Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Exclusive Interview With Don 'The Dragon' Wilson on His Role in 'Paying Mr. McGetty'

If you have followed the world of martial arts films and actors, then you are familiar with the legendary Don 'The Dragon' Wilson. He is an American 11-time professional kickboxing world champion who scored 47 knockouts in four decades and is listed as a European Martial Arts Hall of Famer. Wilson is described as "Perhaps the greatest kickboxer in American history”. Don ‘The Dragon’ Wilson is also known as an action star with more than two dozen films to his credit.   One of his latest films is Paying Mr. McGetty, a Film Festival award-winning, action-packed comedy from director Michael Baumgarten (The Martial Arts Kid) and Traditionz Entertainment. I recently had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Don 'The Dragon' Wilson about his role as the enforcer Shota Kabu.

MARLA REED: Paying Mr. McGetty is a very interesting movie, however it's not your first collaboration with writer/director Michael Baumgarten.  You had previously worked with him on The Martial Arts Kid.  Is this how you became involved in Paying Mr. McGetty?

DON 'THE DRAGON' WILSON: After Michael and James decided they would follow up their film "The Martial Arts Kid" with another Family-Action-Comedy, they proposed the idea of me being the "bad guy" instead of my typical "good guy" role.  Of course, that appealed to me because, after 30 years of being the "good guy", it was a lot of fun being "scary" and not very "nice".  I think, after the opening scene, the audience will definitely know they are about to see a VERY different Dragon than my past films.  Again, when your brother and friend Produce a film, there is only one acceptable answer to whether or not I will work with them....YES!

Don 'The Dragon' Wilson in Paying Mr. McGetty
MR: What attracted you to the character of Shota Kabu, who is very different from you character of Uncle Glen in The Martial Arts Kid?

DW: He is a "Hit Man" but like Leon in "The Professional", he has a code or set of rules he lives and works by. He gives them the punishment agreed upon by his various "employers" but they must be guilty of the crime he is punishing them for.  When he learns Tyrell is innocent of the transgression the Mob boss is upset about, he teams up with him and helps him out of a substantial beating at the soccer field.

MR: The character has a certain aura about him that sets him apart from the generic enforcers in movies. How much of this was already in the script and how much of it were you given leeway to bring to the character?

DW: Mike and I spoke about my character being a mix of the hitman Leon in "The Professional" and the hitman in "No Country for Old Men".  They were both deadly-scary but seemed to have "rules" by which they worked that somehow made them a cut above the killers who will do anything for the money.  Leon, "No women or children".  That gives him a quality that can be understood and somewhat admired, despite his profession.  Cartoonish characters are not as much fun to play as multi-faceted guys with conflicts-difficulties of their own just like the leads they are pursuing.

MR: Your character of Shota has a number of fight scenes in Paying Mr. McGetty.  Were you involved, in any way, with the stunt coordination of the fights?  Any elements of the fights that were changed or added once you got underway with them?

DW: ALWAYS put my "2 cents" into the fight scenes, but every choreographer I have used in the last 30 years also has the freedom to pick and choose the stuntmen and techniques used in my fight scenes.  That way they do not ALL look alike and can be individualized as to tone of the film and locations, props, story points, etc.

MR: You worked with your daughter, Aubrianna Wilson in Paying Mr. McGetty. She was also in The Martial Arts Kid with you. What is that like seeing your daughter there on set as an actress? Did you give her any pointers?

DW: I would NEVER give her "pointers" because she is a VERY talented theater actor and has LOTS of experience in that realm of acting.  I may give her advice regarding working in the medium of film, but that is not dealing with altering a "truthful performance".  Several years ago she won the Statewide Shakespeare Festival and now attends the Los Angeles High School for the Performing Arts.  (Dad bragging about daughter....)

MR: You had extensive non-fight scenes with fellow martial arts action star, Paul Logan in this film. Did this lead to you working with him on his film, The Horde as the mysterious soldier? 

DW: No, they filmed "The Horde" before "The Martial Arts Kid" and I was asked to appear in it when I met Paul at a Celebrity Autograph Event in Atlantic City. I respect his work as a writer-producer-actor and hope to collaborate on something in the near future.

MR: You have another new movie coming out, the action movie Showdown in Manila.  Can you share a bit about that with our readers?

DW: "Showdown in Manila" is currently in Domestic Release through SONY Home Entertainment and is available everywhere.  I had a meeting to discuss "The Return of the Dragon" in Manila and we all agreed on the concept of a small band of mercenaries helping their friends, actor Alexander Nevsky and Casper Van Dien, in the final action scene-sequence fighting "Bad Guy" Cary Tagawa and his men.  The Producers used the same company I worked with in 1988 and 1990 with "Bloodfist and Bloodfist 2".  It was kind of a homecoming-reunion for me.  The same Makeup artist who worked on "Bloodfist" did my makeup for "Showdown".  I'm sure it took her a lot more time to get me "camera ready"! 

MR: Thank you so much for this opportunity to interview such a legend in the field of martial arts action movies. Wishing you continued success.

DW: Thank you very much for the opportunity to speak to your audience and I hope they enjoy all my newer films as much as the "typical" Dragon films I made during the "Video Days".

Urban Action Comedy PAYING MR. McGETTY, starring R. Marcos Taylor (BABY DRIVER) and Don "The Dragon" Wilson, will be in theaters nationwide, starting April 25th!

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1 comment:

  1. In MOSCOW attending the 40th Moscow International Film Festival and just read the interview. Thanks!