Mike Leeder Interview, the walking Encyclopaedia of Asian cinema

Budomate: You worked on The Raid 2, what we can expect from Gareth Evans in the future?

Mike: Gareth is someone I consider myself very lucky to call a friend, he’s another incredibly talented and passionate film-maker, he works as hard if not harder than his cast and crew. While they’re setting up another shot, he’s off to to the side working on an edit and putting the film together as he shoots, his work ethic is great and you can see it pay off with his films.

The <a href=Raid 2” width=”300″ class=”alignleft size-full wp-image-13278″ />We first became acquainted while he was shooting Merantau, and kept in touch and I was witness to a lot of the frustration he was going through when he was trying to get his follow up project going, and he had to scale it down and that’s what became The Raid, which opened so many doors for him and his team. For The Raid 2, he wanted to do the car-chase and wanted to do as much of it for real as possible so I introduced him to one of the best car guys in the business Bruce Law and his team. They hit it off, and Gareth invited me to come over and help out with Bruce and his team for The Raid 2, which was a great experience.

I think there’s so much more we can look forward to from Gareth, he’s got so many ideas for projects and he is building a career, it would have been so easy for him to just crank out “the Raid 3 & 4” or jump into the first Hollywood movie that was offered to him. But he’s an artist, he’s a hell of a commercial film-maker but he isn’t looking for the quick paycheck and never mind the consequences. He’s turned down a lot of projects, he wants to make the movies he wants to make and thats something I really admire, if he’s putting his name to something, he wants to be proud of it, to believe in it, to fully invest his time and energy, he’s been developing Blister for some time, and I think that’s going to open a lot of people’s eyes that we’ve not seen a fraction of what he can do yet.

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Budomate: Which three movies you can call a martial arts classic?

Mike: Damn three only?

  • Drunken Master 2
  • Warriors Two
  • Fearless

I have a group of titles that are always on heavy rotation, which include Pedicab Driver, 36th Chamber of Shaolin, Prodigal Son, Wheels on Meals, Dragons Forever, One Upon a Time in China 2, Yes Madam, Line of Duty 4, City of Violence, Arahan, The Blade, Ninja in the Dragons Den, Secret Rivals, Three Against the World and don’t even get me started on ‘action classics!’

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Budomate: What is next for Mike Leeder?

Mike: There’s a bunch of stuff in the works, we’ve got One Million Klicks being released, we just debuted in Korea, Ultimate Justice rolling out soon, there’s the Vietnamese action flick Tracer/Truy Sat coming out with me as an evil white dude, and more in the works.

I just did a scene for Wong Jing’s new Mission Milano with Andy Lau that could be a lot of fun, and we’re shooting the documentary Neon Grindhouse: Hong Kong about some of the lesser known and less appreciated aspects of HK cinema, there’s A Martial Arts Journey and Tracking the Dragon which I’m developing with 108 Media, the action thriller Blood Hunt and a few more projects in the works.

Trying to stay busy! Thanks for the support and the encouragement!