Movies & TV / Columns

Alain Moussi On His New Film Jiu Jitsu, Working on X-Men: Apocalypse

December 7, 2020 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
Jiu Jitsu Alan Moussi

The 411 Interview: Alain Moussi


Alain Moussi is an international action star and stunt performer who has been working in movies and television for over a decade. He is the star of the new Kickboxer movies, Kickboxer: Vengeance and Kickboxer: Retaliation, and he has appeared in such movies as Kill Order and Enhanced and the TV series Street Fighter: Resurrection. Moussi has also performed stunts for movies such as X-Men: Days of Future Past, X-Men: Apocalypse, Suicide Squad, Brick Mansions, and such TV shows as Nikita, Bitten, Arrow, The Boys, and more. Moussi’s latest starring vehicle is the sci-fi action flick Jiu Jitsu, where he stars alongside Nicolas Cage, Frank Grillo, JuJu Chan, and Tony Jaa. In this interview, Moussi talks with this writer about making Jiu Jitsu, working as a stunt performer, and more.



Bryan Kristopowitz: Why did you want Jiu Jitsu to be your next movie as an actor?

Alain Moussi: It started with a call from the director Dimitri Logothetis. One day he calls me and says “Hey, I’ve been speaking to our international distributors and they said that they’re looking for action martial arts sci-fi. They asked me if I could do that. So, I’ll send you a concept in two weeks.” Two weeks later I get the concept as a comic book, Jiu Jitsu. So I read that and, oh my God, was it ever cool. So, I loved the concept, I thought it was out of this world. Whatever comes out of Dimitri’s head is bonkers, which I love. And then I also checked out the character Jake and I thought he was different than anything I’ve done before, it would challenge me in a brand new way not only in the action but also in performance. So, I was in right away. Plus, I have to say Dimitri, who is my dear friend, we’ve known each other for ten years, I trust him, he understands the genre, he understands what the audience wants. He’s a fantastic director, so I couldn’t wait to work with Dimitri again.

BK: How did you approach your character Jake?

AM: Well, number one, I had extensive conversations with Dimitri about the character, what he was looking for because I know Dimitri is quite specific when it comes to character. So, I wanted to make sure I got in his head about Jake. I also worked with my acting coach, Jeff Seymour, who is fantastic. We discussed the script, the character, and exactly what his background would be and, based on that, how he would, specifically, react under the conditions of amnesia. That was, I guess, the bulk of what I wanted to do in terms of research, is understand amnesia and how a character like Jake would be able not to remember what’s going on, why he’s there, who he is, but still have all of the instincts that he’s been developing since he was a child getting ready for this battle and then slowly understand how he puts the pieces together in order to finally recover his memory. That was a big part of my research with Jake. So, yeah, tons of work.

BK: What was it like working with director Dimitri Logothetis?

AM: You know what? Working with Dimitri is always incredible because Dimitri is always a very collaborative director. He’s also a very trusting director when he hires you because he hires the right people. So, for me, I just enjoy his friendship and the fact that we get to work on and collaborate in a way where he says, “Alain, I’m looking for this,” and it’s always a wild idea no matter what, he’s got tons of wild ideas. And then I get to be creative and give him that, whether it’s for action or with my acting performance. I guess the other thing is we’ve known each other for so long and we know each other so well that Dimitri knows how to speak to me and understands how to get his message through. So, in that sense, when he wants something specific he tells me and I’m able to deliver it onscreen.

BK: What was it like working in Cypress?

AM: Cypress is awesome! You wake up every morning to beautiful sunshine, it’s 30 degrees, 40 degrees during the day so it’s hot as hell. I enjoy that because when I perform action I have to keep my muscles warm. So, once I warm up by walking outside all of the sudden I’m warm and I get to perform all day long and I never cool down and I feel like my muscles feel good all day long. So, I have a lot less risk of injury when I’m performing this much action in a film. And the people are great and the locations we shot at were just phenomenal. And because I love to eat I just enjoyed all of the great Greek food. Just incredible.


BK: How is making Jiu Jitsu different from making something like Kickboxer: Retaliation? How is it the same?

AM: Well, both of them are action movies and martial arts films so we’re very much in that world and creating these amazing action sequences for audiences to love and keep the movie as fast paced as possible just to entertain. So both movies are meant to entertain so, in that sense, they’re both the same. Some of the major differences are obviously being in a real world versus a fantasy world and fantasy opens up so many possibilities. In a fantasy action movie you’re doing things that aren’t possible in real life. And, with a fantasy movie the characters and their beliefs are fantasy beliefs, which are kind of crazy in the real world which is cool. Another major difference in making both films is the cast. If you look at the cast we had in Jiu Jitsu with Nicolas Cage, Frank Grillo, Marie Avgeropoulos, in terms of A-list actors they’re incredible. And we got these incredible action actors, the best in the industry, Tony Jaa, and JuJu Chan and Marese Crump. Just overall, we had a phenomenal cast. And we even brought in the likes of Rigan Machado! That brings me to the last difference with Jiu Jitsu is it’s an ensemble cast and the movie really relies on the ensemble for the film whereas with a film like Kickboxer: Retaliation, that’s a hero driven film where we rely on the main character and follow him on his journey.


BK: How did you get involved in the movie business? Which do you enjoy more, acting or stunts?

AM: Okay, so, it all started with Immortals. I was called in to be a part of the stunt team for that. It was my first major project and I was trusted by the fight coordinator to take on the role of lead double in that film and that started it all. I was exposed to so many stunt coordinators that it really launched my stunt career. That was incredible and it’s been going for the last ten years. And in terms of acting, I met Dimitri Logothetis in 2011 where he saw me do a martial arts demonstration for his film and he asked me to audition for the lead role. And then he ended up casting me in the lead role and then we ended up doing Kickboxer: Vengeance as our first film together and moved on to Kickboxer: Retaliation and now in Jiu Jitsu so it’s been an incredible journey. Which one do I like more, acting or stunts? I love acting because I love putting them together. That’s what I love to do. I enjoy doing both. You know, playing the character and doing the action all at once.

BK: How is working on something like X-Men: Apocalypse compared to something like Jiu Jitsu?

AM: With X-Men: Apocalypse we were working on this huge budget movie, big blockbuster, where you have tons of time, tons of money, tons of resources. You know, it’s crazy. Something that would take us a week to shoot on X-Men: Apocalypse, we get about half-a-day to shoot on Jiu Jitsu. So you have to be to the point, specific, you have to be very, I guess, meticulous about how you shoot things because you don’t get to take all of this time to do it so you have to be prepared. You also have to rely on your cast’s talent as much as possible. It’s a very different thing to shoot an independent film. I think it’s a lot more challenging because you just don’t get a second chance. With a film like X-Men: Apocalypse you go in and do audience tests and all of the sudden you get to reshoot half of the movie if it doesn’t work whereas we have to get it right the first time with something like Jiu Jitsu. That’s why I love Dimitri. He knows what he wants and he is able to put things together the right way the first time, which is great.

BK: Any upcoming projects you can tell us about?

AM: My next project is Man of War. I have multiple projects lined up with Dimitri Logothetis. We have a great working relationship and we have a great friendship so, you know, it’s really cool to work with my friend on these films. So, Man of War is an upcoming project, it’s in pre-production right now and hopefully in early 2021 we’re shooting that. And I’ll be playing something very different this time around. I’m not playing the hero for this film. It’s going to be awesome. I’m going to be doing something completely, completely different. And I’m also excited because I will also be doing second unit directing. Dimitri has been a great mentor in acting but also in filmmaking because he is a great filmmaker. I have been learning from him, he’s been mentoring me on set and he’s entrusting me with the second unit going into Man of War. So I’m quite excited about that. And then we jump into Kickboxer: Armageddon to finish our trilogy. Kickboxer: Armageddon is the best of all three scripts. It’s balls to the wall action. It’s going to take Kurt Sloane somewhere he’s never been before. We’re going to see him go super dark before we see him see the light again. There are also a new slate of opponents that are going to blow your mind so I can’t wait to be shooting Kickboxer: Armageddon.

BK: What do you hope audiences get out of Jiu Jitsu?

AM: I hope audiences get a fun, thrilling ride because that’s what it is, a martial arts fantasy film. I think back to when I was a kid I’d watch a Van Damme movie, a Steven Seagal movie, a Jackie Chan movie, and I just wanted to have a great time, a thrilling ride, I wanted to see cool action sequences and fun, colorful characters. I want you to enjoy the wild ride. That’s Jiu Jitsu to me.

BK: Any interest in appearing in a Jiu Jitsu 2?

AM: If the audience/the market wants Jiu Jitsu 2 I would certainly love to appear in it. There are so many ways to expand on the Jiu Jitsu universe so, you know, we’ll see what happens.


BK: What’s the hardest part of sword fighting an alien?

AM: Oh my God! Well, in real life or fantasy life? I mean, the hardest part is this alien Brax has special powers. But, you know, let’s talk about Brax. With him you have to understand the beast. He wants to test us, he wants a cool test for himself. He wants to see if he’s got more to learn and that’s what he does. He has these incredible powers. He can go super-fast, he’s super strong, he’s got all of these extra super human powers. However, he doesn’t use them because he doesn’t need them. He only uses them when he feels he needs to use them. It’s like when you fight a faster, strong, more skilled opponent you have to start using your smarts. You have to know what your assets are, what your strengths are and you use your strengths to expose your opponent’s weaknesses in a very smart way. And that’s the only way to beat him. So, fighting an alien is tough because you never know what his next move is going to be. You just have to try to anticipate what he might do and go from there.



A very special thanks to Alain Moussi for agreeing to participate in this interview and to Camelia Adibi for setting it up.

Jiu Jitsu hit Digital, On Demand platforms, and select theatres starting November 20th, 2020. It hits DVD on December 22nd, 2020.

Check out my review of Jiu Jitsu here!

Check out the official Jiu Jitsu Facebook page here!

Check out Alain Moussi’s official Facebook page here, official Twitter page here, and imdb page here!

All images courtesy of The Avenue Entertainment.