- TAKTAROV MAY BE BIGGER FILM STAR THAN FIGHTER

October 27, 2005
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MMAWeekly.com and IMDb
Oleg Taktarov became a legend in the UFC with impressive wins and a never say die attitude. He may be more popular in Hollywood when it’s all said and done.

Taktarov is currently shooting a movie called “Sdvig” which will be seen in 2006. It’s about a young seismologist, who lives in Amsterdam, along with a popular journalist, who accidentally become the participants of a deadly game, lead by an international syndicate that plans to take over the power (with the help of a seismological weapon) in the republics of the former Soviet Union.

This is just one of many movies the former UFC star is shooting and has starred in over the years. The website “IMDb” has written a biography on his change from Ultimate Fighter to Hollywood actor.

“Oleg Taktarov fought his way into acting. Literally. The intensity that made “The Russian Bear” a star in the Ultimate Fighting Championships equipped him with the determination to become one of his country’s foremost actors in motion pictures. Taktarov’s road to Hollywood began early in his life with childhood training in Judo and Sambo. Not a natural athlete, he learned that practice develops skills, and by age twelve, Taktarov was a recognized martial arts expert.

“Later he joined the Russian army and resisted the officers who ordered him to limit his training. Taktarov’s defiance got him discharged, but he returned to his province as a hero. In Gorky, during his early twenties, he became a successful employer, taking time away from business only to compete in contact sports. While he fought, he dreamed of acting in the movies. Without a green card or any knowledge of English, Taktarov came to America in 1994 to build his dream.

“As he learned English and studied acting at the L.A. Playhouse, Taktarov attracted a global fan base with his fights in the U.F.C. and won its championship just six months after his arrival in the States. He electrified a partisan American crowd when he defeated the larger David “Tank” Abbott in July, 1995. Taktarov scored another important victory when he landed a small role in Wolfgang Petersen’s “Air Force One” (1997) with Harrison Ford. He was more visible in “Counter Measures” (1998), thanks to a fight scene with Michael Dudikoff, but director John Herzfeld’s “15 Minutes” (2001) presented him with his first scene stealing opportunity. Taktarov seized the challenge.

“As a criminal rampaging through Manhattan with a camcorder to film his atrocities, Taktarov riveted audiences with a high impact performance that required him to brutalize Robert De Niro’s cop. He got the “15 Minutes” (2001) job after auditioning with De Niro and competing with more than a thousand actors for the role. During the shoot, De Niro shared acting advice with Taktarov, who returned the favor with pointers for realistic fight scenes.

“He depicted a more sympathetic baddie in Jerry Bruckheimer’s “Bad Boys II” (2003), but John McTiernan’s remake of “Rollerball” (2002) demonstrated his charisma as a screen hero. He played an extreme athlete who stands up to his league’s greedy owner (Jean Reno). Reflecting events in his own life as a fighter, Taktarov’s character incites wild cheering by sports fans when he competes in a Kazakhstan arena.

“Taktarov returned to villainous roles with his portrayals of a bank robber in the pulsating “44 Minutes” (2003) and a menacing hit man opposite Jennifer Garner in an episode of “Alias” entitled “The Two” (2003). “National Treasure” (2004) showcased him in another one of Bruckheimer’s blockbusters. While contributing to American theatrical and television hits, Taktarov has also supported the emerging film industry in his homeland by accepting roles in Russian produced projects.

“The atmospheric “Red Serpent” (2002) effectively uses Moscow settings and enables Taktarov to display complex emotions in his portrayal of a KGB agent determined to avenge the slaughter of his family. Besides his grief, the character must endure physical and mental tortures inflicted upon him by the ruthless members of a drug cartel. Taktarov proves again in “Serpent” that he is not just another athlete who muscled his way into film jobs. He is an accomplished actor defined by talent that makes him compelling to audiences around the world. He relaxed the screen intensity for a comedic role in the colorful “Call Me Genie” (2005), a Russian production that featured the star as a master thief’s free-spirited henchman.

“The former ring champion has created an unprecedented career in movies and television on a global stage. He is both a Hollywood actor and an effective cultural ambassador for Russia. In each of his screen appearances, Oleg Taktarov makes a memorable first impression with his commanding physical presence, punctuated by expressive blue eyes. But, it is his dynamic talent as an actor that makes the lasting one.

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