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Photo courtesy of Guillermo Proano/WENN. Harley's custom made suit and shoes by celebrity fashion designer Michael Ferrera. 

Interview with Multi Award-Winning Martial Arts Champion, Actor and Filmmaker Harley Wallen

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Read Time:7 Minute, 37 Second
Q – Tell me about yourself and career. 
A – I was born and grew up in Sweden.  My first “love” was Martial Arts Judo at first followed by Tae Kwon Do and Ju Jitsu competing all over Europe very successfully, add little of many other arts leading me to NHB and MMA.
At the same time I fell in love with Break Dancing and got really good through my teen years and early 20’s I did a ton of performances and music videos, I even took a stab at singing and rapping.  My dancing got me on a syndicated cult TV show “Solstollarna” and just like that I was bitten by the acting bug!  I continued with some work and perused acting classes in Sweden but when the opportunity to move to the states came I jumped at it!  I would say I had limited success in my acting beginnings here but at work I was doing incredibly well, it wasn’t long before I started getting promoted and focusing on climbing career ladders instead.  In 2009 I retired from MMA and felt the void even though I’d been a host and commentator on TV for fights since about 2004, it just wasn’t enough.  I decided to again pursue acting.  The roles and projects went from very indie to award winning films and on to bigger things.  But it wasn’t until the film incentives were cut in Michigan that I had to make the decisions to putting my name in the hat as a filmmaker.  I remember sitting on the set with my costar Walbert Beltran discussing where the opportunity to be in bigger projects would be now.  We made a pact to pursue making films ourselves.  After a couple of shorts and an attempt of codirecting a feature film,  I knew I needed more so I emerged on some online film schools to gather information and I hired a real director to director with me (Jerry Hayes) as well as a professional crew and that’s how Moving Parts was born, I guess the rest is history…
Q – What projects are you working on now?
Right now we just recut the trailers for Abstruse (starring Tom Sizemore and Dennis Haskins) as well as the poster for a May release.  The same with Enigma (starring Tj Storm and Dennis Haskins) for a June release.  Agramon’s Gate is complete other than the official poster for its Theatrical Release in September.  I’m also in post production on Abeyance and A Bennett Song Holiday releasing this fall not to mention in pre-production for The Peculiar Mind of Peter Strauss we’ll be filming this spring/summer.
Q – What attracted you to them? 
For me it begins and ends with a great script and a strong story.  Compelling and interesting characters and a strong plot.  I love the process of making the words on a paper come alive!
Q – What do you hope fans like about it?
Well I think that’s different for each film although ultimately we must remember the fictional films are primarily entertainment and without entertainment the audience won’t watch so no matter how good the message is, it needs to be entertaining.  But I do love taking on subject matters that we wrestle with as humanity especially moral ones.  For instance in Abeyance we have two genetic companies combining research that could allow us life everlasting, how would we handle having that at our fingertips?!  I find questions like that incredibly intriguing.
Q – What are some memorable moments from your career?
I am so blessed it is filled with memorable moments.  I’d say often the most memorable ones are the ones that originally looked like problems where the end result was overcoming. I think each film has had a few moments that were incredibly special.
I had a scene with the very talented Calhoun Koenig in her first feature film Moving Parts I had a scene with her that I was also directing and I could sense she was “trying” so I asked her what was going on and it was a scene she in rehearsals felt was sad and likely even cry and it just didn’t come out right or natural.  I asked her what she wanted to do and she said she wasn’t sad in the scene she was mad at my character for not considering her thoughts and feelings.  I agreed and we tried again and it came out so strong and true, I was super proud of her and that scene is so memorable now!
Q – What was the biggest challenge?
There are always incredible challenges when you’re making a Feature Film again each film has its own.  I’ll share the biggest challenge of shooting Abeyance.
I have had the fortune of having the same DP in Michael Kettenbeil on Abstruse, Bennett’s Song, Betrayed and Agramon’s Gate so when he took a great opportunity to move to Chicago and be a DP with Big Foot Media.  I found a very talented DP in Jackson Swan, the issue was he’d never shot a feature film and most of his work was music videos and commercial/industrial work and there are major differences so there was definitely growing pains on set but we were both determined to make a great film so we not only stuck it out but I believe Abeyance will be pretty a very special film that’ll do incredibly well.
Q – What would be your dream project?
I actually have a few scripts that with the right budget could be legit block buster contenders but the hard part as an independent filmmaker is raising the kind of budgets you need to get the equipment, talent, locations and the ability to slow down enough to get excellence on both sides of the camera!  So hopefully we can keep on growing and get to that level in 2019!
Q – Who are some people you would like to work with? 
It’s such a hard question because there are so many incredibly talented people in different positions.  So I will answer specifically to my next project.  I have a role I feel would be perfect for someone like Jennifer Connelly or maybe Sandra Bullock.  I have a role I think Gary Oldman would be breathtaking in.  The role I’m playing I’d trade places with Tom Hardy..  But I have grown such great relationships with so many talented people from my other films I know we can make a great movie together!!
Q – What else are you working on?
I’m going to LA with some great meetings pending that’ll hopefully secure our biggest budget to date so The Peculiar Mind of Peter Strauss that I’ve co-written with the very talented Bret Miller will become our biggest hit film yet and I’ll be able to get closer to my cast wish list!
Also my business partner Nancy is writing a really intriguing and elaborate script “Accidental Gods” that I have a feeling will be very special!
My wife Kaiti Wallen, who is an actress and assists in much of our production behind the scenes, is also working on a Romance and a good friend is writing a comedy, so there is no shortage of projects and scripts!!
Q – What is a fun fact that would surprise fans?
Probably The fact that our production group in general are the same people after 9 features Myself, Kaiti Wallen, Nancy Oeswein, Larry Koenig, Calhoun Koenig, Annette Cama, Angelina Danielle Cama and Nick Sarelli all cane together 2016-2017 and have stayed together as a team since.
I’m more fun, fun fact would be that in the movie Bennett’s Song my daughter Hanna Wallen has one line in a scene with Tara Reid (she played her youngest daughter at age 4) still knows her one line that she insists on telling everyone that asks about her movie experience… the line was “What’s a bagina mama?” Haha so that’s always entertaining!!
Q – What are you watching on tv these days?
Last movie I watched (again) wasThe Bone Collector, I’m a huge fan of 90’s thrillers!!  I’m very into GoT and Stranger Things so imma couple of months away from getting my fix! 
Q – Anything else you want to tell America?
I think the biggest thing I want to say is thank you to everyone out there watching my movies!  In all honesty us in the independent film world are so incredibly reliant upon word-of-mouth and people sharing their experience and their support that I must give all of you a HUGE Thank You!!
And I also want to tell America that trust me when I say I’m just getting started!!
I would like to say thank you much for taking the time to do this interview!
Harley Wallen’s IMDB page:
Trailer for Abeyance:

About Post Author

Sammi Turano

Sammi has been a journalist for over a decade, specializing in entertainment, lifestyle, sports and celebrity news. She is the owner of TVGrapevine and Football in High Heels and the Host of Grapevine in High Heels With Sammi.
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