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Disruptor: Mike Möller


Mike Möller

Mike Möller grew up in Thuringia and began strength, conditioning, and martial arts training as a child. His professional career as a stuntman began in 2000 when he worked with Donnie Yen. He then worked for many national and international productions. In 2003 he was nominated for the Taurus World Stunt Award in the category Best Fight from the movie "Half Past Dead." In 2021 he was nominated for Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture for "The Matrix Resurrections."


In 2012, Möller released his first independent martial arts film "Urban Fighter" (aka Arena of the Street Fighter) and won the award for Best Action Film at the Movieville International Film Festival. In the same year, he played a leading role alongside Fred Williamson and Lorenzo Lamas in the action film Atomic Eden. His second independent martial arts film, "One Million K(l)icks," followed in 2015. He was the fight choreographer and co-producer of the film, "Ultimate Justice," released in 2018, also starring Mark Dacascos and Matthias Hues.




The European martial arts scene is much different than the USA, can you share some of your experiences as a martial artist training in both regions?

 

I was born in the former German Democratic Republic and grew up in a small village in the east of Germany. Unfortunately, there was no martial arts club in our area at that time, so I learned a lot from books and movies. When I left my village to learn a trade, I joined a very good Taekwondo club near Nuernberg. In Germany, I also fought in local tournaments.


 

 

How did you get into the entertainment business?


As a fan, I shot together with my friends our own little martial arts films. That was not easy at that time. We edited our short films with a VHS recorder and dubbed them with our stereo system or Super Nintendo games.


In 2000, Donnie Yen shot a TV series called "PUMA" in Berlin. I've always been a big fan of his work so I wrote a letter to the responsible production company, asking them to visit the set as an observer and maybe get a picture of my idol. Together with the letter I sent a VHS tape of my short films. In the hope that they recognize that I am a real fan.


3 days later, I got a call from the capital from the local stunt coordinator and he invited me for a training session with the Donnie Yen Stunt team. A dream came true. I was very surprised when I learned that there was no training but a casting for the last part of the season. I was very excited, I also made mistakes but I did my best. For me, it was only important to meet Donnie Yen and his team. In the end, I got my photos with Michael Woods, John Salvitti, Kenji Tanigaki, and of course Donnie Yen. I was so happy and drove back home.


Two days later I got another call, this time from the production manager of the series and he told me that Donnie Yen and his team liked my performance and my VHS tape so much. They liked my sense of humor and my skills. In the end, I got one rehearsal day with Donnie Yen and his team and 3 shooting days, where I fought against Mickey Hardt, the "PUMA" main character.


This was my entrance into the professional film business and I owe that especially to Michael Bornhuetter (the local stunt coordinator) and of course Donnie Yen and Kenji Tanigaki.


Mike Möller


What was the first “stunt” job you ever had in a movie?


After “Puma“ I got the invitation to join “Resident Evil.” I was playing a zombie who gets knocked down by Michelle Rodriguez. Nothing special, just one day of work.


But here comes a little side story: At our lunch break we the stunt guys were doing some choreos, just for ourselves. One of my moves saw the second unit director and came to me...that was a „good move“, can I film it? So we did a little previz from „that special move“. Days later I still heard nothing from them so I called the local stunt coordinator, and asked him what was going on. Because the second director obviously liked the move I did and I thought they hired me again. His answer was..."Oh, we already shot that...they couldn't do it without wire so we put Milla and her stunt double in a harness."


The result you can see in the film... when Milla runs up the wall with two steps, turns in the air, and kicks the zombie dog away.


At that time I was a little bit disappointed, they stole my "wall run kick" and didn't inform me or give me at least a day more work. On the other hand, I was proud that I gave something special to the stunt team achievement.

 


What were some of the early challenges when you first started out, both physically and emotionally?


The biggest challenge for me was fighting 14-16 hours a day, 6 days a week on set in Hong Kong. With all the language barriers and of course the sore muscles. Or the many different car hits I did for films. I learned how dangerous fire stunts can be.



Mike Möller


What is the most challenging part about stunt work?


I would say to give the director and producer exactly what he had in his mind. And in the best case, to create something special, new, and unique, especially in all the action scenes. Often not easy, in the time and with the resources they give.


And all this in a safe way. All stuntmen bring something special to the table. They train, they bleed and most of them struggle till they get the next job. I admire all who are working in this biz. And I look up to those who became fight/stunt coordinators or work as directors.

 

You must have seen a lot of martial arts movies. What era do you most enjoy or relate to?


After the fall of the Eastern Wall, a completely new and unknown world opened up to us. Through the video stores, we were able to enjoy all the great films from all over the world. The martial arts and action films especially influenced me a lot.


So I'm a child of the late 80s and 90s.


Tell us about your latest feature "Black Creek"?


It was a huge honor and also a big challenge to work on "Black Creek." We just had 14 shooting days, mostly night shoots. I was the Stunt/Fight Choreographer and it was not easy in this short time and with the resources we had. But we made it and I have to owe Cynthia Rothrock everything. She and the producers fully trusted me. It's so great to work with a leading actress who is open to new ideas. She can pick up the choreo very fast and delivers. She gave everything for this production. I'm also very happy that I had a stunt team around me who supported me all the time. And to work with all these legends I have admired since my childhood days makes me smile.



Cynthia Rothrock in "Black Creek"
Cynthia Rothrock in "Black Creek"


What are some of your favorite movies you have worked on?


"Hounds of War," because it's the first time I worked with the great director Isaac Florentine and stunt coordinator David Wald.


"Pound of Flesh," because I worked with JCVD, one of my childhood heroes, and my friends and martial artists "Big" Mike Leeder and John Salvitti.



JCVD


Expendables 4, because I grew up with "Rocky" and now I had a little part in front of the camera with him, and besides that, I worked with JC's stunt team member Alan Ng and his team.


expendables 4


"The Last Kumite," because I had the chance to choreograph all the fights for this martial arts film and met legends like Matthias Hues, Cynthia Rothrock, Billy Blanks, and many more.



the last kumite


"Black Creek," because I saw the Wild West and worked with even more legends I never expected.


Black Creek cast


"Puma," because this was my entry into the film biz and I met and worked with my idol Donnie Yen and Kenji Tanigaki.




Mike Möller

 

What is the best advice for people entering the field of stunt work?


Find something you are good at and become a specialist. In case of becoming a "movie fighter” for example, then you should train in different martial arts and find your unique style.


Watch martial arts movies from all over the world, how they were filmed or edited, and get inspired. The slow-motion button on a remote control is still a good friend of mine.


Train with like-minded guys choreos, timing, and reaction. Then grab the camera, learn how to use it, and shoot your own little fight scenes, be open to all the different styles. It's always a challenge to find something new and never seen before! If you have the opportunity, make a demo reel or short film, upload it, and send it to every stunt agency and production company. If you don’t try...you never know.



Mike Möller




For more clips on Mike Möller, visit his YouTube Channel - https://www.youtube.com/user/showkick




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