Nicky Whelan was swimming away from a dangerous shark in Maneater the last time we chatted, andThe Best Man also features her playing a character in grave danger. The action thriller, directed by Bloodworth fillmmaker Shane Dax Taylor, co-stars Dolph Lundgren, Scout Taylor-Compton, Brendan Fehr, and Luke Wilson. Details on the feature and a Q&A of the Whelan interview is featured in this post!
Brendan Fehr is Bradley, the titular character in The Best Man. Supporting his friend Cal’s (Luke Wilson) wedding to Brook (Nicky Whelan) is his main focus. Bradley and Cal are former Special Ops soldiers, and their group member Anders (Dolph Lundgren) also attends the nuptials. Scout Taylor-Compton is Brook’s sister Hailey, and she has her eyes set on Bradley.
Nuptials and flirtations take a backseat when tragedy strikes. When mercenaries take over the remote resort hotel, innocent people are killed and the others are taken for ransom. It’s up to these soldiers to save these hostages and make sure they get out of the resort alive.
As Whelan mentions, her character does not do a ton of butt kicking in this movie, but it still was physically challenging experience. Whelan talked to Deepest Dream about The Best Man and she also discussed her passion for working with animals via Bondi Vet, Spirit of Animals Sanctuary and Last Chance for Animals.
The Best Man has a maze like structure since there are several different storylines going on within that building. It’s definitely a challenging movie.
Nicky Whelan: It is. I’m glad you sort of understand that. We’re shooting in this massive location but there are so many moving parts. We all peel off when s**t hits the fan. We’re shooting this movie in 12 or 11 days. There’s a lot of moving parts and trying to connect us all and bring us back in the end. How do we find each other and we’re getting pulled apart.
It was definitely a challenge. Our poor director who was planning out how to do that. And also the casino kept running. We had to work around that and we only had certain sections of the casino to work in. The wedding scene had everyone in it – it was hard to coordinate. We had to hustle for sure on this one (laughs).
Last interview, you talked about swimming out in the ocean, and now you’re also physically challenging yourself with The Best Man. I’m assuming you can’t eat a ton of pizza between projects with all that physicality. You need to stay in tiptop shape.
Nicky Whelan: It just depends on who you are. Body weight is a whole thing. I’m one of those people that for most of my life, I could eat whatever I wanted. But then I have to be a little more careful now. I’m older now. I want to be more healthy. It’s a choice. These movies are very physical and you have to be ready for them.
You don’t know how many times you’re going to have to run up those stairs and down. It can get really taxing on you. As long as I can stilly physically do it, I’ll keep doing it. I really love it. I really enjoy it. This one I don’t have to kick so much ass but there is so much running in this movie and diving and dipping and rolling in the carpet. We’re always laughing.
Some stuff hurts! You just got to keep going and push through it. I think the adrenaline and the excitement of being on set will get you through.
Full audio interview with Nicky Whelan is up on Soundcloud:
You’ve described your body of work as “random,” so defiinitely looking forward to hearing about your latest movie roles.
I’ve traveled a lot since I last spoke to you. I played a sniper again – random. Then I was in Hawaii again doing this cool, comedy Alien movie that is coming out. Then I did another comedy out in Atlanta. I play a nurse. Super funny. Robin Givens was the director. She’s amazing.
I was in Kentucky doing comedy, which is great. I’ve wanted to do more comedies and they’re trickling back in. I did another beautiful movie out in Rhode Island, which I’ve never been to before. Sort of like a thriller. I did out there The randomness continues.
I’ve just done a TV series. I don’t do hosting anymore, but I’ve gone back (with this project). It’s called Bondi Vet and it’s an Australian show about animals. They asked me after seeing my Instagram if I would likve to have a few episodes on their show where i cover rescues in America. I started on this property called Spirit of Animals which a girlfriend of mine (Rhea) runs.
Every kind of animal you can think of. From circus animals, camels, pigs, horses, llamas, dogs. Everything she takes on and so I go out there and tell the stories of animals and what they have been through and how they’ve been rescued. It’s unbelievable. So that’s coming out soon.
So it never ends (laughs).
That show must be a very life giving experience for you.
Nicky Whelan: Yeah I love it. I go out and work on the property out there. I enjoy it so much. When I’m not working, I’ll just be out there with the animals just digging holes. Physical farm work. I love these people. Rhea, who runs the property, has been doing this her whole life. Her husband was in the business. He was a stunt guy. They’re affiliated with Hollywood but they’ve managed to spend half their time rescuing these animals from the most horrendous scenaries.
It’s something I’ve gotten involved with in the last couple of years and realized this was something I’m really passionate about. My old crew who I used to work for when I was in Australia hosting 20 years hit me up and (asked) “Do you want to do this again and cover these stories?” It’s like a dream job, to be honest with you. It’s a no-brainer. It’s not acting. It’s a very real situation. These are very real storires and circumstances. It just brings awareness (regarding) the things that needs help in the Earth.
Last Chance For Animals, another company I work for, these people are amazing. They really do incredible things. Just to be in the mix is great.
You’ve mentioned in past interviews how meditation is a part of your life. With meditation and working with animals, do these activities feed you whenever you go on a film or television set. Basically keep you balanced?
I think when you’re younger, traveling a lot, you’re like a gypsy. You can kind of do it a lot easier. You’re more robust when you bounce around. As you get older, you get more comfortable which I don’t think is a good thing.
I think we need to constantly keep pushing ourselves. But you need spirituality, grounding and a foundation for your body to travel places and come back. It wears thin on you after a while. You (need) to have a place to come back to. The farm, for me, is one of those places. Just working with soil and with animals. It’s just very therapeutic. Meditation is another super important thing if you can throw that in.
We can all do this. Besides from the business, it’s something that we need to practice. Whether it’s your religion or something you believe in. A daily practice. We’re so scrambled and overloaded now.
We all struggle with different things in life. Finding something you believe in and something you get daily practice for yourself, whatever that is, for me it’s meditation and the farm. It helps and as you get older, s**t just gets weirder. I’m in a weird business. No consistency. So if this goes all away, I’m still good. I’m still okay.
I can still work out there and be just happy. But you’ve got to find it. You’ve go to go through some s**t to find it and then you’ve got to work on staying in that place it never ends.
It is a weird business. Whether you’re reporting on entertainment or actually working on these projects, there is a hamster wheel cycle that is hard to escape. Have you always focused on having a separate life outside the business?
I think it’s always been in me. My family is not in the business at all. I grew up in a tiny little beach town. My foundation comes from growing up in a different environment that is quite grounding itself.
It just depends where you grow up and how you grow up. I’m always torn. I never know what feels like home. I’ve lived in L.A. for 16 years. I grew up in Australia. Moving from country to country is very strange on the body. You’ve got to adapt and evolve. Like I said, the older you get it – it gets weirder.
I’ve always had a sense of it in me. The last 20 years I’ve been pretty wild. I’ll jump on planes. I’ll go anywhere last minute. But as I get older it’s “deep breath, center, let’s come back here.” A lot of hard times, and I think everyone can relate to this, will force you into studying and learning things that help you find out who you really are.
Whatever that means to you, and be okay with changing and evolving. Because that s**t is happening to you whether you like it or not. Trying to roll with that as well as do this weird job. It’s all bizarre (laughs).
From your vantage point, what are Shane Dax Taylor’s strengths as a filmmaker? What was he like to work with on The Best Man?
Shane’s so laid back which I love. This one was really tricky and he’ll explain it to you. All these moving pieces in this building and we’d sprout off into these different directions. He’s very chill in letting everyone find their place and not being “you need to be like this.”
He was really good to work with. I love working with directors like that – that are so open to stuff. They see how you’re doing and say “I like how you did that.” Maybe they’ll guide you back to keep you on the storyline, but they give you the freedom. And Shane’s just a cool dude. I like that kind of vibe.
I’ve worked with a few directors like that. Intensity is great too from directors but his chillness was good on this. It was rushed, so it was good to have that energy.
A Star Is Born is one of your favorite movies. Can you name another movie to recommend for our listeners?
It’s so funny you say that because I have the old record for A Star Is Born with Kris Kristofferson and Barbra Streisand just sitting here. You so put me on the spot with this question. I’m trying to think of all the movies I grew up watching with my mum. Talking about Barbra Streisand – think about her performances and all the movies she did.
I would recommend anything that woman has done in her career. She’s breathtaking. I just love the way . . . I think back then they had a lot more time. It just was a different business and a different day and a different kind of energy.
A lot of these things these days, sadly, are squished into a short amount of time. Even in the 90s, all the action movies back in the 90s, you can watch the difference in how they were made. There’s so many more shots. I miss the old way. I miss old school movies and them being longer. I’m happy to sit in a 2 or 3 hour movie.
You mentioned Last Night in Rozzie as a movie recommendation last time. Name another movie or TV series that you recommend our readers/listeners to watch from your body of work.
I did love Last Night in Rozzie. I’m glad that you bring that up. It’s a great movie. Really good people to work with. I’m trying to think . . .
Sorry for putting you on the spot!
I did a TV series called Matador with Robert Rodriguez. It’s myself and Gabriel Luna who is in The Last of Us and Alfred Molina. It’s a great TV series. It’s a really cool series I did. It’s awesome. It’s underground. CIA. Bad guys. It’s just a cool series and I don’t think it got the love it deserved. It’s obviously directed by Robert Rodriguez and a bunch of other cool directors came in. It’s just a badass series and if you’re looking for something to watch, check it out.
Looking forward to seeing your next films. Always a pleasure!
Thank you. Nice to see you!
The Best Man hits theaters, digital and On Demand April 21 via Saban Films.
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