Adrian Holmes has been making a name for himself in the entertainment industry for the last two decades. After dominant small screen stints this year on “Arrow,” “Continuum” and “King & Maxwell,” the 39-year-old actor will turn heads with a big screen starring role on Friday, when the sci-fFi thriller “Elysium” hits theaters.
“I’m like a kid in a candy store,” Holmes told International Business Times, referring to “Elysium’s” pending release. “I couldn’t be happier.”
Holmes plays a weapons expert named Manuel in a cast headed by Matt Damon and Jodie Foster. “He’s part of this gang that Max DeCosta, Matt Damon’s character, was a part of for quite some time,” the actor said. Damon’s character leaves the gang after some time in jail and gets a job at a factory -- where he’s exposed to radiation. “He needs to get to Elysium,” Holmes continued. “So he comes back to us for help to get up there.” Manuel and his crew suit Max DeCosta up in an exoskeleton suit that connects to his nervous system, giving him super strength. “And the adventure starts from there,” Holmes said with excitement in his voice. “It gets pretty cool, pretty crazy.”
Apocalyptic movies have been hot lately (think “Oblivion,” “World War Z,” “After Earth”), but Holmes believes what sets “Elysium” apart from the rest is its relevance to what the world is going through today.
“It takes place in the year 2154, but you see a lot of segregation around it. … There are a lot of different themes but that is one theme -- the segregation of classes. You have the lower class on Earth -- and Earth is pretty much a Third World planet. And the elite, wealthy and privileged are partying up on this man-made space station called Elysium, which is like an orbital habitat -- like a Utopia. … It’s about immigration. Everyone on Earth is trying to immigrate to Elysium so they can live a better life. … You don’t get sick up there. There’s no war. It’s a pristine kind of euphoric place.”
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For Holmes, who has a long history in science fiction roles, it was easy to fall into the character of Manuel, a “get-the-job-done” type. One of the ironic things about his role is that he met his co-star Sharlto Copley, who also starred in “Elysium” director Neill Blomkamp’s “District 9,” a few years back when he auditioned for “The A-Team.”
“It was just before ‘District 9’ came out and he was very excited about that,” Holmes recalled. “Little did I know but I would be working alongside him in the next film.” (Sharlto Copley appears in “Elysium” as a character named Kruger.)
“Elysium” marks a big move for Adrian Holmes right now, and he will soon be busier than ever. His next sci-fi movie, “Debug,” is currently in post-production and set to hit theaters in 2014. Holmes will also return as Lt. Pike in the second season of “Arrow,” and as Warren in the third season of “Continuum.”
And while the “Elysium” star loves sci-fi, he’s branching out to work in different genres. He expressed his desire to work on a “dramedy” in the future, and he'll shift genres with a new project called “19-2,” an American version of a successful Canadian police drama. He will play an officer named Nick Berrof.
With an impressive line of work behind him, Holmes hopes one day to work alongside some of his favorite stars, like Morgan Freeman, Anthony Hopkins, Sidney Poitier and Will Smith. Now that good reviews are already coming in for “Elysium,” the summer action flick is bound to open more doors for the actor.
“I think ‘Elysium’ is going to be a real event, a great experience,” Holmes said. “There are a lot of cool hidden themes there. But [Neil Blomkamp] doesn’t hit you over the head with it. It’s there for you to discover on your own … It’s an ‘edu-taining’ film.”
“Elysium” opens theaters across the U.S. on Friday.