Legendary screen actors Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger are the big name stars of the upcoming action film “Escape Plan,” but a Lee’s Summit man will have a role in the movie set for nationwide release Oct. 18.
Rob Fuller, a 1989 graduate of Lee’s Summit High School, will portray the role of a skinhead in a movie that also includes known Hollywood actors Jim Caviezel, Vincent D’Onofrio, Vinnie Jones and rapper and part-time actor 50 Cent.
The plot revolves around a character played by Stallone, who is a structural-security expert who finds himself set up and incarcerated in the world’s most secret and secure prison that he designed himself. Stallone’s character has to use his skills and know-how to escape with help from the inside.
“I think I got picked because I did everything that they asked,” Fuller, who’s image is included in a poster promoting the movie and in various trailers for the film, said of how he was selected for the role. “I just kept my mouth shut and kept doing what I was doing. I went from four days on the set to six weeks. If you plan things out in your head, it will work out. I saw so many people try to talk to Stallone and I knew that my window would be short, so I literally thought everything out in my head that I wanted to say to him. That’s why when I walked up, I didn’t go, ‘Yo, Adrian.’
“I knew exactly what I wanted to say and I knew exactly how much time I would have. Either he would be interested or he wouldn’t. We talked for 45 minutes. If you listen, and follow directions, things will go your way.”
Obtaining the role of the lead skinhead was no small feat for Fuller, an avid bodybuilder. By filmmaking standards, the muscle-bound Fuller – who stands 6-foot tall and weighs 210 pounds – is sometimes “too big” to play bit roles along more famous and established actors.
He considered the non-speaking role in “Escape Plan” as a real bonus.
“For some reason I always look like I’m really pissed off,” Fuller said. “And I have my head shaved and my beard is really big, so they got what they wanted, conveying me as a tough guy.
“Hollywood’s idea of big is completely different than ours here in the Midwest. Literally, the only guy in Hollywood that compares to me is ‘The Rock’ (Dwayne Johnson) and ‘The Rock’ is 6-3, 220. The majority of actors out there are 5-9, 5-10, 160; and that’s 90 percent of the main actors.”
“Escape Plan” is not the only current feature film Fuller has a role in. He also plays MMA fighter Savage McClain in “Chavez: Cage of Glory,” a limited-release film written and starring Hispanic actor Hector Echavarria, Danny Trejo of “Machete” fame and Steven Bauer, who played Al Pacino’s right hand man, Manny, in the cult classic “Scarface.”
Fuller also has a lead role in a locally-produced 13-minute short film entitled “Broken.”
“Hector (Echavarria) was a really good guy,” Fuller said. “He said, ‘you are a really good actor, I want to cast you in a role in my next film.’ I was like, ‘O.K.’ He said, ‘to show you how serious I am, how about I pick up your airfare, your hotel and your car rental for coming out here?’ I was like. ‘That would be awesome.’ He paid for everything and supposedly he is going to start shooting in February. It’s a pretty big ($30 million) budget for it, so I’m just hoping he offers me a talking role.”
Writer/actor Jesse Pringle, a Lee’s Summit native with a few Hollywood movies to his credit, said he is happy that Fuller has made some inroads in his journey towards acting success.
“It’s exciting to see Rob traveling the same road,” Pringle said. “I have known Rob for years and we always talked about conquering Hollywood so knowing that he has been following up with that goal is what really counts.”
Pringle, who has his Screen Actors Guild card, is currently producing a SAG-sanctioned web series entitled “Kill Em All.” He has offered Fuller a part in an upcoming episode so that Fuller may accumulate some points towards his own SAG card.
“I am always willing to include everyone I personally know in whatever project I’m working on,” Pringle said. “With the continued success of the series ‘Kill Em All’ and the ability to unionize Rob as an actor, we both were down to make it happen.
“Bringing a Hollywood union production back to Kansas City and giving non-union talent a chance to gain a union membership is part of why it was so important to me to develop my production here in K.C. I am excited to continue reaching our production goals and to include Rob in future episodes and even a feature film based on the same story that we are raising money for at this time.”
Fuller, who doesn’t have an agent, started his movie acting career in the late 1990s by auditioning for spots in reality shows. He followed that up by enrolling at an acting school in Kansas City. There are a few other plans in the works for Fuller, but like most actors, he can’t divulge much information on upcoming projects. He would one day like to leave his family’s transportation business for mentally- and physically-challenged adults and make a career out of film and television.
“I know people like me because they keep selecting me” Fuller said. “I don’t have an agent, so this is just me sending in my profile and my actor reel. When I get there people find out that I can really act.”
With a wife and young daughter to support, a meaningful steady stream of gigs and roles would be the only thing to get Fuller to uproot from Lee’s Summit to head west permanently.
“My wife is the reason that I am here now,” he said. “Otherwise, I would be in L.A. I love L.A., but she hates L.A. I go out there probably about 10 times a year. She’s like, ‘yeah, if you get a gig that pays pretty good where I can afford to quit my job here.’”
“Escape Plan” starring Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger and featuring Lee’s Summit resident Rob Fuller, will make its nationwide debut Oct. 18.