Rope A Dope 2 has wrapped production in Oakland, CA at the Victory Warehouse. It was a grueling 6-day shoot for everyone. Three 10-12 hour long days were dedicated to fight scenes, one day being a complete reshoot, a training montage had to be completely reshot due to a continuity error, and our Red Epic was forcibly taken from us at gunpoint in Oakland. It was a war, but war is for fighters. The rest teach theory.

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Photo by co-director Pete Lee. Dennis and I just finished multiple takes of a jack-sweep with a front tiger fall. Once Pete and producer Clayton Barber yelled “It’s a wrap!” our bodies gave out and we buckled over in pain, Dennis with a busted hamstring, me with sudden muscle cramps in both legs and my stomach.

Will post screencaps and all kinds of updates as I edit this beast.

After we spent a week at 87eleven, Alvin Hsing and I came away with this video to show what came of our efforts – a pre-viz (choroegraphed and shot rough version) for the final knife fight in A Good Day to Die Hard (that’s Die Hard #5). The scene called for McClane to face off against the film’s villain Alik on a rooftop, with Alik wielding a knife and using some combination of Krav Maga and some basic Silat. McClane is, of course, limited to his wits and left-handed haymakers, which was a lot of fun. Lock an artist in a room and he’ll build a city.

I play John McClane fighting the Alik character, played by Alvin. It’s an American-style fight with some Hong Kong flare, but done in a way to 1. take advantage of the fact that Willis is left-handed and 2. not overload the producers with “shoe leather”, or excessive martial artsy stuff. You know, that straight, industrial-grade action that we all drink by the gallon, the side effect being that we now require it on a daily basis.

But perhaps it was still too much, as the fight never made it into the film. I can’t say whether it was filmed and subsequently edited out, but judging by the structure of the finale of A Good Day it’s apparent that they never shot it at all.

So maybe we will.

All in all it was a huge joy primarily to work with JJ Perry in crafting the scene, with Chad Stahelski nearby. They would tell us when we were taking it too far in certain directions, since these guys know producers from an action standpoint like nobody else. We had some fun ideas that were just too Hong Kong-y, like a flying headbutt that was tied off so my body would stop mid-air when the contact line was hit, as well as a LOT more shoe leather. I love that stuff. Also working with Jeremy Marinas, who aside from being of the world’s best trickers is also a hell of a photographer, was straightforward and fun since we both knew the best angles for action, which tended to be the same. The Natural Law of Action shines through.

The Gold Rush

Pete Lee’s latest short film is now online. This Close or This Far stars Zumbi from Zion I and features music by Devochka. Produced by Ed Kahana, who was also the stunt coordinator, and featuring Eric Jacobus, Shaun Finney, Brandon Daranouvongs, Dave Yoo, Stacie Rashel, and Erika Balasabas of The Stunt People.

http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=10425849&server=vimeo.com&show_title=0&show_byline=0&show_portrait=0&color=00adef&fullscreen=1

This Close or This Far from Peter Lee on Vimeo.

Zumbi of Zion I stars alongside Theresa Wondra in Pete Lee’s latest film, “This Close or This Far.” The film also features acting performances by Stunt People members Eric Jacobus, Stacie Rashel, Ed Kahana (who also produces), Brandon Daranouvongs, Shaun Finney, and newcomer Erika Balasabas.

“This Close or This Far” was shot on the Sony PMW-EX1 HD Camcorder. No release date is set yet for the final release, but feast your eyes on some screen caps in the meantime.