Will is something of a pragmatic actor, down to earth, hardworking. Some of that may well have been down to his childhood, having lived in some tough areas such as The Bronx, and some more idyllic settings such as Hawaii. As a result he appears to have a very balanced view of life, with one of his personal quotes being “A good heart counts more than new clothes”, something perhaps some of his peers would do well to learn. We had arrived at the London Film and Comic Con early, and Will was on our list of “must interview”. The fans behind us were as ever, very patient and understanding, and Will was happy to do a very quick question and answer:
Firstly, congratulations on the arrival of your son Cash.
Oh thank you so much!
How is fatherhood?
(laughs) I’m exhausted. It’s been about four and half weeks so I’ve gotten no sleep!
Are you enjoying the London Film and Comic Con?
I love it! I haven’t done one of these before so it’s definitely interesting. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but yeah, it’s great.
You have trained in Tae Kwon Do. It seems we have more and more martial art practitioners doing films, as opposed to actors learning those sorts of skills for combative roles?
Well, of course I’m all for it! I basically started off as a martial artist. So I’ve learnt a lot along the way, and I can’t wait to see more of the guys move into to doing films. There’s a wealth of talent out there.
Your father was a Tae Kwon Do Grandmaster, as a result has your focus been solely on that martial art?
Yeah, mostly Tae Kwon Do for most of my life. But working in the film industry doing different films you do kind of pick up different arts, and I enjoy doing that. But yeah, the main focus has been Tae Kwon Do.
How much of an influence did the likes of Jim Kelly have on you?
Jim Kelly! Yeah, sadly he just passed away. Jim Kelly was part of my dad’s generation. My dad was one of the first Tae Kwon Do masters to come to the United States, and Jim was one of the first African American martial artists to make it in Hollywood. So he was all in that era. He was an incredible inspiration in terms of martial arts and competitions. I think a lot of the Bruce Lee fans were from the African American community, and embraced martial arts, and so my father’s first “family” in the United States, so definitely it was a big part of my life.
Silver Samurai, could you tell us a little bit about that?
All I can say is that I play a character called Harada, and it’s kind of a mysterious character that’s tied in with Logan and Mariko. But you kind of just have to watch the movie (laughs).
Can you tell us anything else?
Are you trying to get me in trouble!? (laughs) The studio are looking over my shoulder on this one! It’s a fantastic film.
You did some work with East Bay Asian Youth Centre quite some time ago, but wondered if you had maybe gone back to do some more work if there, or if there are any other support groups you are involved with?
No, I haven’t worked with East Bay since college. And right now I don’t do any other support / charity work, although I have been looking for a home base in Los Angeles to work with. You know I worked with a lot of gangs, when I was growing up, going to college, and with the East Bay Asian Youth Centre. So I’m looking for a home now in LA.
Thank you very much!