Recently I got to speak with the talented Rick Yune, about his new movie “The Man With the Iron Fist” The films is produced by Quentin Tarantino and also stars Russell Crow, RZA and Lucy Liu.
Rick is also currently filming a lead role in the action thriller “OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN” with Gerard Butler and Aaron Eckhart.
What can you tell us about your character and what attracted you to the part?
My character is the son of a warlord that’s away in the mountain’s romancing his future wife. While away from his village he finds that his father has been assassinated so he leaves his woman and goes home to investigate the death of his father and avenge the murder. The fact that the character is not all right and wrong is what attracted me to the part. I have always been attracted to duality in my characters and love that he has to rise above given circumstances to become a better person.
What sort of research did you do for the role and did you have any real life inspirations?
The research I did was through Rza to get to know the character and understand his vision. Rza made it easy to get into the mindset of who the character was. I thought about the many heroes in movies and in life that had to sacrifice personal interests for a greater goal. Characters like Pvt Trip (Denzel’s role) in Glory and men like my father.
How was working with Tarantino and any fun moments from the set that you can share with the readers?
Though we worked HARD we had a blast making the film. During Chinese New Years. Russell Crowe, Rza, and I were at a Penthouse Club on the 40th Floor, which was one of the tallest buildings in Shanghai. We saw the fireworks and partied till dawn. On set I remember moments with Quentin, Russell, Lucy Liu, Rza around the monitors having a great time.
What drew you to acting and what would you say was your big break?
I have always loved movies since I was a kid and found solace in just being in the theatres. It was amazing seeing so many people that were strangers come together in the dark to share the same dream. My big break was my first film Snow Falling On Cedars. I was surrounded by the most amazing producers Kennedy/Marshall and incredible actors such as Max Von Sydow. It gave me a great start and was such a learning experience.
How would you compare/contrast working in film with your work on Wall Street?
I feel I use the same skill sets in certain ways The ability to understand a scenario, take risks, and commit to what you believe in. The biggest difference and most fulfilling as an actor is the opportunity to create in artistic expression.
Do you have a preference to comedy, drama, or action and why?
To me it’s all about the character and story. If I can find something interesting about the character, then I’m inspired to embark on the character’s journey.
Can you tell us about your training regimen and diet, and how difficult is it to maintain when filming and traveling?
When I am working, it is very strict and regimented. It’s all about high intensity training, eating according to your blood type, and doing your research. But when I’m not working I’m just like the next guy. Eat whatever I want. Pasta, drinking bottles of water, and eating at least a couple scoops of ice cream a day. I guess it’s about balance but I’ve found it challenging to stay on such a regimented diet all year round. Training is not the hardest part diet is.
You have managed to avoid being locked into the stereotype as a martial arts actor/action star. How hard was it to do this as I am sure at first you must have been given mainly action based roles.
I have been very particular about the projects I take on. Coming from another career has given me the option to pick and choose which projects I participate in. I have to believe in the project wholeheartedly and I don’t do a project until I’m able to commit 1000%. Till now I’ve only done a movie every year or year and a half.
If given carte blanche, who would be your ultimate cast and director to work with and in why type of project?
So many! I would love to have worked with the late Tony Scott. I met him a few times and he was the nicest guy. I loved what he did with True Romance and Man on Fire. Ridley Scott and James Cameron would also be amazing to work with. .
What do you like to do in your free time and which movies are on your to watch list?
I’m lucky I love my work. In my free time I’m watching movies, reading scripts, and generally doing what I would while working. Also I travel travel alot. I think discovering other cultures is essential for life.
What can you share with us about future projects we can look forward to seeing you in?
I just completed Olympus has Fallen, directed by Antoine Fuqua. I must have seen Training Day at least 20 times and it was amazing to work with him. It’s a mix of In the Line of Fire and Heat.
What do you look for from a director to help you give your best performance and what type of characters do you tend to be drawn to?
I come into a project having done the research for my character and have as much detail loaded in as possible. But when I’m on set I’m like a soldier. I like to be given orders and then free reign to accomplish the mission. So being directed is important to me cause I want to work within the vision of the director.
When you consider a script or a potential TV or film project, what elements tend to draw you in and make you want to work on that film?
When I was a kid I wanted to be Han Solo not Luke Skywalker because there was a transformation in him. He goes from just thinking about himself to thinking about other people. I feel it’s important for any artform to inspire people in some way. I’ve always loved films that have inspired me to become a better person. And I look for projects that may do the same for other audiences.
What would you say challenges and motivates you in your career and life?
Being able to give back what I got and then some.
Final question, what is the one thing about acting that most people are shocked when you tell them?
It takes a lot of work and skill. It’s not just showing up on set and stepping in front of the camera. There’s a lot of preparation. Russell Crowe’s been working on his craft since he was 6. And he did a tremendous amount of research on what some would think is a comic book character. And it shows in Man with the Iron Fist.