanks. And I second that about sequels. The whole cast would jump at the opportunity to revisit this story and see where these characters go.

Mark: I hope if we did we have some origin stories about where we all came from. 

Nick: That would be cool. A little mohawked baby born into the world.

Mark: [Laughs] Totally! 

Knights of the Zodiac is set to be released in theaters on May 12.

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