Gabe Dowrick is. Bad. Ass. As careers go, Gabe slings a couple of pistols, with feature credits as an editor and screenwriter. Which when you press for it, places him in esteemed company – think uber auteur Ethan Cohen and shoot ‘em up/slice ‘em up rogue Robert Rodriguez.
In the past decade he has applied his editing skills – the unsung artistry of pacing and “tertium quid” (look it up – I had to) – to an impressive body of commercial work across a spectrum of media. He’s cut hundreds of TVCs and scores of television eps, and after being part of the team of editors nominated for an AFI award for The Turning (2013) and an ASE award for his work on Soul Mates (2014), Gabe co wrote and edited Marc Fumie’s apocalyptic thriller Terminus (2015).
Skin Trade trailer:
But that pales like a Tri-Lam standing next to Ivan Drago when you measure it against his recent collaboration, co-writing action film Skin Trade with the original He-Man – Dolph Lundgren. This is Dolph’s passion project, and he had been writing it on and off over the years. As fate would have it, in Gabe he found the writer he could work with to get it to final draft. You can check out our interview with Gabe to learn more about how this project crossed his path.
Gabe Dowrick part 1:
Skin Trade is an American-Thai co-production, a crime action film starring Dolph as Nick, a New Jersey cop who stumbles on a people smuggling ring in New Jersey run by Viktor, a Serbian gangster with international interests (Ron Perlman). After his family is killed, Nick goes to South East Asia and teams up with Tony, a Thai detective (Tony Jaa), to get revenge and destroy the syndicate’s human trafficking network.
Released in Australia mid 2015, Skin Trade is a robust beat-em up/shoot-em up cast from the mould of muscular crime action flicks of the 1980s, injected with a formidable cast including Michael Jai White (Spawn), Ron Perlman (Hellboy 1-2) and Peter Weller (Robocop 1-3). It also pairs up old school heavyweight Dolph Lundgren with Tony Jaa, the most exciting martial artist on film today (Onk Bak 1-3), reminding this nostalgic writer of Dolph’s combination with the late Brandon Lee in 1991s Showdown In Little Tokyo.
And how do you coordinate a writing schedule with an international action hero who is shooting four-to-six films per year across the globe? Do you just make your own pass on the entire script and then get some notes? In the first instance – that’s what happened. While he was brought on board to punch up the dialogue, Gabe saw avenues to boost the script and invested some energy in developing the narrative.
Gabe Dowrick Part 2:
Imagine this. You’re Gabe Dowrick. You’ve just assumed creative control of Dolph Lundgren’s passion project and you’ve ventured beyond the brief. Now you’re waiting on a call, wondering if the man-beast on the other line minds that you tinkered with his baby… Nervous much?… Thankfully, Dolph liked the draft, and the duo continued with an active collaboration. Gabe would write and then the pair would Skype meet to discuss developments; Gabe also traveled to work with Dolph directly on set, in Thailand, and in Bulgaria during the shooting of The Expendables 2.
Working with a writing partner is not only a matter of preference; there’s a skill involved in two creatives working together in continued momentum. Gabe has been a creative collaborator for as long as he has been writing, devising stories with director Ben Phelps since their teens. On weekends they would devise sci-fi and action scenes, then go out and shoot. They continue to work together today, and have a number of feature films in development.
Check out Skin Trade on IMDB here.