Canadian martial artist Chris Mark has wowed fans as a stunt performer with his Team 2X team based in Ontario. Chris was the lead stunt double for Michael Cera in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and has worked in films such as The Hunger Games, Pacific Rim, and Warcraft while doing stunts for shows like Kickin’ It and Supah Ninjas. Chris takes the lead in Kill Order, a sci-fi/martial arts thriller coming to DVD and on Demand on February 6.
World Film Geek had the opportunity to speak with Mark about his experiences on the film.
Thank you so much Chris for talking about Kill Order. I’m just going to say this hands down. This is the best sci-fi martial arts film I’ve seen since The Matrix.
Wow! That’s great to hear. Thank you, I really appreciate that.
Before we talk about the film, can you talk about your martial arts background and how you would become a stunt performer?
So I started training in martial arts when I was fourteen years old. It does seem kind of late but I wanted something to do, another form of exercise. I started in karate and I loved it. I became super passionate about it. I entered a lot of competitions. Since then, I’ve trained in taekwondo, wushu, kung fu, a little bit of Muay Thai boxing, a little bit of Capoeira. Then, I started in Extreme Martial Arts and parkour, which is my signature style. A flashy extreme martial arts background.
I started doing live stage performances, doing martial arts choreography and acrobatics with Team Ryouko, which was popular in the early 2000s. Some of the guys from that team had worked in the stunt industry and they told me about it. I was totally oblivious to that being a career and I went, “Wow, you can do this for a living?” I was in university for business at the time and I decided after I graduated that I would work in the film industry full-time. And it worked out.
That’s awesome! So, let’s get right into Kill Order. How did the project come about?
My brother James was the director and producer on the film. He had been trying to create his own feature film for a number of years. We’ve done a lot of web series before, such as one for IGN. We did lots of commercials and other feature films. We never had our own feature film project. So, in time, Kill Order started coming about. We had a good script with him writing the lead character with me in mind. We got the funding we needed and we made it!
The film has some pretty big names in action/stunts, from Reuben Langdon (left), to the new Kickboxer, Alain Moussi (right). How did they come onboard?
I’ve known Reuben for a long time. We worked together on Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. He was one of the Lucas Lee doubles and I was the double for Scott Pilgrim, for Michael Cera. Kind of a funny point in my career because I don’t look like him. They put a prosthetic mask over me and it was really creepy (laughs). I looked like an alien version of Michael Cera (laughs).
So after that, I worked with him for a few years. When Kill Order came about, the character of Adam Cross was written just for Reuben instinctively. Because he’s such a cool character. He speaks Japanese and does martial arts. It’s something you wouldn’t expect because he’s a Caucasian guy but his Japanese is really good.
And with Alain Moussi, it’s the same thing. We’ve known him for years, working in the industry together. He’s a super cool guy. He’s super talented and I still work with him today. We definitely wanted him to be part of it as well.
What difficulties did you endure when making the film?
Yeah definitely! We have a really specific standard in terms of our fights and styles. I’ve worked in the industry for ten years and by far, this was the hardest I’ve worked on because it was the most physically demanding project I’ve worked on. A lot of the difficulty involved just muscling through the fight scenes. Like the forest fight. That was a long fight. We just did fight after fight and we shot that for three days straight. It was a lot to pack in in that time.
There was a lot of big wire gags as well, such as the one where I went through the picnic table. There were also a lot of ratches, which is a pressurized wire move. It makes you fly faster than someone pulling you on a rope. I hit trees with that and it was a really tough scene. But it’s surprising when you need that extra energy or that extra boost of adrenaline, your body will kick in. It will just give it to you and there were a couple of moments where I was like, “Ok, I’m done. I need a little break”. Then I get that jolt of energy or boost that allows me to push through the end.
I will say the forest fight is one of the best fights of the film as well as your fight against the assassin in the apartment, where everything just gets basically destroyed.
Yeah! Everyone I’ve talked to said those two fights are the best fights of the film.
The ending left room for a potential sequel. Is that something that’s in the works because I for one would love to see a sequel to this?
It’s definitely being talked about. There is another project that my brother and I want to do this year that’s not related to Kill Order. So we are hoping that after that project, and after the release of the film that it does well enough that we can do a Kill Order 2. Because that would be really cool to see what David does. He has this choice and must decide which direction he wants to go.
I totally agree! The opening is making me want to see what will happen to David’s character as to what his choice will be.
Funny enough, you can’t really tell what he will do. After all, he does have this other side and I don’t think I’m writing this, but I would love to see the two sides against each other in terms of what he decides.
That actually sounds like a good concept! So, Kill Order comes to DVD and on Demand on February 6. Anyone who loves a combination of sci-fi and martial arts will truly get the best of both worlds with this film. As I said, this is the best sci-fi martial arts film since The Matrix. Thanks again for talking about the film Chris.
Thank you so much!