Frank Grillo on what the return of the theater experience will bring to audiences

David Appleby

After a year and a half of empty theaters and movie premieres switching to the small screen, it’s finally back to a regular schedule at the cinema—and that is just what we all need right now, or at least, Frank Grillo thinks so.

The 56 year old actor has been in the biz for some time, and after a hiatus of entertainment due to the pandemic, the New York native has a huge slate of roles coming out. One of them, ‘The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard,’ hits theaters this weekend.

Grillo was interested in the role, which puts him in a sequel to Ryan Reynold’s and Samuel L. Jackson’s 2017 film, through the promise of travel and a dynamite cast, and that’s what audiences get as well. The second edition to Patrick Hughe’s film shows Reynold’s character trying to pick up the pieces after losing his license and starting therapy. After “graduating,” he heads off on a sabbatical and that’s where Salma Hayek’s character comes in and quite literally blows it up with the chaos that follows her on the quest to get back her husband, Samuel L. Jackson, who also happens to be Reynold’s foe at this point.

The film follows a format that has been done before, but that might be the comforting part according to the actor. There’s action, there are five star secondary characters in the form of Antonio Banderas and Morgan Freeman, there’s travel around Europe and the quick wit of Reynolds versus Jackson. What the second movie does better is add in Salma Hayek’s Sonia.

Grillo sat down with Metro to chat about ‘The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard,’ and what else he has cooking up for the big screen.

What was the initial interest with taking on this role?

My buddy Patrick Hughes is the director, and he called me up and said we’re doing a second ‘Hitman’s’ and we have a really cool role for you to play and we’re going to Croatia and Italy and London…so [that’s a] yes. I’ll be honest with you, I never saw [the first film,] but when Patrick said I want you to come do this, I watched it and I thought it was great. I love Ryan Reynolds, and I love Sam Jackson, who’s a friend. It’s one of those movies where you just sit down for 90 minutes and just eat some popcorn and Milk Duds and laugh and watch stuff get blown up.

Ryan Reynolds and director Patrick Hughes.David Appleby

What can you tell me about your character?

My character is an Interpol agent from Boston who hates Europe, and he hates Ryan Reynold’s character even more than he hates Europe. He’s stuck there having to deal with these three nut-jobs and wanting to get his dog out of quarantine, he’s just not wanting to be like a curmudgeon. It was really great fun, I didn’t have to shoot a gun or kill anybody and I got to play the straight guy, as in delivering lines. We were all over the planet, and come on, it’s Sam Jackson, Ryan Reynolds, Salma Hayek, Antonio Banderas and Morgan Freeman—it was really a no-brainer.

What do you think the addition of Salma Hayek’s character brings to the sequel?

Let me tell you, she hands down made it better. I loved what she did with that character, she’s over the top. I know critics will probably be not so nice about the movie, but she obviously is an amazing actress and she’s unapologetic. She kind of takes over for those guys and I think that she was the stand-out of the film.

What were some of your most memorable moments from filming?

I love and respect all of the people who were in it, but really, I had an opportunity to go and make a movie with my buddy who’s directed and wrote the movie. And that’s why I was there, I was there as a secondary character to support and work with my friend and get to travel a bit.

Do you think audiences now will be taking more away from these movies since it’s been so long since we have been in a theater?

I do. I really believe that because of the last year and a half, I think people are starving for entertainment that does it’s job— which is to let you forget about everything and you get to sit back and eat some popcorn or drink some wine and have fun. It’s like Disneyland, you just forget for 90 minutes.

David Appleby

You have a lot of films in post-production that are coming out soon, can you tell me anything that you’re excited for?

James DeMonaco created and directed ‘Once Upon A Time in Staten Island’ and several of the ‘Purge’ films, but this was his passion project. The movie delivers on every level. It is such a beautiful, nostalgic, heartfelt film, it’s myself and Naomi Watts and Bobby Cannavale and it’s just an amazing cast and it’s really a throwback. I’m excited and I hope it finds a place soon, because we made it a couple of years ago. There’s another movie called “Ida Red’ that I did with Josh Hartnett and Melissa Leo that I’m really looking forward too, and I just finished a film with Gerard Butler that my partner Joe Carnahan and I produced and he directed it called ‘Cop Shop.’ In between there, and I don’t know how, there’s four or five other films…So I’m sure by the end of 2021, beginning of 2022, no one’s going to want to see me on screen ever again.

Is there anything that you’re itching to do role wise?

There are two things: I want to find a great mob film, something based on true facts. I think we haven’t had a really good gangster movie in [a while], and also I would love to do a biopic, some character that existed in real life that had some importance and to try to pull that off.

Back to the ‘Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard,’ for fans of the first, how would you compare the second?

If they loved the first one, then this is like the first one on steroids…I hate to use that expression, but there is a lot more of what you loved from the first movie and Salma Hayek. I promise that when people go to the theaters, the movie delivers.

Director Patrick Hughes and Salma Hayek on set of The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard.David Appleby

‘The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard’ hits theaters June 16.