Mark Dacascos & Madison Iseman Interview: Knights Of The Zodiac
Knights of the Zodiac stars Mark Dacascos & Madison Iseman discuss their excitement about bringing Saint Seiya to life and share some favorite scenes.
Knights of the Zodiac is the live-action adaptation of the beloved Saint Seiya manga, and the film is jam-packed with stylish action and great characters powered by cosmic energies. The original Saint Seiya manga concluded in 1990 and has seen several spin-offs and several anime adaptations. Now, Sony is teaming up with Toei to bring the story of the newly reincarnated Goddess of War, Athena, and her powerful Knights to life.
The film features a young girl named Sienna (Madison Iseman) who has mysterious powers awakened inside of her that threaten the safety of the world unless she learns to control them. Her father, Alman Kido (Sean Bean), and his close friend Mylock (Mark Dacascos) attempt to find the Knights destined to protect the goddess, but they are pursued by her mother, Guraad (Famke Janssen), and the intimidating Nero (Diego Tinoco). Things begin to heat up when the young Seiya (Mackenyu) accidentally awakens his abilities in a fighting tournament, leading him right to Sienna and a battle for the world’s fate.
Both Sienna and Mylock have a lot of great scenes in the film, including pulse-pounding action and heart-wrenching sequences. Iseman and Dacascos joined Screen Rant to talk about Knights of the Zodiac and what it’s like playing a part in bringing a series like Saint Seiya to life.
Screen Rant: Mark, you have some incredible scenes in Knights of the Zodiac. One fight scene in particular against four black armored enemies was really cool. How much time did you and the team have to practice that scene?
Mark Dacascos: Yes. So we had the incredible Andy Chang and his world-class stunt team. We had a great [time with them], and we did have ample time to rehearse. And that was necessary, especially for me. Those guys and women are all incredible. They really challenged me and helped me kind of get up to speed, so to speak.
But it was challenging because the day of the shoot, things happen, and we had less time than we had planned. So, we had that extra adrenaline rush of trying to get this huge fight in and in a very small amount of time, safely and properly. I loved it! It was challenging, fun, and I can’t wait to do it again.
Madison, have you always wanted to play an all-powerful goddess of the universe? And is that something that is hard to turn off when you’re off the camera?
Madison Iseman: What do you mean, I’m not a Goddess right now? It never went away, I was born to play this! [Laughs]
It was the scariest role I ever said yes too, truthfully. Not only is she an all-powerful goddess of war, but [her character has] also been loved for decades by so many people. That’s a lot of pressure, but I feel so honored. I feel like I learned so much about myself throughout this process. I sort of went on this journey with Sienna as she sort of went through this imposter syndrome and realize she could do it. In a weird, strange way, I was kind of with her the entire time. I really grew to love Sienna as a character and sort of went through this change with her. If that’s cheesy, I don’t know. I can be a little cheesy.
Cheesy is absolutely allowed. It can be very rewarding for an actor to be able to grow as a person when playing their character.
Madison Iseman: I love that too. You want those roles that do that to you. It’s therapeutic.
Mark Dacascos: Yeah, you do the art that changes the audience and maybe even you.
Madison Iseman: Yes, because we’re always growing and we do silly things like pretend to be other people. And it’s great when you can learn things through their experiences.
Speaking of learning from experiences, Mark, I’m wondering if the costume department did anything for you? Or did you just show up in those stunning clothes?
Madison Iseman: He wishes he showed up like that.
Mark Dacascos: I do wish! I do wish! [laughs] No, we had Attila and András [on Costume Design] in Budapest, Hungary, and they are amazing. Amazing. All the costumes are so specific and detailed, and they just look cool. I was obviously super happy and excited to put the clothes on, and they fit it just right.
I could move, and it still fit their vision and Tomasz’s vision, our wonderful director. It informed me so much about who Mylock is. I thought it was a very interesting contrast having his costume, his wardrobe, but having these interesting little touches [that inform audiences with the costuming].
Madison, if you had the abilities your character Sienna has in the film, without the horrendous collateral damage, what are the first three things you would do with those abilities?
Madison Iseman: I’d fly somewhere really cool. Somewhere like Italy. That’d be fun. And I can’t disintegrate anyone?
They wouldn’t be able to catch you.
Madison Iseman: I would fully change my hair every single day. I would wake up with a new hairstyle, which I would love to do anyway, but it’s impossible. What else would I do? I would just wear the white dress around
Mark Dacascos: Remind us all who you are.
Mark, I noticed in this movie you had to pretend to be flying a large aircraft quite often. Were you able to convince the movie company to give you flight lessons for the role?
Mark Dacascos: [laughs] No! I wish. But it was really cool because [the set] was practical and virtual. The whole thing was on hydraulics. We were all actually in it, and it was moving around and shaking. So no acting required, just hang on.
Madison Iseman: There is nothing worse than pretending you’re inside something that’s moving around. Like when you’re pretending to drive, and you turn and both look the wrong way, it really happens a lot. My favorite is during a scene when you’re driving and having a conversation the whole time when you clearly would have crashed into something.
What makes Knights of the Zodiac stand out from the other superhero movies that are all over the market these days?
Madison Iseman: I think it’s just fresh. And it’s a take on Greek mythology, which has been around for [quite a while]. It’s a play on that, which I think makes it interesting. We haven’t seen that before. It does follow some of the tropes of enemies to lovers, and love conquers all. And some of the classic stuff that we just always love to see. We clearly keep going back to the films that always portray those same tropes because they work. And we have some really cool characters.
Mark Dacascos: We have really cool characters. And it’s anime. It’s manga. It’s from Japan with that sensibility and a very diverse cast. That has to count for something.