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lunes, 3 de mayo de 2010

Wayne Archer's Interview

Last November, I was able to contact British actor & Martial Arts Artist Wayne Archer. He was kind enough to answer the questions I sent him asking about his experiences on Hong Kong cinema. When I got his answers I got quite surprised to find out he was a humble character guy, not to mention an extremely nice man who had to afford my daily harassment with questions about his time at IFD & FILMARK Thanks Thanks too much, Mr Archer not to get angry to me!

- To start with, could you tell us a bit about you and your life before you went to Asia?
Before i went to Hong Kong i was working in a coal mine but have been interested in Hong Kong movies when as many others at the time i saw Bruce Lee in Fist Of Fury and there began my love of martial arts film and my interest in martial arts in general.

-What led you to move to Hong Kong, and how did you then entered the movie world?

Before i moved to Hong Kong i went on holiday there twice and the first time was when i met Jackie Chan while he was shooting Dragonlord final scenes in Golden Harvest Studio Lot and we spent two weeks on the set every day which as you can imagine was a dream come true being such a big fan of Jackie who was so excited that westerners travelled to Hong Kong solely to meet him. The second holiday there i spent a month and once spent most of my time at Golden Harvest on set of Project A and my love affair with Hong Kong started there so my dream was to return there and live someday. Finally i took the plunge quit my job in u.k bought a one way ticket and left to fulfill my dream.

-During the 80's, it seems there were good opportunities for White or Black Westerners to appear in movies in HK and in other Asian countries, which film industries were then flourishing. How many films have you been working on?

My first movie role was purely by chance as we were at a club popular with movie stars at the time called Hollywood East and we met Tsui Siu Keung who you will im sure know from the many martial arts movies he made and he told us about a new project he was involved in which turned out to be the Shaw Bros Triad move called Heroes Of Tsim Sha Tsui East (aka Hong Kong Godfather) and hence we to Shaws Studio for a casting and demonstrated some fighting with the stunt director and was given a part and i was paid HK$400 per day but to me the money was irrevelant i would have done it for nothing just to meet and play alongside some of my heroes from the Shaws movies.

As for how many movies i have worked on i am not really sure you are probably more knowledgable than me because many were low budget and i new little about them as they were only for foreign video markets.

-You notably worked with producer Joseph Lai (IFD) on at least ten films. What are your memories of these films, Godfrey Ho and Joseph Lai? Would you have any anecdotes from the shooting, about the working methods for instance? How much did you got paid on those films?

As for the ifd movies i have fond memories mainly of my working with them but the pay was low but i had a lot of fun and was always treated well. The pay was hourly and my first i was paid HK$50 per hour but as you worked with them more this increased gradually.

-How did IFD contact you?

I cannot really recall how i first was contacted by ifd probably through some others working in films .

-Did you hold a contract with them?

we were not contracted it was purely as and when needed they called you

As for the titles of the ifd movies i do not really know because we only filmed our scenes and rarely saw the finished movies because as you know our scenes were edited into far eastern movies to give them more appeal for sale in the west.

-In many of the movies you shot for IFD you are billed as main actor or main "villlain" but,Were you signed in those movies as an actor or as an extra?

I never holded a contract with them, besides it was a running joke with the westerners that you were desperate if you worked on ifd movies but i never felt that way i had a good time always.

-Some "gweilo" actors told us Chinese crew members or people were not always very friendly with foreigners. Can you tell us something about this? How it was in general working for chinese in your case?

As for my experience with working with the Chinese crews on the whole i feel i was accepted pretty well and did not experience many problems myself but i always tried to fit in with the ways of eastern people and i think that attitude can avoid any conflict in most situations.

-On IFD , White or Black guys were usually employed to make the film look like an American made production. Most of the Western faces you see in these films were tourists, students or backpackers from Chungking Mansion with no experience in acting. In your case, you got martial arts skills. What are your martial skills, and how useful was it on those films? I know you were nicknamed the "kung fu coalminer".

You are right most of the westerners had no movie experience although in the early days i was one of the few who had martial arts experience but i would be the first to admit my skills could not compare with the actors who appeared in h.k in later years such as Mark Houghton,Jeff Falcon,Bruce Fontaine etc but unlike those guys i never had any illusions about being famous i only did the movies for fun but making money doing something you enjoy cannot be a bad thing right.

-Most of IFD works were directed by Godfrey Ho, Philip Ko or Tsui Po Wah. Do you have any memories of working with them?

As for the names of the actors i am sorry i cannot help and you are much more knowledgeable than me in fact the only movies i really remember well are the true kung fu movies which are the only ones i truly care about.

-Besides IFD, it seems you also worked for Filmswell, the company Godfrey Ho founded after parted from IFD. Which titles you worked for this company?

to be totally honest i cannot remember the names of those films i made so many i never knew what titles they used and while it was good fun the productions were really cheap attempts to pull the wool over the eyes of the european buyers and nobody really took those movies seriously.
the only movies i really remember well are the true kung fu movies which are the only ones i truly care about

-How About your works for Filmark?
i cannot remember the names of those films since we never knew the working titles or the titles they were released in the international market.

-InFilmark movie The shadow Killer, the good guy was a ninja woman billed as Cora Bentley. we saw her as a criminal partner of Bruce Fontaine in Curry & Pepper starring Chow sing Chi & Jacky Cheung as well as in another ninja movies from Filmark, Do you have any memories of her?

As for the girl you mentioned if i remember right she was the heroine and i was a villain and we shot scenes together in a derelict building somewhere in the new territories but most of her action scenes were doubled by a hong kong stuntman and i never new her name to be truthful i only spent my time with the stuntmen who i got along with more than the westerners.

-In The Shadow killer you are killed by a "ninja rocket" shot by a bazooka. Do you remember how & where was this scene shot?
somewhere in the new territories, including a forest in Saikung

- We never saw you working in the IFD ninja movies, but you got an unfinished project with Bey Logan in Taiwan titled Black ninja. Can tell us some about it?
I did work on a few of the ifd ninja movies but as for Black Ninja this was a project financed by my good friends of many years Toby Russell and George Tan and Bey Logan was only there as a reporter for Combat Magazine and was writing for them and accompanied us to Taipei so he could appear in the movie but unfortunately despite a lot of pre-production the project never really got of the ground and was shelved.

-Your face was also quite well recognized in Robert Tai's DeathCage starring Joe Lewis. What memories do you have about thee movie & Robert Tai, Joe Lewis & Robin Shou?

As for Death Cage Toby,Robert and his team were filming in Chiangmai Thailand and Toby rang me saying they needed another actor so off i went to Thailand. I have always respected Robert Tai as he was the fight choreographer on some of my favourite movies namely the venoms films produced by Shaw Brothers and i had a great time there working on the movie and i respect Robert still and Toby and i remain close friends to this day.

-After working in HK, how it was working in Taiwan?
As for working in Taiwan i cannot really comment as i only worked there once for a few days with Robert and Toby.

-Most people remembers you as the monk who bites Jackie Chan's hand in Armour of God, but we noticed you in many more shots of the movie. Do you have any anecdote about the shooting of this movie?
As for Armour of God i feel that Jackie gave me that scene in the movie as i had been a fan of his long before his popularity in the west and in general working on the movie was so much fun and i worked on it for about a month non stop. I am sorry i cannot recall any specific anecdotes about working on the movie i can only say it was so much fun and like a dream appearing with Jackie

-Later in Armour of God part two, we swa you along with other IFD faces as Jonathan Isgart, Mark King or Bruce Fontaine. What can you tell us about your experience in this movie?
As for Armour of God 2 this was a totally different atmosphere with none of the fun i encountered on the first movie and i did not enjoy the experience at all as the production team seemed uptight and this was the only movie i did not enjoy working on despite being paid very well i just wanted it to end

-Armour of god 2 was shot on location in Morocco & several places in Spain such us Madrid and Valencia. Did you stay in Spain during the shooting?

Personally i only shot scenes in hk for this movie but Bruce and the others went to Moroco on location.

-You are credited as "fighter" in Jean Claude Van Damme's Bloodsport? How did you got your part in these movie?

As for Bloodsport i got my role through a casting agency and Salon Films and worked on the movie for 7 days only shooting my short fight scene one day and the rest was just in the crowd scenes. For the record Van Damme was a bit of a arrogant ass despite never being known to anyone there and i think that showed more in later years.

-With the hindsight, what look do you take at your work in the film industry? Did you ever have a keen interest in it?

i have no ego about appearing in movies it was just a phase of my life that i will always treasure as many people never get the chance to appear with the stars they have been fans of for so long.

THanks so much for your kindness & your time to answer these questions. It has been a great pleasure to know more about one of the greatest "gweilohs" from HK cinema golden age.

Since, just down to this post there are a lot of pics of Wayne Archer's movies I don't add them to this english version. It would be too repetitive. Thanks for all your understanding.

4 comentarios:

  1. Hola, estoy por aquí de nuevo, viendo actualizaciones. Excelente post, felicitaciones.
    Un gran saludo desde:

  2. JM, I fully understand why you don't post the picture in both the Spanish and English language interviews but could you at least write the text under the pictures in both Spanish and English? Thanks.

  3. Hola Oz...llevo unos dias de perros con el embarazo de mi mujer. Te linkeo en el blog. Gracias cpor por tu comentario!

    Jack...the comments under the pics are just some personal comments or just non-important info at all, sometimes are just untranslatable jokes..the real & true info is always translated.