Mayhem!’s Nassim Lyes on Broken Bones, Kickboxing, and Love for Hard Boiled and The Raid (Interview)

John Nguyen

Revenge is one of the great motivators in many action movies where the hero goes up against the bad guys to avenge the ones they have loved. Mayhem! stars Nassim Lyes as Sam, a professional kickboxer building a new life in Thailand, but he gets sucked back into the life he tried to escape in France.

Nassim Lyes (All-Time High, The Spy) is an actor with a background in kickboxing, and behind the helm is Xavier Gens, who has directed Hitman and episodes of Gangs of London. The film features stunt coordination by Jude Poyer, who has worked with Gareth Evans (The Raid: Redemption, The Raid 2) on Gangs of London.

Mayhem! focuses on Sam starting a new life in the first two acts, and it all comes crashing down in the third act when he seeks vengeance against those who have wronged him.

Nerd Reactor had the chance to chat with Nassim Lyes about his role and the crazy action scenes from Mayhem! along with his ambitions as an actor. Lyes started kickboxing when he was 15 years old, and in 2010 he won the French championships. That set him on a trip to Paris in his 20s where he met an actor from his hometown.

“So it was my first time going to Paris,” Lyes tells Nerd Reactor. “I was 20 years old, And I met this actor who was originally from my town, south of France. So I was like, ‘Oh, okay, so I think that’s what I want to do.’ So then I kept on doing my kickboxing classes and started to do some acting.”

There’s a scene in the third act where Sam’s arm gets broken. Director Xavier Gens had the idea when he saw Lyes’ scar on his arm.

“So that scar while we were rehearsing like a month before the shooting, [Xavier Gens] had the idea of breaking my bones in the elevator and using it after on the guy,” Lyes said. “I was like, ‘Oh, okay, that guy’s crazy!’ But for the blood effect, like for the bones, it was created because they put some device here [points to arm], and then they covered it with makeup, and then they had a button. And when they activate the button [emulates broken bones]. They were really on point.”

“Hard Boiled, John Woo, of course,” Lyes lists his favorite action films. “Gareth Evans – both The Raid One and Two. Then I want an action comedy… Lethal Weapon.”

The full video interview is available above.

Synopsis: Sam (Nassim Lyes) is a professional boxer about to be released from prison in France, but while on parole, his past catches up with him and he is forced to flee the country. Five years later, he has rebuilt a simple life on an exotic island in Thailand with his wife Mia and her daughter Dara, working multiple jobs to support his family and buy a piece of land to build a restaurant. As his life begins to improve, a job gone wrong puts Sam in the crosshairs of local crime lord Narong (Olivier Gourmet), who retaliates with brutal violence. Crushed but still alive, Sam is left with only one purpose: to seek merciless and bone-breaking vengeance.

The film stars Nassim Lyes, Olivier Gourmet and Vithaya Pansringarm.

Featured image courtesy of IFCFilms.