(Original Publication Date: July 29th, 2017) By: david j. moore
From the MMA to motion pictures, action superstar Cung Le has a plum role opposite Scott Adkins and Marko Zaror in Jesse Johnson’s period set actioner Savage Dog. Le, who cut his teeth in Hong Kong films such as Bodyguards and Assassins and True Legend, has starred in several notable feature films, namely Dragon Eyes, opposite Jean-Claude Van Damme, and Puncture Wounds, opposite Dolph Lundgren. In Savage Dog, he plays a mercenary named Boon, and you can bet he goes toe to toe with Scott Adkins, who plays the title character. In this exclusive set visit interview, Le discusses his career in MMA and in movies, and directly addresses his fans, to which he promises great action and fights in Savage Dog!
Here is the Exclusive Action-Flix.com On Set Interview with MMA Champ and Action Star Cung Le!
1) The last time we spoke was when you’d just done Dragon Eyes with Jean-Claude Van Damme, the John Hyams film. I’ve been eagerly anticipating whatever projects you do next. I actually really liked Puncture Wounds, the movie you did with Dolph Lundgren, as well. Talk a little bit about your transition from MMA into movies, and your decision to do Savage Dog with Jesse Johnson.
Cung Le: “Dragon Eyes was the first feature that I got a chance to star in. I got to choreograph all the fights. I enjoyed being the lead, but when the day was done, I had to also choreograph all the fight scenes. It wore me out. It was like a fight camp. You get tired that last couple weeks of fight camp. We wanted to make every fight scene different, and have different flavors for each fight. I got to work with Van Damme and Peter Weller and all those great stunt guys. Puncture Wounds, that was my second chance to lead in another movie, and I felt like I got to deliver more as an actor because of the character I was playing, who was suffering from post-traumatic stress. It was definitely a change of pace from Dragon Eyes. I am a student of the game, and I feel blessed to be a part of this. I’m very selective in how I choose my projects. I’m excited to be on Savage Dog and to be working.”
2) You have such a great screen presence, Cung. I’m very excited that you’re in Savage Dog too. Your character Boon has a very forceful presence. Say something about your character and how he relates to the plot.
Cung: “My character Boon is just trying to make a living, but because of his military background, he sometimes works for people that he doesn’t necessarily like. He’s there doing his job to put food on the table. His main focus is to make sure his family is taken care of. Whether he’s a good guy or a bad guy, he’s just got to be there to make sure things get done.”
3) I actually don’t see him as being the villain. When I read the script, I never thought of Boon as a bad guy. Any comment about that?
Cung: “Jesse, the writer and director, also told me that Boon is not really a bad guy or a good guy. He’s just making a living. Knowing Jesse for a while, we’ve been looking for something to work on together. This was that opportunity. I dig this character. I wanted to see what kind of a guy I could pull from Boon. In my head I have a whole library of different moments in my life in the way I feel, and I’ve been through a lot, and I thought I could pull some emotions and moments from my own life to show how Boon would react to certain situations.”
4) Audiences are going to expect you and Scott Adkins to have a great fight together. There is a centerpiece fight between you and Scott. Talk a little bit about working with Scott on this and how you two will coordinate and plan your fight.
Cung: “Scott and I have the same agent. I’ve been wondering when my agent would put us together. That’s another reason I jumped on this: because it was a chance to work with Scott Adkins and ultimately I do get to do a big fight with him. It’s going to be a very exciting piece. The centerpiece fight we have is savage!”
5) You’re also working with Marko Zaror on this. He’s fantastic. You guys won’t fight this time, but tell me about Marko.
Cung: “I met Marko for the first time at a buddy’s house. I’ve seen a few of his movies. I’m excited to be working with him, but I’m bummed that we won’t be fighting this time. We’re working together; that’s the first step. He can definitely cook! He cooked for all of us. I was like man, this is some good food!”
6) Jesse Johnson is one of the best filmmakers working in the action genre right now. How did he convince you to work on this film, and what has been your experience working with him so far?
Cung: “J.J. Perry, who’s a second unit action director, introduced us. Jesse was looking for guys for a project. He was looking for the guy who would be different and stand out, and he sat down with me to get a feel of my personality. After our meeting, he felt I was the right guy.”
7) I love that Savage Dog is a period piece. It’s not your run-of-the-mille action movie. It’s hearkening back to action films of yesteryear, with cutting edge action and fights. Any comment about that?
Cung: “I’ve done a few period pieces like Bodyguards and Assassins, True Legend, and The Man With the Iron Fists, but this can be like my first American style period piece. Great cast: We really have a strong cast and I’m excited to see how it turns out. The energy and the chemistry on set is great. It’s going to be an exciting piece to watch.”
8) Talk about working with fight coordinator Luke LaFontaine on this film, and how would you compare your fights on this film with some of the fights you’ve done on some of your earlier films?
Cung: “I was talking to Luke about my fight scene with Scott the other day. This is what I have to say about it: When you open up the cage, the beast comes out. That’s how I’d describe my fight with Scott. Two Savage Dogs go head to head when Scott and I collide. The fight style will be hard hitting, power, brute force, you gotta kill me, the job is not done until it’s done or until I get carried out on my shield.”
9) You have fans all over the world, Cung. What would you like to say to them and what can they expect of Savage Dog?
Cung: “Well, to all my fans: Thank you for all your support over the years in my fight career. I know I was mixing my fight career and my acting career together, but in the end, you can’t fight forever, and this is my next full time journey now. I’m glad that you’re still with me. I guarantee that Savage Dog will be savagely awesome!”
About the author: david j. moore is the author of The Good, the Tough, and the Deadly: Action Movies and Stars” and a contributing writer to Action-Flix.com
Savage Dog Official Trailer