Steven Seagal ('Half Past Dead')
'Still On Deadly Ground!'
Steven Seagal was born on April 10, 1951, in Lansing Michigan. His mother was a medical technician and his father was a high school math teacher. When Steven was five the family moved to Fullerton, CA. At age seven, Steven became inerested in the martial arts and discovered a Japanese Dojo in nearby Garden Grove, and began studying Aikido.In 1971 (two years after the death of Morihei Ueshiba, founder of Aikido) he left for Japan, to study with the masters in Zen, Buddhism and Aikido. In 1975 he married and continued to live in Japan where he eventually inherited a dojo from his Japanese father in law. In the Aikido world he adopted the name Shigemichi Take (Take being his father-in-law's name).
Seagal returned to the United States in 1987, where he set up a martial-arts school, the Ten Shin Dojo, in West Hollywood. With the help of his guardian angel, Mike Ovitz, Seagal made his acting debut with the cop flick 'Above The Law'. This was followed by several more successful films, including 'Under Siege' (1992) and 'Out for Justice' (which he also wrote). Seagal also directed one of his films, 'On Deadly Ground' (1994) before working with Kurt Russell in the thriller 'Executive Decision' (1996). Seagal has since gone on to star in, amongt others, 'Glimmer Man' (1996), 'Fire Down Below' (1997), the highly-acclaimed 'Exit Wounds' (2001), and 'The Foreigner' (2002).
Talking with the 'quiet man' himself, we discussed his new project 'Half Past Dead', and I first wondered if he does his own fighting stunts? "I am a professional martial artist and so this is what I do. This was what I came to America doing. I have no trouble doing any of my fighting."
When you do 'wire work,' how much does that hinder your Aikido style? "It's difficult. It's just hard because you can't do what you do."
Why take the role in 'Half Past Dead'? "I wanted to do something different," he smiles. "I kind of wanted to work again and do something different. There are good cops and bad cops, and good and bad in everything. You know, I've made statements about the constant new genre of mix of hip-hop and kung fu, and it was again useful as a great concept here."
What do you remember about your acting debut in 'Above the Law'? "I was lucky in that I got to play me! 'Above The Law' was, to some extent, autobiographical."
What are your thoughts on the U.S. possibly going to war with Iraq? "I think that this is going to be an ongoing battle and this is not something that I think is going to end for a long, long time. Do I think it is going good? No, I don't think it's good. My opinion, as a human being and as a Buddhist and as a military strategist, is not to go in and annihilate all quote-unquote 'enemies,' but rather try to find spokespeople for the United States of America who can open up lines of communication with people having other mindsets," he adds.
Finally, what's your current 'weapon of choice'? "Colt .45 would be my weapon of choice. That's what I use. When I go shooting, I'll do like 1,000 rounds a day!"
Interviewed by Klaus Weller for Exclusive Magazine
To read our DVD Review of 'Half Past Dead' just click here and be whisked away !
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