Young, Kristanna Loken and Richard Grieco open up about making direct-to-video films with Asylum and wildest fan interactions.
There’s not a lot that surprises actress Sean Young after decades in Hollywood — but when her son came home with a tribute to one of her most memorable roles, that really threw her for a loop.
The “Blade Runner” and “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective” star attended Comic-Con last weekend with actors Kristanna Loken (“Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines”) and Richard Grieco (“21 Jump Street”), where the trio participated in a panel celebrating the 25th anniversary of The Asylum, the direct-to-video studio behind films like the “Sharknado” series.
During their interview with TooFab, both Young and Loken shared some of their more interesting fan interactions — bringing us down the tattoo rabbit hole.
“My most special request and this has happened to me twice has been to sign an arm and a shoulder and then the person has gone out and gotten it tattooed and then they come back and they show me,” shared Loken. “There was one young woman who took off her sweatshirt and she had sleeve tattoos of autographs. On the left was the actors she liked and on the right was singers.”
“That’s weird, I’m sorry!” exclaimed Young, who then added, “I’ve seen Rachel from Blade Runner tattooed on several people and my youngest son got a Rachel tattoo and I was like, when I saw it, I was in shock.”
“I don’t get it but, you know. They do!” she said with a laugh.
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While the three stars haven’t done any projects together, they’re no stranger to being part of The Asylum machine — a machine which churns out around 25 films per year for networks and streamers like SYFY, Tubi, Hallmark and Netflix. The projects — dubbed mockbusters by the press or “tie-ins” by their creators — are known for their quick turnaround times and releases around similarly-themed films from major studios.
Just last year, Young starred in “Planet Dune,” a sci-fi film where the protagonists face off against giant sand worms. Young, of course, also starred in David Lynch’s 1984 “Dune,” while a remake from Denis Villeneuve was released in 2021.
“If you survive your first 10 years in show business, there’s nothing weird after that,” said Young when asked if it was “weird” to return to be in a project clearly inspired by “Dune” these years later. “Everything you’ve been exposed to, you’ve seen, you’ve heard, it’s all just one long adventure that you get used to after a while, if you’re lucky enough to have longevity.”
“I was approached to do a film called ‘Mercenaries’ and they pitched it like ‘Female Expendables,'” Loken said of her 2014 film with The Asylum. “We shot it in 3 weeks, an action movie. I wasn’t sure it was gonna be able to be done, but we did it, on-time, on schedule and on budget. I was a sniper in it, so I used a sniper rifle, which they very graciously gave me as a going away present, so it was a lot of fun.”
Grieco, meanwhile, first worked with the studio for “Almighty Thor” in 2011, the same year Marvel released their first film with Chris Hemsworth as the God of Thunder.
“I was kind of curious how they’d shoot this movie in 14 days and I was actually amazed how good the crew was, how good the production was and how good the film turned out. From that point on, dealing with [founders David Michael Latt and David Rimawi] and all the people at Asylum, we’ve done a lot of good films together.”
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The three noted that “direct-to-video” isn’t what it used to be, thanks to the streaming boom. “The whole business is the wild, wild West,” noted Young, something with which Grieco agreed.
“The whole business has changed exponentially. The streaming thing, I think it’s predicated a lot on Covid too, the whole lockdown,” he explained. “It just blew up, people need content, they need good content and it’s one of those things where it’s a new venture — it is a wild, wild West, you’re absolutely right — and I think everyone’s having fun with it.”
All three actors have future projects in mind with the studio, as Young said she’d actually be pitching something to one of the Davids later that day. Loken, meanwhile, said she hoped to make a few co-projects with Asylum and her own independent film studio, Trio Entertainment.
“Anytime we work with those guys, it’s a blessing and it’s fun and they’re just a good group to work with,” added Grieco.
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