'Occupation' Star Dan Ewing On the Film, Sequel Plans, and Working For Saban

Occupation, the first in a science-fiction franchise that is at least two and probably three movies starring Australian actor (and former Power Ranger) Dan Ewing, came to select theaters and video on demand platforms last month. In it, Ewing plays Matt, a rugby captain who is in danger of losing his position to a hot young player.

That problem seems a lot smaller, though, when a postgame celebration is interrupted by a deadly UFO attack that leaves a huge chunk of those in attendance dead and the rest on the run. Matt, desperate to protect his remaining loved ones, gathers a group around him and sets out to escape and resist.

Ewing joined ComicBook.com to discuss the film, which you can find on VOD services now.

You work a lot. When you're talking about a movie you wrapped a year ago, is it hard to sometimes keep track of which one it was?

Number one, you've got to be very humbled and grateful, especially in Australia buddy because this ain't like North America or Canada, where they shoot sort of 260 projects a year. Australia is a very small market, and so this is kind of a changing of the guards for us. I've had a very big year. I've got another premiere in literally a month, a rugby-based rom-com. So yeah, sometimes you don't know what you're talking about, you've got to do a little refresher. But I saw it; we had our big Australian premiere the other night, so it's good to have a little refresher before I get to speak to you lovely people.

When you're working on a project like this, is it good to have Saban behind you? Obviously you have the Power Rangers background, but also they know how to do solid genre fare on a budget.

100%. I mean first and foremost, just what Saban does in a business sense is genius. I actually did Power Rangers when Disney had it, but I'm 33, I grew up when Saban had it initially, before they sold it. I think they sold it for quite a bit and then bought it back for not a lot and then they did the movie, and the series has now gone to a new level. It's just, first and foremost, just that sort of business acumen. You gotta go, okay, this person knows what they're doing.

Over here in Australia, Saban got involved quite early from the American film market, and just to have that for an Aussie Sci-Fi film, we had a sequel commissioned before we'd even come out in cinemas here. And again, in a market this small, that does not happen, it does not happen. For Saban to jump on as an American distributor, American partner, and really spearhead us being given a sequel -- with I must say a much larger budget -- that we're about to go and start shooting, it's huge, and we're extremely grateful.

Now your character is very much the like, the traditional point of view action hero in a lot of ways 'cause you're young and strong and male, standing out in a movie full of women and kids and older folks -- but you aren't exactly Captain America, are you?

I'm glad you mentioned that. In the early draft Matt was a bit more Captain America. I was shooting this rugby movie just before, and I met a lot of ex-athletes who were struggling with alcohol addiction. They're modern-day gladiators,these rugby players. I'm sure you've seen a few of our rugby games. They're dealing with depression, falls from grace, addictions to painkillers, everything.

So I asked [director Luke Sparkle] if we could put that in because to me I just didn't want him to have it together. That's a bit vanilla. I'm pushing it more towards John McClane than Captain America, you know what I mean? It's way more interesting to me.

I didn't want him to be ripped. In fact, I put on a few extra pounds to play this character. It's really nice to play, and I really got, a three-dimensional character instead of a "put on my tights and let's just go and do the right thing all the time." 'Cause if we're getting three movies, having him be the cliche hero and just doing everything right all the time, I gotta tell you, that's boring for an actor.

I don't want him to have it all together ever, 'cause that's human beings. The least of Matt's problems are the aliens, you know what I'm saying? That might be a little bit of an exaggeration, but it's kind of true.

There is a definite horror element to the aliens, and not a ton of personality in the traditional sense. What is it like to act opposite something that is basically a force of nature?

Well, first and foremost there's no stunt double. I actually pushed one of these dudes through a wall.

It's kind of funny 'cause when you bump into one of those guys in those suits, they kind of like stumble back. When you run into stunt guys, they don't move. I had to put these dudes through a wall and I tell you what, I've played a lot of rugby in my time, but I had to put this one bloke through this wall, and it stung.

I think when they yelled cut I was just like I'm fine, I'm fine, but I had a little tear coming out the side of my face. I'm fine, I've just got allergies, allergies. But it's I think they came across amazingly on screen. I always just think what Luke was able to accomplish for such a small budget, and I'm so glad they were practical effects in camera. I think movies fall in love too much with CG these days, just to spend the budget. So we had a bit of both, the practical explosions, practical suits, obviously the ships weren't there on the day, but yeah, I think it was a really good blend.

Obviously your fellow-former Ranger Rose McIver is over here doing a comic book show now in iZombie. Any chance you would come to the U.S. to join one of these?

I love Rose!

That's a great question. I'm loving it at the moment. This is just full disclosure, your Arrows and your Flashes aren't my thing. But what Netflix is doing with Jessica Jones -- big shout-out to my buddy Eka Darville who was also in that Ranger series; he's doing a kick ass job on Jessica Jones -- I prefer that sort of comic book genre. It's a bit darker. And that's just me, I'm not saying that Arrow and Flash doesn't have its market, 'cause my brother loves that stuff. I'm much more of a Daredevil, Jessica Jones that sort of vibe. And I'm just so proud of all my little Ranger buddies.

I've got a little boy here, so I'm doing a lot of movies over here and we haven't got as many Netflix shows shooting here in Australia as you guys do there. But I just go through the list, you say Rose, and Eka, and of course the beautiful Adelaide Kane was the lead on Reign. I think it's kind of funny that you know the casting that Eddie Guzelian did -- he was our EP for that -- he cut some gems, 'cause that's a lot good bodies of work there.

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But yeah, my little boy's three, and I might make the move full time when he's a bit older and he's in school. I'm not with his mom anymore, so it's a bit hard for me to just get up and leave.

I keep tabs on all of them, I watch all their shows, we talk often. I saw Ari Boyland was living in Australia for a bit, and he was on my series as well. He came to my premiere last night, he's the first one to come up and hug me on the red carpet. It really is a great little family, that little team of Rangers, and I can't wait to see what everyone does.