Movies & TV / Columns

Actor/Martial Artist Roger Yuan Talks w/411 About Blindsided: The Game

June 4, 2018 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
Blindsided: The Game

The 411 Interview: Roger Yuan


Roger Yuan is a martial artist, stunt performer, actor, writer, and producer who has worked all over the world, in both movies and television, for nearly three decades. He has worked with directors such as John Carpenter, Richard Donner, Sammo Hung, Stephen Norrington, Blade Edwards, among others (check out Yuan’s imdb page here). Yuan currently appears as Gordon the convenience store owner in the expanded short film Blindsided: The Game, directed by Clayton J. Barber and starring Eric Jacobus, a movie that is available for free on YouTube. In this interview, Yuan talks with this writer about Blindsided: The Game, his career in the movie business, and more.



Bryan Kristopowitz: How did you get involved with Blindsided: The Game?

Roger Yuan: Clayton Barber asked me to play the part of Gordon, and as we discussed, he was very open to me developing who Gordon is and his background. We also discussed how both of us, being more mature, wanted Blindsided to be a strong story first and foremost, as the action we knew we had the people and the chops to make it very visual and exciting. As an actor, that was very appealing to hear your director be so committed to telling an interesting story.


BK: How did you approach your character, convenience store owner Gordon?

RY: The thing about Gordon is, he is quite capable in his own right, physically, but Walter interjecting himself in Gordon’s business was the method to develop their strange friendship. Gordon had to be vulnerable, susceptible, human. He has a gambling problem, but his reason for gambling came from a very humane and empathetic path. He became a grocery store owner, to go straight and take care of his dying wife, as well to provide for his daughter. It’s always more rewarding to play a flawed character, hopefully with depth, so that the audience watching can empathize or identify with those human frailties.

BK: How much input, if any, did you have in creating the Gordon character? Did he change for you at all between the original Blindsided short and The Game expansion?

RY: I had a lot of input as I have described. Clayton was very supportive and open to discussing who and what Gordon is, and how the layers of ex- hard man, husband, father, gambling addict would be portrayed in the various scenes. With The Game expansion, we wanted to show that Gordon was quite physically capable but he is not flashy. We wanted him to be direct, fast and economical, someone whose experience is obvious and as an older guy, minimum effort with maximum damage makes him believable.

BK: How did you balance your dual roles on Blindsided: The Game, as Gordon and as the movie’s knife fight choreographer?

RY: Well it wasn’t difficult once we had fleshed out who and what Gordon was, I could put that in context once on camera as the character. In rehearsing the action, I was there as well, and Clay had asked me to be an extra set of eyes and help to make the action as best we could. Being both a fight coordinator, as well as actor, I think Clay was confident that I would make choreography choices that were not only visual, but also assist in physical storytelling.

BK: How did you get involved in the movie stunt industry?

RY: I have always been a martial artist first, and I used stunts and fight choreography as a method of doing what I loved, and making a living, so film was an exciting and privileged way of making an avocation into a vocation.

BK: How has the movie stunt industry changed, in your view, since you started?

RY: Technology has changed dramatically. When I started, I was drawing action storyboards and choreographing in my head, as well as drawing finishing moves and what the best camera angle of that might be. Now, with the advent of 4K, 6K digital cameras, shooting and editing pre-vis are light years beyond what I did, which shows my age!


BK: What is the difference between acting as a fight coordinator and acting as a fight choreographer on a movie or TV show?

RY: Very similar roles, but the fight coordinator is in charge of the whole tone and style of action for the film. The fight choreographer role can be someone who comes in and sets the tone or designs one particular fight scene.

BK: You’ve worked on a number of big genre projects over the years, like Escape from LA, Blade, and Jason Bourne, and smaller projects like Space Truckers, Black Dynamite, and Blood and Bone. How do you approach working on a bigger Hollywood project as opposed to a smaller independent project?

RY: They are the same, in terms of creativity and how I approach the job. I think anytime we work on film, as an actor or in designing action, I think we always should try to make it as compelling and fitting with character and story as possible. We are fortunate because this results in a piece of visual media that is recorded for history. Bigger budget films may have more prep, and training and rehearsal time, and also may have bigger action elements, and visual effects, but the devotion to quality should be the same commitment.

BK: Do you prefer doing multiple jobs on one project, like acting and working as a stunt performer at the same time, or do you prefer focusing on one thing at a time? Does it ultimately depend on what the project is and who is involved?

RY: It does depend on what the project is and whether I can do the best job by being a multi-hyphenate. If I have a lead role with much dialogue and scenes, like Shanghai Noon or Chandni Chowk to China, then I would concentrate on just acting. But, once I feel comfortable and know what I will be as the character, then doing action design is another creative process that is enjoyable.


BK: How did you get involved with Ella Enchanted?

RY: I was living in Ireland at the time, my wife and I met there and we decided to go back to raise our daughters. Ella was shot in Bray, and Paul Jennings heard about me and so we met, and he was kind enough to bring me on to do the last big fight. It was a lot of fun, and Anne Hathaway and Hugh Dancy and all the cast and stunt people were great.

BK: Who are your movie making heroes?

RY: Blake Edwards, who brought me on as fight trainer/choreographer on Son of the Pink Panther. I loved working with him, and his stories of classic Hollywood as well as his personal experiences with Bruce Lee. Yuan Woo Ping and Jackie Chan were check off bucket list experiences for me. My favorite films are Casablanca, Being There, Braveheart, Finding Forrester, Princess Bride, The Godfather, off the top of my head.

BK: Any upcoming projects you can tell us about?

RY: I will be in the beginning action sequence of John Wick 3: Parabellum, playing a Triad boss.

BK: What do you think is next for Gordon? Do you think he may, one day, hit it big at the track and open up a chain of corner stores?

RY: Well, I hope he has the chance to develop a good relationship with his daughter, and maybe he and Walter open up a wildly successful apple pie shop that is a front for them being “ problem solvers” for the underdogs that need their particular skill sets.


A very special thanks to Roger Yuan for agreeing to participate in this interview and to david j. moore for helping set it up.

Check out the Blindsided: The Game Facebook page here.

Check out my review of Blindsided: The Game here.

Check out Roger Yuan’s Instagram page here

Check out Roger Yuan’s Demo Reel here

Ella Enchanted image from Amazon. All other images courtesy of JB Productions.