Talks & Interviews — September 6, 2009 at 5:52 pm

Art Camacho: Things really kicked in once I started working on “Bloodfist” series

Who is Art Camacho? Well, we can start off by saying that he is one of the very few latino-american directors in Hollywood.

If you’re into the action movies of the 90’s – then you can be almost sure, Camacho had something to do with that, either as an actor, as an extra, a stunt man, a director or a writer.

The beginning was tough for Camacho, yet his determination and willingness to become something better than just “another latino on the streets of L.A.” helped him on his way.

He started off with martial arts, which later helped him to get a job in the movie industry. He began appearing in various T.V. commercials, then he wrote scripts for them. Somewhere along the way, his martial arts skills got him into the B-movies category, where he quickly established himself as a great stuntman, and fighting coordinator.

Quite often, Camacho would appear on screen in a bit part, but also do the stunt work for the same movie, and also act as a fight coordinator. This kind of experience worked good for him, as later on he became the director, working with the biggest names in the industry, such as Don The Dragon Wilson, Steven Seagal, Olivier Gruner, and others.

Below is the my interview with Camacho, that I took in September of 2009.

INTERVIEW

Mr. Camacho, please tell how you first started your fight choreographing career. First you started as an actor, and how did you get to stage the fights after that?

I got a call from my Sifu Eric Lee one day and asked if I wanted to get my butt kicked on a film for cheap and I jumped at since I get my kicked in the dojo everyday so this was no stretch. The film was Ring of Fire starring Don Wilson. From then on I was hooked and then there was a film called street crimes, this was the first film I choreographed and had the honor to work with Jerry Poteet. Things really kicked in once I started working with Don Wilson on the “Bloodfist” series. He is in my opinion one of the greatest martial artists around and a great person.

What was the most difficult stunt and the most difficult staged fight you ever did on screen?

There are so many to name but a few jump out at me, I think working on Half past Dead, because it was really one of the first times I worked with wires and having Steven Seagal, a mutlmillion dollar star on wires is real scary, all it takes is one small slip and there goes the movie.

You worked with so many B-movie action stars, such as Gary Daniels, Matthias Hues, Jeff Wincott, Don Wilson, Steven Seagal – the list just goes on. Which movie did you most enjoy working on?

I really admire, respect and enjoyed the experience of working with all those persons you mentioned but the one I’ve had the most in common with and fun with is Don Wilson. He and I became good friends and working with him is like not working at all just hanging out with a friend.

Whom of the today’s action stars you would like to work with? Do you have your own vision of the film as a director, so some action stars can not fit in it?

There are many actors and action stars I would love to work with including of course the obvious Jackie Chan. And there are many MMA stars that I have a lot of respect for including Quentin “Rampage” Jackson. I think at the core of every film is the story and character and as a director you have to find the story and bring out the characters and that goes for the action as well.

You worked with Cynthia Rothrock in Sci-Fighter, which was her last movie up to date. Not many women come to mind, when thinking «action». Some consider Mrs. Rothrock the best. Your opinion?

I think she’s great! She’s not only a great and multi talented martial artist but she’s soo sexy as well. I like her later stuff more than her early stuff because she brought out more of her feminity. She is a dear friend and extremely talented martial artist.

Was there any person, that you could call your inspiration when you were only beginning to work in the movie industry?

I think in general, the most inspiring person in my life was Bruce Lee. The first time I saw him was in “Chinese connection” then I vaguely remembered he was in ‘The green hornet”. Sitting there in a theater that was almost empty I sat mesmerized by what I saw on that screen. I knew then and there that I wanted to do something in the realm of action films.

Some people have said that working with Steven Seagal sometimes can be quite hard. What are your memories of working with him ?

I had a great time working with Steven Seagal. I’ve heard the stories too about his being difficult but we got along well. I worked with him on Half Past Dead and we spent 40 days in Germany filming that movie. I also worked with Ja Rule in that film and he was a hard worker. We trained a little while we were over there. Overall I am grateful to God and to Bruce Lee and many of the inspiring persons I’ve had the honor to work with over the years. The martial arts took this little fat kid from the barrio to the streets of Рollywood and beyond.



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