“Trojan Warrior” has copped a battering from the Australian press… Why do you think that’s so?
I knew there were going to be critics out there. But for all of us, this film is a dream come true. My disappointment is, and I’ve learnt this even with my sport being a Greek background and all this… If my surname was “Smith”, kickboxing could have been something different in Australia with all the accolades that I’ve got. If I tell you some of the things that I’ve achieved, you’ll be surprised that you’ve never heard of them. In Thailand, in front of 82,000 people I was the first foreigner to win this title and I was crowned by the King of Thailand… Why isn’t that newsworthy? Sometimes it gets frustrating. Why is some other crappy sport like bowls more high profile than mine? At the end of the day, you go to see the wrestling, which everyone knows is fake – it’s entertainment though, don’t get me wrong – and I’m into being entertaining too. That’s what my director identified with, he said, “You look like an actor out there in the ring”. He saw that I had something special to offer. I’m very proud of what we’ve done. I really am. What disappoints me is I’ve travelled the world and experienced so many different cultures and been greeted with open arms, but I’ve never seen a country that suffers from tall poppy syndrome so bad as Australia does. And it really hurts me. They bagged my film. That’s fine. I expected them to anyway. One reviewer bagged my film but he bags a lot of films… and films that make money… and I look at him and my theory is, I look at that man and I see him as a frustrated film-wanna-be-maker. You know, he couldn’t find anything nice to say about our film. It’s a struggling industry. We need to pay money back in deferments to people who believed in us on the crew and everything. We want to make money and we want to do everything we can to pay people back. But how are we going to get an industry going like this… Here I am embarking on a new industry… I want to be a positive role model. I always look at myself as when I took on the sport. Because I was a computer programmer, you know. I didn’t need all that… punching my way to making a living was not what it was about for me. I stressed my family when I decided to go from a company car with suits and briefcase to getting up at five in the morning, wearing dirty old torn tracksuits… I would have mates coming back from nightclubs driving past me jogging saying, “Stan, what are you doing? The girls are asking about you at the club.” And I’m a sensitive, emotional guy… I’d break down and cry sometimes and think maybe I’m missing out on something. The end of that story is, I tell the kids when I’m talking to them, I took that world title belt and wore it in bed… There’s no girl that can make me feel better in bed than that belt.

So, what was it like working on the film?
People say to me when I go on programs, radio and everything, they say “Stan, what was your favorite scene?”. You know I don’t want to tell them a certain scene. If I have to tell them a certain scene, I want to tell them it’s my favorite because we did it in one take. Often we didn’t have enough film. You know that means a lot to me. I watch it and I enjoy different scenes for different reasons. You know I look at a scene and think ‘I did that in one take’ and Salik’s (film director) always saying “Stan, we’ve got to get out of here in two hours, you’ve got time for three takes”… There was a lot of pressure on me. That’s why people like Sal really believed that I’ve got something to offer down the track… with bigger things, bigger budgets. But my problem was that any critic that wanted to bag the film, they couldn’t find one positive thing about the film. It’s a Melbourne film! I’ve learnt one thing from this whole journey… anyone who makes a film should be commended and given some respect. It’s not an easy thing to do to complete a film. People are always struggling to make films.

Did you have much control over the fight scenes?
I had a little bit of control over the fight scenes in the movie but I didn’t want to take anything away from the person who was doing it and knew the industry. I’m known for my leg kicks and swinging backwards and all that so I tried to incorporate that but I’m not going to take the credit for it because it was somebody else. Stuntmen make you or break you in action films. I know that because I’ve been there. I’ve made other stars, other action people, look good – Don “The Dragon” Wilson, Chuck Norris… I’m good friends with Chuck Norris and I had a lot of opportunities to do things with him in films and even the series on TV. A lot of people overseas are really happy for me now. Roland Dantes, when we first met, was hugging me saying “Stan, I’m so proud to do this (“Trojan Warrior”) with you because I know you gonna do great things”. And they’ve offered me now three or four films in the Philippines.

Check out the “Trojan Warrior” website to watch the trailer.

Posted on June 1, 2004 in Interviews by


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