To celebrate the release of his newest film Misfire, I had the extreme pleasure to contact Gary and ask some questions. For those who don’t know, Gary Daniels is a fantastic martial artist from England who first came to the attention of filmgoers as the foil for Jackie Chan in the film City Hunter and until recently their Street Fighter scene was still the most faithful rendition of the video game. Gary has since gone on to star in many action films, playing heroes (Fist Of The North Star, Bloodmoon) and villians (The Expendables, Tekken). Gary is every bit as charming and kind in real life as I had been told. Enjoy the conversation!
KK: You’ve been the star of many films over the years, and played so many different kinds of heroes and villains. How do you choose your roles now as compared to when you were younger?
GD: Actually when I was younger I didn’t really have a criteria for picking scripts , I was pretty naïve and just accepted pretty much what was offered to me as long as I got to do martial arts on film, a naïve mistake on my part but I was pretty green back then and hindsight is 20/20 as they say. Nowadays I am a little wiser and a little more picky, I tend to look for scripts with characters that draw me in and story lines that dictate the action rather than having the action dictate the story lines.
KK: In Misfire you play a dark, intense character whose life doesn’t get easier as the film goes on. What did you have to do to prepare to play such an intense character?
GD: Well for one, I have known the director Roger Ellis for quite a long time and we have worked together on a few projects , although this was the first time as a lead. Roger knows me well and had me in mind when writing the script so it was kind of tailored for me (as was ‘Rumble’, the 2nd feature we collaborated on). Secondly I have to say that life is a great acting teacher, the best, and I have been through certain life experiences over the past 10 years that have deepened my insight , matured me and given me a lot more material to draw upon as an actor, so now I feel more ready and suited to play this kind of character than the less experienced actor / person that I was 20 years ago. As for the physical side of the character I don’t need much preparation as I work out constantly. As the saying goes ‘If you stay ready, you never have to get ready’.
KK: There are those in the martial arts film community that believe that a new renaissance similar to the 80’s is about happen, what with the success of The Raid and its sequel, new action heroes like Iko Uwais, Tony Jaa, Scott Adkins, and all of the independent martial arts films that are coming out from stunt teams like LBP Stunts Chicago and The Stuntpeople and so many more. Do you feel this may be happening?
GD: I don’t believe there is a renaissance. Action films and action actors have been around for decades as it is a popular genre that is easy to sell world wide. But every new generation has its own talent that comes along and pushes the envelope and effectively springboards off of the platform created by the last generation. It is natural. Nowadays the new generation combines martial arts with acrobatics and parkour so they are very exciting. It is not everyone’s cup of tea and I sometimes feel that the drama and reality of a fight or fight scene has now been lost in the importance of seeing how many times someone can spin before they throw a kick or punch. But as in all walks of life it is good that there are choices for audiences.
KK: Ever consider getting behind the camera to direct a feature?
GD: I truly would like to direct, I have directed action scenes before and with 25 years of experience and a pocketful of life lessons, I finally feel the urge and the ambition to direct. I am attempting to write a script at the moment and would love to direct it given the chance. I think for actors it is the obvious next step self expression. So hopefully …
KK: Now, this isn’t exactly a question, but I have to say that one of my favorite films of yours is Bloodmoon with Chuck Jeffrys and Darren Shahlavi. I show the film to anyone who says they haven’t seen it. Now, I’ve spoken with Darren a few times, and now I get to finally say:
Bravo, sir! A fun filled blast of a movie, and one of the favorites of Kiai-Kick!
GD: Thank you for your kind words and all of your support, hopefully the best is yet to come.
Such a class guy. I hope to meet him someday! Thanks to Gary Daniels for taking time to speak with Kiai-Kick, and check out his movie Misfire, released today on DVD and Digital Download!