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'I've always been a bit of an action man'

Franky Lankester. SUR
Franky Lankester. SUR
  • Dutch national Franky Lankester talks to SUR in English about how he ended up producing and acting on the big screen

To say Franky Lankester is a bit of an action man is somewhat of an understatement.

To date he's been a Royal Dutch Marine, a firefighter in Holland, a body guard for the rich and famous and a martial arts instructor in Marbella.

But nowadays you'll find him acting alongside household names such as Vinnie Jones and Craig Fairbrass.

So how did this 42-year-old Marbella resident end up rubbing shoulders with movie stars and generally having the time of his life?

Born in Amsterdam in 1977, Franky studied at a local high school before joining a light infantry unit called the Air Mobile Brigade at the age of 18.

Shortly after that he joined the Royal Dutch Marines, where he spent the next seven years of his life.

"Becoming a marine was my dream since I was a little kid, as I always wanted to go on missions," said the father of two.

One such humanitarian mission saw him visit the Caribbean island of St Martin in 1998 at the age of 20 - after Hurricane Mitch struck.

He said: "It destroyed the whole island. We were there giving shelter to people who lost their family, homes and businesses. There were kids walking alone on the streets, crying, and looking for their parents. So we picked up these kids, gave them a bed, warm clothing, food, even a little toy to play, with while we were communicating with other shelters to find their parents.

"After the hurricane passed, literally the whole island was one big mess with trash everywhere, telephone and light posts ripped out of the ground and all the boats in the port were capsized. Our job was to help make it liveable again. It was unforgettable!"

Then in 2001, Franky ticked another action job off the list, after he became a fireman in a small town just outside Amsterdam.

But it was in 2004 that Franky decided to move to Marbella with his Portuguese wife, as they both fancied an adventure somewhere new.

VIP bodyguard

Thanks to his military background, he picked up security work and ended up being a body guard for VIPs such as Pamela Anderson, Bruce Willis and George Clooney.

He told SUR in English: "The truth is that everybody thinks being a bodyguard is the coolest thing to do. Yes, it looks cool and you look badass, but the reality is that it's a lot of hours sitting and waiting around. When the VIP is working, having meetings or partying, you'll be sitting and waiting in the car, lobby or sitting on another table."

Unfortunately, Franky doesn't have any photos of the celebs he worked for.

He explained: "Back then there was no Facebook or Instagram, so I don't have any photos.

"But the biggest name I worked for was Colonel Gaddafi and his son. He was in Marbella for the weekend and I was asked to work with his Libyan bodyguards for my language skills (Franky speaks Spanish, English, French and Dutch fluently). His luggage arrived at the wrong hotel, so I was sent to go and get it. He had a ridiculous amount of suitcases, but I managed to fit them all in my van."

While in Marbella Franky started learning the martial art Krav Maga, and after studying for four years he now teaches in Estepona and Marbella.

But as for how he got into acting, it was a chance appearance in a music video in Marbella for a friend that got him noticed in 2017. He explained: "I did it just for fun and I thought it might help to get me out of security work."

This led to Franky appearing in a short film, which sparked his interest in the film industry.

Together with some friends they decided to start a film production company based in Tenerife, called La Ira Films.

And since then Franky has appeared in four feature films, including Rise of the Footsoldier 4 Marbella, where Franky starred alongside Craig Fairbrass and Terry Stone.

Franky's next film, which he produced and acted in, is released next month in the US, and is called Ron Hopper's Misfortune. It stars Vinnie Jones as the Ferryman, who is in charge of letting people over to the other side, be it Heaven, or Hell.

And with more roles in the pipeline for Franky, including a gangster film set in Marbella called Halfinched, things are looking up for the up and coming actor.

To see the trailer for Ron Hopper's Misfortune visit YouTube.