Exclusive Interview: Cinema Icon Cynthia Rothrock Talks Her Career, Rise To Stardom And More


When you began working in Hong Kong you were obviously becoming a force and an extremely recognizable face in the martial arts industry. Was there ever a moment that you had encountered where that realization became very real to you?

Cynthia: Yeah! It was when I had my first midnight screening. They used to show movies to an audience to receive a reaction. In fact, they still do that. But the crowd for my film gave me a standing ovation. That was such a great feeling.

When you watch blockbuster or any modern day production do you feel that fight choreography is more fluid in their realism or is it missing something that was more prevalent in your prime days of filmmaking?

Cynthia: I think the choreography is definitely getting better. I think it was after I saw The Matrix when it felt the fighting styles were becoming more realistic. Then I saw Robert Downey Jr. in the first Sherlock Holmes movie and his style of Wing Chung. Then I ‘d come to find out that he actually practiced Wing Chung, so it made sense why it looked so good. I also like how Liam Neeson looks in combat scenes, Jason Statham is great, and I really loved the fighting in Kingsman. I mean, we know Colin Firth isn’t trained but it looked awesome.

I have to ask you about this because I grew up with the video game and loved it when I was young, and I apologize if this is a question you’ve been asked about a million times before, but when the gaming studio was creating the character of Sonya Blade for Mortal Kombat, did you have any feedback?

Cynthia: Hmm. Well, they contacted me when I was in my prime in terms of my career, and I was too expensive for them. So they used my face and the moves I was most recognized for and just changed her name. When I do conventions I do have a few people recognizing me for her, but I really had nothing to do with it. The company didn’t do things legally. It was a raw deal and I could have sued, but I’m not that type of person.

Oh man, that really sucks to hear. So, when it comes to martial arts, you’re a living legend and a master. But is there anyone today that you are watching as far as their presence and abilities?

Cynthia: I was impressed by Gal Gadot in the Wonder Woman movie, but I didn’t want to see it at first because I wasn’t sure what to expect. But I watched it and she was really great.

If there was a film that you could do that was completely your choice, what would the production be, who would be the ideal director, and what would the story be?

Cynthia: That’s a good question. I like to do different things, but I would love to work with Kenneth Branaugh. I always thought he was a wonderful performer. Of course, I would work with Quentin Tarantino or Tim Burton. I love to work and that would be fantastic. I would just like to do A grade movies. I do have a great fantasy project that I hope starts filming soon. I enjoy martial arts cinema but doing a bunch of other things is definitely something that appeals to me.

If there was an actor you would like to fight on camera who would it be?

Cynthia: That’s really easy. I would love to fight Jackie Chan. I’ve met him but never worked with him. That would definitely be something I would love to do.

Of course, there is a well-needed progressive shift happening when it comes to female directors and female power in Hollywood. But what would you like to see as the final result? For myself, I hope that women just aren’t women. It’s almost like when a woman does something, certain entertainment reporters and other outlets seem to pat them on the head, so to speak. I would hope there’s a time where a female director is just a director, for example. Would you agree?

Cynthia: I do. But I also see the changes happening and it’s a great start. I would just like to see that more. More room for women in the business to grow, and I think it will happen. It is happening and it’s a great thing. Will we ever get to the point where we are running everything? I don’t think that would ever be the case. But if we get a nice piece of that ground and are seen as equals in the business, then I am all for it.

That concludes our interview, but we’d like to thank Cynthia Rothrock very much for her time and for sitting down to chat with us.

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