Ray Park is a name you may have heard if you are a fan of NBC's Heroes, or movies like Mortal Kombat, Sleepy Hollow, X-Men and of course Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Essentially he is a Caucasian version of Jackie Chan, but with a British accent. While I was in the line to see an interview of him once again hosted by the hilarious Jay Lag'aia, I kept hearing about what a great person Ray Park was and how he would go around to people not getting any attention in the autograph lines and sign their stuff, or how he was such a positive person and a ball of energy. So needless to say I was really excited to see this man in person and evaluate just how great of a guy he really was.
How great is he? Hit the break to find out.
For starters, when he first entered the room, you could tell that he was a real down to earth guy and that he didn't have this attitude of "why am I here?" like you may expect some big Hollywood actors to be. You could actually tell that he was so thrilled to be there and excited to see all of his fans out in the audience cheering for him. Speaking of his fans, what truly surprised me was the amount of people that came to see his interview. I mean, after all, he was in the first prequel which is what some Star Wars fans would describe as the worst film. I, of course, do not agree with such thoughts because I love anything to do with Star Wars, but I digress. This really spoke of his character and how much people really liked his work as Darth Maul in Episode I, as well as his other movie roles like Toad in X-Men or The Headless Horseman in Sleepy Hollow.
The interview, for lack of a better term, was absolutely spectacular. He gave us live demos of him doing a few "Butterfly Twists" and a "Kick-Up" off the ground. He also told us about his surprising past where we found out that before he seriously started studying his martial arts he was a graffiti vandal and was actually quite "naughty" as he put it, when he was a child. We also got to hear about he had gotten into the film business, finding out that he apparently knew a lot of people in the business, which made it clear as to how he became successful at the very young age of 20 years old. Not to mention that for X-Men he actually didn't want to play Toad and one of the reason he ended up playing the role was because the director didn't want him to look like the Toad we all know in the comics.
Unfortunately and fortunately, we ran out of time and didn't get to have a fan Q&A with him, but that was simply because he talked so much and gave us so much great information about his life and career. It was once again nice to see that someone from the cast of Star Wars embrace their fame and appreciate the success it brought to them, rather than be filled with regret and spite.