For Pierson Fodé, the role of The Man From Miami was a no-holds-barred trip into the world of a villain. Initially, Pierson’s role in The Man From Toronto was much smaller in the original script, but the character was expanded upon in the revised vision. HollywoodLife spoke EXCLUSIVELY with Pierson about why he was all-in with The Man From Miami.
“He’s kind of like the Terminator. He just kept going,” Pierson told HollywoodLife. “When I initially read the script, his part was much smaller. He had a very cool entrance, and he had his three-piece suit on and was ready to rock and roll. But when I saw the revised script after I booked the project, he just got even more badass. I just couldn’t help but really dive into it. I think one of the things that was most exciting was, honestly, the action and diving into a character that is kind of like American Psycho in a lot of ways.”
After booking The Man From Toronto, Pierson was put in a training regimen and began working with Phil Silvera, who did all the stunt choreography and was a second unit director. He ended up training for 4 months.
“So for a month, we trained for anywhere from 4 to 8 hours a day doing stunts and choreography and fight choreography. But then he also brought in an Army Ranger by the name of Jack Nevils, who’s a real American hero. I played the bad version of him in the movie,” Pierson revealed. “He’s the real guy that would go out to literal terrorists and eliminate targets and protect America and the world and some of the things he can’t talk about. It’s really amazing all the things that he did. But between that training, all the weapons training, learning how to kill people in 450 different ways, and how to make it look cool on screen and make sure that the camera caught all the movements, I trained for four months. From literally a month before we started shooting to the last day of shooting, we were doing fight choreography.”
When The Man From Miami makes his grand entrance in the film, Kevin Hart and Woody Harrelson are also in the scene. Pierson accidentally got punched in the face by Woody during one of the final takes of the scene.
“On the last takes, your moves start to get a little sloppy, and Woody comes in with a hard right hook over one of these moments and just absolutely clocks me in the face,” Pierson admitted. “We’re still in the moment. My eyes just water immediately, and we’re finishing the entire sequence because you don’t want to break. You’ve got millions of dollars happening right now. They finally called cut, and I’m like seeing a little bit of stars moment. He just really laid it in there. He was like, ‘Dude, you okay?'”
Towards the end of the film, The Man From Miami also has a brutal fight scene with Teddy where he beats Teddy with a golf club. While filming the wild scene, Pierson revealed that Kevin told him not to hold back whatsoever.
“He came out like a trooper,” Pierson said about Kevin. “I think it was like, one or two degrees that day in Toronto. We were in a small town. I’d done most of my stuff with the stunt team, but then when he came out to deliver his lines and get his coverage, he was like, ‘Man, just go for it. Let’s just get it in. Don’t be afraid to lay a couple on me if it happens.’ He was awesome. He was an animal.”
Pierson noted that he admits Woody and Kevin’s work ethic. “I think the overall theme that I got from it was these guys show up to set every day and they give it 110 percent just like we all were,” Pierson told HollywoodLife. “And I realized, too, they just want to have fun. We’re all in this industry because we love it. We admire it and want to tell stories that people enjoy watching, whether it changes their life or it’s just a good popcorn movie that people can watch and veg out for a little bit. That’s what we talked about quite often, how to make career changes and strategy changes. Ultimately, it was like, this is the coolest job in the frickin’ world.”
Next up, Pierson will star in the film Dope Queens, which the actor said was “one of the best scripts” he’s read in a long time. Similar to The Man From Toronto, Pierson underwent a major physical transformation for his role in Dope Queens. “I went from 215 pounds to 167 pounds, roughly speaking. I stopped keeping track by the end of the shoot because he was addicted to speed and heroin and everything on the street that you get addicted to,” Pierson said.
He continued, “I think 6 months after Man from Toronto, and I was just coming off the end of another movie. Halfway through that movie so I didn’t change too much of my character’s aesthetic, I started reducing my calorie intake and doing intermittent fasting. I had about a month and a half to lose all that weight. So I literally just stopped eating for about a week and went straight to the full water-only fast and was doing two hours of cardio in the morning and two hours of cardio at night. As I was running on the cardio machine, I was watching a documentary YouTube video called Soft White Underbelly, which was interviewing homeless people on the streets that were addicted to different types of everything.”