Tony De Leon Interview
I have got a very rare chance to talk to a person who is going to blow up the martial arts movie world with Expendables-style action. Tony De Leon is a fifth degree black belt and creator of TDK style. Also he is an actor, stuntman coordinator and fight choreographer, who you could see alongside Mark Dacascos in Only the Strong or Bolo Yeung in Shootfighter 2. Now he is ready to come up with his debut movie Trigger Reaction which involves such stars like Bolo Yeung, Cynthia Rothrock, Richard Norton, Matthias Hues and Oleg Taktarov and this list is going to expand with more famous martial artists.
Budomate: Before talking about your big martial arts movie project with such martial artists like Bolo Yeung, Cynthia Rothrock and Richard Norton, I want to ask how did you find your way in movies?
Tony De Leon: I have always been intrigue by the Entertainment Industry, specially the movies, so it was ironic that I was vacationing in Miami back in 1987. At that time the Television Show “Miami Vice” was at its peak! I was staying in a very popular Hotel in South Beach, Florida, and shortly after I had been there, the Hotel was used for a scene in “Miami Vice”. I remember leaving my room to see what was all the fuzz about, and to my surprise I saw that the Show was being shot. I decided to stick around and too watch behind the scenes. Well, the Director kept on staring at me strange. I said to myself; I’m going to be kick out of the set! Finally he calls me out to go to him, and I refused because I thought that I was going be asked to leave, but it turns out to be that he offered me an X-tra role in the scene. I off course gladly accepted. The rest is history. I guess you can call it fate!
Budomate: You are a creator of the kick boxing style called TDK (Tada-Ken-do), translated from Japanese means “The Way of the Free Fist”,please tell us, how did you come up with this idea and what is the difference?
Tony De Leon: I was working in South Florida as a Personal Trainer in between films. I was also teaching Martial Arts, and I witness for myself that not everyone wanted to be a real Martial Artist. However, they had the need for it or wanted some type of training in it, but they could just not identify themselves with the traditional Martial Arts. The Fitness Industry was growing, and kickboxing had become the latest trend and the most dominating work out in South Florida. Everyone wanted to be a Kick boxer! After a certain Martial Artist Actor come out with his owned interpretation of a Kick Boxing work out routine that sold millions of videos, I decided to create my own concept of Kick Boxing, but with a real Belt Ranking Curriculum that would combined Martial Arts and Fitness. I called it Tada- Ken-Do. Today is known as Evolution Kick Boxing X-trem.
Budomate: When did you start your Martial Arts Training and what style do you prefer, which one is your favorite?
Tony De Leon: I started Martial Arts training at a very young age, watching Bruce Lee as Kato in The Green Hornet Television Show. As a child, we all wanted to be like Kato! I did not know back then what Martial Arts was really like, but it sure felt good! Lol, I guess that you might say that Martial Arts had always been in my blood and it’s my way of living. Now going back to your question; My real first Martial Arts experience style was Tae-Kwon-Do at the Boy’s Clubs of America in New York City.
Budomate: I like your quote “…because the rain is going on strong it doesn’t meant that the Sun won’t come out.” What does it mean to you?
Tony De Leon: It honestly means that there is always a brighter day to look forward too; For any person who is going through difficult times. It represents hope and faith, and never to surrender! Just because things are not going your way today, it can very well change tomorrow. There is always a tomorrow!
Budomate: You are the personal bodyguard for The Town Of Cicero President Larry Dominick, how it happened? Were you guarded other celebrities before?
Tony De Leon: Thank you for asking. Lest just say that it was just one of those offer that it was drop at my lap and that I just couldn’t resist $$$$. However, after nearly 6 years of being a Bodyguard, I decided to resigned and too follow my true passion, Martial Arts and Films. I’ve no longer Bodyguard The Town Of Cicero President Larry Dominick. The answer to your other question is Yes, but too many to mention.
Budomate: You worked on one of my favorite movies “Only The Strong” with Mark Dacascos, how was it?
Tony De Leon: Working on the movie set of “Only The Strong” was a lot of fun. Mark Dacasco is a great guy and a truly professional. I want to add him to the Cast list of my film in development along with Bolo Yeung, Cynthia Rothrock, Richard Norton, Matthias Hues and Oleg Taktarov.
Budomate: Not everybody can get such a chance to work with Arnold and Sly, please tell more about your experience, maybe something interesting happened during sets?
Tony De Leon: Working with Arnold was an AWESOME experience for me personally. He is truly a big Teddy Bear! The most interesting moment for me was when Arnold put me on one of his workout routine for my knee. I had knee surgery about 4 months before commencing to shot “True Lies”. I explain that to Arnold and he did not waist anytime or hesitated to show me some of his works out to strengthen it quicker, and believe me… It worked! The Man is a fitness walking encyclopedia!!!
Working in “The Specialist” was different. I audition for a role that was supposed to have a one on one fight with Mr. Stallone and got it. However when time came for me to shot my scenes, they put me to do stunts instead. Someone else got the role. Let’s just say it’s a mystery to me that the so called Stuntman Coordinator knows too well! Regarding Mr. Stallone; I believe that he is in every word of the meaning a real genius in film making. He is truly gifted and there is no one like him. I can only imagine just how much better that scene would have come out, if it would have been me! But there is always a tomorrow and the possibility are endless!
Talking about Trigger Reaction
Budomate: How did you come up with idea for your martial arts movie?
Tony De Leon: The idea for the movie came up from a very strange experience I had while in a routine checked at a Hospital. I went in for some tests, and the Doctors ran me through every possible one that the insurance would cover, including Electrocardiogram (EKG). My wife back then was with me. We notice that there was some kind of commotion going on relating to my EKG results, so a second one was done and several Doctors Student were called in. I kept my cool but was starting to feel unease. Afterwards the Doctor came to see me with the final results. They congratulated me and said that I had a very powerful heart. They were all impressed to see just how healthy my heart was. One of them even asks if I was an Organ Donor. I was surprised to hear that kind of question and so was my wife. I looked at her, and in Spanish I said; don’t leave me alone and keep a sharp look at what type of medicine these Doctors are trying to put on me. I think they are planning to do me in. We laugh after they left, but it triggers a reaction on me. So I started to investigate the black market of Organ trafficking, and after discovering just how real it was; I decided to write an Action Cop thriller based upon it. I called it “Trigger Reaction”. That’s how the story for the script was born.
Budomate: How does an Ex-Stuntman Coordinator make a good movie without famous Martial Artist being involved?
Tony De Leon: I truly believe that Bolo Yeung, Cynthia Rothrock, Richard Norton, Matthias Hues and Oleg Taktarov are AWESOME Martial Artist and Great Actors! They have what it takes to make an excellent action pack film, and too bring this script to life. They have also leaded the way for the new breed of Martial Artist Stars to arised, specially the legendary Mr. Bolo Yeung… without them, we would have never been!
Budomate: When you though “OK, I’m ready for my own movie”, which martial artist came to your mind first?
Tony De Leon: I knew that my time had come to get back on track and into the game. A person can disguised themselves from the outside but not from the inside. Martial Arts and films is what I do best. It’s who I am, and what I was born to do. So the first couple of Martial Artist that came to my mind for the movie were Jet Li, Jackie Chan and Bolo Yeung.
Budomate: You have got Bolo Yeung, Cynthia Rothrock, Richard Norton, Matthias Hues and Oleg Taktarov on the list, who else do you want to have in the movies?
Tony De Leon: I am planning to reach out to Mark Dacascos, David Belle and Cyryl Raffaelli to add to the Cast list.
Budomate: That’s funny but I was asking about Expendables-style movie a lot of actors and now you showed up and going to do this in martial arts style. Have you seen Sly’s Expendables, do you like it? I know that Sly just arrived to Romania to work on second part and now van Damme, Norris, Lamas and Donnie Yen is in this too, what do you think about such great cast?
Tony De Leon: Thank you for the correction and for the comparison with Sly’s Expandables. It’s a real compliment! I have seen “The Expandables”, and I must tell you, I truly love it. I think that Sly’s is without a doubt a gifted Genius. He has assembled an Amazing Cast! I have much admiration and respect for the Man!
Budomate: Bolo last years is out of movies and I remember only Blizhniy Boy movie with him in 2007, did you know him before or just met?
Tony De Leon: Yes, I’ve known Bolo since 1995. I met him while we were filming Shootfighter 2 in Miami, Florida. He is a great person to meet and know. Bolo has taken some time off, but now he’s MAKING his back too! Look out world be ready him!!!
Budomate: Cynthia Rothrock and Richard Norton is a great duo and see them together is really worth any movie, do you want them to do partners again in your movie?
Tony De Leon: Let’s just say that it remains a mystery for now!
Budomate: Who is going to work on fight choreography and what style of fighting do you want to use?
Tony De Leon: My first choice would be Jeff Imada to be the Stuntman Coordinator & the Fight Choreographer. He’s the best in Hollywood! The kind of Fight Choreography that we will be delivering will be Tactical fighting since is a Cop action thriller, definitely no cable fighting! It will be in comparison like the movies “Taken” and the “Bourne Identity” trilogy.
Tony De Leon: I have heard of them, specially Michael Jai White. I haven’t personally met them but I am looking forward in doing so in the near future.
Tony De Leon: I believe that it has already been done, don’t quote me on it. However, it will be great to see the old school generation meet the new school of Martial Artist Stars. It will be an experience worth sharing, beside each and every one of them are in a league of their own.
Budomate: Please tell about Pavel Nyziak and who he will be playing in the movie, could you tell something about a script?
Tony De Leon: Mr. Pavel Nyziak is a great friend of mine. We’re like brothers. He has made himself well known through the community of the World of Martial Artist Celebrities. In addition, he’s a great Martial Artist himself with great looks and physical physic. He’s also ready to make his acting debut without a doubt! His time has arrived as well. I believe that he is going to be a name in the Martial Arts world to be identified with.
Regarding you other question: Pavel is going to be playing the role of the one of the Brazilian Thug. In another words, he’s going to be a Bad ass in his role! Read my interview with Pavel Nyziak who is ready to make his acting debut in Trigger reaction
Concerning your other question relating to the script; the plot deals with the black market of organ trafficking. It’s a Cop action thriller, with extreme stunts, awesome fighting and a great Cast Assembled. You won’t want to miss it… trust on that!!!!
Budomate: My traditional question: which 3 martial arts movies made in US you can call a classic?
Tony De Leon:
- Enter the Dragon
- Blood Sport
- The Octagon
Thank you so much for the interview. Keep up the good work.
Best wishes and regards!
Tony De Leon
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