STARBURST: What can you tell us about Tekken 2?
Gary Daniels: We made it a few years ago and it’s a pretty small part. I was in and out of Thailand for just a few days to reprise my role as Bryan Fury.
You shot the original Tekken the same year you appeared in The Expendables and Game of Death. What was the most fun to do out of those three?
I enjoyed working on The Expendables because it was five weeks. I got to meet some really good guys and it fun to be working with Eric Roberts and Stone Cold Steve Austin. A lot of the stunt guys are friends of mine, so it was like a working vacation. Meeting Stallone was pretty cool. I liked Game of Death because it was a much better role for me to play and hanging out with Zoë Bell and the stunt co-ordinators in Detroit was a lot of fun also. Professionally, Game of Death was better for me, but I cannot deny how much fun The Expendables was.
Are video games changing the way we tell action stories?
When I was young, we didn’t have video games and all the visuals they have. The expectations for movies are much higher because of video games. The advent of CGI has changed it all and it’s ruined some action films because the heroes can now fly. It turns people into wizards and the vulnerability has gone out of characters.
If you could work with any other actor or actress out there, who would it be?
For me, it’s more about directors. If I’m going to get into a movie with an A-list actor, I’m only get a small part, so I’m all about the directors. I’d love to work with Christopher Nolan.
If you could work for any franchise, what would it be?
The Marvel franchise would be interesting. Brian Braddock, otherwise known as Captain Britain. I was an avid comic book collector as a kid. I’ve got boxes of the comics still in my attic.
What are your favourite movies?
There’s better stuff on cable TV these days than just movies. Game of Thrones, Banshee, there’s so much out there right now. It’s more interesting getting into a TV series, they’ve got so much time to develop characters and storylines, so they’re more interesting.
You’re mostly known for action movie roles. What do you want to do next?
It’s kind of a double-edged sword when you do martial arts. You get typecast. As an actor it’s no fun, but if you can make a living a doing it then why not? As an actor you have to spread your wings. I’d love to do a romantic comedy. I have a coming of age dancing film coming out soon, where I play the father of the leading lady. One day I hope someone will offer me a romantic comedy.
How have martial art movies changed over the decades?
The styles of fighting have really developed over the years. When I was young, Bruce Lee was the main man. It seems that each generation springboards off the success of the last generation. We looked at Bruce Lee and then we wanted to do what Bruce Lee could do. Then along came Jackie Chan who did a lot of acrobatics. Now you have youngsters springboarding off Jackie Chan and you’ve got all these gymnastics, parkour and the so on. They’re incredible athletes. Who knows what the next generation will bring. For an older guy like me it’s a little harder to compete. When I look at a script now I look for the more solid side where I can fit in.
How important is the story?
Story should always be first and foremost, the action should come out of the story and the drama. Fight choreography should reflect the drama. If you’re watching a movie like Bourne Identity, you don’t expect someone like that to be doing flips, they’re meant to be military trained and fighting to kill. It should not be a ninja movie with long drawn out fights. Story comes first. Unfortunately, martial arts aren’t known for that, and that’s a problem with the writing. They shouldn’t be saying ‘how do we connect the fight scenes’, but stories should come first. It would be nice to see some really good scripts.
If you could give your younger self some advice, what would it be?
As a kid, I played a lot of football. I was doing martial arts and playing football. I think I’d say stick with the football then go into the film business.