Clayne Crawford, Max Martini asked 'Channel' director to cast them as brothers

Clayne Crawford (L) and Max Martini have wanted to play brothers for a long time. Photo courtesy of Brainstorm Media
1 of 5 | Clayne Crawford (L) and Max Martini have wanted to play brothers for a long time. Photo courtesy of Brainstorm Media

LOS ANGELES, July 13 (UPI) -- Clayne Crawford and Max Martini play bank-robbing brothers in The Channel, in theaters and video-on-demand Friday, but those were not the roles they were offered first.

Martini, 53, and Crawford, 45, persuaded director William Kaufman that they should play Mic (Marinit) and Jamie (Crawford).


"I just remember Max going, 'Hey, you got offered this role. I got offered this other role. But, we gotta play brothers,'" Crawford told UPI in a recent Zoom interview, imitating Martini's deep voice.

Mic is Jamie's older brother. Both ex-Marines, they lead a crew to rob a bank in the Irish Channel neighborhood of New Orleans, but struggle to escape the city alive and with their score.

Martini said Kaufman originally offered him the role of the FBI agent pursuing Mic, and Jamie. Kaufman originally saw Crawford as Mic.

"I got on a phone call and tried to talk Will into letting us play the two brothers," Martini said. "We were able to convince him to juggle the roles and we landed with these two characters."


Martini said he had been looking for a project that could cast him as Crawford's brother. The actors have been friends since co-starring in the 2005 film The Great Raid.

Crawford and Martini also appeared in the film Spectral and filmed a pilot for All Signs of Death that HBO did not pick up as a series. Crawford said their families are close friends.

"When my son, who's now 16, was born, Max was the first person there with flowers," Crawford said. "We've grown up together."

Martini remembered Crawford meeting his infant son, too.

"We became fathers together," Martini said.

The close friendship made portraying hardened criminals more challenging, Crawford said. The Channel begins with a deadly firefight outside the bank as police arrive.

Many of Mic and Jamie's men do not make it past that gunfight. However, Crawford said he struggled to keep a straight face playing shoot 'em up with Martini.

"Max and I spend 95% of the time trying not to giggle," Crawford said. "The real effort is trying to look like a badass."

All four of Martini and Crawford's projects together have been dramas. However, Martini concurred that his tendency is to goof off with Crawford.


"It's so hard not to turn everything we do into a comedy," Martini said.

Firearm safety was no laughing matter, however. Martini and Crawford have had extensive weapons training for previous roles.

Martini appeared in Saving Private Ryan, 13 Hours and the TV drama The Unit. Crawford was on Rectify, Lethal Weapon and 24 and grew up handling guns.

"We both grew up with weapons and learning safety from the men in our families," Crawford said. "Will had the best guys there on the ground with us, walking us through daily and just making sure that we were accurate in our movement.

"Then, of course, most importantly that we were safe at all times," Clayne continued.

Neither Crawford nor Martini are Irish. The dialect of the Irish Channel is called Yat, but Crawford struggled to adopt it.

"I don't know if we executed it, so it's still a challenge," Crawford said.

Martini said he deferred to the "local dialect coaches on the film that we would check in with regularly. Hopefully, we pulled it off."

The most challenging aspect of The Channel, Martini said, was the emotional drama between Jamie and Mic. Martini said he appreciated how the men's family trauma came out in between the intense action scenes.


"You find yourself in these moments with these two brothers living out issues that they've had in the past," Martini said. "Really human elements don't often come with these kinds of movies."

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