Breaking Down Barriers: An Interview With Argentinian Action Star JUAN MANUEL OLMEDO
I've practiced martial arts since I was 11 years old, started in 1983 with Taekwondo WTF and in a few months, progressed to ITF (federations). From then on it was my discipline of choice. After that, I was picked to join the National Team back in '96. I competed in Chile, Uruguay, Canada and in Puerto Rico, reaching First Place and getting a Championship Title. I advanced and became an International Instructor with a IV Dan category. After that, in '98 I got involved in entertainment.
In 1998, after a few casting calls, I got selected to be a part of the Power Rangers Turbo Live Show, playing the Green Ranger Adam. Until that time I had no idea about theater, or live shows, or even film. But, I loved action films as well as martial arts flicks. The live show was like a dream to me, since it was doing both, and I was fascinated it by it. After a year of doing the shows, I needed to comeback to my life!! And realized that I need to be involved in action or martial arts films, even television sounded good.That was my calling, so I started.
The biggest influence in my life was Bruce Lee, watching all his films over and over!! In the early 80's, it was Chuck Norris, and later on Jean-Claude Van Damme, who I had the opportunity to meet and interview once when he came to Argentina. Those are my influences when it comes to Martial Arts Films, but when it comes to action, first place, Sylvester Stallone-He is #1, then Arnold, Mel Gibson, and Bruce Willis. They are the fathers of action films.
FCSyndicate: Tell me about Stunt Fighter Producciones. How did it all begin?
StuntFighter was created in 2001, with a chance to produce an action-comedy miniseries that involved some martial arts, it was pick up a Chanel 9 (TV) and it was named "Conde y Toro". I had the lead role with two other local TV stars, but at that moment we really focused on FX and stuntwork. But it wasn't until 2012 that we grew from a FX-Stuntdouble house to a full production company, focusing on producing film as well as the usual FX and Stunt Service. That is when "Justicia Propia" became a protect.
|Director Sergio Mastroberti and action star Juan Manuel Olmedo|
"Justicia Propia" came to life in a talk at a park between Sergio and I. We were both aching to do something big and change our destinies. Something really different from what the Argentines are used to. So we started to plan out something that had both action and martial arts for adult fans. That was back in 2005 at that time, and we could not do it due to lack of resources. So we went our separate ways, but always keeping in touch and gaining experiences and growing until 2012. We picked up where we left off and decided to give the project a GO AHEAD. We did all the detail on the script, production and stunt coordination for the action scenes. We both shared the same vision, we wanted a character that had all the classic action DNA, someone that would take Justice into his own and leave nothing loose on his way. An Action Hero from the 80s and 90s.
We had some technical obstacles, but nothing we could deal with or resolve, the movie had a huge production need when it came to locations and action scenes, sometimes it was complicated to move around and make our time schedule. But we got it done without major problems.
I have a few memorable moments, but the one that i've enjoyed the most was the final fight scene for the film, the filming took 7 entire days and the rehearsal alone for this took us a whole month, the location was awesome, and I a very happy with the results. Another one, is also a fight, that features one of our stuntmen falling down an elevator shaft follow by a grande explosions, the scene alone raised my adrenaline!! It's a great scene in the film.
I have several favorite movies, I have a large collection of action movie DVDs, a few of which I can name: Rocky, Rambo, Operation Dragon, Hard Target, Bloodsport, Star Wars, Predator and Indiana Jones. I love genres like action and adventure, and even science fiction.
The choreography that I like are those of Bruce, Van Damme, and of the Transporter movies too ...overall I like the American style of fighting, not so much the asian action. The harshness of Stallone or Arnold fights, with the technique of one of Van Damme for example, mix it like that. I know it is not 100% martial arts, but more of street violence.
It is my opinion the budget specifically a martial arts film not determine whether it will be good or not, probably with less budget film you have less time, but great choreography can personally do in less time too, now on a roll film more not only martial arts, also with many special effects, great action deployment, there if the budget affects a lot.
With Sylvester Stallone or Van Damme would be just great!
I can't wait to see "Bullet to the Head" a film starring Stallone. I think it would be out in a few months here in Argentina.
We are working hard in getting this film out to theaters by July, if not August 2013.
Action is a very difficult "market" here in Argentina due to budget and the lack of. So not many films like this are being produced. We do hope that with Justicia Propia, we could re-lauch the genre and show people that it could be done, and done well.
Yes, we are working on the sequel to Justcia Propia, and it would be done in 3D. Also, a sci-fi action web-series, a TV show and maybe another action film later on.
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