I had the honor of being on a panel with legends Douglas Wong and James Lew at an event in Burbank called Monsterpalooza (yeah, that’s right) to talk about Al Leong’s storied career. It was a very cool event replete with clips of Al’s greatest scenes, some good natured roasting and a crazy Chinese lion dance that ended with shreds of lettuce all over the stage. It was a good crowd with a lot of true action and martial arts fans in the house.
1) One of Al’s favorite scenes was the big fight with Brandon Lee in Rapid Fire. According to Douglas Wong, after they shot this, Al’s forearms were all black and blue.
2) Al was working as a grip on a low-budget movie set when the director asked him if he knew martial arts. He said yes, so the production asked him to choreograph four actresses in a fight scene. He was subsequently asked to be in a fight scene, and the rest is history.
3) While shooting Die Hard, Al thought Alan Rickman (“Hans”) spoke to slowly during his scenes, but was pleasantly surprised with the performance when he saw the cut.
4) Al’s often had to make up fight choreography on set right before shooting.
5) He’s never been afraid to walk off a set if he thought a production wasn’t going anywhere.
6) He directed his own a film 10 years ago that he has yet to release.