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Ninja Assassin Exclusive from 30ninjas.com
PostPosted: 17.11.2009 11:23 Reply with quoteBack to top

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Ninja Assassin Exclusive Part 2 from 30ninjas.com

I received this message from the editor, check it out!

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Dear Rain Legend:

Please check out 30ninjas.com's Exclusive Interview (Part 2) With NINJA ASSASSIN stunt coordinator Chad Stahelski, the man who discovered Rain as a martial arts star and designed all his fights and stunts in NINJA ASSASSIN and SPEED RACER:

http://30ninjas.com/blog/exclusive-....d-stahelski-ninja-weapons

This story has information about RAIN that is not available anywhere else!

Thank you!

John Gill
Editor
30ninjas.com


by cin-rainlegend

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Last edited by Phoenix on 17.11.2009 11:56; edited 1 time in total

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PostPosted: 17.11.2009 11:28 Reply with quoteBack to top

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6 Nov 2009 - Exclusive: Ninja Assassin Stunt interview

Exclusive: Ninja Assassin Stunt Guru on the Film’s Blend of HK and Japanese Fight Styles and How Its Fight-Prodigy Star Was Discovered

If you’re fired up to see Ninja Assassin, the stormy, dark-hued Wachowski Brothers fight film that crashes into theaters November 25th, chances are it’s not because of the unconsummated love of two teenage heartthrobs with windswept hair. Let’s just be honest: It’s the action, stupid.

Put simply, the action in Assassin is going to rock. Rain, the film’s Korean pop-star lead, may seem at first blush a bit of a Timberlake wannabe, but the fact is, the guy is a total martial arts prodigy. He performed virtually all of his own stunts and completely owns the many fights in the film. What’s more, you’re going to be able to tell it’s Rain himself bringing the carnage, not a stunt double, because this fast-paced, bloody, and acrobatic film is an homage to the old Hong Kong movies, with longer takes, wider lenses, and less dependence on wire effects — all of which allows for more focus on pure martial arts skill and beauty.

This emphasis on kicking ass old-school was driven home repeatedly by Chad Stahleski, a stunt coordinator and second unit director on Ninja Assassin, when he spoke at length the other day with 30 Ninjas Editor-in-Chief Julina Tatlock. Chad knows Assassin up and down, since it was he, along with his business partner in 87 Eleven Dave Leitch, who originally pitched Rain as the star of a ninja movie to the Wachowski Brothers (The Matrix trilogy).



The Perfect Recipe For a Bloody-Good Ninja


30 NINJAS: Can you tell me a little bit about your perceptions of the fighting techniques that go into making a great ninja fighter?

CHAD STAHLESKI: A lot of that is the perception and the tone of the film. If we were making, say, a very historically accurate or very realistic movie, the reality of the situation is that one guy dressed in black clothes, probably even in Japanese feudal times, wasn’t going to take on a whole regiment of samurai and survive — it just wasn’t going to happen. So we take a little creative leeway in making a ninja movie. What we wanted to do on Ninja Assassin, in terms of the fighting styles, was to show off more of the human talent, [make it] more of an ode to early Hong Kong films, where it takes a little longer in between cuts — a little less like The Bourne Supremacy. We had longer takes and a little bit wider lenses, so you got to see more of the action. In Ninja Assassin, you get to see Rain actually be Rain, and do his thing, [fighting] our stunt guys.

We thought the ninjas should be physically very well adapted to all kind of things, like acrobatics and sword works. We tried to keep a very distinct style of kinjitsu, which is a Japanese sword art, in our stunt guys’ movements, and we combined a little acrobatics and a little bit of Hong Kong-style reactions, just to give it a little bit of flair on top of the grit. To do that, we just brought in some of the best guys that we could find in martial arts choreography. I guess you’d say we tried to give it a very Japanese flavor with the sword work, at the same time sprinkling in some of the Hong Kong elements and some more of the American elements, as far as a little more rough-and-tumble and a bit bloodier.


30 NINJAS: But there’s a slightly higher survival rate for the heroes of the film …

CS: Yeah, exactly. We just made Rain be a little bit better than everyone else. One of the mottoes for all the heroes and in all the choreography that we do here at [our stunt company] 87 Eleven is: We really beat up our heroes a little bit. We’re not big fans of trying to make Terminators out of them all. We like our heroes to get beat up and still overcome, and they take punches, and they still give back twice as good as they get. So at the end of the movie, that’s why you see Rain completely bruised, battered, and cut up and bloodied.


30 NINJAS: If they’re not touchable, it takes away the jeopardy of it, and the seriousness of the fight. You want to see the reaction of the hit — whether it’s a good guy or a bad guy getting hit.

CS: Right, like when Rain jumps knowing he’s gonna make it, he jumps because he has to jump. He fights because he has to fight. He’s trying to find time for Mika [his lover], or he’s trying to escape; he’s never just gonna stand in the center of a room and wipe out 20 ninjas. There’s a purpose to him. He’s trying to get away, and you know he’s barely getting by, by the skin of his teeth.




Birth of a Ninja Movie


30 NINJAS: James McTeigue, the film’s director, said that the Wachowskis came up with the concept of the film while talking with you and your company. Were you part of that discussion?

CHAD STAHELSKI: Well, I guess it all started when we began shooting Speed Racer in Berlin at Babelsberg Studios. My partner, Dave Leitch, and I were over there — we often work with Larry and Andy [Wachowski] on most of their [movies], as their stunt coordinators and choreographers. It was our job to teach some of the cast to do some of the funnier fight scenes in the movie and train the cast on some fight choreography and techniques. A couple of weeks into production, Larry introduced us to a Korean pop star named Rain, who I’d never heard of before. At first Rain wasn’t initially included in much of the action sequences, so Larry asked us to take a look at him and give a quick little evaluation of what he could do. Dave and I already had our work cut out for us, so we were like, “OK, we’ll give him a move or two and see how he does.” We thought, just give him some loud sound effects and all will be good.

So Rain comes in for the first day of training, and he picked up not one, not two, not three moves — he picked up everything that we threw at him, very, very quickly. Granted they were very easy motions, but he moves like a professional. Rain was still getting his English going, and a lot of it was still through a Korean interpreter, and Rain was also very, very quiet and very shy to us at the time, but it became very obvious that he had immense physical skills. So in the next couple of days in training we started pushing him more and more. More for our own amusement, to see how far he could go and how good he really was on the outside parameters of his talent. Well, two weeks later, we still hadn’t hit those outer reaches — he was picking up choreography, he had a fantastic memory, and his energy and performance were fantastic. His martial arts were a little rough on the edges — but physically, he was capable of doing anything that we threw at him.

So we went to Larry and Andy a couple of weeks later to show them the rehearsal tapes (we had shot a little rehearsal, not really related to Speed Racer, just to show them how good he was). At the time, Larry and Andy hadn’t seen how good he was either; they had just met him somewhat formally. So we showed the tapes to them, and they were like, “Wow, he’s really good!” And we were like, “Yeah, he’s really good. We should give him some more stuff in the movie.” So we ended up doing a couple of different fight scenes, and granted, Speed Racer wasn’t a fight movie, but we tried to put in a few little things to show off Rain’s physical promise. Well, as time went on Rain continued to train with us, even after he’d shot his sequences, just to have fun and get a little time off set. We’d known Larry and Andy since the first Matrix movie, so we’d always joked about doing one of our favorite types of movies: We liked Bruce Lee movies, we liked comic books, and we like anime — and everyone loves ninja movies — and we’d love to do a ninja movie. Larry always said, “Ninjas, ninjas are great.”

So a couple weeks later, after we’d worked [even more] with Rain, we went back to Larry and Andy after lunch, and said, “Hey, we think we found the guy for your ninja movie.” And we showed him more tapes of Rain doing his thing, and we talked about it, and then that was all that was said. Speed Racer wraps, and about a month and a half later, we get a phone call from Larry Wachowski: “Let’s do a ninja movie. We’ll keep it small, and we’ll do a fun little ninja movie. We’ll bring all the guys back, and we’ll have fun.” And that’s kinda how it all got started. They got James [McTeigue] on board, and they started doing the writing, and we started getting our stunt team together, because everyone wanted to make it very much a stunt and fight movie, and we got in some of our best guys through our company.


30 NINJAS: Rain’s character, Raizo, was brought into the clan as an outsider. How does his fighting style differ from the rest of the ninjas? Is he just a little bit better than everybody else? Or is his character, his identity as an orphan and an outsider, somehow expressed in the way he moves and fights?

CS: I think you’ve hit on something good there. I think Raizo, he’s an orphan, just like most of the people inside the orphanage, and Rain knows pretty much the same techniques as all his other brothers. But what keeps him apart is that he doesn’t finally give in to just being another sheep. He doesn’t give in to what the clan really stands for; he tries to maintain some level of humanism and some level of identity, and it’s through that and through his persistence that he sets himself apart. I think deep down, after Raizo does his first assassination and he realizes he’s not who he’s supposed to be, I think the tenacity that he shows in his fights and his fighting style is very much derived from him trying to stay human and to be who he really is. You know, he wants to feel love, he wants to belong to something, but that’s just not what the clan stands for. So I think it’s just his tenacity and his willingness not to be part of the clan that makes him just a little bit better. He’s fighting for a cause instead of just fighting.

source: http://30ninjas.com/blog/exclusive-ninja-assassin-stunt-guru-rain
source: http://30ninjas.com/blog/exclusive-....in-stunt-guru-rain-part-1

to find on RAIN Germany here --> http://rain.kostenloses-forum.be/ra....g162-0-asc-885.html#18809

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Last edited by Phoenix on 17.11.2009 11:56; edited 2 times in total

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16 Nov 2009 - Ninja Assassin Exclusive, Part 2: The Vicious Chain Weaponry Invented for Its Fight Phenom Star, and How He Wielded It Six Stories Above a Berlin Street

gotta love a martial arts movie that’s custom built for its star because of his talent, not past glory. Ninja Assassin, the Wachowski Brothers-produced fight extravaganza that opens Nov. 25th, does not merely star the prodigiously gifted Korean pop star Rain — it owes its very existence to him. Rain so dazzled the stunt coordinators with his natural martial arts ability on the Wachowskis’ 2008 film Speed Racer that the filmmakers gave him a fight film of his own. During the shooting of Ninja Assassin, Rain delivered on that promise, so impressing the film’s fight gurus with his fearlessness and skill that they let him execute precarious free-running stunts six stories above the street in a Berlin power station, fleeing some of the world’s most seasoned parkour performers.

In Part 2 of our exclusive interview, Ninja Assassin stunt coordinator and 2nd unit director Chad Stahelski tells 30 Ninjas Editor-in-Chief Julina Tatlock how the filmmakers developed new weaponry and new visual techniques to highlight their new star’s talents, from the invented ninja knife on a chain to the “Crazy Horse camera rig,” whose three cameras on one circular dolly allowed for longer takes and stylized changes of perspective around the fights.



How Do You Top the Fighting in the Matrix Trilogy?

30 NINJAS: You worked on all three Matrix films, and the fight effects were obviously considered a groundbreaking moment in special effects and fight choreography. To what degree in this movie were you looking to use the same techniques and to what degree were you trying to make a break from those techniques and discover something new?

CHAD STAHELSKI: It went in both directions on this one, I think. Ninja has got a little bit of juxtaposition in that some of the shots were derived in a graphic novel sense, in a comic book sense, with some of the perspective changes; when Raizo is swinging his bladed chain weapon around, you can see that he becomes a little anime in look. And then there’s other times where some of the visual effects, you can’t tell that we did sword extensions and some CG weaponry, [because] the blending of the CGI nowadays is nearly 100 percent realistic, so I think we just picked our moments to hide the visual effects, and then other moments we kinda punched them out so that you could see them, making it look like he was part of a different world, which is a bigger excuse to use some of the martial arts techniques that we use. You know, we tried to not be too serious with ourselves, like ”this is real.” [But] I think some of our wire work and some of the safety things we did during the free-running sequences in the abandoned warehouses, you really couldn’t tell we were using any kind of what I call stunt trickery. I think there’s a lot of the special effects in the movie that we used, and it kept a lot of our secrets, which is cool.

There’s one thing we owe Zack Snyder, [the director of] 300, a bit of a credit for, though. While we were doing the movie 300, we used something we call the Crazy Horse camera rig. Dave and I thought it was really cool, and Zack taught us how it worked, and we really used it well in one scene in 300. So we kinda took that and expanded on it. Zack had used it on a straight dolly, and we used it on a circular dolly in the scene in the safe house, where Raizo fights about a dozen ninjas. It’s a very cool digital zoom-in and digital zoom-out sequence that we are very happy with, and the reason we did that was to show off Rain. It was our cool way to punch in without editing, so we zoomed in and zoomed out, because with the technique of using three cameras we didn’t have to [call] ‘Cut’ in between [takes]. It’s just another way to highlight Rain as being Rain. There weren’t any stunt doubles in that sequence; Rain did it all himself. That was pretty cool. So we used visual effects to highlight how good Rain was.

30 NINJAS: Why is it called the Crazy Horse camera rig?

CS: Actually, it’s because it was first used back in the late ’70s on a movie called Crazy Horse. And what it is, is just a low-angle prism. And we use three cameras through on low angle prism to match the same camera position. So we use these three cameras at once to get the exact same angle.



The Un-Safe House Scene

30NINJAS: You are also working in some insanely dangerous scenarios. What was the most frightening sequence, the most challenging sequence, that you did?

CS: I think that logistically, safety-wise and performance wise, I’d have to say the Safe House, the scene where Rain’s character, Raizo, has been captured by Interpol security force. He is chained up in an old, old power station in Berlin. And the ninjas infiltrate that, and they kill all the Interpol soldiers, and Rain makes his breakout. It really was a dilapidated old power station and at some points, it was six stories straight to the floor. It took us almost three weeks to put in all the safety riggings in the ceiling for all the free-running sequences in it and to make sure that the crew could not fall through the holes. Stunt-wise, doing all the rigging, we had with us some of the best stunt riggers in the business for months at a time. And they did an outstanding job of making everything safe, and it really enhanced the performances of all our guys. The most challenging part is whenever you put your lead cast member in. You know, we got Rain, and he is [several] stories off the ground, doing his own jumps and his own free running. Granted, he’s on safety cables and certain systems that enhance his performance, but if Rain misses or falls, he still falls. We catch him, but there are a lot of stunt performers out there that don’t like heights, believe it or not — let alone you have your 25-year-old, many-millions-a-year pop star [up there] in a harness, being chased by some of the best free runners in the world, who are dressed up as ninjas. And Rain held his own performing at the same height, and at the same level of danger as the [professional stuntmen did]. You know, that’s always the most nerve-wracking thing for us. You know, the stuntmen you trust because you’ve gotten the best in the world. If we have not gone through basically five months of training with Rain — and really, really know what he has inside his heart, how brave and how professional he is — we would never have put him up [there]. But after spending so much time with him, we saw the kind of gusto he has, and we put him in the same sequences as the pros. We can’t say everyone does their own stunts, but Rain did as much as we asked of him, which was quite a bit more than most.



The Ultimate Fantasy: Inventing a Bladed Chain Weapon and the Techniques to Use It

30 NINJAS: In the trailer, Rain is carrying a weapon which is like a knife on a chain, and there were a lot of other knives and throwing stars and other sharp metal objects flying around. Can you tell me a little bit about these weapons? Which weapon is Rain carrying and does it give him an edge during the film?

CS: Larry and Andy [Wachowski] had come to us very, very early on in the project conception, and they said, “How do you want to do the fights?” Literally, they came with a blank piece of paper and handed it over to David and I and said, “You guys give us your best ideas with the sequences, and we’ll take the four or five best ones.” Well, we’d already trained Rain to fight with a sword, so we wanted to do a bunch of sword stuff because Rain picked it up quicker than anybody. We wanted to do a small to medium amount of empty hands [when a ninja fights with just hands against an opponent who’s holding a weapon], and we knew we were going to do some specific combative stuff with that. And we could have done nunchucks, and all this other stuff. All these different things are being thrown on the table between [director] James [McTeigue], Larry and Andy, and us. And we went back and spent a week playing with every weapon we knew how to use. And then we decided, you know, something that people don’t use that well is a flexible weapon. You know like numchucks or a three-sectional staff or something like a chain weapons. We decided we didn’t like the whip, we didn’t like the whip chain, and we didn’t like the rope dart. They did not have that finality, and it did not look lethal enough for us. [So] we kind of make up our own. We took a rubber knife, put it out on the end of a length of rope and started playing around with it. We started liking some of the results we were getting. We could do close quarter, we could do medium range, we could do long range. We can hang from it, we can throw it, and we can retrieve it. We were like, that’s great. But you can’t block a sword with a rope, so we made it in a chain. And then we started researching all the different martial arts and different styles that use flexible weapons. We got three or four of the best guys together and pretty much made up our own martial art with it. And once we had something we liked, we’d show it to everybody. And everybody thought it was awesome. It was great and visually stylistic. Larry and Andy ran with it and took it back to their storyboarders, who began to realize all the cool visuals you can do with the length of the chain, and the visual effects guys liked it. It’s also something that none of the other ninjas used, [so] it’s also something that made Rain stand out in the fight sequences. It kept a lot of the bad guys at a distance — Rain could whip it around and keep everyone away, and it became a little bit easier to believe that he could take on more than one or two ninjas at a time. So it did matter, both story-wise and visually.

30 NINJAS: That’s exactly what it looks like, that it’d be very effective at keeping everyone at a certain diameter away from you.

CS: That’s the great thing about Larry and Andy: If it doesn’t exist, they really tease your creative abilities to come up with something that would be very interesting or would be effective, so everyone put their heads together and came up with something that was pretty great.

source: http://30ninjas.com/blog/exclusive-....d-stahelski-ninja-weapons

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