Scott Adkins was born in Sutton Coldfield in the United Kingdom on June 17, 1976 and was educated at Bishop Vessey’s grammar school and later graduated from Birmingham Metropolitan College. Adkins has been interested in martial arts from an early age and joined a local Judo club with his brother and father.
Following a traumatic robbery at age 13, his interest in martial arts grew even more and during the same year, he started practicing Taekwondo and received his black belt at 19. At the age of 16, Adkins practiced kickboxing with Anthony Jones and eventually became a kickboxing instructor for the Professional Karate Association (PKA). Adkins’ experience in Karate, Jujitsu, acrobatic gymnastics, Muay Thai and Wushu made him branch out into TV, films and martial arts. His martial arts prowess helped him with being chosen to portray Yuri Boyka, a Russian prison fighter, in the martial arts based action movie Undisputed which became his signature role.
Scott Adkins has been in a huge variety of films ranging from The Pink Panther to The Expendables and has made a number of independent movies that weren’t as hyped but were still huge hits on DVD or Netflix. His background in a range of martial art styles makes him the ideal candidate for action-packed combat movies and his ability to confidently switch to an American or Russian accent widens his potential roles out even more. Even though he missed out on the Bruce Wayne role in Batman vs. Superman, he’s worked on several huge studio films that have made millions in the box office and is known to many as “the king of action sequels”.
Undisputed was very successful resulting in 3 sequels and was also a valuable experience for Adkins: adding to his martial arts repertoire. Adkins stated in an interview with IronDaimix that Boyka was fun to embody as he is a “complex character” and that was something he “really enjoys about him”. Adkins suited Boyka as he performed most of his own stunts due to his legitimate martial arts background and believable Russian accent.
Adkins appeared in his first film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) X-Men Origins: Wolverine where he shared the role of Weapon XI, better known as Deadpool, with Ryan Reynolds in 2009. Adkins referred to his portrayal of the character as “an abomination” and wasn’t credited for his fighting scene, adding to the negative reviews of the film. Hugh Jackman even confessed that he was unhappy with the finished film.
Adkins got a second shot at the MCU when he was cast in Doctor Strange in 2016, where he starred opposite Benedict Cumberbatch and played the role of Lucian, a sorcerer and a former member of the Masters of the Mystic Arts. Being an experienced martial artist, he taught Cumberbatch how to fight on screen and offered him many tips during the scene they had together.
Adkins admitted in an interview with Digital Spy how despite being a marvel comic fan, he didn’t know much about Doctor Strange and was shocked about how much physical martial was required in a predominantly CGI movie. Doctor Strange was a big budget film costing $165 million to produce but made an astounding $677 million worldwide, making it a huge success.
Adkins starred alongside Dylan O’Brien and former Batman Michael Keaton in the 2017 movie American Assassin as Victor, an ex special forces fighter who’s part of a secret assassin program. The director, Michael Cuesta, was “fantastic” and “knew exactly what he wanted” according to Adkins in an on set interview. He mentioned that they would explore the scenes and characters in minute detail and the film was a critical success with the New York Post praising it as an “amazingly satisfying action thriller”.
Here are 5 things you might not know about Scott Adkins:
- Scott Adkins got an opportunity to become another iconic superhero in the film Batman vs. Superman when he auditioned for the role of Bruce Wayne. Unfortunately, his audition tape surfaced online sometime in February this year and caught like wildfire when fan art and edits of his audition tape blew up across social media. Adkins addressed the situation in a tweet and stated that he didn’t mind because “it’s a good audition” and “shows what I could’ve done with the part”. He thanked his fans for their support while also commenting on the odds of him landing the role after Ben Affleck. Adkins’ cult appeal rather than mainstream success ultimately precluded him from donning the bat suit.
- The incredibly popular Undisputed franchise started in 2002 and has 3 sequels. Adkins was interviewed at MCM London Comic Con where he was vocal on the subject of how the piracy of his previous film Undisputed IV has affected the prospect of there being a fifth film. Undisputed IV was held back from its original release date due to pirates getting hold of illegal copies of the film and flooding the market with bootlegs.
- As a child, Adkins had a shrine in his garage dedicated to Bruce Lee and Jean-Claude Van Damme that he would bow to out of respect as they were critical reasons why he became interested in martial arts. He eventually converted the garage into a dojo where he practiced many different styles of martial arts. Adkins has been practicing for so long that most of the movements must come naturally to him now.
- Adkins’ first break came when he was offered a role in a Hong Kong martial arts film called Dei Seung Chui Keung (Extreme Challenge in the West). The director of the film who was also the head of the Hong Kong Stuntmen Association and an English born movie expert Bey Logan spotted him, resulting in Adkins finding himself in the East for the initial time. As he worked with many of Hong Kong cinema’s leading action directors including Corey Yuen, Woo-ping Yuen and the legendary Jackie Chan, acting roles started to come in and he was offered a guest role in the BBC’s Doctors show in 2000. His acting career took off from there.
- Adkins is starring in a new film called Avengement, which will be released onto DVD, Digital and Blu-ray in the UK on the 1st July this year. Hyped as Adkins breakthrough role, it’s an epic bloody battle in which his character evades his guards on compassionate leave from prison. He takes revenge on the people that saw him locked up and ultimately made him a ruthless killer. Critics online have stated that it’s “Adkins’ best film yet” and a “hard-hitting movie” where he has portrayed ‘his most complex character yet”.
Scott Adkins stars in AVENGEMENT available on DVD, Blu Ray and Digital July 1st