Neetu Chandra on bagging Never Back Down: 'Producer David asked Audrey to write the character around me'
Actor Neetu Chandra is all set to make her Hollywood debut soon, with Never Back Down: Revolt, an action film directed by Kellie Madison and written by Audrey Arkins. The film also features James Faulkner, Michael Bisping and Olivia Popica.
In a freewheeling chat with Hindustan Times, Neetu has revealed that the role was written around her own personality. "I met the producer David Zelon (Mandalay Pictures, who have produced the franchise) at the screening of Bad Boys. After I was introduced to him, we began chatting about Indian actors in Hollywood films. I just happened to tell him that I always try to polish my skills. When he asked me to elaborate, I told him I am a black-belt 4th Dan in Taekwondo."
"He was very happy and excited to know that. He said he has a film. 'I am an action film producer and Never Back Down is my franchise,' he told me. I was very excited. He then asked me to meet the writers. I told them about my journey and how I come from Bihar, a place where girls are not into sports or even acting. You know, girls dream of being engineers or doctors or maybe cracking UPSC, but not being actors or sportsperson. And I have done both. The credit goes to my mom," she added.
She further said that it was producer David who asked Audrey to write her character (Jaya) around centered Neetu. "By the end of our conversation, David asked them to script the character around me. That is how Jaya's character has been written. Then, we stayed in London for three weeks and later shot it. I completed the film and came back a month ago."
Elaborating on her role, Neetu said, "I play a fighter in the movie and I did my own action sequences. I am kidnapped in this film and I have to fight among an elite underground fighting club to survive. I need to fight for my freedom. It is a female oriented-action movie."
The first Never Back Down released in 2008 and starred Amber Heard, Sean Faris, Djimon Hounsou and Cam Gigandet.
Sharing the tough journey of preparations for the role, Neetu said, "I was totally off salt. I went completely totally vegan, skipped all non-vegetarian food. I also limited my water intake. I was working on extreme levels and had experts helping me all the time. Nutritionists, skin and hair specialists were also monitoring my conditions throughout."
Recently, Neetu launched her own digital platform to showcase home production, Mithila Makhaan. The film, directed by her brother Nitin Chandra, won a National Film award but failed to get any takers among the numerous OTT platforms available today. "No one was willing to take it up. I do not have anything against them, they have their own reasons. But, despite the film being the first one to bring a National Film award for Bihar, we did not have any buyers. That is when we though we should launch Bejod.in. The aim is to offer good cinema to educated people from Bihar, in Bhojpuri, Maithili, Maithili and Magahi. We did not have an option but to launch our own platform to release Mithila Makhaan."
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