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Interview: Dominic Purcell talks A Fighting Man

In a strange twist of fate, after I am set to interview Dominic Purcell before the red carpet premiere of his film A Fighting Man, I decide to ask for a beer that particular afternoon. The beer in question just happens to be named Prison Break Breakout Pilsner. For many people, Purcell is recognizable as Lincoln Burrows, main character of the Fox TV show Prison Break. Lincoln is imprisoned for a crime that he did not commit, and is sentenced to die in a maximum security prison. His brother Michael helps devise a plan to break Lincoln out.

When I let Purcell in on the cosmic twist that prepared me for an interview with him, he unleashes his laugh. It is not a faint one, but a great big, hearty laugh. It felt great. The following is what Purcell had to say about the Damian Lee-directed A Fighting Man, in which Purcell’s character, undefeated boxer Sailor O’Connor, steps back into ring after a long layoff against the bruising King Solomon, in order to send his mother back to Ireland.

As to his experience in the ring, Purcell relays that “I’ve been boxing my entire life. It’s just so much fun”. Then I ask if the boxing in this film was real. To this, Purcell perks up and replies: “We spent months choreographing the fight…I was adamant that the boxing was as real as possible…to the point that we were really punching each other”.

As to the film’s multi-layered title, Purcell is quick to point out its dual nature: (the movie is) called A Fighting Man, and it’s got boxing in it, but I look at it as a journey for self-discovery…struggling through life, and coming to some sort of resolution”, and he goes on to add that: “I think that we are all fighting something in our lives.”.

I conclude the interview by asking Purcell, about what it means to be a champion fighter, and his response is extremely eloquent. He replies that: “A champion is someone who gets off the floor, and continues to battle regardless. It takes tremendous courage to go into the ring and know (that) you will get hurt…so it takes a special person to actually be a fighter”. Keep on the lookout for A Fighting Man, as Purcell delivers a true breakout performance.