Article care of www.star-interviews.com
Martial Arts Master, Film Star, World Champion Eric Lee!
I met Eric Lee at a stunt clinic he was giving in China Town. He had a full class (only one girl but she was real determined) and taught a lot I never realized was involved in the filming process. He teaches film and stunt work at UCLA too. Very interesting man. Since then, he has given me a wonderful sword training video, plenty of tips, taken me to lunch in China Town (LA) and a convention he was guest of honor at. A great man and a super cool dude. So many interesting things we discussed including his relation to Kay Baxter, the bodybuilder in the David Lee Roth videos and his new restaurant and other endeavors. Eric is endorsing a new stretching device and putting together a full line of martial arts videos, so plenty more will follow. The guy is friends with every big name martial arts star in the world. He has a story about each of them too. Nothing bad, but man can this guy talk!
Lemmon asks: Let's play word association: Stallone and
Norris (Eric worked with both. Once on Rambo and again
at Chuck's stunt clinics).
ERIC LEE REPLIES: Just different people. Very nice to work with both. No complaints. I am fight coordinator certified with Chuck.
Lemmon asks: You were on both General Hospital and the
A-Team. Talk to me!
ERIC LEE REPLIES: Laughs. How did you know? I was acting then. No martial arts. Funny huh? I was dressed as a maid in Bring Em Back Alive. Laughs. I was also on the Price Is Right! I took 2 girls and they picked me instead! The big wheel you spin for bonus round. REAL heavy. Laughs. I won a bunch of camera stuff and diapers. Yeas, diapers! Also a 300 pound woman tripped when they called her name and her dress went above her head. Was funny. Wasn't her name they called either! And JP Morgan on the Gong Show hit me once.
Lemmon asks: Your movie, China Joe...
ERIC LEE REPLIES: My movie. Released next year. It's an action comedy. I like comedy. Think most people do. Not so much Jackie Chan. It's more me.
Lemmon asks: The other one, Master Demon...
ERIC LEE REPLIES: Laughs. Another of my movies. Comedy horror film. Very popular.
Lemmon asks: The Videos.
ERIC LEE REPLIES: Wow, you do your homework Don. Laughs. I have 25 done. Shooting 2 more. Total of 35. All very different and traditional Chinese, some Shaolin style. I also discuss healing. There is difference between real and movie martial arts.
Lemmon asks: Any new tournaments coming up?
ERIC LEE REPLIES: Solicited or unsolicited?
Lemmon asks: Who is Mark DeCastos?
ERIC LEE REPLIES: Actor from the Crow and Only The Strong. I used to baby-sit him. He's grown up now. Laughs.
Lemmon asks: Who is Karen Lee Shepherd:
ERIC LEE REPLIES: From Xena. I am her senior in the same system. Forms and weapons champ. She fought Cynthia Rothrock (who just had a baby). She is in a movie with me. Did a New Millennium Workout together. You got a lot of these questions from my web site. Laughs. I guess I didn't elaborate?
Lemmon asks: And your opinion of actors:
ERIC LEE REPLIES: It isn't tough to work with actors even without experience in Martial Arts. I learned during Weapons of Death movie not to judge a man on his character's role. It's just a role. Some surprise you. Faking a punch is harder than taking one. Some did not like the baby powder we had them wear for the fight scenes to show debris flying upon impact. Laughs.
Lemmon asks: Tell me about the difference between Chinese
vs American movie making.
ERIC LEE REPLIES: Baby powder. It doesn't seem Americans are as inventive with camera work. We had to do more with less so angle and work was important. Not high, wide, long shots, but close, upward, illusional angles. Sometimes we used wires too. Laughs. We used faster film, faster music but short film clips.
Lemmon asks: Who was the first person to tell you getting
into your chosen profession was a crazy idea?
ERIC LEE REPLIES: My dad. He wanted me to get into architecture or some other "reliable" field, but he came to eat his words because I became so well known in the Martial arts, Film Industry and even healing arts that now he is very proud.
Lemmon asks: What directed your attention to the industry
you are in as a profession to begin with and did you
originally see your part in it different than it is?
ERIC LEE REPLIES: Well, there are basically three things that started my interest in martial arts and M.A. films:
1) My dad practiced martial arts early in my childhood and he would wake me up in the early mornings to exercise.
2) Back in Hong Kong I loved to watch the old black and white movies. I was fascinated by the movement, both the powerful aspects of it and the aesthetic.
3) The healing aspects of the Chinese arts. In Hong Kong we lived in an herb shop. One side was Chinese with a Doctor and two or three herbalists' and the other side was a western style drug store. Martial arts is more than what you see at first glance. It will generate strength and vitality, energy, grace of movement, health and longevity adding Chi Gung, Tai Chi, etc. In my
beginnings I never dreamed that I would be blessed with all that I have been allowed to experience and I am thankful on a daily basis for the abundant gifts that I've received!
Lemmon asks: What are your 5 favorite web sites besides
your own and mine?
ERIC LEE REPLIES: Yours' naturally! Bruce Lee has several interesting ones, Kay Baxters' at www.femalemuscle.com/memorial/kay/ Sid Campbells' arwww.members.aol.com/dragun3/page6.html (And still under construction, D'anna Palominos.)
Lemmon asks: Got an ancient Chinese secret you want
to share? Tell me something nobody knows about you,
maybe it's not a secret, but something interesting about
you that no one has ever asked you about until now.
ERIC LEE REPLIES: Ahhhh, but now it wouldn't be a secret anymore then would it!
Lemmon asks: What's the craziest thing you have experienced
in the industry to date or maybe tell me about something
you witnessed and didn't participate in that would shock
ERIC LEE REPLIES: There are many wild experiences along the way but one that stands out is in the mid 80's Ed Parker, myself and one of my Black Belts were at an exhibition in Chile and the turn out was tremendous. It sold out to more than 6,000 people but there were 2,500 more outside the gates and it took a human barricade of 250 security personnel to hold back the throng. When our limo pulled up and we got out, the line broke and we were swamped by crazed fans and by the time we got into the stadium, we were exhausted and had to rest. Then after the show we were literally picked up and carried
around by our fans who decided that the clothes we were wearing would make great souvenirs. Even my shoes were taken! I was flabbergasted, exhilarated, almost stripped naked and it felt like being one of the Beatles!
Lemmon asks: Anything embarrassing ever happen to YOU
when you were trying to look cool? What?
ERIC LEE REPLIES: I hosted a Banquet with co-host D'anna Palomino at the Golden Dragon in L.A. China town and
lots of important people, and stars were there. I had just finished announcing someone and being the graceful and athletic martial artist that I am , turned to walk off the stage but instead I tripped over my own feet and dove off the stage, going down behind the video monitor but adding to the special effect, the mic I was still holding picked up the CRASH I made when I fell.
One other time while hosting a seminar in Newport Beach, I forgot the clip-on lapel mic I was wearing and took it on a safari into the mens room with me. It was still on and broadcasting and the whole place was dying of laughter when I came back out.
Don Lemmon asks: The biggest lie about your industry ever is:
ERIC LEE REPLIES: That there was never any actual Kung Fu fighting in the TV show of the same name.
Don Lemmon asks: What's the hardest and yet easiest part of dealing with the industry these days that you didn't realize getting into it?
ERIC LEE REPLIES: Getting the right part is the hardest part. After getting the right part it's the easiest.
Don Lemmon asks: Have the people around you changed since you got recognition for the things you've done? Maybe those who weren't so supportive in the beginning, suddenly became supportive or possibly vice versa? They became less supportive?
ERIC LEE REPLIES: My true friends and loyal fans have remained constant. I've been blessed with my extended family and have had good experiences in large part.
Don Lemmon asks: What is your most frequently asked question and/or what question makes you crazy whenever someone asks but you somehow remain composed enough to answer?
ERIC LEE REPLIES: "Oh, Are you related to Bruce Lee?" I always tell them, "Why, yes! About a couple thousand years or so back!"
Lemmon asks: Is there a job or a gig that you were offered
in the past but passed up that we would find interesting
because it has nothing to do with what you do now? Like
bagging groceries or working at Denny's?
ERIC LEE REPLIES: A Porn Movie! They asked me to become a porn star and wanted me to answer a whole lot of
really embarrassing questions! Obviously I passed it along to Sylvester. (The Italian Stallion!)
Lemmon asks: Some people think when they see you on
TV or film or in a magazine that you appeared overnight.
They do not realize the work it takes to get the smallest
plug from the media. How does it make you feel when
people less talented or deserving as you actually handed
a golden opportunity overnight? Do you feel it gives
the wrong impression to the average
consumer looking from the outside in?
LEE REPLIES: I don't begrudge anyone who is off the
couch and in there trying ! My "work" has
the time of my life! I've always been warmly received.
Don Lemmon asks: Your crowning achievement in life so far and what's the big picture?
ERIC LEE REPLIES: The blessing of passing along my legacy to others. That the world should find my life's work valuable enough to send me all over the country teaching seminars is humbling.
Don Lemmon asks: Tell me a joke!
LEE REPLIES: Q. "How come they don't have telephone
books in China?" A. "Too many Wings and wongs.
might wing the wong numba."
Don Lemmon asks: What is your favorite music album of the year so far and what music or album do you listen to most often?
ERIC LEE REPLIES: "Enya - A day without rain."
Don Lemmon asks: Tell me something about the industry you are in people tend to forget.... and maybe something they do not realize either....
ERIC LEE REPLIES: It's all for fun, giving of your gifts and living life to your full potential. It shouldn't be a human conflict. Dog eat dog. Very sad.
Don Lemmon asks: Once that is off your chest, what is the one thing you would change about your industry if you could without hesitation and then you would be fine with everything else?
ERIC LEE REPLIES: If I could change it to be less dog-eat-dog, create more jobs for the actors. Leave the fighting to the action scenes.
Don Lemmon asks: Who is the most intriguing person in your business besides yourself? Why?
ERIC LEE REPLIES: The most intriguing is Bruce Lee. He was the original creator of the genre that was able to open up Martial Arts with wide screen influence. One individual with that much magnetic pull! He threw open all the doors for all who dared to try to follow in his footsteps and he was ahead of his time. He never got to reap his harvest. He was a phenomenon.
Don Lemmon asks: Tell me the last good movie you can remember seeing in a long time that you saw in theaters, and the last good video you rented:
ERIC LEE REPLIES: I really like Gladiator and Titanic too.
Lemmon asks: What is the TV show you watch the most?
ERIC LEE REPLIES: CNN
Don Lemmon asks: Does anyone in your family think you're nuts?
ERIC LEE REPLIES: My dog!!! No, Of course not! They all love me, even my mom.
Don Lemmon asks: The worst pickup line you ever heard or used was what? Did that pickup line work?
ERIC LEE REPLIES: "Hey, baby! You work out or what!?"
Don Lemmon asks: If you were anyone else besides yourself, who would you be (even for just a day, on a good day) who would it be and who did you emulate growing up? Do you still emulate or try to be like them now?
LEE REPLIES: There are so many countless mentors in
my life, who have given pieces of themselves to build
me that I am today. I never really modeled myself on any one living person, just built on what I was given and everyone is some form of role model to someone. Even me. All of those people dear to me, gave me something precious and I love, respect and appreciate every one of them. There is a little piece of every one of them that makes me who I am so how could I possibly be anyone other than myself?
Don Lemmon asks: What did we forget?
ERIC LEE REPLIES: What I love to do the most is teach. I love to share philosophy... And oh yes,and I dearly love jokes and comedy!
conducts informative seminars, visits schools and attends
various events regularly. If you are interested in working
with this true legend of real martial arts, contact
him at email@example.com. He also conduct seminars
on movie stunt fighting, self defense
on all levels, and forms. When I was there I met no less than 4 film industry contacts. Eric was known as the king of
kata and is one of the founding members of the WorldBlackBelt.com with Bob Wall and Chuck Norris. He is also an instructor for the WBB system of training that teaches airline personnel to defend themselves and the passengers against terrorism. It's called "America In Defense".... I could go on and on so do yourself a favor and visit Eric's website at www.ericlee.com"