Andy Le’s portrayal of the obscure Marvel comics villain “Death Dealer” is arguably one of the most stand-out performances in “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.”
Warning: Minor spoilers ahead
Louder than words: As the 29-year-old Southern California native played a silent character in the film, he mostly let his moves do the talking, which were more than enough for many action fans given the incredible martial arts skills he showcased.
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- Le told Spectrum News that 90% of his martial arts know-how was self-taught, while the remaining 10% was from his formal kung fu training, inspired by Asian action movie heroes, during his childhood.
- “I got bullied a lot in school and, you know, for me to come home and watch Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan fighting off like 10 guys, you feel, like, empowerment,” said Le.
- While he took a few years off, he eventually returned to martial arts training after experiencing a tough year in high school.
- “In 2008, I discovered martial arts tricking when I saw a video of Jeremy Marinas,” Le told FC Syndicate. “I’ve been in love with the craft ever since and it is through tricking that I learned to be open-minded, free and creative.”
- Le, his brother Brian and fellow martial artist Daniel Ma formed Martial Club and started uploading martial arts videos on YouTube in 2011.
- The Martial Club YouTube channel has become a massive hit, with videos collectively generating nearly 100 million views as of this writing.
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The road to ‘Shang-Chi’: Le, whose parents fled to the U.S. during the Vietnam War, wants to be an example of what Vietnamese people can achieve.
- Le shared to Spectrum News that his parents wanted him to pursue a successful career in law or medicine so he could live a “comfortable life,” but they “messed up” when they showed Le “martial arts movies.”
- As Le was honing his skills with the Martial Club, he crossed paths with renowned stuntman Brad Allan, who worked with Jackie Chan and passed away in August.
- It was through Allan’s efforts in helping undiscovered talent that landed Le a TV ad with martial arts icon Jackie Chan and back-to-back projects with legendary actress Michelle Yeoh.
- Le and his brother were initially hired on to “Shang-Chi” to perform stunts and train lead star, Simu Liu.
- When the “Death Dealer” role opened up and got offered to Le, he accepted the opportunity and made the character his own.
- According to Le, he and his brothers developed the full-twist sidekick to make the character stand out. “I knew if I do that kick, we’ll be making history because no one’s ever done that kick on film yet,” he said.
- In an interview with the Reel Rejects, Le spoke about the thrill of working alongside actors Liu, Yeoh, Yuen Wah and Tony Leung. “The whole experience has been surreal. But I think, for me, the parts that I will bookmark in my life the most, is when you’re working with people who you looked up to growing up,” he noted.