‘Fifth Commandment’ Is Yune’s Writing Debut31 Jul, 2009 By: Billy Gil
Rick Yune is largely known for scene-stealing roles playing bad boys in the 007 feature Die Another Day and The Fast and the Furious. Now the commanding Asian-American actor has made his feature producing and screenwriting debut with The Fifth Commandment, which was just released on DVD from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
The $24.96 DVD includes a making-of featurette and another on the film’s stunts.
Yune also stars in the project, about an assassin who must go against his adoptive brother when he’s assigned a mark his brother is assigned to protect. Besides being a lot of fun, The Fifth Commandment is a cross-cultural affair featuring a multiethnic cast and a hip-hop flavor — Yune utters some Schwarzenegger-worthy lines such as “this track is scratched” and “you gotta lay down a new beat.” We spoke to Yune about making his direct-to-video martial-arts film:
IndieFile: What spurred you to make this film?
Yune: Basically I got into the business without any backing and training. I went to business school and was a hedge-fund trader for a fund on Wall Street years ago, but I realized it wasn’t my passion.
[Once I got into acting] things moved pretty quickly. It got to a point where I didn’t know if I had what it took to make it to the next level. I wanted to learn about the filmmaking process and try to bring something on my own. When I was an actor, I didn’t feel like I was doing that much. … I had an idea for a story based on a number of films I had seen, but more specifically, The Professional (aka Léon by Luc Besson) and wanted to do a different take on that genre. Some of my friends from Wall Street were spurring me on and willing to back me on my venture.
IndieFile: Who are some of the people you looked to for inspiration, with this film and your career more generally?
Yune: Marlon Brando, Dean Martin and Montgomery Cliff. I love the original “Star Wars” series. Film to me is such an amazing medium because it transcends time, culture, language and a lot of other barriers. Of recent films I love what Chris Nolan did with Batman. As far as action is concerned, I love the films that deal with the different shades of morality like The Dark Knight and the “Bourne” series.
IndieFile: Can you tell me about the locations you shot at for this film?
Yune” The interior shots were in L.A., but a lot of it was shot in Thailand, in many different locales around Bankok, which is such a beautiful, exotic place to film. The people and the vibe there really gave a lot to what the film was about.
IndieFile: Can you talk about some of the making-of features?
Yune: I think what I learned the most about this whole process and anything about overcoming odds is it really has to do with the commitment and loyalty that a few people have. That’s the one thing I would like to share about the making of The Fifth Commandment. Or about going for your own endeavors that anything is possible. There were so many different situations where we could have stopped midway through our tracks, … [but] we put all our hearts together and we were able to make it happen. If we could do it, so could anyone else.
IndieFile: This film moves past some cross-racial lines. Was that something you could relate to, the meshing of cultures, as someone of mixed descent?
Yune: Yeah, I think you live in that world where it doesn’t really matter where you’re from or what you look like anymore, and I think we’re going in that direction now. I mean look who we have for president now. I love to see movies in foreign countries, I saw Transformers 2 in Africa, the same reaction you get in Hollywood you get in a country in Africa. With the story, first off, I wanted to base it on human nature and that what we are all created from is essentially the same. We’re all looking for the same things. I wanted people to be able to relate to it no matter their racial background or history.
IndieFile: You’re in great shape in this film. Can you talk a little bit about the training you do and the marital arts in the film?
Yune: This is really my first straight-up action film, and I wanted to bring something new that nobody had seen before. We worked in a style of fighting that originates out of Rikers Island Jail called 52 Blocks. It’s more about the utility of movement rather than having anything sort of superfluous. And we wanted to base it on rhythm, like an eight-count rather than a four- or two-count and the fighting you see in a lot of action films. We wanted to base it upon something musical as well, so we brought in a dance choreographer and tried to meld the two. I think being up 20 hours a day for 55 days also helped keep my metabolism up — some days we would have 70 takes in one day.