November 2, 2017

Don ‘The Dragon’ Wilson Chat (Exclusive)

Don (The Dragon) Wilson recently starred in a gritty action yarn entitled ‘Death Fighter’. The hard hitting action film is a stark departure from Don’s normal film style, yet with him involved and Cynthia Rothrock as a villain, Death Fighter leaves a mark on the action world, undulating and gritty. Matt Mullens also stars in the film as Michael Turner, now he can be seen stunt coordinating on the Netflix series, Marvel’s The Defenders. Don pulls back the curtain on action, and gives readers of The Action Elite information ranging from working with Joe Lewis to ramping up pre-production on Martial Arts Kid 2. Enough of my incessant chatter, time to breathe fire with The Dragon!

DT: Chat about the script of Death Fighter, a really huge departure from style like gritty action, did you discuss about altering your fighting to make it more raw?

DW: I told Cynthia, if I kick you in the face, you are going to go down, she is just a bit over 5ft tall. I explained to her: you have to take damage, she agreed, and if you notice she has a weapon in our fight, again adding realism. Of course we are both older now, so we are not going to do the ‘beautiful’ acrobatic stuff. This is more realistic to how people in are demographic would fight. We are always looking for something fresh and different, to do action wise.

DT: I agree with your ideas on the action in Death Fighter. Chat about shooting in Death Fighter in Thailand, a real hotbed for action, many exciting performers there now, the area has exploded in the past 5 yrs.

DW: Thailand is an exciting place for fighters and action film, even all over Asia, look at The Raid, which was filmed in Indonesia, action is all over. Since filming Death Fighter, action films have taken off even more, as more people are willing to watch foreign films. We used local talent and some from China as well.

DT: Chat about the amazing character Yui also how the balance of women in action is so important. I feel you are one of the pioneers in supporters of balanced characters.

DW: Yui is an actress she did great, she had to learn all the choreography for Death Fighter.

DT: Chat about working with Joe Lewis, on his final film.

DW: Joe had brain cancer and they removed most of his tumor, but he had not long left he was stage 4 cancer at the time of filming. He was on steriods during the shoot and we tried to make him as comfortable as possible. We thought he would be angry or sad on set and he was a total joy to work with, it was a real honor. His career took perhaps a different path as he made some bad decisions in his life, we all make some, but the ones he made really derailed what could have been a really successful career. We had a meeting after he was gone, to celbrate his life.

DT: Chat about the 5 yr time between filming an release date, Cynthia mentioned that the footage was missing, or held and not released.

DW: The Death Fighter situation was basically the film footage was held for ransom from the producer Karen Kaing. She filed a lawsuit and won, as she was in the right. That said, watch the film, we still did not get all of the footage, all of the fight angles are not in there. Thankfully we had enough footage, to successfully complete the film, and it did come out alright in the end.

DT: Speaking of footage lost, or never used, thanks again for working with my friend JuJu on Vforce The New Dawn of V.I.C.T.OR.Y. What happened with that project have you seen the footage, I noticed the project is removed from iMDB?

DW: Yes I was curious to see JuJu’s fighting skills on that. (Ed Note- She played Don’s daughter in the film and they were both antagonist characters) What happened well it is a story of budget and running out of money. Say you have a budget of 2 million, the producers have to plan and factor in expenses, once it goes over that amount, if it is a say bigger budget film they may get more, but on an indie film rarely happens. I have not seen the footage from Vforce. What can happen is if the producer(s) want to recoup their money, they can sell their footage to another company or person to complete the film. (Ed. Note: The producers have secured finishing funds and Vforce is currently in the final stages of post production.)

DT: Yeah sad that this happened, but at least you got paid and worked with some cool people. Chat about Martial Arts Kid 2, where are you at with this project? I saw your brother James meeting with Master James Lew.

DW: We (Dr. Michael Baumgarten, James Wilson, and myself) are currently deciding what direction to take, to release it as say a PG13 film like the Mortal Kombat films in the 90s or will we keep it geared again towards the 5-12 yr olds. The other possibility is by adding a scene with a church or service in there it can be marketed to church goers as a faith based or faith oriented film. There is a built in audience for that as they attend church every week, almost like a captive audience. We still plan to film in Dayton and Los Angeles.

DT: Thanks for sharing a tidbit about the next Martial Arts Kid film, lets wrap up your portion of the interview, chat about the closeness and bond you have with your brother James.

DW: James is my older brother, he was their for me when we were little, he looked out for me growing up. My family was split as I had a Japanese mother and American Father so I looked more Japanese and James could pass for American or Spanish. Back then there was still segregation, this was in the 50s and early 60s. He also managed my career, there is a brotherly bond.

Watch for more from Don Wilson when his new projects get going. As always, keep action alive.

About the Author

Dan Templegod
Dan Templegod

I have written for more than a half dozen movie and music magazines. Zazz, Jam, The Wild Rag, Revelations, Sirens Of Cinema, Tampa Bay Spike, and Vengeance. All have ceased to exist, welcome to the age of the internet!! I currently write for Dan’s Movie Report



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