October 28, 2012

Cung Le Interview

Eoin: Today I’m joined by actor and martial artist Cung Le, thanks for joining us, how are you doing?

Cung Le: I’m doing good, just getting done working with my trainer Scott Sheely. Beat all my times and feeling pretty good after my last workout in the States before I leave tonight for Hong Kong.

Eoin: Yeah, you’re going to be fighting Rich Franklin on November 10th. How are you feeling about that?

Cung Le: I feel great about fighting Rich Franklin; he’s a UFC Legend, a hall of famer and I’m going to go head to head against him.

Eoin: You’re starring in the RZA’s directorial debut The Man with the Iron Fists alongside Russell Crowe, Lucy Liu, The RZA and Jamie Chung which is out next week. From the trailers it looks crazy. Can you tell us what attracted you to the project?

Cung Le: My agent and manager set up a meeting with the director, RZA and when I sat down with him, he inspired me by his passion and his storytelling and what he planned to do and I was in.

Eoin: Can you tell us a little bit about your character “Bronze Lion”?

Cung Le: Bronze Lion is the younger brother to Silver Lion and he’s bloodthirsty, always looking for trouble. He’s one of those guys who is kinda like a punk.

Eoin: I hear the film was originally going to be 4 hours long? Is that right?

Cung Le: Yes, that’s right. Universal Pictures wanted it to be around 97 minutes. But I’m sure there will be a Director’s Cut on DVD/Blu Ray.

Eoin: Anything cut that you particularly regret?

Cung Le: No, I enjoyed everything; I got to do 80% of my own stunts and the director even said that I had the best kung fu on set and it showed on screen. So, I think the people who go watch it can be the judge of that.

Eoin: Earlier this year you starred in Dragon Eyes with Jean-Claude Van Damme.

Cung Le: I had a blast doing that, working with Jean-Claude Van Damme and Peter Weller. I also got my trainer and best buddy Scott Sheely who put all the fights together. We even choreographed the fights between me and Van Damme and my buddy ended up stunt-doubling Van Damme. We had a blast but it was a lot of work, never worked so hard but I feel it was really rewarding. So on the last day of shooting when we wrapped we were pleased as we’d had a really good time.

Eoin: Would you like to work with Van Damme again?

Cung Le: Of course, I’d love to work with him again. He’s really cool; we’d talk about martial arts a lot and just hang out. His daughter Bianca also has the same manager as me: Brett Norensberg. Van Damme also has the same agent. It’s pretty cool; we keep it in the family.

Eoin: Out of all the movies you’ve starred in, was there a particular fight scene that was really hard to choreograph?

Cung Le: Probably the gang fight scene in Dragon Eyes, because not everyone knew the martial arts. So not only did we have to put the fight scenes together, we’d have to cast some of the stuntmen and teach some of the actors how to punch and kick so that was just a lot of work.

Eoin: Can you tell us a bit about The Grandmasters and your other future projects?

Cung Le: The Grandmasters is directed by Wong Kar-Wai action directed by Master Woo Ping. Visually Wong Kar-Wai is going to put that magic on the big screen. The action is going to be amazing because Master Woo-Ping always comes up with such cool stuff. My part turned out bigger and they wanted to add a lot more of me in the movie, because Wong Kar-Wai is one of those guys that works without a script. He just writes the pages the night before and shoots the next day. I was doing 3 movies at once. I came off Dragon Eyes, then I went to The Grandmasters and then on to The Man with the Iron Fists. I got stuck on The Man with the Iron Fists on a 9 week shoot. They needed me to come and finish out my scene for the ending of the movie, then finish my other half in the middle of the movie. I couldn’t do it because we had to wrap Lucy Liu and I was meant to have a big scene with her, so it just didn’t work out.

I don’t know what’s going to happen with The Grandmasters, or how big my part will be throughout the movie but I do have an epic fight scene at the beginning of the movie in the rain with Yip Man (Tony Leung). I’m pretty excited about that.

My upcoming projects, I’ve got one in the works just now called Certain Justice, it’s still being touched up script-wise. I’ve got another one which is a hardcore action comedy with Russell Peters and potentially Tony Jaa so things are getting worked out there. We already have an outline and what we want to do. It’s going to be more like Rush Hour meets Stakeout.

Other than that it’s still tough to get projects if you’re an Asian; there are very limited roles for an Asian lead. My team (Agent, Manager & Lawyer) are putting together my own projects to do so I can star in them and get to choose the cast and even the director. It’s very rewarding to have such a great team and people trusting in my skills, determination and work ethic to deliver a kick ass movie.

Eoin: There’s been a lot of fan talk for you to join The Expendables 3, would you be interested?

Cung Le: Of course! I’d love to work with all those great, awesome actors that deliver big action. So I’d love to be part of that movie.

Eoin: Well, thanks very much for sharing your thoughts with The Action Elite and good luck with the upcoming fight and The Man with the Iron Fists.

Cung Le: Thank you, I also have a lot of Twitter contests where I give away signed shirts/gloves. If people want to join in my Twitter handle is @CungLe185, that’s my fight weight.




About the Author

Eoin Friel
Eoin Friel

I grew up watching JCVD, Sly and Arnold destroy bad guys, blow things up and spew one-liners like it’s a fashion statement. Action is everything I go to the movies for and the reason I came up with this site is to share my love for the genre with everyone.



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