For whatever reason, I keep getting drawn to Martial Arts. Even though I haven't had so much as a workshop on it, there's something interesting about talking to people who have devoted their lives to it. Take Kamen Rider Dragon Knight's Matt Mullins for instance. When he isn't taking down bad guys (and sometimes good guys) on screen, he's involved with two Martial Arts schools and founder of the renowned team, Sideswipe. We talked so much in fact that the full interview couldn't exactly make it into print! Fortunately, for the sake of fans, I'm now able to include this interview as bonus content, uncut and ready for your reading pleasure. Enjoy!
To start things off on an interesting note, I didn't know you were in Bloodfist 2050!
[Laughs] Yes, that was the first film that I starred in, and let me tell you, what an experience. To work in a Roger Corman film is like being able to say I was on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. New horizon is truly an iconic film company. The director of the film, Cirio Santiago (God rest his soul), told me there are 3 ways to make a film, the right way, the wrong way, and the Corman way. It is no Matrix that is for sure, but what a great way to start a career.
And looking up on IMDB (and praying that it's not terribly inaccurate), you've also done some work in video games?
Motion capture was really becoming a popular way to create movement for games when I first moved to LA. I got a chance to work in a lot of different games like Tao Feng, Lord of the Rings, and Uncharted: Drakes Fortune. It is always fun to play the game after and know that the guy running through the forest on fire is actually you.
Now you've got a very interesting martial arts background, could you tell us a bit about it?
I started in Shorei-Ryu karate when I was 13 years old and I'm am now a 4th degree black belt with John Sharkey in Naperville, IL. Through competition I began competing in open forms and began to work on more extreme movements. Soon those moves became known as "tricking•bCrLf and the rest is history. While training in Shorei-Ryu I have had a chance to study a lot of different styles that have enhanced my ability, such as Tae Kwon Do, Wushu and Capoeira.
And you're not only co-creator of the XMA (Extreme Martial Arts) style alongside Mike Chaturantabut (known to most fans as the Lightspeed Blue Ranger in Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue) but you're also the leader of the group, Sideswipe? Tell us a little bit about the group?
Extreme martial arts were actually created by all of the different competitors and artistic form enthusiasts. I just happened to be coming through the ranks when it became popular. I have been able to contribute to this movement through the performance team called Sideswipe. I created Sideswipe because I wanted to show a wider audience a different side of the martial arts based on performance, agility and choreography. The idea really caught on, especially when we started ripping our shirts off... Who knew?
What keeps you coming back to Martial Arts?
Martial arts is who I am. I have gained so much by training and teaching, it will always be part of my life.
So how did you find yourself with the opportunity to work on Dragon Knight?
I heard about the audition for Kamen Rider and I got a character description of Len online. I called my agent to get me in for an audition and he could not get me in. I called my manager to do the same, and he could not get me in. I finally found out where the audition was and I crashed it. A few days later I flew to Chicago to work on a Sideswipe show and the second my plane landed I got a call for a second audition. I got on the first plane back to LA, did the audition, and got the show. Without a doubt persistence paid off, and I feel so lucky everything worked. You got to love Hollywood.
What can we expect from your character, Len, throughout the series?
Throughout the series Len is Kit's guide to understanding what happened to his father and the Kamen Riders. As a battle hardened solider, Len has a lot of inner struggle between duty and humanity, and that really plays out throughout the series.
Did you do your own stunts at any point? Were you ever curious about doing anything in the Wing Knight suit?
I did have a chance to do a lot of my own stunts, not all of them, but a lot. Fight days were always a blast and I got to try moves and kicks I have never done on film. I would have loved to do a few things in the Wing knight suit, but I did not have a chance. Production moved so fast, we shot 2 different units at once, so I never would have had the opportunity to.
Had you seen any of Ryuki in preparation for the series? If so, would you say that there are any similarities with Wing Knight's Japanese counterpart or are you confident that Len stands out on his own?
I did not have a chance to see too much footage for the Ryuki series. Even though Dragon Knight parallels Ryuki, I really think the show offers something different and fresh for fans of the show. I approached Len the same way.
What was it like working with Steve Wang? Had you seen any of his films before going into the series?
I had seen Guyver 2 and Drive before I actually got to work with Steve, and what can I say? He is the man. I hope to one day have as much vision, foresight, and creativity as Steve has. On set he knew exactly what he wanted, exactly how to get it and made us all look like super heroes.
Looking back, what are your overall feelings about your experiences and even the final product of Dragon Knight? Trying to avoid spoilers, are there any moments in the series that stand out as favorites?
A few of my favorite parts would be spoilers, but seeing parts of the finished product is amazing. I watch the show and marvel because I had no idea it was going to be this cool.
So what's next on the plate for you in terms of projects? What do you think you would say is your long-term/ultimate goal within the entertainment industry and as a martial artist?
Right now, I'm back out pounding the pavement, and looking at a few different film projects. In the meantime, I continue to work on my craft and train everyday. As Kamen Rider begins to air, I will have a much better idea of what is next.
Any parting words for fans out there?
The Kamen Rider: Dragon Knight production has been a huge collaborative effort from all of the cast, crew and directors. A lot of people fought and worked very hard to make sure the show was done to the standard that Kamen Rider fans have come to expect. For me it has been a huge honor being part of the show's legacy, and I hope you all enjoy it as much as I had working on it.
Kamen Rider Dragon Knight airs Saturdays on the CW4Kids
Check out Matt's Official Homepage: http://www.matthewmullins.com/