For decades, Robert “Bronzi” Kovacs has been turning heads with his uncanny resemblance to one of Hollywood’s most legendary action and western actors, Charles Bronson. However, it wasn’t until recently the Hungarian-born actor and stuntman was discovered by American audiences. The whirlwind journey began when “Bronzi” was spotted and cast by indie filmmaker Rene Perez in a western-horror flick, ‘From Hell To The Wild West.’ In what seems like the perfect natural progression, the duo re-teamed for an amazing homage to Bronson’s prolific ‘Death Wish’ film series, the very appropriately named ‘Death Kiss.’
Written and directed by Rene Perez, ‘Death Kiss’ centers around a vigilante with a mysterious past who goes to a crime-infested city and takes the law into his own hands, at the same time protecting a young mother and her child. Cool and stylish, the film serves as a beautiful throwback to the Cannon films of the ’80s. Filmed in picturesque Northern California, the film also stars Daniel Baldwin (John Carpenter’s ‘Vampires’), Richard Tyson (‘Kindergarten Cop,’ ‘Two Moon Junction’), Eva Hamilton (‘Ruin Me’), Stormi Maya, Leia Perez, Reese Austyn, and Sam Story.
While “Bronzi” does bring his familiar aesthetic to the projects of which he is a part, it’s important to note that he is far from one-dimensional. A professionally trained actor at Maria Mezey Theatre School (Budapest), his love for the wild west and classic American film have led him to travel the world. One of the most seasoned professionals in the game, Kovacs has worked as a carpenter, professional horseman, musician, stuntman, acrobat, former military service member and judo player. It’s an impressive resume to say the least! Best of all — he’s just getting warmed up!
Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently caught up with Robert “Bronzi” Kovacs to discuss his unique career path, the challenges he’s faced along the way and what the future might hold for this star on the rise!
You’ve followed a unique path in the entertainment industry. How did you get involved with the arts early in life and what made you pursue your passion for acting professionally?
I always loved acting and movies, ever since I saw the American Westerns in Cinema as a child. I was horse breeder as a young man and accomplished equestrian rider so performing as a cowboy in Live Western shows in Europe seemed like a great way to showcase my talents in front of crowds. I wished to hone my craft even further, so I even enrolled in professional acting classes.
As a fan of cinema, what are some of the films that had a large impact on you early in life?
The classic westerns, especially the films of Sergio Leone. The biggest impact was seeing ‘Once Upon a Time in The West’ on the big screen. The Harmonica character portrayed by Charles Bronson is a fine performance. Perhaps my favorite. I loved Bronson in ‘Chato’s Land’ and ‘Mr. Majestyk.’ These films really inspired me.
How did you break into the movie industry?
I was cast in some independent western short films and a few commercials for a very popular European market chain but did not make a feature until an American director discovered my talents at a western show in Spain.
I know you worked as a stuntman. What were some of the most exciting and challenging stunts you’ve performed?
I have done it all and mostly in front of live audiences. I have had choreographed fist fights in full cowboy regalia, saloon clearing brawls with dozens of costumed actors and stuntmen, broken wooden doors, glasses and bottles over people’s heads! I have fallen off of buildings, been chased by a wild stage coach and even run through fire and smoke during a shoot out — multiple times a day! The more the crowd applauded the more I enjoyed it.
Speaking to your work as a stunt professional, I’m sure you have certain expertise. What do you consider your specialties?
I have a fair knowledge of period rifles and pistols. I often do reenactments of historical battles, but my expertise is Western Riding. I have bred and raised horses since a young boy. I like anything having to do with horses so performing on a horse is always exceptional, often utilizing my ability to shoot and perform while riding full gallop. It takes control and concentration.
What was your first role as an actor?
I was hired to entertain as the sheriff at a western theme park Fort Bravo in Almeria, Spain. This trend continued at live performance venues throughout Europe for many years.
‘Death Kiss’ is one of your latest projects. How did you first meet director Rene Perez?
Rene was filming a television series in Spain and saw my picture on a saloon wall. He asked the bartender about the old Bronson photo and the bartender told him , “No! That is Bronzi!” Rene reached out to me and related he wanted to work together.
‘Death Kiss’ was you second project with him. What does he bring out in you creatively when it comes to your performances?
He is very clear in what he intends me to do, but allows me to explore the character. Rene would give me the motivation and allow me to portray those feelings on screen.
You gave an amazing performance in ‘Death Kiss.’ Did you have any reservations about playing this role?
Thank You! I appreciate that you enjoyed the performance. I was very excited when I heard about ‘Death Kiss’ and agreed with no hesitation. After working with Rene on the Wild West movie, I knew he could make a film that would satisfy fans of the action genre and create a character that would be engaging.
While you are playing a familiar face in the film, I’m sure you bring a bring a bit of yourself to any role. What did you bring to this character that might not have been on the original written page?
I like to do acting through body action and facial expressions. I am used to working in front of crowd and sometimes it is loud and chaotic. Often words are not an option, but you can show so much with your body and a stare.
What were the biggest challenges you faced with the project?
My English is getting better now but it was a real challenge during “Death Kiss.” Fortunately, Rene speaks Spanish fluently, so he and I could converse this way much easier. The other problem I had was manipulating the revolver for the shoot outs while wearing thick heavy leather gloves. I could shoot but reloading the pistol often proved difficult and sometimes looked awkward.
What are your favorite memories of being on the set of ‘Death Kiss’?
I enjoyed working with such amazing professionals like Daniel Baldwin and Richard Tyson. Great well-known actors and so gracious. Always supportive and willing to give advice. Also, actress Eva Hamilton was delightful as well. There was such great camaraderie on set and positive energy. Everyone wanted to be there and make a great film.
Are there any plans in the works for you to reprise your role as this character?
I am not sure what Rene intends to do with future installments of “Death Kiss,” if any. I’ve received many messages on social media about fans wanting another appearance by the stranger and Daniel Baldwin seems to be in favor of another foray as the Radio DJ Dan Forthright. It would be fun to see him more involved in a sequel. Maybe another vigilante on the loose…
Is there a dream role that you one day hope to play?
I would love to do a western with a classic epic feel; large in scope with shoot outs and posses. The good guy rides off into the sunset at the end.
You have a few projects in the works. What has you most excited?
‘Escape from Death Block 13’ is coming soon and is so much fun. It has prison fights and so much excitement. I don’t want to give away too much, but it will blow you away. Gary Jones is really making something great. I’m also looking forward to the ‘Mat Rats’ movie — a different kind of film for me. It is a feature comedy about a kids wrestling team. The producer wants to make ‘Bad News Bears’ meets ‘Rocky.’ It’s a great script and my character is kind of a bad guy; maybe not a really bad guy but a real scary guy known only as ‘The Dago.’
I feel we can learn something from everyone and we can look to you as an inspiration. What is the best lesson we can take from your journey?
I dreamt of performing in films for so many years. I keep working and keep performing. I am fortunate to get such attention now. It is a blessing. The best thing is to never give up your dreams. You work hard and keep doing what you love.
Where are the best places for your fans to follow your continuing adventures online?
‘Death Kiss’ is now available on VOD and hits home video via Uncork’d Entertainment on December 4th, 2018.
Jason Price founded the mighty Icon Vs. Icon more than a decade ago. Along the way, he’s assembled an amazing group of like-minded individuals to spread the word on some of the most unique people and projects on the pop culture landscape.