Sunday, April 3, 2016

Action Actress Lauren Mary Kim Interview (C) 2016 Dan's Movie Report (Exclusive Daredevil Chat!)

Above: Headshot from IMDB

Update May 23rd 2016: Brand new Elektra official Stunt reel!
A full stunt breakdown, coupled with practices, spot hits and falls! It is epic!

Below: Lauren Mary Kim as Elektra behind the scenes. Photo Credit: Instagram from Lauren.

The biggest thrill for me as a writer is to sit back and watch someone I have known a long time and followed their career. As the time machine blasts back to the (Winter) January 2005 Issue of Vengeance Magazine, ironically, I wrote about Lauren, guess who was on the cover, Jennifer Garner's Elektra! In my column I wrote about the young and extremely talented Lauren Mary Kim with a photo of her with the rest of the cast of a film by Kantz. The time machine is now reset, 2016 is upon us, Lauren Mary Kim has arrived. My apologies to Lauren for the long wait for this interview.

Coming from a strong dance background and exploding on the stunt scene more than a decade ago, Lauren has positioned herself in the A list action category. With over 100 IMDB credits, consistent learning and growing, and focusing her efforts to make the projects she is a part of burn like a fire on a hot August Day. Watch for her doubling Ming-Na Wen on 'Agents of Shield' among other projects in 2016. Every so often a special opportunity comes along, for an stunt person, to work with another actress like Elodie who can match intensity and intellect with most anyone. Lauren and Elodie Yung make the character of Elektra come alive with fervor and daring. Daredevil Season 2 on Netflix is must binge watch TV. Without any more of my inane chattering, time to stick the Sai in deep and feel the aggression and power of ½ of the Elektra Duo, Lauren Mary Kim! 3-2-1 GO!! Oh yes, when Lauren speaks the text is blood red hahaha!

Above Photo: Lauren does a flip, and of course kicks ass (C) 2016 Netflix

I saw in a few of Elodie's interviews there was not much time to train prior to the action sequences in Daredevil Season 2. How long did you train with the Sais and with Elodie prior to the start of production or was it episode by episode?

Our schedule was pretty hectic and we didn't have a lot of time to train Elodie. While we were designing the fights and shooting 'previs' (editor's note-pre-rendering, preview or wire frame windows) is a function to visualize complex scenes in a movie before filming) she was often on set shooting her scenes without action, dialogue etc... We basically were doing feature film fights in Television time constraints. It was rough but we did it. It definitely was a team effort. At the end I was able to have some one on one time with Elodie to go over choreography and to get her familiar with the sai's. Not nearly as much time as we wanted of course. But she is a natural, and I am so fortunate to work with another martial artist. She did an amazing job learning choreo on the fly and performing with such great intensity. 

 Above Pic Lauren and Elodie as Elektra prepare to injure some unlucky thug.

I am glad you mentioned her martial arts ability. Because Elodie is well versed in karate and action films were you that much more enthusiastic to expand your martial arts abilities, as the Elektra character is versed in a wide variety of styles.

Yes, she learns faster than most people, so I was excited to work with her and the fight coordinator was able to throw some really intricate moves for her character.

Trust me it was hard to tell who was doing the ass kicking! Shifting gears to the production side, I read in a few interviews that the dialogue was shot in the beginning of each week's episode then the stunts and action were shot last. How many days per episode did the coordinators dedicate to the action, or did it vary?

Every week, every episode, was completely different. Some fights we would have 1-2 days and other fights we had 3-5 days. So yeah it varied, not to mention there are many fights in one episode with different characters so the stunt coordinator, fight coordinator, and asst coordinator definitely had their hands full everyday.

Above Pic: Season 2 Episode 10 of Daredevil. Lauren laying the kick to the face!

One of my favorite fights is the airplane hanger fight, the wing slide, the capoira, that looked hard, would love you to go in detail how that fight was set up some of the training etc, looks like Elodie did work very hard also.

The fight coordinator would research cool moves and he saw that move from a Muay Thai fighter. We tried variations of that trick, but it is a very effective trick as we saw it during a sparring match. We also did the slide across the airplane wing which I love. That particular stunt is a tribute to the Black Widow move (Heidi Moneymaker). In Daredevil (Season 2 Episode 10) the move backfired on Elektra and he ultimately slammed her very hard on the wing. So we wanted to show that us super heroes are not always perfect and things can go wrong in fights, just as real life fights. I remember working on this move and trying to figure out to properly do it the way we wanted to do it....we were all pretty tired and loopy during rehearsal, I just remember laughing constantly.....but we finally got it, and I love how it looks on camera!

Above pic: Flip to kick from Lauren. (C) 2016 Netflix

I loved the realism, characters on Daredevil take real damage, they have weaknesses. Chat about how the action flows between Elodie and yourself, watching season 2, obviously Elodie did a lot of the action.

While we shoot a previs we show what shots are actor shots and which shots are stunts. The edit sometimes comes out different than what you expect. Some sections of fights were all me and some sections were all her and some sections were cut back and forth seamlessly between the two of us. Together we make Elektra in the fight scenes, like a!

Speaking of a perfect marriage, I listened to an interview where you chatted about learning Elodie's walk as part of your adaptation to Elektra, were you able to spend some quiet time chatting with her about the character's movements and actions?

Any time i could get with her, we would share notes and chat about the character. She told me often she did not want Elektra to make noise when she fought which was very difficult for me since I like to vocalize while I fight. Which later I realized they added someone else voice in post, for her fight beats. She also didn't want Elektra in fighting stances (i.e. poses) after fights as she is a cool, no nonsense kind of woman and very dismissive to her opponents. I liked that part about her character....

Many times you see these women on films always striking a martial art poses after and sometimes its not always a right character choice for your character. Elektra doesn't give a fuck and she doesn't have to prove she is a fighter, she is a killer....i like Elodie's take on Elektra a lot. It was a lot of fun. 

Above Pic: Lauren as a bridge officer on the Kelvin (C) Paramount Pictures

I think you and Elodie looked like real killers in the series, shifting gears before I get my ass kicked, chat about who are some of the stars and directors you want to work with you have not, or someone you have worked with that would jump at a second opportunity. 

I would love to work with JJ Abrams again. He was a pleasure to work with on Star Trek. Always wanted to work with Ryan Reynolds. The list is pretty endless. I love working on marvel shows and would like to work more features with them. Their content is so good, forever a fan.

I loved the first two Star Treks, great action and story. I am looking forward to more on screen work from you. I am sure your dreams will be realized. I notice you are always training, working hard, what is your secret to getting consistent stunt and acting work in Hollywood?

No idea..... basically, stay humble, professional and be yourself! Be true to who you are, always train and hustle! 

Above Pic: (C) Jason Ng 2016 =  Daredevil stunt crew dinner. Check out Lauren and Elodie Yung in the middle!

In 10 years 20 years, what is Lauren doing in the Hollywood life, producing, acting, stunts, retired, teaching?

Hopefully have a baby, producing projects that elevate human consciousness. Of course, still training in martial arts.

Thank you so much Lauren for taking time out of your hectic filming schedule to conduct this interview. Watch this space later in the year for the second part of my chat with Lauren! Keep your browsers locked into Dan's Movie Report for all of your exclusive film and TV news, interviews, and photos. 

2016 is the year to Stand Up For Stunts. Please like this Facebook page and help the quest to have stunt performers recognized in the Academy Awards.

Please follow Lauren and all of her activities on her various sites:

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