Friday, June 15, 2018

David William No Interview (C) 2018 - A Dan's Movie Report Exclusive!

Above Photo: (C) 2018 David William No  (David & Scott Adkins on Set of The Debt Collector

Greetings valued Dan's Movie report readers, today is a special day! The musings of David William No in a two part interview! I have decided he has so much information to share that it will be best to drop this one now, and the next one in a few months when Mr No has more information about his current projects! In part 2 David will also discuss his other endeavors, including physical therapy! David has a wealth of experience in front of and behind the camera and chats about his new projects in addition to blasting into the past a bit about some cool 90s films. Grab a pen, take notes, as we shall leave it all in the hands of David!

Chat about working on DTV films in the 90s

In the late 90's, there were plenty of US productions coming “down under” to shoot. I had the opportunity to work on a variety of projects like Hallmark channel’s Moby Dick and Noah's Arc and also the Mel Gibson/Jet Li produced Invincible. Kanga-rubles (ie Aussie dollars) were dirt cheap back then and allowed a lot of Aussies the opportunity to work on bigger international productions.

Moby Dick was actually the project that committed my path in the film industry. I was studying physiotherapy and had already done several film projects by the time I graduated. At my cap'n'gown graduation ceremony day, I received a phone call from a distinguished hospital offering me a 12 month contract. "How awesome is that?!" I thought. Then about 30min later, I received another phone call from a casting director, not only wanting me to play a role in the Moby Dick mini-series along side such legends as Patrick Stewart, Gregory Peck, Henry Thomas, Ted Levine, Hugh Keays-Byurne - but to also train and work on old sailing ships.

After Mr. Nice Guy (starring Jackie Chan), Sammo Hung (who was directing) asked me to go to America for O.U.T.I.C.6 starring Jet Li and play the main villain. I turned him down, thinking I needed to finish my studies. Now with Moby Dick, I was put in the same situation: physiotherapy or the film industry. I obviously chose the film industry and destiny eventually brought me to the states.

Working with Kathy Long, she is an amazing kick boxer and action person, describe the experience, perhaps if you can remember a set story, know it was awhile ago.

I worked with Kathy on my first ever feature film, the Richard Norton actioner Under the Gun. Kathy was super down to earth. She was like an older sister to me. I remember our fight scene. It was the first time I had to flat-back onto concrete and the lesson was how unforgiving it was compared to judo mats! Also the end of that fight was memorable. I rush in and grab Kathy by the shoulders as Ron Vrecken goes to punch her. She slips the punch and Ron drills me. I watched this scene recently – even in slow motion it looks like I had my face caved in!

The other thing I remember about that movie is Richard asking me to double him for a kicking sequence. It was a standing Round, Hook, Side-Kick combo. He was wearing cowboy boots - I'm a size 10, he is a size 8 – it was like foot binding! I had another fight with Richard where he hits me across the room and I fold into a tiny sports locker. Richard is such a nice guy, and a real trail blazer when it came to Aussie action guys doing stuff internationally. Great memories.

Above: David William No and Michelle C. Lee on Altered Carbon!

Present Day: Altered Carbon, amazing show, one of the best on Netflix, really loved your fight with Michelle Lee, if you can describe the set up, and fight choreography and how did they do the suspended thing was it wires CGI etc?

Six months before filming started, the stunt coordinator (Larnell Stovall) sent me to New York to start training the main actor, Joel Kinnaman (he was there for the world premiere of Suicide Squad).  I ended up training many of the other actors as well, including Martha Higareda, Waleed Zuaitor, Treu Tran and Dichen Lachman.

In regard to the Null-G fight. The fight was choreographed by Jeremy Marinas. Larnell knew that he needed performers that were experienced in wirework, had good air-awareness, as well, could also act and fight. He handpicked me and Michelle, however we still had to record an audition tape and be confirmed. Once we went up to Vancouver we had 2 weeks of intensive wire rehearsals.

The original script really showed a loving relationship between the fighters as they helped each other put on their gloves, however on the day we were separated and assistants tended to us. I thought that was a shame as the intimate scene would have made the fight more shocking. Of course, there always needs to be a balance between story and action, so there were so many strings of choreography we just didn’t get to. For instance, there was one gag that the director ordered where Michelle launches at me, does a half twist and I catch her upside down and then toss her backwards, we both rotate as we separate, and Michelle half twists again and clocks Joel in the face!

I agree, an amazing show with some amazing and ideas. Hopefully they bring my sleeve back in Season 2!

Above: David William No @ The Debt Collector Screening! (C) 2018 Ben Burton Photography Exclusive to Dan's Movie Report

Chat about working on The Debt Collector? Jesse V. Johnson is an amazing guy, gritty film, I know you had a smaller part but describe your day on the set with Jesse.

When we were making Blindsided, Luke Lafontaine and Cold Steel helped us out with the knives. Immediately when we finished Luke needed fighters for Savage Dog. I felt that since he helped us with our film, I owed him a favor so I went and fought Scott in a pit fighting scene. I've known Scott for decades and so it was good to finally work together. We shot the fight so quickly that we added more phrases to the fight. Then the next summer we were shooting Blindsided: The Game. Again, Luke was helping us and actually played a very memorable role. Then he was coordinating The Debt Collector and Jesse asked me to play the role in the opening fight. The role was very dialogue heavy (maybe 4 pages) and it was an extremely hot and sweaty day.

Jesse is a real pro - he knows his stuff, and moves quickly. The end of the fight has me twirling and Scott kicking me mid-air and I fall to my back on the ground. I damaged my left shoulder that day, but then rehab'd it back to health. I got it back to 99% when in December I had another accident that totally wrecked my shoulder. I ended up getting surgery. You have to deal with these things philosophically, be patient, and stay positive. My recovery has been great. Look out 2018, here I come!

Above: Poster for Blindsided: The Game (Movie) 2018

For Blindsided: The Game, really amazing choreography and just mind blowing action, please describe the time taken for the set up.

There were so many professional stuntmen and fight choreographers working on that project. The most important thing was the sense of collaboration between all the talented minds. That is one of Clay's strengths - he strongly enjoys a collaborative process. As far as choreography goes, the “Walter-Ace fight” was the most challenging. Eric has short legs, but had long weapons (sword and sheath) whereas I have long legs and had short weapons (knuckle guard knives) - so the distancing was difficult and blocking swords with knives dangerous. Eric is such an accomplished performer that we quickly found our rhythm and shot the fight scene faster than we had scheduled.

The other big gag was the high-fall. The cityscape from the roof was so beautiful, we wanted to shoot that location, then had to problem solve how the fight was to end… so Ace took one back-step too many! We setup the idea of a grand battle, but cut it short with this big gag. It had been a while since I had jumped from any decent height, so on top of producing, and learning how to be a card-shark, I found time to go and practice some high-falls. High falls are serious business.  When they go right, they are effortless, but when they go wrong, someone dies.

I have been asking Clayton and of course Eric, Blindsided: The Game needs to be made into a real movie , Clayton seems to see a part three happening are you up for it?

Yes… there definitely is some interest in making a third chapter and rounding out a full feature film. You will have to wait and “see” I guess.

 Above: David William No @ The Debt Collector Screening (C) 2018 Ben Burton Photography A Dan's Movie Report Exclusive!

What are some of the projects in the pipeline you have for 2018 and 2019 you can discuss now?

I have a polymath attitude to life and love challenging myself in many disciplines. It’s like eating, you can get bored eating the same food everyday – I rather like changing it up regularly. I think it’s time for me to return to directing, however first there are a few other projects in the pipe (which unfortunately I cannot discuss).All I can say is that I'm looking forward to more great projects this year. 

Finally to end part one of our interview, do you have a philosophy or concept with action and acting, can you impart words of wisdom for my audience?

Regarding action... there are three things that make great action.  1: Action in the frame - this means great choreography and great performances. 2: Action of the frame - this means camera position and movement. 3: Action between the frames - this means good editing. When making great action, you need to consider these three things. If you don't have great performers, you may need to make up for that fact with framing and editing. Even if you have great performers, the action maybe degraded by camera or editing. 

Regarding acting... hmmm… without giving a seminar on acting techniques, I can say that you must enjoy the process. If you are only interested in red carpet and flashy lights, you are probably going to fail. Also, I have spent time with stunt people who see their job as separate to acting. A stunt performer is just that – performing in front of the camera. Movement is part of an arsenal of a good actor, and acting is part of the arsenal of a good stunt performer. 

Brand new Martial Arts - Mash Up Demo-- Above!!!! 

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