Stunt Performer, Actor
1.What inspired you to begin getting involved in stunts?
I didn’t even know being a stuntman was a real career when I was growing up, so like every good little Asian – I went to school, got a scholarship to University and applied to a professional program to get the BIG BUCKS. [Business Administration and Commerce at the University of Toronto].
After 2 years of University I realized I really had no idea what I wanted to do – I just knew that I didn’t want to be an accountant or a consultant.
Luckily I met this really pretty dancer that convinced me to take some dance classes. Long story short – I dropped out of University and took up Dance — Modern, Jazz, Tap, Hip Hop, Breakdancing and yes – Ballet. It was like food. I didn’t take any art or drama classes in after grade 9 – I craved this.
Side note – My parents disowned me for awhile. My dad thought I was gay (not there’s anything wrong with that) and he refused to talk to me – was good times.
After 2 years of hard work, I managed to get an agent, land several commercial projects and become part of ACTRA (the Canadian actors union) – Who would have thought that Dancing Asians were in such high demand.
I landed my first notable stunt gig on a movie called, Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle, doubling John Cho. Great stoner movie – I took my mom to see it 3 times, she was confused but proud. On this show I got to work with Jamie Jones, the stunt coordinator – that’s when the light bulb came on.
Jamie was a top tier National Motorcycle and Car racing competitor. He never went to university, instead he spent his time really living and doing the things he loved – Skiing, Dirt Biking, Racing cars, living in different places. And when he became a stunt performer and stunt coordinator, his passions became his career.
What I admire about Jamie is the choices he makes. He surrounds himself with talented people that he loves to joke and have fun with. He works hard and he plays harder. Everything in his life is geared towards being happy. When he’s away from his family he misses them and when he’s with them, he’s spending quality time with them, rock climbing, dirt biking or just goofing around. It seems all so simple and makes so much sense to me.
Jamie is the person I use as my role model and he is the reason I chose to be in the stunt industry. He showed me that it is possible to love your job, have a great family and age gracefully – At 50+, he can still give his 21 year old boy a run for his money on the dirt bike track. Respect!
2.What is the best part about what you do?
It’s always different – you get to play with your friends – it’s fun!
3.Do you have a special type of stunt that you are known for, or that you just really enjoy doing?
I love to do fight choreography. Having a dance background – i love the challenge of nailing your timing and performing with all that intensity. Great adrenaline rush!
Working on 300 was my favourite project because we got to fight and die almost everyday =)
4.What sports or activities have influenced your stunt performances?
I’m a martial arts geek and dance helps me with remembering choreography and timing but since I became a full-time stunt performer I’ve taken up other sports like, Dirt Biking, High-Board Diving, Scuba Diving and Yoga (gotta stay limber =)
5. What is the most challenging stunt that you can remember doing?
Everyday is something new. I approach almost every stunt with the same attention and focus, because you never know when something will go sour. In our department, there’s not usually a lot of middle ground. Things either go super well or the exact opposite.
There are some days where we are just ‘meat puppets’. On those days, we put our mouth guards in, make sure we are padded up and remember to breath.
6.What’s involved with working as a stunt coordinator as compared to being a stunt performer?
This is where I am actual glad I went to business school – For a lot of years I thought my education was a waste of money =P School is good kids – Go! Especially if you don’t know what you want to do.
Stunt Coordinating is about Risk Assessment, Risk Management, Action Design and taking care of the stunt community. I always say, ‘We are a lot like accountants… accountants on Red bull’ =)
Stunt Performing is about being prepared, paying attention and not sucking=) Your number one priority is making the stunt coordinator’s life easier. Stunt performing is like being a professional athlete. Your health is your wealth – longevity is primarily based on you being in top shape all of the time and being able to deliver the action as specified by your stunt coordinator.
7. What do you like most about working in the Vancouver Film industry?
My career began in Toronto and since then I’ve worked in Montreal, Hong Kong, Auckland, and Yalta (Ukraine). In my opinion, the Vancouver Film industry is one of the best in the world.
People generally like what they do. From Crafty to the Transportation department, everyone seems to get along which makes your day go by so much faster.
The stunt community is among the most talented in the world and I’m proud to be apart of it. I am best friends with Brian Ho, who could be considered my biggest competition because our skill sets are so similar. In any place else in the world we probably wouldn’t talk and would spread rumors about each other. But here in Vancouver, we push each other and work together. We are business partners and will be life long friends.
Plus, Vancouver is so ridiculously beautiful and just a great place to live =)