Episode Thirty: Kick it!
Making an action movie could be a good way to start your career in the film industry…that is if you are practical about what type of action you want and you hire the right person to coordinate your stunts. There are different specialties within the stunt world as well so the guy who will set up your explosions may not be the same guy who coordinates your fight scenes. Fernando Chien stops by to tell us all about being a stunt coordinator in the world of film.
Fernando Chien – Stunt Performer, Stunt Coordinator, & Actor
Fernando Funan Chien was born in Taipei on October 6th, 1974 and has followed a diverse road consequently landing him in Hollywood as a budding Asian actor. Fernando immigrated to Toronto, Canada from Taiwan in 1978. At the age of 17, Fernando reluctantly moved to Montreal and attended McGill University where his interest in performance and film was sparked. While majoring in Evolutionary Biology, Fernando took film courses, attended circus school, studied martial arts, worked as a personal trainer and was a member of Canada’s top breakdance crew Mtl Redmask. In his junior year, Fernando was approached to play a small part in a film called False Pretense. This sparked his film career. In 2000 landed a role in The Art of War starring Wesley Snipes. During the filming Fernando was impressed with the stunt performers and befriended actor Ron Yuan. Yuan encouraged Fernando to move to LA to pursue a career in stunts.
In the winter of 2002, Fernando relocated in Los Angeles to pursue his dream. He began his training first at the Lee Strasberg Academy then at the Howard Fine Acting Studio to develop his craft. During this time he also began to train under legendary Gene Lebell and Gokor Chivichyan at the Hayastan Academy in Mixed Martial Arts. In 2004, Fernando studied Wushu Kung Fu and met Sam Hargrave and created Reel Kick Films, an underground martial arts stunt team. Impressed with Sam’s action skills they wrote, filmed and produced many underground action shorts when between jobs. In 2005 at the referral of Sensei Gene, Fernando was cast as Saul the Augment in Star Trek Enterprise. This launched his professional stunt career with titles such as Crank, Flags of Our Fathers, Pirates of the Caribbean 3, The Mummy 3, Monk and various commercials for Diet Pepsi where he doubled Jackie Chan.
What set Fernando apart from others was his ability to act. In 2008, Fernando was cast in the web-series The Guild which allowed him to act and display his action skills. Since then he has appeared in NBC’s My Own Worst Enemy and The CW’s Melrose Place as an actor. 2009 has been his break-out year as an actor playing in the remake of Red Dawn as Lt. Yee and in Lionsgate’s MMA film Warrior as gym-rat Fenroy which will be released in 2010.