Kingdom Exclusive: Frank Grillo on Alvey’s Fragile State

In January I spoke to Frank Grillo at the Television Critics Association press tour. It was the first time he spoke about getting the rights to remake The Raid back, and also his feelings about the way Captain America: Civil War handled Crossbones. Now his TV show Kingdom is back for a third and final season on DirecTV’s Audience channel.

Things look pretty dire for Alvey (Grillo) in the trailers for season three of Kingdom. One scene has him contemplating suicide with a gun. Given the ups and downs for Alvey, his girlfriend Lisa (Kiele Sanchez), his ex-wife (Joanna Going) and their sons (Nick Jonas and Jonathan Tucker) over the course of Kindom, season three has a lot to work out when it premieres Wednesday, May 31 on Audience.

WLE: How did you get to that place in that scene with Alvey and the gun?

FG: That’s a big story point. Alvey gets to a place where he’s coming off pain meds and he’s kind of confused. We all get to that place sometimes, we’re like, “What the fuck am I doing here?” I think that’s where he is at the time. It’s interesting what happens after that.

WLE: Did you ever think Alvey could get that low?

FG: I did. Knowing all of these fighters the way I do and what affects them in their lives, it’s a tough place to be. I’m sure you know Ronda Roussey got beat pretty badly. The last time she got beat, she was suicidal. They had to put her on suicide watch. You’ve got to be careful. It’s hard to understand unless you’re a fighter. You go into such a state of… depression isn’t even the word. You’re despondent. If you can’t do this, what are you going to do? I always knew this was always underneath the surface.

WLE: Do you think it has to do with the state fighters have to keep their bodies in? That’s tied to emotions too.

FG: That’s a great question. No eating, no sleeping, overtraining your body, exhaustion, all these things, it’s real easy to slip into a state of mind that is not healthy.

WLE: No sleeping? Don’t they have to rest to have recovery time?

FG: You would think that they would sleep a lot and some of them maybe do, but the majority of them don’t sleep very much. They sleep four or five hours a night.

WLE: Are you still following UFC?

FG: I’m involved in the UFC in many different ways in my personal life. The short answer is yes. Yeah, I do.

WLE: Is Conor McGregor unstoppable?

FG: Conor McGregor is a great entertainer. Put it that way. He’s a great entertainer and he’s done a great job at keeping himself — he got tapped out. He got beat up pretty bad by Diaz, then came back and he won. He is exactly what the UFC needs so good for him.

WLE: How is Alvey’s relationship with the boys this season?

FG: Same. It’s strained. A little better with Nate than it is with Jay. It’s pretty nonexistent with Jay but there are some things that are happening this season that are devastating, just devastating.

WLE: Are there any new characters in the gym?

FG: Kirk Acevedo comes in and picks up the slack for Alvey coaching-wise, because I’m training a lot now. So he creates a lot of conflict.

WLE: Are you still training at the same degree you’ve always been?

FG: Twice as much. I’m literally now training like I was really going to fight. I’m training with professional trainers and fighters as if I was really going to have a fight in February.

WLE: Do you have your own cut day before filming on Kingdom?

FG: I don’t have to cut. My weight is about the same so I don’t have a crazy cut day. Since it’s a legends fight, usually you make it so that it’s a catch weight, so there’s not much weight to cut. That’s not really the issue. The issue is training and getting yourself mentally prepared.

WLE: How do you do that mentally?

FG: Just by getting to a point with the training where it becomes instinctual again. When you haven’t fought in years and years and years, even Ronda Roussey, not fighting in 13 months, you get ring rust. So it fucks with your head. It’s that mentality. You’ve got to get back into the mentality of being in the cage. The conditioning is key. When you get punched in the face and you feel like you want to fall down, the only thing that keeps you up is your conditioning. It’s that kind of stuff.

WLE: If Alvey isn’t sure he wants to live, can he still be in a relationship?

FG: Yeah, I mean, I think whatever is happening in that moment is more specific to the moment than it is the overall mental condition of where he is in his life. I think Alvey has a tendency to drink too much. He’s dealing with antidepressants so I think based on what he’s doing in the moment, anything could happen. I think he’s all right.

WLE: His relationships have been up and down anyway. It’s still a drama.

FG: Yeah, it’s all conflict. Without conflict there is no drama. Without drama there’s no show, so yeah, my relationships with Lisa, it’s very combative. Interestingly, with Joanna’s character, we’re kind of rekindling a little bit of an old thing.

WLE: Do you think that’s good for her staying clean?

FG: I think it gives her some clarity of purpose, which that character needs.

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