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Mike Abbott

Si nous aimons rire d'un certain cinéma déviant, nous sommes très loin de mépriser les hommes et les femmes qui s'y sont impliqués ou compromis. Il nous a ainsi paru enrichissant de faire raconter le nanar et son univers par les gens qui l'ont vécu de l'intérieur. La diversité des intervenants et de leurs réponses nous a rendu encore plus proches du cinéma que nous aimons : vous découvrirez, au fil des entretiens que ces différentes vedettes ont bien voulu nous accorder, des informations précieuses pour le cinéphile et le cinéphage, des anecdotes cocasses et, en esquisse, le portrait attachant de personnages souvent hauts en couleur.
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Mike Abbott (page 3)

From time to time, you were also appearing as an extra on some more prestigious movies, like John Woo's "A Better Tomorrow Part 2"...

That's right, in 1987 I spent two days on "A Better Tomorrow Part 2" and did a stunt. I was blasted in the chest with a shotgun. The force of the blast sent me crashing through the door behind me. I had an Uzi in my hand which I blasted through the ceiling as I flew back. The shot had to be taken 3 times before we got it right. I was paid HK$300 (about US$37) for each day. I never saw the movie, so I do not even know who shot me.

Well, actually, the one who shoots you with a shotgun in the film is Asian superstar Chow Yun Fat! Do you have any memories about him and director John Woo?

...I never met Chow-Yun-Fat, because... well, he just wasn't there. You told me he's the one who guns me down in the film, but then on the set, what I had in front of me wasn't Chow Yun Fat but a camera! I did this movie in 1987 and I only find out it was Chow-Yun Fat now you tell me so, some 20 years later...

As for John Woo, I would have met him briefly, exchanging a few words without knowing who he was. Obviously, he wasn't so famous then... (was he?)

During the 80's, it seems there were good opportunities for Westerners to appear in movies in HK and in the Philippines, which film industries were then flourishing. Was it the same in Indonesia? What were the main differences between shooting a movie in HK and shooting one in Indonesia?

Indeed, the 1980's were a golden era for Westerners in the Hong Kong movie industry, but also elsewhere in South-East Asia. I never effectively worked in the Philippines, although I was there in mid 1986 for a few weeks and spent one day as an extra on a movie called "The Spear of Destiny" [a.k.a. "Future Hunters" / "Les Nouveaux Conquérants", de Cirio H. Santiago NdlR]. It was a boiling hot day in the jungle, I was dressed as a soldier and I was shot with a bow and arrow by a dwarf in a tree!!!! (more on how to kill Mike Abbott later) My first movie as an actor was "Royal Warriors".

In October 1987, I got a call from a guy called Rik Thomas, who owned and operated a movie dubbing company. He told me an Indonesian movie producer was looking for a big guy to play the lead villain. The name of the movie company was "Rapi Films", owned and operated by Gope and Sam Samtani [producteurs de "Lady Dragon", entre autres NdlR]. I had a meeting with Gope, then on November 3rd I flew to Jakarta to make the first of 3 movies: "Final Score" (1987) with Chris Mitchum, "Empire on Fire" (1988) with local actors, "Lethal Hunter" (1988) with Chris Mitchum and Bill "Superfoot" Wallace.

Indonesia was great! The sets were bigger, there was studio work, more cameras, more crew and more money! Working with Chris Mitchum was great, a Hollywood actor who had worked with John Wayne, my idol! I still keep in touch with Chris, he's a nice guy. I love to hear him talking about his father Robert Mitchum.

Mike in "Casino Raiders".

In July 1988, I returned to Hong Kong and till the end of the year, I made about another 4 or 5 IFD movies, and about 3 other movies of no significance. 1989 saw the end of my career with IFD. I made about 3 more films for them, but my roles were getting smaller. In May 1989, I started my entertainment company, "Abbott Leisure", and started making money straight away, so I parted company with them after 3 years as their lead villain in about 15 or 16 movies. They were good days...

During 1989, I made 3 quite significant movies: "Casino Raiders" in April, in which I had lines and a fight scene with star Allan Tam. I made about US$200 per day for 5 days (it is with this money that I started my company on May 5th). "Fatal Termination" was in 1989, after "Casino Raiders". I played the part of a real psycho who kidnaps a little girl. I spent about 6 days on the movie and enjoyed it very much. In the end, I had a fight scene with the star Ray Lui, and ended up being impaled on a metal spike! (Yet another way to kill Mike Abbott)

Also that year, I spent one day on a movie called "Hong Kong Gigolo" [from director David Lam, and starring Mark Cheng and Simon Yam among others NdlR], danced and stripped my clothes off in a night club... can you believe it?

It's not the first time I have stripped in a movie. Another time I was in an alley way with 3 other guys, we were dressed as policemen, then this girl comes running with a guy chasing her with a knife. Then the 4 of us shine our flashlights on them and then start to strip out of our uniforms; the whole thing was a joke played on this poor girl! Anyway it was fun to do. The director was Jing Wong, I met him again 3 years later while shooting "City Hunter". He said he thought the movie was stupid, I think he was right. [Nanarland: the film Mike is talking about is called "The Big Score"]

"City Hunter", with Jackie Chan, Richard Norton, Gary Daniels...

So 1989 was a good year I suppose. During 1990 and 1991, I can't remember doing very much in the movies, I might have been an extra once or twice. In 1992, I worked on "City Hunter" with Jackie Chan and a beautiful young Japanese actress called Kumiko Goto.

This was my favorite movie of all. I spent 16 days on the movie: 10 days in Japan, with 5 of those days during which we were on a cruise liner sailing the high seas, and a few shooting days in Hong Kong. This movie was important to me because there is one scene where there is just Jackie Chan and I. I'm shooting at him with a rifle and he is running like crazy to get away from me.

Jacky Chan was always busy, so I did not get to know him personally but we got on just fine. Got to know Gary Daniels and Richard Norton quite well, they were really good to work with. I have never seen them since "City Hunter", but I believe they are both doing well.

There is another scene where I am trying to kill Kumiko, but she ends up killing me! She hits me off the top of the ship, I hit the deck and go right through it! What a way to go! Kumiko was so beautiful (sometimes, when we were resting, I would pretend to read a newspaper but I would be looking at her out of the corner of my eye). She was only 19 years old and I thought the world of her. She married a French racing car driver some years ago, do you know who he is? [Jean Alesi NdlR]

"Enter the Eagles"

After "City Hunter", the movie industry went very quiet for me, but my entertainment company was doing well. As far as I can remember, I did not work on another movie until 1997. In the summer of that year, I had a 3 days work on "Enter the Eagles" [aka "And now you're dead"], a Golden Harvest movie directed by Corey Yuen. I played a tough guy in the background who was shot to pieces along with 3 other guys. A martial artist called Benny "the Jet" Urquidez had a big role in the movie, and Michael Wong starred along with Bruce Lee's daughter [Shannon Lee NdlR]. Apparently, the movie did not do well and Golden Harvest lost a lot of money!

"Purple Storm"

In 1999, I had one day on "Purple Storm". I played the part of a psychotic father who smashed his young son with a baseball bat! (what ever next!?!) I was paid US$150 for 3 hours work. That was the last time I worked on a movie, I have then appeared only in a few T.V. commercials.

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