R. Marcos Taylor isn’t exactly a household name (yet) but you’re sure to have seen him as some sort of villain on one of your favorite shows. Most recently he’s been seen in a muti-episode arc on the hit Netflix series LUKE CAGE. Or perhaps you caught his turn as hip hop music mogul Suge Knight in the Academy Award nominate film STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON. 2017 is set to be a big year for the actor/stuntman who will be making a splash in Edgar Wright’s BABY DRIVER and has a lead role in PAYING MR. MCGETTY with Don “The Dragon” Wilson. Taking some time out to talk about these projects amongst other things.
Corey Danna: When you first entered the entertainment business, what was the area you wanted to focus on, acting or stunts?
R. Marcos Taylor: Action/acting actually, I wanted to be the bad guy of action. I thought it’d be fun to be the bad guy. The good guys don’t get much work but everyone needs a bad guy to beat up on.
CD: As a stuntman, what’s the one stunt or film you’re most proud of having done?
RMT: Without a doubt, working with Don “The Dragon” Wilson in THE MARTIAL ARTS KID. That was a dream come true for me.
CD: You get to square off with Don in the upcoming film PAYING MR. MCGETTY. How was that then?
RMT: He wins a lot! (laughs)I don’t want to ruin the movie but he gets his licks in and I just take them. We’ll see in the movie what happens!
CD: To date, your most notable role has been that of Suge Knight in STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON. How has that role impacted your career?
RMT: That role just changed everything. I was just the ‘beat up guy’ you would say something like, “I’ll be back, Jack!”. Then that film came along and just changed everything. Since then, I’ve been working so much more.
CD: Most recently you did a stint in MARVEL’S LUKE CAGE series on Netflix. How is it working in that particular world?
RMT: That was awesome, so much fun! I’m playing a bad guy and there are so many different ways I can get beat up. That’s why I love doing stunts and action, I have many different varieties of getting beat up.
CD: Now is PAYING MR. MCGETTY your first lead role?
RMT: Yes, it is! But I can’t really say I’m the lead, Don Wilson is in it. That’s my hero, right there. We’re both the leads, the film is more of an ensemble type of thing. That’s how I see it anyways.
CD: Tell me a little bit about your character Tyrrell.
RMT: He tries hard to take care of his girlfriend and make something of himself. He tries so hard to do everything the right way but all these obstacles come between him and success but he just keeps trying. Then I end up in the wrong place at the wrong time and wake up in the wrong place at the wrong time and stuff happens (laughs).
CD: It’s a tough movie to classify, how do you describe it?
RMT: I guess we can call it an action, comedy, romance, those three words come to mind. There’s something always happening and the things that happen to me are very funny. The purpose of it is romance, my character’s objective is to do the right thing for his girlfriend Mia, so I think that’s what drives it.
CD: When I watched the film, I was about halfway through when I decided it was a cross between GET SHORTY and THE LAST DRAGON.
RMT: (there’s a short pause then extreme laughter) That’s so good! I really like that one but which one am I in GET SHORTY (starts laughing again). I need to watch that movie again but I love THE LAST DRAGON.
CD: There’s that great scene with you and the sensei and I swear that I saw ‘The Glow’.
RMT: Yeah, that was the glow! I’m just your average guy and Bruce Leroy had a six pack and was doing flips but we tried to keep it real. The martial arts that’s in you isn’t about the style, it’s about the practitioner. There’s just enough martial arts in it, if there had been more, it wouldn’t have been the movie it is right now which I think is really darn good. It didn’t have as much fighting and martial arts in it as we had planned on having.
CD: Michael Baumgarten (the director) mentioned to me that you had injured yourself the first day of filming.
RMT: Yeah, I tore my meniscus and ACL the first day. The doctor told me I should stop but I felt if I had it would have put a bunch of people out of work. I’m old school, man, they helped me when I needed it and the movie was important to all of us.
CD: I loved how on this film as well as THE MARTIAL ARTS KID, you have this same core group of people really work so well together. Why do you think that is?
RMT: It works because we’re a family. With family, you stick together, good or bad. You have each other’s backs no matter what. It’s fun! Working with Don is fun! James Wilson, our producer, is like my big bro. With Baumgarten, he’s just like, “Hey man, put it here brother!” If you come onto the set after having a bad dream or something and he’s like, “What’s up, buddy!” I’m just ready to get to work. What am I supposed to do to that? Yell back, “Screw you, Baumgarten!” I can’t, he’s just always that cool. It’s working so it ain’t broke and we don’t need to fix it.
CD: When I was out in Burbank this past June, I met Don, James, and Michael Baumgarten and they were all so gracious and kind to everyone. Great guys!
RMT: They sure are.
CD: You have an extensive martial arts background.
RMT: I guess (laughs).
CD: Do you have any aspirations of being your own modern day action star?
RMT: Yeah, definitely! I’ve wanted to do it but there’s always people in the way so I just try to push through those negative people and I think I’ve been able to do something different. Different did good for me so I want to keep doing that for awhile but that’s why I’m with the Traditionz family and we’ve been doing great things. So when it comes time, I’ll be there, I’ll be ready. Hopefully I’ll get to fight The Rock at least, you can quote me on that (laughs)!
CD: Are there any other action stars you admire that you would like to work with?
RMT: Oh yeah, there are zillions of them! Working with Don and Cynthia Rothrock is amazing, there are so many others, James Lew was another, I felt like I was in heaven. I wish Chuck Norris would more films, I’m serious, he can hit me, I wouldn’t care. I would love to work with any of the guys I grew up watching in the 80’s and 90’s. I’d really like to work with some of the newer guys too, like, crap, what’s his name? Boyka?
CD: Scott Adkins!
RMT: Yeah!! Scott Adkins! People underestimate me because of my size but I can do all the kicks and the flipping, I’ve been doing it my whole life. To pair up someone like me and someone as talented as Adkins, it could be crazy. Guys like him should be getting bigger and better roles and doing more Hollywood productions. My head is spinning right now just thinking about everyone I would like to work with. I want to fight Cynthia Rothrock so bad! I do, I really do! It’s a possibility so, fingers crossed (takes a deep breath) It will happen, it will be so awesome!
CD: I know you have at least one project I’m really looking forward to.
RMT: I did a movie for Edgar Wright with Kevin Spacey and Jamie Foxx called BABY DRIVER.
CD: That’s the one!
RMT: It’s coming out in March I believe. I just wrapped on a television pilot called UP NORTH, it’s a mix of THE WIRE, OZ, and POWER. I’ve done a bunch of things but don’t remember the names. I haven’t been in this business too long but I understand how actors can forget about things they’ve been in. Like with Don, I can ask him about something he has done in a movie and he won’t remember it but he’s done like a gazillion movies over the last two decades and I can’t remember what I did a year ago. I understand that now but I’ll have to get on that. I’m very blessed and happy for my career but at some point people will get sick of seeing my face on the screen. I do have a couple of things coming up but I can’t really say anything. I will say this, they’re in the Marvel or DC realms, but that’s all I can let out.
CD: Thank you for taking the time out to talk with me.
RMT: Yeah, man, it was cool. It was awesome . Thank you and I’ll see you at the movies!