Stage 72612

Mike Leeder

RIP: Chris Bates

Late 2012 saw me given the opportunity to work with a number of very close friends and talented An'D artists on the short film GUS & CHLOE, starring Darren E Scott, Grace Huang and Celina Jade, produced by myself, Jenn Thym and Producer/Director Chris Bates.

It was a very dark and stylish project, Chris wanted to do it to not only show what he was capable of as a director but also to pitch a full feature featuring characters introduced in the was an intense but very enjoyable shoot, and Chris has been working on the post for the last few months all the while battling Cancer, which had been raging war on him for the last year or so. The last time I saw Chris was for lunch when I was in LA in late March, he was in great spirits, excited about the short and planning for other projects which we were hoping to allow us to collaborate on...

On Sunday morning i was in Jakarta working on THE RAID 2, a project Chris had been excited about seeing and happy to hear i was working on, when we got word that  we had lost a hell of a film-maker and a hell of a friend, when we got the following news from his family...

i'd first been introduced to Chris by prolific film-maker Albert Pyun when they'd been talking about rebooting the KICKBOXER franchise several years ago, although that project fell by the wayside, we had formed a friendship and kept in touch and i finally got to officially work with Chris on two very cool films THE MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS &   MAN OF TAI CHI,both of which feature a number of An 'd artists both in front and behind the camera including Dani el Wu, Terrence Yin, Byron Mann, Grace Huang, Celina Jade, MC Jin, Andrew Lin, Andrew Ng, Osric Chau and many more... Chris was a hell of a film-maker and his passion and dedication to the industry will be sorely missed, as will his honesty, his guidance and his friendship. Myself and the rest of the cast and crew of GUS & CHLOE intend to finish the film to honor his memory. When the sun got big, and the night came down

We used to share a drink - and let the demons out.

We let the good times rock, you made the bad times roll

We used to laugh a lot, you had a lot of soul

Old friends... in better timesAnd when the going got hard,

When times were tough

We put our backs to the wall,

You used to strut your stuff.

With a head held high and a heart so big

One fist at the sky... and shake a leg.Old friends in better times(even though, even though we miss you now

Look forward don't look back

We'll get by somehow)And so I raise my glass in a last goodbye

Sleep in peace old friend, for me you'll never die

The best thing I can say, after all this time, is

You were a real friend, of mineOld friends... in better times

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The Raid 2: Berandal martial arts, guns and high octane vehicular mayhem

Long time no blog, my bad...mad busy began the year on IRON MAN 3 but not sure what happened to some of the stuff we shot...oh well

Now off to Jakarta till June to finish up on THE RAID 2: BERANDAL working with a group of very talented folk including Gareth Evans, Iko Uwais and from Hong Kong Bruce Law, who I am proud to call friends

Now remember the sheer martial arts mayhem of THE RAID

Video: Now add the vehicular skills of Bruce Law and his team to the mix


And well you know its gonna be fun, back in June!

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FOG: THE PANTHER movies Re-Examined

WARNING: THE FOLLOWING FILMS DO FEATURE VERY 1980’s INSPIRED FASHION, HAIRSTYLES AND MUCH MORE..CONTINUE AT YOUR OWN RISK![](/attachments/2013/01/19/16/72612_201301191644061.thumb.jpg) My latest column for Forces of Geek sees me revisiting two slices of Australian martial arts movie making from the 1980'sDay of the PantherandStrike of the Panther, directed byMan from Hong Konghelmer Brian Trenchard-Smith.... ENTER THE PANTHER

                                                                                                              – William Anderson

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Casting Call: Middle Eastern looking mercenaries needed

working on a top secret project to shoot in China in early Jan 2013

need to find a bunch of ideally middle eastern looking rough and ready looking mercenaries

Anyone based in China/Hong Kong will have an advantage

Will be some fight and stunt work but the look is also going to ply an important part, so middle eastern look, the rougher the tougher the better

Please send pics, video links etc to bigmikeleeder @

Will be paid gig

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Impact Online: Van Dammage in full effect!

Jean-Claude Van Damme was Impact's original cover star and with the recent release of both Six Bullets/The Butcher and the dark Universal Soldier: Day of Retribution...we reviewed both films and talked to directors, writers and co-stars;

Universal Soldier review:

Video: Scott Adkins Interview;

Six Bullets review


Director Ernie Barbarash interview;

Scriptwriter Chad Law interview

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Jake Speed Revisted: Forces of Geek

Revisiting one of my fave cult films at Forces of Geek

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Jake Speed Revisted: Forces of Geek

Revisiting one of my fave cult films at Forces of Geek

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The Man with the Iron Fists Preview

Video: Next month sees the release of the highly anticipated , the official directorial debut of actor, composer, rapper, producer RZA (Robert Diggs/Bobby Digital et all from the Wu Tang Clan). I was given the opportunity to work on the film as Casting Director, handling the majority of the casting from Hong Kong which includes a good number of artists in major roles.Now the promos may proclaim ' Quentin Tarantino presentsThe Man With the Iron Fists ', but the film, due for release in November, is very much the brainchild of the Wu Tang Clan ’s RZA , a lifelong fan of Kung Fu cinema who makes his official directorial debut with the project. The film reflects RZA's love for classic Hong Kongt martial arts cinema and was developed from  RZA ’s original idea with a script by RZA

and Eli Roth (who serves as a producer and consultant on the film), tells an epic tale of heroes and villains, warriors and kings, good and bad assassins, monks and martial artists all of whom are thrown together in what RZA has hinted at will be the first of a series of movies set in his take on the Wu Xia world.

RZA has countless credits as an accomplished musician as a performer, a writer and producer but he’s shown his acting ability in a variety of projects, both comedic and dramatic including , , , , and will be seen as the in next year.A lifelong fan of Hong Kong & Kung Fu cinema in general, RZA has an encyclopedic knowledge of Asian cinema and before anyone decries his martial arts background, I would like to confirm he is a genuine martial artist and a long-term student of former Shaolin disciple Shi Yan-ming. The Man with the Iron Fists

is RZA’s thank you to the genre that he feels made him the man he is today,The film serves as both a homage to and companion piece to the best of martial arts cinema. Principal photography began in China in December 2010 and had wrapped by late March 2011. Filming locations included the city of Shanghai, Imagemaker Studios and Hengdian World Studios.

Lets take a look at  the various characters and performers we're going to encounter on this martial arts journey...The Blacksmith: "When you forge a weapon, you need three things: the right metal, temperatures over four million degrees... and someone who wants to kill. Here in this village, we got all three..."

Since his arrival in China’s Jungle Village, the town’s blacksmith ( RZA ) has been forced by radical tribal factions to create elaborate tools of destruction. When the clans’ brewing war boils over, the stranger channels an ancient energy to transform himself into a human weapon. As he fights alongside iconic heroes and against soulless villains, one man must harness this power to become savior of his adopted people.For the film RZA has assembled a stellar international castJack Knife:For me, this business is the pleasure.Russell Crowe plays the deadliest man in the world,  the mysterious , an opium addicted soldier of fortune named after his signature weapon...But is he hero or villain, good or bad? Crowe joined the film based upon his friendship with RZA, having worked together previously on

Madame Blossom;  [ ] Power belongs to no one, until it is seized through sex or violence.Lucy Liu plays , the original Dragon lady. Her character runs a brothel in the village servicing the needs and desires of the men they encounter, but from the looks of things has her own hidden agenda and her girls are just as beautiful as they are deadly...Korean American actor Rick Yune from Fast & Furious & Die Another Day

gets to play the mysterious e, a warrior drawn into the action when his family is betrayed. Yune has previously let rip with his martial arts skills to good effect in Ninja Assassin and Jesse Johnson’s The 5th Commandment .When asked about his character in a recent interview, Yune said; ‘ My character is the son of a warlord that’s away in the mountain’s romancing his future wife. While away from his village he finds that his father has been assassinated so he leaves his woman and goes home to investigate the death of his father and avenge the murder. The fact that the character is not all right and wrong is what attracted me to the part.’SILVER LION

Playing the memorable is Byron Mann, his credits include everything from Crying Freeman, Streetfighter with Jean-Claude Van Damme, The Corrupter with Chow Yun-fat and he’s soon to be seen in Arrow , playing the mentor to the title a man manipulating the clans for his own nefarious needs, his loyalty is matched only by his treachery, his character is not only a deadly killer but as seen in the trailer a man amused by the suffering he brings to others.Bronze Lion:Attack! Continuing his assault on the big screen is and Champion Cung Le, who racks up another solid credit playing the pugilistic warrior known as , Cung has already racked a range of credits in the East  and West including True Legend, Bodyguards & Assassins, Pandorum, Tekken & Dragon Eyes with Jean-Claude Van Damme . . He’ll next be seen in Wong Kar-wai’s The Grandmaster and fights Rich Franklin in the UFC in Macau in November, in what many believe will be his final fight.Brass BodyAlso a well-known sportsman, former WWE champion Dave Bautista who has already racked up credits including The Scorpion King 3 and Chuck,

plays the man mountain that is , a phenomenally strong fighter -who can be seen in the trailer to have the power to transform his body.

 Bautista has described the character as a " ...good guy who made a lot of bad choices in his life. he doesn’t really understand the difference between right and wrong."Lady SilkThe lovely Jamie Chung last seen in

Premium Rush and Sucker Punch , plays , a courtesan who has captured the heart of the Blacksmith, while she doesn't fight as such in the movie, RZA has praised her martial arts prowess after a recent photo shoot saying he wished he'd had her unleash her skills in the moviewhile legend,

herself, Pam Grier makes a cameo appearance as the mother of the Blacksmith, a slave who sacrifices her own freedom for her son’s life.Look for another cameo appearance by Way of the Dragon ’s Jon Benn as the owner of the plantation where RZA grew up.Silver DaggerA mysterious masked killing machine known as is played by Daniel Wu, his character lurks in the shadows manipulating the actions of others for his own gainwhile Terrence Yin also makes an appearance as a corrupt Government official who may know more about the feuding clans then he reveals.

A brother and sister team of assassins, the and are played respectively by Andrew Lin & Grace Huang. Lin made a memorable Hong Kong debut as the cult-leader in Black Sheep Affair , and subsequent credits include The Accident, 2000AD and he continues to contribute SFX make up to various projects most recently Keanu Reeves' Man of Tai Chi .Gemini MaleGemini FemaleThe battling babe that is Grace Huang is the star of the acclaimed Blood Traffik short film, and she can be seen in Cold War, Love in Space, Jasmine, Lost for Words and Strangers 6, she will also be seen in the upcoming Jet Li supernatural adventure. 

Rapper turned actor MC Jin who was last seen playing Unicorn Chan in Bruce Lee My Brother , plays Chan, the comedic brother in arms to the X-Blade, while Osric Chau from 2012 - and currently appearing in Supernatural - plays the Blacksmith's assistant.Drawing upon his love for classic old school kung fu movies, RZA

also selected the great Gordon Liu (Liu Chai-hui) to play a familiar role as , while Andrew Ng plays the senior monk. Gold Lion & Hyena ChiefThe original

(Chen Kuan-tai) plays clan leader and aging warrior who is drawn into battle against the played by Beardy himself, Leung Kar-yen. ( RZA has also confirmed that his fighting style in the movie is based upon Leung kar-yen’s Iron Cross style used in The Victim )

Last but not least... Kickboxer ’s Dennis Chan plays a cameo role as the Dragon Inn Keeper while actress/singer Celina Jade last seen battling away in the Kung Fu Vettell short film plays the Dragon Inn singer whose choice of song is another of RZA ’s nod to his love for Hong Kong cinema. s Darren E Scott plays the wonderfully named whose fate was revealed in one of the first pictures released from the film.

The film's cinematographer is Chan Chi-ying whose credits include The Lost Bladesman, Detective Dee, Dead or Alive and Tokyo Raiders . The films fight choreography is by the great Corey Yuen (Yuen Kwai)whose credits of course include everything from Secret Rivals, Seven Grandmasters through No Retreat No Surrender,  Yes Madam,  Lethal Weapon 4, The Expendables

and so much more. As the trailer shows, we can expect some wild action choreography that harkens back to the classic days of traditional kung fu as well as the more recent wire assisted style. 

A reported first cut of the movie clocked in at 4 hours and there was talk of splitting the film into 2 parts, but eventually the film was cut down to 96 minutes although we hope for the subsequent DVD/Blu-Ray release we’ll get to see either a much longer cut or the deleted scenes. Blending astonishing martial-arts sequences from some of the masters of this world, it's set to hit the screen in November 2012. It was a great pleasure to work on the project, and to see someone putting so much of their own time and energy into a project that is paying tribute to the genre of cinema that moulded his life, and all we’re dying to see it,

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Forces of Geek

latest interviews and features for Forces of Geek including review of ROAD TO HELL

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Mike Leeder

Casting Director, Producer, Magazine Editor

Location Hong Kong
English Name Mike Leeder
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Member Since April 7, 2008

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