Former Strikeforce middleweight champion and current UFC star Cung Le has not only spent time building a successful MMA career, but he’s also been forging a solid movie career as well.
With one of Le’s most recent films, Dragon Eyes, set to make its premier on Cinemax on Saturday night at 10 p.m. EST, MMAWeekly.com caught up with him to discuss the movie, working with fellow MMA fighters on film, and his fighting career in 2013.
MMAWeekly.com: Firstly, Cung, tell us about Dragon Eyes and why fight fans should tune in to its premier this Saturday and check it out.
Cung Le: The storyline is like a modern day Fistful of Dollars where my character, Hong, comes in and cleans up this town, pits two gangs against each other and weeds out a corrupt cop.
The (opening fight scene) won Best Fight at the ActionFest (2012 Jury Awards), so I believe a lot of people will enjoy the action for different styles of martial arts. Every fight scene has its own flavor. We just tried to put different elements to the big screen.
MMAWeekly.com: On this film you got to work with Jean-Claude Van Damme and Robocop star Peter Weller. What was it like working with those stars?
Cung Le: Working with Jean-Claude Van Damme and Peter Weller, they’re both different personalities, but they’re both pleasant to work with and I learned a lot. Those guys have been around the business so long that it’s fun to pick their brains.
Jean-Claude Van Damme plays my mentor in the movie and we have fight scenes in jail where he’s teaching me. We start out he’s beating me up, but as I get better things evened out. It was definitely fun getting kicked by Jean-Claude Van Damme. He’s a lot of fun to work with and he definitely threw some hard kicks trying to hit me through the movie, so I’m glad my reactions and defense saved me big time.
MMAWeekly.com: How much input did you have in your fight scenes?
Cung Le: Actually, the great thing about this is that I choreographed all the fight scenes in the movie with some help with Scott Sheeley, who is my trainer. He played a Russian gangster in this movie and we had the chance to do a little fight scene. He actually helped me design some of the fights and made sure all the guys that we cast in the movie know their marks and sequences so nobody got hurt.
MMAWeekly.com: There’s also quite a few other MMA fighters in this movie.
Cung Le: Gilbert Melendez, Dan Henderson and Trevor Prangley are in the movie and they definitely played a pretty good-sized part in the movie. It was fun working with them. Dan Henderson actually hit me twice during our scenes. He said, “I pulled my punch,” but I asked, “Then why is there a big knot on my head?”
MMAWeekly.com: Dan’s still got it even when he’s not fighting, huh?
Cung Le: He’s a beast. I enjoyed working with them more than I would enjoy fighting them.
MMAWeekly.com: Let’s talk about your fight career. Recently there was some buzz about you possible returning to fight a UFC champion. Can you tell us about that?
Cung Le: A few weeks ago there was talk that Anderson Silva’s camp had interest in someone like me. It didn’t pan out, but I would have been totally excited for that. Go big or go home.
MMAWeekly.com: Rumors aside, what do you see for your fight career in 2013?
Cung Le: I’m just healing up and healing is going a lot faster than I expected. A lot of people didn’t know, but I had elbow surgery six weeks before my fight with Rich Franklin and the doctor didn’t suggest me to fight, but it was my decision, I did it and look what happened.
If a megafight came up, I would rush right back in, but right now I really don’t need to rush in to anything. I’ll just keep training and at the same time I’m trying to produce my own movie, which has some pretty good names attached to it. It’s just one day at a time, one project at a time.
MMAWeekly.com: Thank you for your time as always, Cung. Is there anything you’d like to say to our readers in closing?
Cung Le: Thanks for all the support from all the fans. I’m glad to have you guys. I work hard and push hard for the fans.