Fueled By Death Cast Ep. 92 - ANTHONY DELONGIS
WEAPONS MASTER AND ACTOR - ANTHONY DELONGIS
"If I'm not getting better, I'm just getting older. There is only one of those things I can do anything about." Anthony DeLongis, Weapons Master, Actor, Stuntman, Stunt Choreographer
CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW
ABOUT ANTHONY DELONGIS:
ON THE COMPANION SHOW THIS WEEK:
Check out the first broadcast from the new Death Wish Studio as Dustin and Jeff talk about recent discoveries in ancient art and music. The oldest drawing by Homo Sapien has been found to be 73,000 years old, and researchers are re-evaluating the use of turtle shells in early Native American culture as musical instruments. Then, the idea of hangover cures is discussed on The Roast, with a special message from Zakk Wylde. Finally, details about the mug collaboration with the Special Olympics are revealed on The Update along with some new products coming soon from the World's Strongest Coffee Company.
DEATH STAR OF THE WEEK:
This week meet Paul Butler in the Death Star of the Week segment. Check out the full show replay right here:
Dustin: It's amazing how much voices change through the microphone.
Dustin: Anthony, your voice is made for the microphone. It is just like rolling, smooth gravel. It's great.
Anthony: Oh, I got a lot of voices. I got a lot of accents too. Sometimes when I'm teaching, it's basically designed to ... Are we rolling?
Dustin: I hit record-
Anthony: Oh okay. Well it's-
Dustin: ... early on just to make sure I catch everything.
Anthony: It's basically ... Is this all good?
Jeff: Oh, yeah.
Dustin: We're all good.
Anthony: It's basically designed to help people remember stuff 'cause I love to teach because teaching keeps me performance sharp. Well I've been a professional teacher just about-
Jeff: I got it.
Anthony: ... as long as I've been a professional actor. I started in 1973 at the Old Globe Theater in San Diego doing Shakespeare. Good thing about that is it gave me the craft for my voice. So now later in my career, I'm Marshall Lee Johnson in Red Dead Redemption.
Jeff: I spend so much-
Dustin: Jeff knows.
Jeff: ... time with you in that game. Like no joke.
Anthony: Just kind of whispering in your ear.
Anthony: Oh, I'm sure you're doing your best.
Dustin: Oh my God.
Jeff: I did my darnedest. Honestly, like that was one of my favorite characters.
Anthony: Have you ever played Bulletstorm?
Anthony: Well, if you go online, got a couple of friends. I had no idea. I play a character called General Sarrano who is the foulest mouthed character that I've ever played. They strung together some stuff that I'm just going like, "You really want me to say this? All right. I'm going to commit to it." They kept having me back and saying, "Yeah. We don't know why, but people love this." So apparently somebody put together a whole thing. If you look up General Sarrano or Bulletstorm General Sarrano, there's just like a litany of my dialogue. So if you do come back on the weekend, have a peak at that first.
Jeff: Okay. Done. Oh my gosh.
Anthony: It's a lot of fun. Oh, golly. I did the Chipmunk Adventure with Clouse, evil diamond merchant. Yeah, I like to do accents because it changes so I do Russian, and I do French, and a few different English accents, and Irish and Scottish is always great fun because you know you can roll your R's and over do it. You may not be terribly accurate but people like it.
Jeff: Yeah, Of course.
Dustin: I don't know. The Scottish guys that we've met so far, it seems like they're even embellishing a little bit.
Anthony: I think that the lassies care for it. They're just trying to, "You want to see what's under my kilt?"
Jeff: That's so true.
Anthony: Go ahead.
Jeff: Did you start as a stage actor then?
Jeff: So straight with Shakespeare.
Anthony: I started doing Shakespeare. Oh yeah, yeah.
Jeff: Wow. That's excellent.
Anthony: And then it's very hard to make a living in LA in theater. So I continued to do theater throughout my career. The last time though was probably over a decade ago. Well we've been out here 15 years, and it's just a pain in the neck to drive into town for rehearsals and the little 60 to 99 seat theaters 'cause they still have a tendency to hire the TV stars for theater plays and there's not very many. When I started, I had done Cyrano de Bergerac at the Ahmanson Theater with Richard Chamberlain, and I played the Viscount de Valvert and we did the duel and rhyme and I choreographed that. That was my first big piece of choreography, and that got me my equity card. So I went back to next year to the Old Globe.
The year before I was a journeyman and a spear carrier, changing sets and stuff, but they read the company for the third production, which was King Lear, and I got to play Edgar in King Lear.
Anthony: So one out of every three performances, I was an actor. Then the other two, I was in more of a supporting role, which is necessary, of course, but it just was nice to be able to sink my teeth into a part like that.
Dustin: So when did martial arts and sword fighting and all that come into play?
Anthony: I started ... well college. I was very uncomfortable physically when I first started in my career. I started as a theater as an English and a history major and that lasted a semester. I'm like, "This isn't what really want to do. I really want to be doing drama and theater." So I transferred over. I had my hip dislocated my freshmen year in college in wrestling, which not that I was any good at it but I had started lifting weights my senior year in high school. So I was making changes in my body and I was strong, I just didn't know anything.
Jeff: Yeah. Right, right..
Anthony: So I went out and somebody pinned my leg and body slammed me and popped my hip out. They said, "You're going to be a cripple your whole life." I said, "You don't tell me. I tell you what my limitations are." Fortunately, I was young and arrogant and invulnerable. But I went, "Well, there goes my gymnastics career." But I took up fencing. I liked it. They invited me onto the team, and I went to the nationals three times. My senior year I was western intercollegiate saber champion so that was my first martial arts. Then I trained with Maestro Ralph Faulkner who is the sword master to the stars. He was a two time Olympian. He's in my living room. I don't know if you notice. There's all these cold steel swords on the walls, and then there's Maestro Faulkner kind of watching over everything.
Anthony: He was the first great teacher in my life. Then I started taking TaeKwonDo and then I was never a great kicker. Did a few things if you ever seen Battlestar Galactica, I was Taba.
Dustin: The original? It must've been the original.
Anthony: Yes, the original.
Jeff: The original. Yeah.
Anthony: Well yes. Back before you were born probably. Up yours very much. I played Taba with ... Actually, it was very funny, Fred Astaire was guest staring and so that was a big thrill meeting him. I was the young kid at the time. We're these Borellian desert warrior people and we were going to be the new reoccurring villains on the show but then after years of Cylons I guess they'd been to the well once too many times and they didn't go after that last season.
I remember there was ... no I guess Road House was probably my last jumping sidekick. But I around that time I started choreographing and so in '73 I started doing sword choreography and then '74 I got to do Cyrano. '75 I did a the Scottish play, Macbeth, with Charlton Heston which was ... and I ended up training him and performing with him again at the Ahmanson.
Part of the reason I brought that up was that was back in the day when they used to mount productions, The Mark Taper, I choreographed a lot of action for them over a decade or so. They stopped mounting productions and would bring in touring productions and at that point I'm just kinda going, "I can't make a living at this." So by '75 I had gotten into SAG and was starting to balance and juggle all that.
And basically you're always looking for work anywhere you can get it.
Dustin: It's the hustle.
Anthony: Yeah you kinda have to 'cause unless you're very, very, very, very, very, very lucky and then manage to not fall on your face and turn into something else. Most people it's ... I'm 45 years into being an overnight discovery.
I also taught at UCLA. I taught at UCLA from '74 to '93. That was my part time job. So I was one of the few people on the faculty who were actually working in the business and I enjoyed teaching because I was constantly telling students when I needed to remind myself and then I was also something of a liaison going, "They don't really tell you this in your other classes but here's what you're going to face and here's what you can do about it."
Basically never stop learning, be as prepared as you can, take control of your time in the room as best you can, commit to your choice, and then if you've done all that then that's all you can do 'cause 95% of the time you don't get or lose a job based on your talent. It has nothing to do with you. You just don't happen to be ... most of the time they don't quite know what they want. They're waiting for you to tell them when you walk in or ... so it's ... and that's one of the reasons why I had this parallel career.
Is this all right for your sound?
Dustin: Jeff was saying it adds to our-
Jeff: It's authenticity.
Dustin: ... patois did you say?
Jeff: Yeah. Yes.
Anthony: No I'm the patois. This is the atmospherics. This is your environment. Which, by the way, when you're choreographing is always the third character in any combat.
But it became a parallel career for me doing choreography and weapons. I liked it because my physical training continued which gave me more confidence whether I was doing any action or not it just changed how I carried myself.
Dustin: Yeah. Absolutely.
Anthony: I stopped worrying about what am I gonna do with my hands. Nevermind, sorry. But it gave me choices, and that's what I tell the people who come and train with me. I say, "Okay I applaud you for taking responsibility for your own training because you have the skills you show up with. You will ..." again, there's no better place to learn things than on set but don't think you're gonna learn something that involves high skills after you get the job.
They flew me to Shanghai to partner Jet Li for a movie called Fearless.
Dustin: We're very familiar with that.
Anthony: I had to bring my A game 'cause literally we had no rehearsal.
Anthony: They were five days behind. The one thing I missed was I was looking forward to working with the team. And but we got there and they were five days behind. They had run into problems with one of the other characters and they were only able to shoot him a couple moves at a time. So it was a matter of stay ready, be ready for ... and then I met Jet and Woo-Ping when I walked on set and shook hands. And the team immediately started pulling stuff together and when Jet and Woo-Ping liked the looks of it Jet and I would get up, we'd walk it once or twice slow, and then we'd shoot it at speed. Once we shot three takes, usually it was two, and then we'd do it all over again. And so neither one of us knew the choreography but he would move, I'd adjust, I would move, he'd adjust 'cause we had 65 years worth of combined experience between the two of us.
So it was a whole lotta fun. I realized very quickly the one problem was I'm playing a western character who has a western style of fighting and they were choreographing me as if I was Chinese also. I had met Woo-Ping very briefly on a lunch hour to show him the swords I brought and I'd brought aluminum. They are used to working with what's essentially bamboo swords, they're called [inaudible 00:11:40] swords that are then covered in Mylar and this and that. They're light, they don't withstand a great deal of contact usually so very often they don't. If you watch Japanese swordplay there's very little contact. It's a lot of avoidance and preemptive cutting and stuff.
But they were very sharp, as a matter of fact they're on my wall over there you can take a picture.
Anthony: But he said he could ... he picked up the aluminum that ... and we'd spent three months discussing this with my liaison, a fellow named Mike Leader, who had gone around the world casting and ... originally I think it had been gonna be 16 fighters and then they brought it down to four, I was one of them. They kept looking for a guy who looked good with a sword, and good with a whip and my name kept coming up. So that was cool.
Jeff: Ah what do you know?
Anthony: Yeah. So anyway he picked up the sword and he went, "Ah. Pokey, pokey, pokey." And I went, "Oh God he thinks that western swordplay is what he's seen in the movies."
Jeff: It's just stabbing.
Anthony: With all this ... yeah exactly. And all this arm pumping which it's not. So the first three moves they gave me were pokey, pokey, pokey. And I went, "I'm not going to do that." I gave them what they wanted, which were three thrusts, but I gave them a lunge, and then a cross over with a twist, and then a redoublement of the attack. So it's the same thing but in keeping with the martial practicality of the weapon and the character I was supposed to be.
But I very quickly realized they were having Li motivate the cool things that Jet has done literally thousands of times so that the logic of the choreography was it's like I'm going, "Well I wouldn't do it that way but not my party so ..." and finally I said, "I'll give you this" 'cause I was attacking quadrants so that he could ... and it was kinda funny 'cause there were places where I had to totally commit where he was going to be even though he wasn't there yet but then also at the same time ... 'cause they'd had a couple other champions who had come in and one guy who was massive awards, and champion of this, and champion of that three moves into the fight he hit Jet in the face and almost broke his nose. And so there's no filming for three days and he comes back and two moves later hits Jet in the face again.
So it was a matter of we don't care, we'll decide how good you are and whether or not ... but I said, "Woo-Ping would you mind if ... I'll give you in that order but if I get there in this manner instead of this?" And I guess one of the team had said, "Who's choreographing this us or the Gweilo?" And Woo-Ping said, "This Gweilo knows what he's doing." So after that it was great.
Jeff: Excellent. Yeah.
Anthony: But it was really very exciting because I like to evolve a piece of choreography and do a whole energy thing and they've been working together literally for decades so they don't have to say much to each other and they were very, very staccato, and I was just kinda going, "Okay. I can do that it's just ..." they didn't let me in on anything. It was just like, "Okay what are we doing? Are we doing ... okay. Gonna do this? All right, yeah." And there's some pictures on the wall in there that look like they're posed and we never posed for pictures. They were always done at full speed and they just ... So the execution of structure and technique makes the pictures look good when you stop em.
Dustin: Do you think that the style that this was choreographed made it ... 'cause it seems like a real fight when you're watching it, I'm a big fan of the movie, and I think maybe some of that came across because it seemed like you were adapting like it was a real fight.
Anthony: Jet said to me, "We chose you because of your skills and your years of experience, and this and that. We were looking for somebody special." Which was very nice of him to say. It was also funny because I was supposed to be kind of a bad guy if you notice. Those Caucasians, those occidentals, evil. So at some point I was supposed to pull out a second weapon, the whip, and after we had ... actually in two half days of filming I caught him up three days of the five they were behind so that was kinda cool.
But they said to me ... I said to Jet, "Well if I'm gonna pull out the second ..." 'cause we've shot our first day and we're into the second and I'm going, "If I'm gonna pull out that second weapon couldn't we figure something out again?" Knowing there wouldn't be any rehearsal anyway but ... that's why you train so that ... rehearsal's a luxury that you get less and less of these days.
But he said to me, "Oh didn't they tell you? No, no. You're like a hero and at the end we're gonna exchange weapons." Which was a scene we shot. It wasn't ... I understand it's in one of the-
Dustin: Yeah that's in the extended. Right?
Anthony: I don't think I've seen that. Yeah.
Dustin: I have.
Anthony: Oh have you?
Dustin: I'm almost sure I have.
Anthony: I would love to see that.
Dustin: I ... maybe it's my memory making stuff up but that sounds very familiar to me.
Anthony: Because I have still pictures of our doing ... well and that was it 'cause it was just this ... 'cause at the end when he does that disarm ... that was the one time they used my weapon in a way that this makes sense because I have this ... that's why I love the saber, it has a hand shield, and they were giving me this arm guard and I said, "Well don't put the arm guard on here I've got this scarf, but the arm guard over here." Also those were my boots, and those were my Spanish leggings, and those were my gauntlets 'cause I've done this before, I travel with [inaudible 00:17:29] going-
Dustin: Did you have those on other sets?
Anthony: Oh yes.
Anthony: The shoes were from Highlander.
Dustin: Oh, beautiful.
Anthony: And I'm just kinda going, "I know these look good, I know I can work in these. I'm taking these just in case." So and they fit my character it was really nice. But at the end when he does the disarm he's gonna give me my weapon back, it's all unspoken but I just kinda go and we do this little-
Anthony: It's an exchange with a mutual respect.
Anthony: That okay you beat me fair and square and well done, and he's kinda going you were a worthy opponent and so that was ... I was disappointed when it wasn't in the cut of the film that I saw but I know we'd done it. But I had to laugh because I'm going, "So if I'm gonna be a bad guy I'd better pull this weapon out pretty soon, right?" 'Cause I've also been in the business long enough to know so we're cutting the fight short are we? And he said, "No, no. You're a hero. We're gonna exchange weapons." And then, "Oh no one told me."
Jeff: Oh my Gosh.
Anthony: No one told me.
Jeff: Throughout a lot of your roles, you've done roles where you get to use weapons or fight and then obviously roles like a lot of your science fiction stuff where you don't have to do that. When you do fight do you generally have to work with a fight choreographer, or do you get to ... have there been roles that you've gotten to do your own choreography?
Jeff: I know it was a long way to get there, but yeah.
Anthony: Not really. There have ... I tend to look on this as there's verbal dialogue and I started with Shakespeare and it's hard to find a better author than that. I played Iago twice which was very thrilling.
Anthony: So when people try to stick me in a little box I kind ago, "Well I have done this." It's a short list. And then I look on physicality as verbal dialogue. And it should be subject to the same ... you have a very specific intention that you're driven to achieve. The stakes should be just as high. And it is an extension of your character. The physical world is a great storytelling opportunity for an actor. It's another layer of performance and it invests an audience in your journey on a visceral level rather than just an intellectual one.
Dustin: I feel like Japanese films almost capture that the best. I can think of ... The Blind Swordsman, what's his name?
Dustin: Zatoichi. Which I remember watching that being like-
Anthony: Shintaro Katsu.
Dustin: This is all physical, facial acting. It was amazing.
Anthony: Oh and he's very funny.
Dustin: Yeah. I loved that, yeah. I loved it.
Anthony: As a matter of fact now that you mention that Japanese, well Kirosawa films, are what got me into choreography in the '70s. I used to-
Jeff: Oh really?
Dustin: Silestone's under [crosstalk 00:20:27]
Anthony: ... go hang out at ... there used to be a theater in town, it's now a church, which is kind of, I suppose, serendipitous but it is the Toho Libraya and the Toho Libraya played samurai movies and the Kokusai played Kung Fu movies.
Jeff: Oh cool.
Anthony: I always kinda liked the ... now the Kung Fu movies were doing the same wire work that [crosstalk 00:20:47] but by the time they got around to Crouching Tiger they had the technology to hide the wires so it helped with the suspension of disbelief. But I always kinda preferred the samurai movies because there was this vitality, and intensity, and commitment. Seven Samurai, Yojimbo, Sanjuro-
Dustin: I gotta show you this. It's my Seven Samurai Tattoo.
Anthony: Ah-ha! Yes it is.
Dustin: And this is Yomoko Musashi Tsuba.
Anthony: Yes. I'm trying to think ... what's his name? Kojiro was that his ...
Dustin: Kojiro Sasaki?
Anthony: No the name of his character that he played. I forget, but yeah. Carried that huge sword and the whole thing.
Dustin: Kojiro Sasaki.
Dustin: I think is his name. With the swallow strike?
Anthony: No, no. You're thinking of Sasaki Kojiro.
Dustin: Oh yeah. Right, right, right.
Anthony: From Inagaki Samurai 1, 2, and 3.
Anthony: But thank you for doing your homework. But those were my inspiration. I said this is how choreography should look because it should drive story and articulate character or it's not serving the project or the performer as well as it could.
So in the instances where ... obviously I love verbal dialogue, I also love physical dialogue and oddly enough later in my career I've done more stunt work, and stunt doubling, and it's kinda like whereas I would prefer to be playing the role if I can't I'm kinda happy to help some other actor make the most of their character driven action. Like when trained Michelle Pfeiffer as cat woman.
Anthony: She saw that I was trying to give her another tool for her performance and-
Dustin: I think you did.
Anthony: ... that's all her with the ... thank you. Well none of the other stunt girls got anywhere near her ability with the whip.
Anthony: Oh not a-
Dustin: Was she a natural you think?
Anthony: Well she's a very hard worker and she's-
Dustin: I was about to say she must've put the work in.
Anthony: ... an actress. She really did.
Jeff: 'Cause it looks-
Anthony: I had six weeks to train her.
Jeff: ... like she literally was born with a whip in her hand.
Anthony: It changed how she moved. It grounded her for working and she was never in less than three inch heels, and occasionally she was in five inch heels-
Jeff: Yeah. Yeah.
Dustin: That's intense.
Anthony: ... but she had Kathy Long five time world kickboxing champion who did a couple of ... and Michelle did all her stuff, she did her fights. There's a couple inserts where you've got Kathy Long going, "Okay that one had some pepper on it." And Chris Peters was doing her high falls, obviously you're not gonna have Michelle do that.
Jeff: Of course.
Anthony: But the whip work was all Michelle.
Anthony: And she said at the end she said, "If you weren't an actor this wouldn't have been this successful a collaboration." 'Cause she after one day where I wasn't there said, "I want him on set whenever I'm here." Because I'd given her a foundation to where we could literally walk on set and create something on the spot. And we did it for the ice princess sequence where she's tied up in the chair. I got there a little early and Tim Burton, who was talking to me by this point which was kinda cool.
Jeff: That's nice.
Anthony: He says, "I'd love to be acting for you Tim but I'm here to help." Well the first thing we shot was her wrapping Christopher Walken around the neck but that was practical.
Jeff: Oh wow.
Anthony: No inserts or none of this cutaways and it's already ... no he's running and she's going and it's over the shoulder and you see him go-
Dustin: That's a nice acting-
Jeff: It looked like that's real.
Anthony: Oh it's real.
Anthony: Yeah and that was the first thing we shot.
Anthony: And it's about 34 degrees and the whips are all wet which makes them cranky. It's like getting a cat wet. But no she did a great job. But with the ice princess Tim says, "I don't think there's any whip work here Anthony." I said, "Yes sir." And I went over and I sat in the corner and I watched them go through the rehearsal and when they were done I went over to Michelle 'cause we had this kind of professional relationship where I could, if I had an idea I could offer it to her. And I said, "You know if you were to swing in on your whip and then cut her free and dump her. Whip on one hand and chair in the other says lion tamer the world over no matter what language you speak."
Jeff: Oh totally.
Anthony: And she goes, "Tim, Anthony has this idea." So that's what she did. She swang in on the rope, she cut him free, she dumped the thing, she cracked the whip, she threw the chair, the girl's trying to scramble away, she grabs the girl around the waist, pulls her in for a two shot for her girl talk, and we rehearsed it twice, and shot it, and we were done.
Anthony: We literally created it on the spot. But the other things we would walk in and look and go, "Okay there's just too much crap on the floor so we're gonna keep everything in the vertical, or the diagonal." And I'd say to the lighting guys I'd say, "Can you move that light about six inches that way? 'Cause if you can give me 14 inches for Michelle she can work in that." And then I'd not have to worry about it, she could focus on the performance.
In The Penguin's lair she's cracking at Max Shreck, wow, Christoper Walken and then she's keeping Michael Keaton at bay and she's doing both at the same time, well that's all Michelle. And when we're on the roof we're doing okay we've gotta fit ourselves in between these things and that's why I like to train actors. Give me time to give them a foundation and then we don't have to shoot cutaways, and story boards, and all this other shit [crosstalk 00:26:24]
And whenever the audience can see the actor doing it then they get to go, "I could do that too. I could rise to the occasion." You just don't get that with CGI.
Jeff: Not even close.
Anthony: As much as I admire Halle Berry as an actress, her Catwoman it's all CGI.
Jeff: Yeah. Yeah.
Anthony: And there's an attitude. Gary Powell who's coordinator on Crystal Skull, I got Harrison ready but I wasn't there on set most of the time.
Jeff: Was that a different experience? Because working with someone like Michelle you're-
Anthony: What he said was ... when I came in to meet him 'cause Harrison called me, Harrison hired me.
Jeff: Oh okay.
Anthony: Which probably didn't go over well. But he says, "No you don't have to teach him very much, I'm just gonna stick a handle in his hand, we'll CGI things in." And I'm going, "No. This is his iconic character action prop, let's let em see it."
Jeff: The hat and the whip, it's like come on.
Anthony: But they were also kinda stuck in an idea that they wanted everything familiar. And I'm kinda going, "Well we've already seen that. How about if we get to do something new?" But I didn't get to go to that party. But I got him ready and it's all Harrison 'cause there was nobody else on set who could do the whip so Harrison was doing his own stuff.
Jeff: And that's what I was kinda getting at because when you deal with actors like with Michelle you're kinda starting from scratch and she's putting the work in but-
Dustin: Pun intended.
Jeff: ... ha ha ha I got it. Catwoman, I got it, I got it. But when you're doing it with Harrison he's had that training with the whip already.
Anthony: Well it'd been 19 years. So he called me up and says, "Is this Anthony De Longis?" "Yes." And he says, "This is Harrison Ford. Well I guess we'd better get you in here to shake the dust off." I said, "Yes sir." And it was great working with him. We had about five weeks that we're juggling his schedule and he wanted to work with the long whip, which was-
Dustin: Is that more difficult?
Anthony: A little. It just, it's more whip that you have to keep energized. I'll give you a demonstration before you leave.
Dustin: I would love-
Anthony: ... inside a railroad track.
Anthony: okay? Here's what most people do with the whip. This is the standard way to use a whip, like this and most people do this. Okay, and they make a big noise. Well that's nice, that's what a whip's designed to do. What else have you got?
The problem with this is, I looked at this and went well when the whip lines up with itself it forms a loop. In the standard method you're pushing water uphill so it can go downhill. So if you get a loop at all it's at the very end, make sense?"
Anthony: So what I do is I turn my hand over and I form my alignment loop right away. Now the whip rolls, water rolls downhill so does the whip. You see?
Now the other thing is because my elbow, forearm, hand and hand are all on the railroad track the loop is above my hand, so it's outside the railroad track. So therefore everything inside the railroad track with me ... let me take that outta my pocket. Everything inside the railroad track with me is going to be safe because I'm going down the railroad track. I'm going past it. You follow? No matter what figure I'm throwing is it's going forward.
Dustin: Oh my God.
Anthony: Okay? Now you'll notice-
Dustin: I just got the chills.
Anthony: ... [crosstalk 00:29:46] you're fine. You're outta range.
Jeff: Yeah that's true, that's true.
Anthony: Now this is how far away from you I am. Okay?
Anthony: But if you turn your head, snap your head to the right, on queue everybody will think I hit you in the face rather than just deafened you.
Dustin: Oh my God.
Anthony: Okay? But what I'm doing is I'm going down the railroad track. I'm going down the railroad track vertically, or I'm going down the railroad track diagonally, or I'm going down the railroad track horizontally, or rising diagonal which is on the forehand side, or rising vertical, right? Same thing on the backhand side. You have vertical, you have diagonal, you have horizontal, you have rising diagonal, and rising vertical. Just here I'm following the handle. Or I could do this, I could do my favorite [inaudible 00:30:40]. There's all the ones I taught to Michelle. Okay?
Anthony: If I'm gonna wrap you ... put your hands over your head.
Dustin: [inaudible 00:30:48]
Anthony: Sure. Okay? I'm gonna wrap your legs, I'm not gonna swing the whip in and hit you 'cause that's easy. I can hit you and then the whip'll wrap around you. What I wanna do is go past you. Okay?
Anthony: It got yah pretty good didn't it? See so this is gonna go past you, okay?
Anthony: There like that, right? That's how I get girls. That's how I got my wife, right Mary?
Anthony: Okay. Come here we're gonna do our bull whip tango.
Anthony: If I wanna hit the target I don't stand over here and go, "Gee I hope this works." Okay?
Dustin: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Anthony: I put ... leave your hand there.
Anthony: I put this on the railroad track and then I run it over with my super sonic train. You notice that my rear foot is pointing where I want this to go.
Anthony: Which is kind of important 'cause if I come up here and I wanna wrap your arm instead of hitting it, okay, what I'm doing is I'm going past it, cracking, and then enveloping. So it goes past it, cracks, and then it envelops. And that's from that angle, or this angle, okay, or this angle. Okay? And-
Sometimes I've had roles like in Highlander my friend Braun McAsh, who was sword master for the show. Terrific guy very, very knowledgeable and also wonderfully secure in his own knowledge. So he was so happy to have ... he says, "I'm so glad you're here. Now I only have to do half the fight." So basically, and this is how we both love to work where we actually do this at conventions and live and he's one of the few people I will improvise with with swords in front of people.
Dustin: 'Cause you can trust him.
Anthony: Well I can trust him A we're gonna keep each other safe.
Jeff: Yeah you're not gonna get whacked.
Anthony: And then again, or cheap shotted or [crosstalk 00:32:35]. 'Cause also he's an entertainer, we're there to entertain the audience but we do a thing where okay you have this weapon, I have this weapon who attacks first? Well I'm the bad guy so I do and it's like well I could do this counter, or I could do this counter. And we'd ask the audience, "You be the fight choreographer." So they'd say B so I'd attack he would do this and he would counter me and then I would say, "Well I could do this or I could do this. Which will it be?" And I go, "A or B?" "A." And then we'd go back and forth and we'd evolve a piece of choreography.
And what's nice with Braun is he also comes from a theater background and so in theater there is no back to one, you have to make it work. There is no ... you're telling a story with the physicality and you wanna tell something that's very satisfying and both of us have a tendency to kind of ... we like about a five phrase structure where you get to see the ability of the combatants, you get to see that they're very evenly matched, you get to see the hero start to and have to manage to struggle his way back and then you-
Dustin: Well you wanna root for him, right?
Dustin: Get up.
Anthony: Yeah, yeah. But at the same time you don't want it to be a Kung Fu movie where he gets run over with seven trucks and then somehow-
Dustin: And somehow he still gets back up, yeah.
Anthony: ... manages to get up. Yeah, yeah. You're just kinda going, "No." Okay let's have a believable amount of punishment but also many is the time, 'cause I was choreographing for the Old Globe, and I was choreographing for the Ahamanson, and I was choreographing for the Tape Room, and I choreographed for Le Opera for 20 years from '85 to 2005.
Anthony: Yeah I though that was a hoot.
Jeff: I bet.
Dustin: It must've been.
Anthony: World class voices but most of the artists hadn't had a conversation with their body in a while.
Anthony: But I would win their trust and I would always push the envelope they'd always let me recoreograph whatever show was coming 'cause most opera singers have roles that they specialize in. I think I did five Carmens, three of them with Placido Domingo.
Jeff: Oh wow.
Anthony: And we did La Fanciulla del West which is The Girl of the Golden West which is the original spaghetti western, it's 1911. And he was Dick Johnson, the bandit who's in disguise. We had live horses on stage-
Dustin: Oh my Gosh.
Anthony: ... we had a huge saloon fight two stories and guys crashing tables and stuff-
Dustin: Yeah you gotta crash through the railing onto a table, right? That's a necessity.
Anthony: Well kinda. Well actually I had him caught 'cause it was easier to control.
Anthony: But we did all that. Oh there was a section where it'd been an Italian director and he was trying to [inaudible 00:35:21] something. But he got dis invited 'cause he was Italian he has a temper, and I think he threw a bottle at somebody on a different production and [inaudible 00:35:30] says, "Yeah we won't be inviting you to come." So he had his assistant come and there's a section go, "Well can you do a lasso?" And I said, "Well yeah I can do that but I'm really good with a whip." And so there's this one section where one of the bandits that we've captured who reveals that Dick Johnson, this and that, there's a section where he sprints for basically the orchestra pit and I reach out and I wrap him around the neck with the whip and grab him.
And I'd worked with this guy before so he trusted me 'cause you're going around the vocal chords of an opera singer. He says, "No, no. It'll be good. Yeah those'll be great." Kinda going, "Yeah well okay put your hand up there when I ... as I throw the whip." But we did that live every night.
There was a section when they said, "Uh could you do a whip crack here?" And I said, "Well I could go (whip noise) or I could go crack, crack, crack, crack, crack." And they went, "Yeah do that one."
Dustin: The fancy one.
Anthony: So every night I'm perched on the edge of this wagon as Placido Domingo's on his knees and I'm cracking this whip, and Placido I've worked with a bunch of times too, so he's moving, I'm standing and straddling a wagon wheel and I'm up so I can't adjust ... I have a place that I can put this and he keeps moving closer, and closer, and closer. I'm going, "Placido I appreciate your trust but you're not making this any easier."
But for every night at that point in the opera the whole orchestra would stop while I supplied the tympani-
Jeff: Oh that's so cool.
Anthony: ... and they would pick up again. So that was really cool.
Jeff: That's really cool.
Anthony: So I have some wonderful memories from doing that. But to get back to your question you asked so long ago I love it when I get the chance to come in, like Braun and I we worked season three on Blackmail and then in season five I came back to do Duende, which was the mysterious circle, it was the first time it'd ever been done on film. And we did that together and then Adrian would step in and perform what Braun had been doing. And Adrian did a terrific job-
Dustin: Was he good?
Anthony: ... both times. He was. He-
Dustin: I mean he had to be he had so much-
Dustin: It went on for twelve seasons didn't it?
Anthony: No, seven. But he ... it was six really and then the seventh season they were sort of looking to branch out and it became The Raven with Elizabeth Grayson. But-
Anthony: ... he would-
Dustin: Wow I totally forgot about that.
Anthony: ... do 22 fights in a season.
Anthony: So of course he got better. But to Adrian's credit he would train himself in the off season.
Anthony: So with having Braun helping with choreography and the fact that he's getting constant practice most of the time he's carrying the people he's fighting 'cause they haven't taken responsibility for their own training.
Dustin: Yeah and they're coming in for one episode, yeah.
Anthony: And then in the off season, yeah, he would keep training.
Dustin: He must've had a real passion for it.
Anthony: So by the time I saw him in ... well and he reaped the rewards of it. He actually is now touring kind of all over the country, all over the world, with his sword experience.
Anthony: Where he's inviting-
Anthony: ... people to come and have the experience of working with a sword. So he's getting a chance to continue on and share this with people too. And the fans are loving it.
But with season three he was really good, season five he was really, really good and we most people think that our fight in the ring with rapier and dagger ... 'cause he put down the katana to go back to the weapon that I had taught him when I was his sword master.
Jeff: Right, right.
Dustin: I remember that.
Anthony: So that was also departure. And it's on my sword master reel online. Delongis.com D-E-L-O-N-G-I-S.com.
Jeff: Put it right here.
Anthony: And it was great. It was another case where we got to rehearse ... we had three fights. We got to rehearse the first fight because the camera truck broke down and we had half an hour to rehearse. And then the next one was one where we were indoors in the school and we really didn't ... we kinda made that up as we were going along based on the stuff that we'd done, and the choreographing of the three fights. And then in the third fight, the big finale, where we were again on the circle and we had Braun and said to them, "Please coat this." Because indoors it was really slippery, he had actually had thrown some Coke on the floor 'cause when the dry ice it gets kinda sticky to try to give us a little bit of traction.
And so we arrive at the location and it's raining. And we went, "Well did you coat the thing?" "Well we were going to but it started to rain." And we were like, "Ugh." So it was like being on an ice skating rink and if you've ever seen some of the behind the scenes stuff there's ... and I was doing a lot of twisting and torquing 'cause I was wanting to get that erect Spanish defiance, you know?
Jeff: Yup, yup.
Anthony: And that confidence of the bull fighter, and then the quick staccato rhythms of a flamenco dancer, and lots of twisting and torquing and working all the angles. So there's one where I twisted and my feet just went and I'm literally horizontal, and it's like I'm going, "Okay ditch the weapon so I don't kill Adrian." And I disappear from camera and you see water sploosh and it's just like well that's the comedic shot isn't it? That was in behind the scenes.
Jeff: Oh wow.
Anthony: But so then Braun and I did Gillian Horvath, who was one of the writers on Highlander, she became showrunner on a show called Myth Quest and said, "I have two guys ..." it was a Lancelot episode so I was Lancelot and he was Meleager and we got to choreograph and then we got to perform it ourselves, that's also on my reel. But it's double broadsword vs. broadsword and ax.
Anthony: So that was fun.
Jeff: Yeah. That's-
Anthony: And then there are the times where if I'm not playing the role and they ask me to come in and choreograph I will choreograph, again, the best story that I can within the limitations of the skill of the performer and usually you get little or no time to train and that's when you start doubling, where you have somebody that can execute the story of the choreography, and the longer you can work the performer into the shot the better. Sometimes all it is is a couple of closeups as they go here like this, and sometimes, like Atomic Blonde with Charlize Theron, Charlize was a ballet dancer so she has the training, she has the physicality, and she had the desire.
And they discovered that oh my goodness we can do prolonged sequences with the actress. Which, of course, again gets the emotional investment of the audience when they see the actor doing it it gives them that, "I could do that too." It's one of the things I told Harrison that I think he does every man, the ordinary man in an extraordinary situation, kinda better than anybody else.
Anthony: If you watch him run when he's being shot at he looks like he's swatting bees.
Jeff: Oh totally, totally.
Anthony: It's not handsome, and pretty-
Jeff: Right, right.
Anthony: He doesn't look like Tom Cruise, he's like, "Oh shit." Which is kinda the way you probably would.
Jeff: Running from gunfire, of course.
Anthony: I'm gonna get stung, I'm gonna get stung.
Jeff: Yeah. Through all of your weapons training is there a weapon that you gravitate towards more? Is there one that you feel more comfortable with?
Anthony: Saber is my favorite weapon.
Jeff: Saber's your favorite.
Anthony: Well I was a saber fencer and also I think it's the horseman's sword, it's the horseman's broad sword and it's been virtually unchanged since 14 something on up until World War I when machine guns made it impractical. It's a good hand shield but not against machine guns.
Jeff: Not against machine guns.
Anthony: And then I've spent the last decade studying shinkendo, I'm a second degree black belt and instructor under Kasho Toshishiroban, and my Sensei is Matthew Lynch and I'll probably be doing that.
My knees aren't quite as buoyant as they were 45 years ago.
Jeff: It happens.
Anthony: So I kinda go, "Ah the explo-" well it's funny the Italian style is what we think of as modern fencing, which is very athletic, very explosive. The Spanish style is the antithesis of that and it was almost unchanged for about 300 years which is why it was very exciting when I did the Highlander there wasn't much information available on it except other people bagging on it and going, "Ah yeah it's way too complicated and they're all isosteric and yeah metaphysical." And you're kinda going, "They didn't really change significantly for about 300 years so it had to ..." and they were some of the world's most feared duelists.
But they are very much upright and they essentially walk, they don't run. And they do a whole lot of subtle, elusive footwork to create superior leverage which is, of course, a foundational principle in all martial arts. So but I'm doing the Japanese sword which feels very right, I feel like I've come full circle back to Akira Kurosawa.
Jeff: That's incredible.
Dustin: How much more difficult is dual sword fighting? And how much did you study? I know Miyamoto Musashi's is almost the founder of dual sword fighting when deep down Ichiru-
Anthony: Fighting with two weapons?
Anthony: The Nitoken? Well it's wonderful. It gives you lots of options. Are you asking me how practical it is?
Dustin: I'm asking how difficult it is.
Anthony: Are you right handed?
Anthony: How well do you do things with your left hand?
Dustin: It's all right.
Anthony: Good so you do work to try and ... do you throw a ball well?
Anthony: Can you throw a knife with your left hand?
Dustin: I've never tried, honestly.
Anthony: Oh well we'll have to see about that. It's humbling. No I'm very right hand dominant but I also very much train with both hands. Second great teacher in my life was Danny Nosanto and I trained with him for over a decade and he ... between what I learned from Maestro Ralph Faulkner in European sword and what I learned from Danny Nosanto particularly in terms of angles on the ground, and footwork. European swordplay is very linear at least in it's final incarnations. What we think of as modern fencing is the evolution to rapier to small sword, which is very linear. It's like the piece that's the sport version of-
Dustin: Back and forth.
Anthony: ... all these weapons. Exactly.
Anthony: Well that wasn't always so.
Dustin: Stabby, stabby.
Anthony: Pokey, pokey, pokey. It's more like you gotta get through this and I'm not gonna be cooperative. So there's a lot of impaling yourself on your opponent's sword. Well the idea of a sword fight is you lose you die. You die, you both die. That's not ... and that's how most sword fights end. And then hopefully you win and aren't horribly maimed for your whole life.
So one of the reasons I stopped doing competition fencing because is it became about beating a machine. I touched you seven hundredths of a second faster than you touched me. Yeah but we're both dead. So I was kinda going, "Well you sort of lost the spirit of the ..." it's like the spirit of the law and the letter of the law. The letter of the law is I'm seven hundredths of a second quicker than you. Yeah but the letter of the law is I hit you and I didn't get hit because I'm pretending this is sharp.
So yeah there's that. But working with Danny Nosanto I also learned double weapons. One of the wonderful things about Philippino martial arts most martial arts when we think of Karate and everything, Kung Fu, or whatever they teach you to use the parts of your body and they connect the parts of the body first and then if you stick around long enough they'll stick a weapon in your hand and go-
Dustin: Which is an extension of your body.
Anthony: ... okay now you have an exten- exactly. Very good.
Dustin: Thank you.
Anthony: Well and I tell people, "Look whatever this tool is, whether it's a sword, or a whip, a club-
Dustin: Baseball bat?
Anthony: ... whatever it has to be ..." exactly. In all the things you learn ... I can make a weapon of opportunity out of pretty much everything 'cause I have all this structure. But I tell people, "Look that sword there is an inanimate object. It is a dead thing until you pick it up. Now it's an extension of your will and your skill. And you may have all the will in the world but how much skill have you cultivated along the way? The more the better." And to get back to something you asked earlier the reason I keep studying is, at least one of the little mantras that helps keep me doing it, is if I'm not getting better I'm just getting older and there's only one of those things I can do anything about.
But the reason for it is whether I'm getting to do the performance, or whether I'm directing, or whether I'm coordinating, or whether I'm training somebody else to make the most of their action opportunities to drive story and articulate their character it should be specific, and it's a tremendous opportunity. But knowledge is power, knowledge is choices and your arc is in the choices you make but when I could ... it's like when you look at a Jackie Chan movie, he's one of the only people that you go, "Okay everybody else needs a script but it's Jackie, I don't care he just walked in the room and I'm right away going okay what's he gonna make a weapon out of?"
Jeff: Yeah, exactly. Exactly.
Anthony: Because he can.
Jeff: Because he can.
Anthony: He also brings a wonderful sense of humor to things where he's not afraid to take a beating but at the same time it all seems to be happening by accident. Oh sorry, oh sorry.
Dustin: Talk about physical acting, right?
Anthony: Oh very much. And it was the same thing with Jet Li. They're often referred to that Jackie's the Gene Kelly and Jet is the Fred Astaire. It's not a bad comparison but yeah Jackie builds a sense of humor into his work and Jet, I think, is a little more serious.
Dustin: Yeah. Quite a bit more serious.
Anthony: Kick your ass.
Dustin: It kinda seems like that.
Anthony: Same thing like with the whip. The whip goes 768 miles per hour. You want to have an ally, not an adversary. Most people yank and crank the whip and they use one set of muscles in the arm and shoulder and I actually, it's one of the proudest I've ... I created a more efficient, more effective, more accurate, safer, and more aesthetic way of working with the whip with my role in Loop. And instead of just slashing, which I can do, I actually roll and stab. So my point of accuracy is about the size of a quarter which means I'm gonna hit you with 768 miles of force. Go ahead cover up, I'll hit you somewhere else.
Jeff: Oh it still hits you, yeah. Wow.
Anthony: I'll show you later. 'Cause I watched other people and I went, "That makes no sense to me. You are working so hard and the whip's ending up behind you." Which is, of course, I'd never do that with a sword. With a sword, a saber, this is called a milline which means windmill. In Spanish swordplay and in Philippino martial arts these are called au redondos, or circulos, and what has to happen is ... oh look a cold steel knife.
If you have a rigid grip now you can be very powerful but it's really slow and could go from the shoulder. And what's happening ... I went to the British War Museum years after I'd been working on this and went, "Oh I was right." Because there's eight angles of attack, there's verticals, there's horizontals, forehand, and backhand, there's descending diagonals, there's ascending diagonals and you can cut and return on the line, or you can thrust on all these lines. Some of them you use a lot, some of them you hardly ever use. Philippinos are about the only ones who use this really odd ... and that was to get in under armor. But theoretically there's eight angles of attack.
Footwork wise there's forward and back which is linear, there's side to side which is lateral, there's build a wall and get behind it that's descending diagonal or the male triangle in Philippino martial arts, and then there's ascending diagonal where I let you go where you wanna go and I monitor and I move outta the way. So you go past me and I have now injured and I have created superior leverage. That's what the mysterious circle is all about, and of course every other martial arts in the world.
So there's eight angles, it's another asterisk, and circle. Because if I move and you move too nothing's changed. If I move and you don't now I have better leverage. So that's one of the things I do when I'm teaching people is I give them an overview. I say, "Look one lifetime isn't enough to learn everything about any of it but the more arts you study the more you start to find the things [inaudible 00:53:28] that make this compatibly viable and every system has eight angles of attack, depending on what the tool is if you have a tool, whether it's a stick, or a sword, or a piece of rebar, or a fireplace poker, or a baseball bat you're gonna use these in one of these eight angles, probably more than one, whether it's rigid or flexible and you're gonna be working angles to generate power. You're stepping, driving off the rear foot, and torquing your hips. That gives you power which is, again, something that's part of Philippino martial arts.
Back to the redondo the idea is the blade follows my hand. This happens with the whip 'cause I use the whip as if it's a flexible blade. So from here if I'm over here and I wanna get to over here I don't wanna go backwards, cut my hair. You don't wanna do this, right? What I wanna do is I want to relax my grip, change my angle, and close my hand. And as I do this ... okay my hand was very small and I'm behind my guard, hear that? I'm accelerating the blade each time as I go and it's very fast. Okay this is called milline, or redondo, or circulo, whatever you like.
But you have to release your grip which means I'm always behind my elbow so I'm always in skeletal alignment and I'm very fast because my hand's moving small, the blade is moving big. Does that make sense?
Anthony: That doesn't work if you're doing this.
Jeff: Right, right.
Dustin: That all reminds me of Katana work where it's, what do they call it, stirring the air?
Anthony: I supposed.
Dustin: And then the eight way cut. It's all-
Anthony: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. Oh yeah.
Dustin: It's all the same.
Anthony: Oh yeah. And that's it. And when you can start to say, "Oh." Well Bruce Lee called them ribbons of truth but there are these foundational, structural elements that connect all the arts. So anything you studied will help inform whatever else you're studying as long as you realize those weapon's specific adjustments that maximize the effectiveness of that tool, or reference that particular culture. But what makes it work are these foundational principles.
So that's why I use the whip the way I do. I am relaxing my grip and doing this and when instead of hacking and chopping I actually turn this over and I form a loop. Now I follow my handle and whatever angle my hand is on that's the angle of the handle. So I form the loop, follow the handle, this rolls out accelerating as it does until at the end of it it goes over 700 miles an hour.
Dustin: It sounds like fly fishing.
Anthony: And it'll cut you like a knife.
Jeff: Oh yeah.
Anthony: People tell me that. I don't fly fish but I'll bet I'd be pretty good at it.
Dustin: I was actually about to say that.
Jeff: I bet you would too.
Dustin: I bet you would.
Jeff: We've covered this actually, speaking on your mantra, but it's the question that we ask every guest on our show. Through your career, through everything you've learned with your teaching, and your acting, and the fight choreography, and everything that you've done what fuels you to keep doing it? What fuels you to keep wanting to be better, like you said?
Anthony: I like to be creative and I like to cash a check.
Jeff: It's a good answer.
Anthony: Well the more things you can do the more likely someone needs those skills. Here, I'll give you each a card.
Jeff: Excellent, excellent.
Anthony: It's a two-sider and I tell people if I can't do it you probably don't need it.
Jeff: Don't need it.
Anthony: Yeah. It's a little arrogant but ... of course to me the difference between arrogance and confidence is can you deliver the goods?
Jeff: Yes. For sure.
Anthony: But I like to stay creative and part of being creative is I'm always trying to learn new things and learn what I already know even better and one of the best ways for me to do that is to teach because when I teach people, excuse me, I get to rediscover what I already know through their eyes and I'm ... very often I'll tell somebody, "I've been teaching this over 30 years, I've never taught it this way before 'cause you teach me how to teach you." So it becomes very personal and very individual. I don't teach everybody the same. Where I'm taking you is similar but how we get there is kinda gonna be up to how hard you wanna work, but also what do you already know that I can tap into or, "Ah we'll go on this journey together and if you wanna know and I know how to do it I'll find a way to communicate the information to you."
So that helps me. And mostly what it's done is it's fueled me with this arsenal of choices, and possibilities, and inspiration if you will so that when I'm given a chance whether I'm doing verbal dialogue, or physical dialogue, or I'm directing something, or I'm writing something I just ... oh there's a group ... Wendy Jones and Liliana Bordoni, they are writing Highlander Imagined which is they've taken the Highlander series and they're goin well what if Tessa hadn't died and how would this effect ... so they've written ... golly have they written three novels now, or four? I wrote action for them on the last two.
Jeff: Oh nice.
Anthony: Which was kind of fun. So I'm having to take something that I would normally do visually and then paint that picture on the page. So that's fun.
But yeah again it kinda comes down to I don't like to just sit. I get bored.
Jeff: No I hear that. I hear that.
Anthony: And then, of course, so yeah having the voiceover work is fun because thanks to the theater training I don't blow out my voice. If you're doing video games there's some stressful voice where yeah most people blow their voice out in about half an hour and I can go a four hour session and I'm kinda going, "Thank God I developed the craft." It's why the Brits get all the work 'cause they-
Jeff: It's the truth.
Anthony: ... have craft God darn it.
Jeff: Hey it's the truth though.
Anthony: And you just kinda go, "I have craft. Actually I can speak that way if you want me to."
Jeff: Oh my gosh.
Dustin: All right. So you're teleported in the middle of a battlefield, right, and everybody's fighting with weapons. Which weapon do you choose to [crosstalk 01:00:25]
Anthony: Cloak of invisibility.
Jeff: Best answer ever. Best answer ever, yes. Oh gosh. Finally I just want, if there's anything that you can talk about 'cause I know that, look, there are projects out there that-
Anthony: Man needs a good cup of coffee.
Jeff: That's the one.
Anthony: Gets you started in the morning. Death Wish.
Jeff: That's it, right there.
Anthony: If you're gonna go for a career in show business there's no more apt metaphor than Death Wish.
Jeff: It's true. It's true. It's true. Is there anything project wise that you can talk about coming up that you've worked on? 'Cause I know a lot of times there's stuff in the works that you can't talk about or whatever. Or at least the best way that our viewership can follow you, would it be your website?
Anthony: I think my website.
Anthony: Which is-
Jeff: Which I'll put right up here in the episode.
Anthony: ... delongis.com, D-E-L-O-N-G-I-S.com. You can also find me on my IMDB page but that's only film and television, voiceover work as well. It doesn't show any of the theater work. But still it's nice to have somebody out there semi keeping track. Every once and a while we have to go, "Where's all the stuff I've done recently?"
Know the crazy thing about a career in show business is I never really know what my next job is gonna be. I got a call two weeks ago to teach Kathy Bates how to ... I suppose I shouldn't say too much about it.
Jeff: Yeah I was gonna say I don't wanna get you in trouble.
Anthony: How much time did I have to teach her something very high skills? 30 minutes.
Jeff: Oh my goodness.
Dustin: Oh wow.
Jeff: Oh my goodness.
Anthony: So I saw the location and I said, "Okay well she's not even gonna be able to do any of this so I'm not gonna bother waste time trying to teach her that." But she's a terrific actress, and she trusted me, and we got the job done but it's just kinda like going, "I had six weeks to train Michelle and then I kept training her throughout filming for the next two months too."
Jeff: 30 minutes?
Anthony: So that's ideal. Well we're constantly breaking our record for how little time can we possibly have 'cause it's been a while since ... actually I've never worked on a feature where I had, "Okay we're gonna be doing this and we're gonna rehearse for three months, and then we're gonna go in here, and then we're gonna do pre vis for a month-"
Jeff: Never the case.
Anthony: " ... and then we're gonna do this, and then we're gonna have ten days to shoot just the fight." I'm kinda going, "Oh that must be wonderful." Even when I did Masters of the Universe I was playing Blade, I got to create a character that didn't exist in the He Man universe which was really cool.
Jeff: Super fun.
Anthony: It really was. And then Walter Scott was coordinating and I worked for Walter a bunch of times since and I worked for him on Magnificent Seven, I worked for him on ... oh golly, what else? Well one of my favorite things-
Dustin: The new Magnificent Seven? Must be new.
Anthony: It was the TV series.
Anthony: Yeah. So yeah this is 10, 12 years ago.
Dustin: Yeah okay.
Anthony: And then a movie I'm really proud of is Second Hand Lions with Michael Caine, and Robert Duvall, and Haley Joel Osment and this is what's important about being a man and Michael Caine is telling the boy all of these flashback stories and they said about they were in the foreign legion, and rescuing princesses, and battling evil sheiks, and swords, and stuff and they said, Walter said they want it to look like, 'cause it's memory and in his imagination, that they want it to look like Errol Flynn and The Mark of Zorro with Tyrone Power and he says, "Oh I can do that." So it was good.
But anyway this was the first time that I worked for him and Loren Janes is a very famous stuntman he used to double Steve McQueen and-
Anthony: ... yeah and he was there to do the sword stuff and Loren I worked with him ... I did the first season of MacGyver and I played Piedra the assassin. Got to do-
Dustin: I remember that.
Anthony: ... five different accents and I actually could pin myself to the ceiling and hang like a ninja-
Anthony: ... going, "Oh hurry up, hurry up, hurry up. I'm really doing this." But it was a really fun role and so anyway he knew me. And he says, "You know more about this stuff than I do, you train Dolph." So I got to train Dolph for a month and then I didn't see him for a month 'cause he was busy shooting other things. And I kept saying to Walter, "When can I see the location so I can put together some ideas for you?" And he said, "Oh we're gonna have all the time in the world, we're gonna get down there we'll be there for six weeks."
Okay so we get to the location, what do you think was the first thing we shot? Fight scene.
Anthony: I had about an hour.
Jeff: Oh man. God.
Anthony: So remember the stuff I taught you? Yeah, okay. And then we had to kill some boxes that were there and then he picked up Saurad the Lizard Man and threw him at me and went, "Oh great so I'm going to be a stunt man." On the concrete. Made worse by the fact that my chain mail ... back 30 years ago there weren't a lot of people making chain mail. In theater they would knit it and spray it and from a distance it looked pretty good. So Julie Weiss was the wardrobe lady. She had me all in surgical rubber it was lined fortunately. I got her to take the arms off so I could actually breathe. But the chain mail was six tenth of a lengths of pipe cut into quarter inch pieces so I'm probably wearing about 50 feet of pipe which is heavy. So I'm running around in that.
Anthony: But so that's what usually happens. And then we got to-
Jeff: Like thrown to the wolves.
Anthony: Yeah. And they also said, 'cause Walter at that point was going, "Oh yeah you're kinda handy to have around. You wanna double Frank Langella?" And I said, "Well yeah I trained Dolph, and Dolph trusts me, and we'll take care of each other." 'Cause he had Buick Slayer and [crosstalk 01:06:28]
And I'm going, "Okay so is this before or after the transformation? Is he Skeletor in his hood with his power staff or is he gonna be whatever he's gonna be, which I didn't know, is there something I need to know about his wardrobe?" And they said, "No, no. He's Skeletor." So I put together some nifty staff and sword moves where it wasn't Wushu but there are things where it moves around your body and there are things you can do so you're working the angles.
And ... oh God how was it? I guess it was ... I don't know if it was the afternoon before we were gonna shoot it or ... a few hours notice going, "No. No. No. This is after the transformation." So I basically had the Glenlivet elk horns and the New York skyline up here. So all of this stuff wasn't gonna go so I had to throw something together again in about an hour to kinda go, "All right, we're gonna do this now." And oh made better by the fact that we had lots of smoke. We had probably the biggest set piece probably since Ben Hurr on these two stages over at Laird. And they used a lotta smoke.
Well the smoke they were using makes a nice oily film on the floor.
Dustin: Oh right.
Anthony: Which again is slippery. And then I'm in Frank Langella's boots which fit Frank, they don't fit me. So they're too tight, they don't fit, and I always if I'm gonna have a boot put dance rubber on the bottom so you got some grip and his were leather soled. So nice leather soles here like this, and then I'm in the helmet which means ... here put this here. So I'm looking through essentially a visor so I have almost no peripheral vision, and then the feet are all good and slippery, and I gotta go down stairs. I'm going, "Ugh."
Jeff: That's incredible. That's normal.
Anthony: That's the time I haven't had to pull stuff together.
Jeff: Well like you said that's why you put the time in to the craft that you're doing 'cause you can then on the fly know that you trust yourself at least in that moment.
Anthony: You can protect ... 'cause Dolph's very, very good but he's slinging something that was enormously heavy.
Anthony: And we just made stuff up. And we're kinda going I have to protect myself at all times but at the same time protect him. It was fun working with him. I'd love to work with him again. That was why ... see where it really came to fruition was when I worked with Jet Li 'cause it was basically I came in with my 30 plus years of ... he had his 30 plus years so no matter what the other person does we were ... that's why it looked so-
Anthony: ... yeah. Because neither one of us knew the next move. We would read what the other person was doing.
Dustin: That is unreal.
Anthony: We would commit to where the attack was and then I do a thing where I've gotta fully ... I never close my hand to snap the blade, that's always the last thing I do. So you gotta ... you can see all the ... and if I have to I can not 'cause I was not gonna be the one that hit Jet in the face.
Actually one of the first things we did, they were used to making the jians, which is the Chinese scholar sword, they weren't used to making the sabers because they were a little longer, they were a little thinner, and they were a little more flexible. And when we were doing the first sequence we broke a couple. We weren't hitting terribly hard but they hadn't quite gotten the balance down.
And at one point he did a thing where he was coming up and blocking but he was throwing his hand into the back of his blade to essentially attack the attack and the edge of my ... my blade bent and came around and slapped him, like that, and the whole team went, "Ahh." And he goes, "No, no. That was me. That was me." 'Cause I'd said to him when we first met and shook hands is ... 'cause I looked at him, "Okay we're not gonna have this discussion are we?" I said, "So you know I'm gonna be coming straight for your head and I'm gonna be cutting right at your shoulder and your chest. These are the targets I'm gonna be targeting so you'll know." And he says, "Oh that's great, you're very skilled and you have a lot of experience." And I said, "Well yeah I'm very concerned and I'm very interested in your safety." And he goes, "Me too." And he laughed, and we got along great.
Jeff: That's excellent.
Dustin: That's awesome.
Anthony: but it was ... we were as close to improvising the fight as you can get.
Anthony: It's gonna start here and we're gonna do a bunch of stuff in the middle, I don't remember what, and then this is how this phrase ends, okay?
Anthony: See you on the ice.
Jeff: It's incredible. Anthony I can't thank you enough for sitting down and talking with us. It's absolutely inspiring to hear you talk about your craft and your career. And I just can't thank you enough for it.
Anthony: Well thank you. Oh let me get a quick plug for Rancho Indalo.
Jeff: Yes let's do that.
Dustin: By all means.
Anthony: This is where my school is. People come from all over the country, all over the world to train with us here and I do all the European weapons saber, and rapier, and broad sword, and double weapons rapier, and dagger, and small sword. And then we do the Philippino weapons we do sticks, and knives, and stick and knife, and we do double sticks, and double weapons. And we also to Japanese weapons both katana, and spear, and stuff. And then we, of course, I teach the whip unlike anybody else in the world. Then we also have archery, and we have an onsite gun range, and we have extraordinary riding opportunities. And if you can ride we can take weapons up on the horseback.
So it's a great place to train, my wife's an extraordinary chef. And we get professionals, we get people who wanna get into the business, and then we also get kinda people who have always wanted to-
Jeff: Live out their dream as an [crosstalk 01:12:36]
Anthony: Yeah. Exactly.
Jeff: Like this guy.
Anthony: Yeah. Yeah. I always wanted to do this but I had responsibilities. I had to be an adult. But no you don't have to be an adult here.
Jeff: That's excellent.
Anthony: So come out and train with us and share some of this adventure.
Jeff: Awesome. I'll put all that info in the liner notes of the show too. Thank you so much.
Dustin: Yeah. An honor.
Jeff: Excellent. Excellent.