Amy Johnston Interview. The Next Gen Femme Fatale
Today I have a pleasure to talk with a busy bee and the next gen femme fatale Amy Johnston. She works hard to make the action community to notice her, and she does it very well dubbing Scarlett Johansson in Captain America 2 and fighting Scott Adkins in Accident Man. Her latest movie Lady Bloodfight gives a different look at the Kumite where ladies as brutal as Chong Li in Bloodsport.
Budomate: How did it all started? Do you remember yourself dreaming of playing a fighting girl in the movies or falling from the roof to please the movie goers?
Amy: I grew up in the martial arts and watching kung fu films was the normal. I never thought of making it a career until I saw Michelle Yeoh in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. Michelle’s strong yet feminine essence was so inspiring to me. That film is still one of my favorites!
Budomate: Please tell about your martial arts experience, do you remember your first class?
Amy: My dad owned a martial arts school so I was always running around at a young age. I do remember my first serious class when I turned 5 – because I was a big girl and could finally train with the big kids. Woot!
Budomate: How often do you train and how do you manage to stay in share between sets?
Amy: Working out can be difficult when busy but I always try to get in some movement, stretching and a little sweat. I always feel better for it. If I am not working then I am working out every day in one way or another!
Budomate: Who is your inspiration and what was the first martial arts movie you seen?
Amy: I am inspired daily by my peers as well as several influential people throughout history, although my mom has influenced me the most. Bruce Lee, Michelle Yeoh and my dad inspired my martial career. Meryl Streep, Robyn Williams, Jim Carey and Angelina Jolie inspired my acting career. The first martial arts movie I remember watching was Enter the Dragon.
Budomate: As I understand it all started with The Adventures of Senor Toro in 2009 where you played a victim. Please tell about that.
Amy: Senor Toro! A good family friend named Shane Stanley knew I had just moved to Los Angeles and brought me out to help him in his comedy short.
Budomate: We all know about male stuntmen but hardly can hear about females, what does it take to be a professional stunt woman?
Amy: I think more and more people are becoming aware of stuntwomen with all of the major action films. I am actually apart of a documentary right now titled “Stuntwomen: The untold hollywood story”, directed by April Wright. It is based off of the book and goes in depth of the life of a stuntwoman from the early ages of film to the present! Like any profession you need to be able to do what is asked, which can be a wide range of things including martial arts, gymnastics, horse riding, fire burns, wire work and so much more. Train hard and smart, be professional and a good sport.
Budomate: You worked on a lot of video shorts such as Angering the Gods, Mickey & the Fly, or The Gate, does it help to grab the attention of producers and land a role?
Amy: Yes, I think it is so important as an artist of any sort to create without hesitation. The control is in your hands to create your own content or collaborate with others. The internet gives us all a way to communicate and share with the world, so why not share your art. I started booking stunt work and even acting jobs based off of some the youtube videos I was in.
Budomate: There is a really tough short where you take on 7 male fighters. What was the idea of this project?
Amy: The Amy vs 7 video with the “Thousand Pounds Action Team” was a conceptual piece for Jace Hall and HD films.
Budomate: In Kung Fu Femmes and Angering the Gods you served as a fight choreographer, is it difficult to make a good fight scenes on a budget or it just a matter of creativity?
Amy: I don’t believe that you need a budget of any sort to create a good fight scene. Although, budget is needed for safety and respect to the performers and crew. There are so many talented choreographers creating amazing fight scenes with nothing but creativity, skill and a camera. It’s all about the team. You could have all of the budget in the world but you need good artists at the end of the day.
Budomate: You were a Scarlett Johansson’s stunt double in the Captain America 2, what was the most dangerous trick you made, and how did you find this job? How was it in comparison with Harley’s role in Suicide Squad?
Amy: Yes, I was one of Scarlett Johansson’s stunt doubles for Captain America 2. James Young who was the choreographer and winter soldier double brought me on to do a previs test fight and I was hired shortly after. That was my first long run on a film and I learned so much. Heidi Moneymaker, Scarlett’s main double did most of the stunts but I did get a few fun ones in and was able to contribute to the creative process. I loved swinging under the bridge! For Suicide Squad I was only brought in for a day to work on a previs for a fight scene as Harley.
Budomate: In 2013 you worked on Raze with Zoe Bell. This movie looks like a good preparation for your latest leading role in the Lady Bloodfight, was it difficult to work on a female fighting movie?
Amy: Raze was a really fun movie to be apart of. There were so many talented ladies in that film and all so lovely. Zoe Bell is a joy to work with.
Budomate: You worked a very popular TV shows such as Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and NCIS: Los Angeles, is there a difference between movies and TV when it comes to stunt work?
Amy: Every job in general is so different which is one of the many things that I love about my career!
Budomate: Video gaming is absolutely different industry for actors and stuntmen or I’m wrong? Please tell about your work on Spider-Man, Uncharted 4 and Rise of the Tomb Raider?
Amy: I love to be apart of video games and motion capture. I have always had wonderful experiences with each motion capture job. It truly is always a blast and the people are fantastic. I have mostly worked on the Uncharted series as the character “Nadine” who is a complete badass!
Budomate: The Gate short looks very promising and having Yayn Ruhian in the movie makes it a very exciting project. Please tell how did you land this role and how was it to work with such a master?
Amy: The Gate is one of my favorite projects that I have been apart of. There is so much passion coming from Kellie Madison, the writer/director/producer. Yayan is so humble and sweet, yet an absolute master of his craft. Plus I got to work with two of my favorite peer Martial Artists; Malay Kim and Xin Wuku.
Budomate: You worked on Deadpool and now joined the sequel, as I understand it will be much more action sequences as David Leitch is directing?
Amy: Yes I worked on Deadpool and then did some previs work for Deadpool 2 but I am no longer working on Deadpool 2 as the director and coordinator have changed.
Budomate: Let’s talk about Lady Bloodfight. This movie is like the answer to manly Kickboxer Vengeance. Please tell how did you land the role, how was it to work with a legendary Bay Logan? Will it be a sequel?
Amy: Lady Bloodfight was my first lead role in a film and I was super anxious! I had been seen on a youtube video and then brought in for an audition with Voltage Pictures. They were very supportive of me and so great to work with. The director Chris Nahon was such a pleasure to work with! Bey Logan is one of the most knowledgable people when it comes to the martial arts, from cinema to history of the arts. As of now, I don’t know of a sequel.
Budomate: You just finished working with Scott Adkins on Accident Man playing Jane The Ripper, please tell about your role and what we can expect from the movie?
Amy: I am really looking forward to the release of Accident Man. Scott Adkins was incredible to work with – a true gem. Jesse Johnson, the director was fantastic as well! A really great team all around. You can look forward to incredible action and such fun characters!! I can’t wait!
Budomate: As time goes we see more and more fighting movies with female leads, how bright is the future for this kind of movies?
Amy: I think it’s a great time to be a woman in action right now! It is more common to see women in leading roles and leading action roles now!
Budomate: Who do really wanna work with, what is your dream project? Maybe some kind of Expendables?
Amy: I’d love to work with so many..the list is long but here are a few directors: Quentin Tarantino, Martin Scorsese, Ang Le, Baz Lurhmann, Ridley Scott, Steven Spielberg- I’ll stop now 🙂
Budomate: What next for Amy Johnston?
Amy: I just wrapped on a pilot titled “Paloma’s Flight” that I am very proud of and can’t wait to share! It’s about a young lady named Paloma who is a photojournalist. She lost her husband, a US Navy Seal, to a botched raid in Afghanistan. She continues to fulfill their dream of exploring Mexico. Its a beautiful story and directed by multiple Emmy award winning director Lee Stanley.
Budomate: My traditional question: which three martial arts movies you can call a classic?
Amy: Enter the Dragon, Drunken Master 2 and The 36th Chamber of Shaolin!
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