Rick Yune, perhaps best known for his villainous roles in The Fast And The Furious and Die Another Day, stars in the Quentin Tarantino-presented The Man With The Iron Fists, which hits theaters this weekend. The film, which takes place in 19th century China, was inspired by classic Kung-Fu films, providing a perfect role for Yune, an experienced martial artist, to showcase his skills.
Recently, we talked to Yune about the film. He discusses his love for the project, what the intense shooting days were like, the involvement of Tarantino and more.
Check it out below.
We Got This Covered: What can you tell us about your upcoming movie, The Man With The Iron Fists?
Rick Yune: Yeah Man With The Iron Fists, it’s a crazy film. You will not be disappointed. Russell Crowe said that he thought it was a few beats away from perfect, and this a guy that won an Oscar for Gladiator. Quentin Tarantino, who did Kill Bill, said he was intimidated by some of the stuff he saw. So RZA did a great job to get a lot of components involved and fans are gonna love it. Truthfully, I’m my worst critic. I don’t like watching myself in the movies I’ve done, but this one I’ve seen 3 times already, and I love it even more every time.
I play a character named Zen Yi who is the son of a warlord, in the mountains romancing the woman in his life, and my father gets assassinated so I leave her in order to go investigate the death and avenge the murder of my father. I link up with RZA and Russell Crowe to go save a village and save the day.
WGTC: So you’re saving the day this time, it sounds like you’re one of the good guys here?
Rick Yune: I love these characters that have a duality to them. I wanted to be Han Solo not Luke Skywalker. It’s more realistic for me, nobody is that square, especially in today’s world. We all have two sides to us, and that’s what makes us human. I love the movies where everybody was an outlaw in some way. But when these men get together to do something positive it makes the story more interesting. And there’s a journey for the film.
WGTC: The movie’s really action packed, what percent of stunts did you do yourself?
Rick Yune: I worked with a guy named Corey Yuen and he really wanted me in there, so I did all my own stunts. Literally. The stunt double that they had for me was 5′ 6″ 120 pounds, I’m six foot, 180. It served the film to see me in it doing everything. But the level of talent there was so great that you could just roll with it. There were some challenges because, I don’t think I saw my trailer once.
I had to work from multiple units at once. I was sleeping about 2.5 hours a night, and it was a language barrier. Only a few people on set could speak English. The rest of the crew and coordinators couldn’t speak it at all. They would discuss among themselves and come up to me, tell me what to do and then it was (in Chinese) “1,2,3 go”… And so that was most of the shoot. Basically I don’t think I saw my trailer once.
WGTC: You said a lot of the crew didn’t speak English. Were there any challenges you guys ran into with that?
Rick Yune: Na, I mean there’s something magical about filmmaking and people that work within film. It’s the most beautiful thing, because so many people are coming together and they just think about a common goal. It’s almost similar to the military, but all of a sudden you’ll be in there and you’re about to do something and everybody is thinking about the next person. It’s not always the case, but the films that I’ve worked on it’s been that way, and it’s amazing. It makes you want to work harder.
So even when you go to another country and they speak another language, you saw these people come together and they created something amazing, because there’s a common understanding in wanting to create something of art and create something international. That’s what happens in what we do. That’s part of the reason I love it so much.
WGTC: Now your costume, from what I’ve seen, you’ve got some pretty intense spikes on your armor. Any fear of impaling yourself? Did you come away with any battle scars?
Rick Yune: Yeah man, we were getting hit up all the time. We were dealing with the old realistic props and one time somebody was riding and one of the swords, which was an actual sword from the 18th century, the lock on the sword kind of popped open and the sword popped out and barely grazed another person. It nicked the horse behind him.
As far as the fights were concerned, we were making it realistic, so I would get hit some times, other people would get hit. It was one of those things, but it really brought a level of intensity to the film that I think audiences are going to love.
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