Actor Tony Jaa is known for killer action sequences in the Ong-Bak trilogy, and for causing havoc in the seventh Fast & Furious instalment, and his latest big-screen adventure comes in the form of Monster Hunter. Directed by Paul W. S. Anderson (Resident Evil, Event Horizon), this video game adaptation sees Tony as the mysterious Hunter, alongside Artemis (Milla Jovovich) as they both try to navigate the monster-infested world that they are trapped in! STARBURST catches up with Tony to find out what this action-filled blockbuster was like to work on, and much more…
STARBURST: How did you initially get involved with Monster Hunter, and what attracted you to the role of Hunter?
Tony Jaa: My manager and my agent told me about the film, I thought the idea of adapting the game to a live-action movie was a good one. When I heard Paul was directing, I was very excited.
How would you describe Hunter, to someone who was unfamiliar with the movie?
You must remember Hunter is from a different world. He is a man who has lost his family and his mission in life is to destroy the monsters that were responsible for this.
What did you like the most about working in this video game world?
I liked the idea of going into a fantasy world. It’s fun and anything is possible.
What do you remember the most about your first day on set, filming Monster Hunter?
I had never been to South Africa before and it was a different and exciting environment for me. The sets were very impressive, I remember thinking “This is going to be fun”, and it was.
Monster Hunter was filmed all over the world, can you elaborate on what that was like, and how the filming process compared to anything else that you had worked on before?
I have filmed in a number of different countries. What was rather unique on this film was the part we filmed in Namibia. It looked like a movie set from another planet, but it was not a set, it was real.
What was it like to work within your costume design? Carrying those huge weapons!
The weapons were really cool, but they were also really heavy. I guess you could say every time I ran with the weapons I got a good workout!
What was Milla Jovovich like to work with, and what do you think she brought to the dynamic between Hunter and Artemis?
Milla was amazing. She is great to work with, wonderful personality and sense of humour. We got along very well. We worked together practising our action scenes, and she really does those very well.
In the film, there is a language barrier between Hunter and Artemis, how interesting was that for you to work on and what do you think it brings to Monster Hunter?
I think it gave a good break for some humour and showed how alien the situation was to both characters. It also forced them to find a way to form a bond.
What was Paul W.S. Anderson like to work with?
Paul is great to work with, his attention to detail is wow! He explains what he wants very clearly, and he has a strong creative vision.
What was your most memorable scene to work on, and why?
I think my fight scene with Milla was my most memorable scene. We really spent time working together on this and got to know each other well. I think that ultimately shows on screen.
Finally, why should STARBURST readers check out Monster Hunter?
Because if they don’t I will hunt them!
MONSTER HUNTER is available to download and keep from September 6th, and to rent on digital, on 4K Ultra HD™, Blu-ray™ and DVD on September 20th.