Q&A: Don "the Dragon" Wilson
We recently chatted with kickboxing veteran and action star Don "the Dragon Wilson" about his film career (details here) and his opinion on the current state of the craft. Enjoy!
GEEKSAGOGO: There are plans to make a sequel to The Martial Arts Kid. Where will the second film go? Will it extend on the anti-bullying message of the first film?
WILSON: The sequel will be more of a “buddy picture” with coach Kane and I working together against the Bully’s father played by Chuck Zito. There will also be another “name” bad guy, and he will be played by Sasha Mitchell from the “Kickboxer” sequels. More action but since the script is not finished, I don’t want to say much more because it could be wrong. I do know there will still be “life lessons” learned through the study of the martial arts and, of course, the anti-bullying theme of the first film will carry through because we will understand why Brad was violent and vengeful.
GEEKSAGOGO: Can you tell us about your latest film Paying Mr. McGetty?
WILSON: That film is very different and follows a different type of formula for its story. Like “After Hours” it takes place in one day and the “hero” of the film has MANY strange things happen (coincidences, attacks, arguing with his boss, girlfriend, losing money, winning money, on and on. Even some “mystical” things happen but we’re never sure if it wasn’t just a dream….I am a “bad guy” with principles and enjoyed the experience! I have done so many “good guys” that now I realize why actors like to try different types of characters in their work.
GEEKSAGOGO: Although the emphasis of your film career has been on the action genre, there are also a fair number of science fiction films. Do you have a particular affinity for science fiction if fantasy?
WILSON: I love sci-fi and fantasy films as a viewer so it was very natural to enjoy making them as an actor-producer. I fought Vampires in “Night Hunter” and have worked in several Sci-Fi Action Films since my third starring role in “Futurekick” for Roger Corman in 1990. I am a believer that when you include more than one genre (Sci-Fi Martial Arts, Horror Martial Arts, etc.) you increase the fan base for the
project. It’s worked for me, and others (“Blade”, “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”, and “Resident Evil”).
GEEKSAGOGO: What was it like working on Batman and Robin?
WILSON: GREAT! Joel Schulmaker called me to his office at Warner Bros. and we spoke about what I could do in the film. I said “I could do one fight scene and, as long as, I was disguised, get beaten up by Robin!” It was very lucky for me that the one A-List project I have appeared in other than “Say Anything” was the Highest Grossing Movie of the Year!
GEEKSAGOGO: You have worked with stars ranging from John Cusack to Andrew Dice Clay. Do any particular experiences come to mind?
WILSON: I knew John before we worked together and he still talks to me when he’s in LA and we’ve promised each other to work out together again ASAP! We just keep putting it off. I trained him for “Say Anything” and then Benny “The Jet” Urquidez became his Private Teacher.
GEEKSAGOGO: What was it like to work with Chuck Norris?
WILSON: I have known Chuck since 1980 when we met at one of my fights in West Palm Beach. Florida. He has been very supportive of my fight career and my entertainment career. He used to attend my fights as a spectator and sometimes even announced them for TV. We worked together for SHOWTIME announcing our mutual friend, Benny Urquidez’s final bout in Las Vegas. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Chuck and I worked together as announcers of a Martial Arts Competition at the Arnold Classic one year. So, I guess you could say we’ve worked together in several different ways. But…..not the way I REALLY want to and that’s in a film together fighting some VERY evil Bad Guys! I respect and admire Chuck in many ways as an example of all that is good and positive in the Martial Arts and I always try to “live up” to his example.
GEEKSAGOGO: Do you have any thoughts on the current status of the action genre?
WILSON: As in all genres, the quality of “action” films has improved greatly. The stories, characters, special effects, even the music compares to all the other genres available today. The Highest Grossing films are in the Action Genre. Although, I work mainly in the martial arts action genre the days of the “Chop Socky”, bad quality Martial Arts Films is over. I am always looking for more interesting stories and characters in the scripts and then with a talented director, actors, etc. we can “rise to the occasion” and make a film that has the potential to become a classic like “Billy Jack”, “Enter the Dragon” and “The Karate Kid”. Thanks for the chance to speak to your audience.