Jason Li ’09 – Stuntman, Martial Artist

Jason is an actor, martial artist and stuntman who has worked in both local and Hollywood productions.

Jason (right), doubling John Cho (centre) in Cowboy Bebop

Name: Jason Li
Graduating Year: 2009
Current country of residence: Hong Kong

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

My name is Jason Li and I graduated from CIS in 2009. I have a bachelor’s degree in Biology and a master’s degree in Sports medicine. I am currently working as an international stunt performer and actor for various Films and TV around the world.

How did you get into the world of stunts and martial arts?

I watched a lot of action films and Power Rangers as a kid, so I always really wanted to learn the moves that I saw on screen. I started taking classes at a young age and it just stuck with me. Regarding the stunt world, when I was going to college, a lot of my friends that I trained with in HK started to get into the industry. When I graduated and returned to HK, one of my friends asked if I could make a shoot as he couldn’t make it. From there, the ball just kept on rolling.

What does a day in the life of a stuntman look like? Can you give us some insight into the amount of training you do to get in shape for a project?

I can’t speak for everyone as every stunt person has different routines and goals and specialties. But for me, I try to get up early and hit the gym to keep my body in performance condition. It is then followed by skills training. Whether it be martial arts, acrobatics, or weapons, it really depends on what I feel like. I always try to train something every day, as little improvements you make every day can lead to massive improvements over time.

Regarding specific projects, it depends on what my role is. If it is to double an actor, I would have to try to match the actor’s physique as much as possible. Then I would need to research what skills the character has in terms of action and build or refresh my current skillset. If I am just performing as a stuntman, I would try to get as much information as I can on what the scene is and then subsequently improve my skills for that scene. 

What has been the most memorable stunt you’ve performed? (Do share any photos or videos of it if you can!)

My most memorable stunt was performed in a movie that isn’t currently out yet, so I can’t show any photos or videos, but I can explain it. The movie is the most expensive and largest Chinese film to date, the movie series is titled 封神三部曲 and it was shot in 青島. The stunt takes place in a huge battle scene where the main character is surrounded by a sea of death and carnage. There is fire everywhere and people are dying all around him. He turns his head and sees me (I was actually his stunt double for the film too, haha) being dragged by a horse on the ground, while I am on fire. We spent a whole day performing this part of the sequence and rehearsed it for weeks prior. They set me on fire around 20 times that day if memory serves.

Who has been the best actor you’ve worked with/doubled for? Which actor(s) would you want the opportunity to work with?

A lot of actors I have doubled and worked with have been lovely. Although I personally feel the best experience I’ve had was either stunt doubling for John Cho on Cowboy Bebop or stunt doubling for Andrew Koji on Warrior Season 3 . Both actors were super invested in their roles and hard working, I cannot speak highly enough of them. I would love to work with Jet Li if it is possible as he was a huge inspiration for me when I was younger.

Andrew Koji (left) and Jason (right)

If not a stunt performer, what would your dream job be?

I wouldn’t trade my current job for any other job at this stage of my life. But if I had to pick, I would probably want to be a race car driver. I have an interest in cars and feel like that would be a fun job. 

Quickfire round – give us the first answer you think of

  • Marvel or DC: Marvel 
  • Socks and sandals – yay or nay? Nay, massive Nay
  • Phone in bathroom or no phone in bathroom? Yes phone, sometimes the bathroom break is your only time to play your mobile games.
  • Your worst subject in school: Visual Art, I almost failed it. I have no idea how. (I got a 3)
  • Glass half full or half empty: Half full 90% of the time, but half empty when it realistically needs to be.

What is your favourite memory from CIS?

Training and trying flips with my friends in the playgrounds, gyms, and auditorium foyer during recess and after school. Oh and Mahjong, LAN Halo and DOTA in the common room during Y12 and 13.

You are filming an action movie, and the ensemble cast will be CIS teachers. Who are you casting?

The action movie would be an action fantasy where different characters have different classes. A team needs to save the world from the grasp of an evil government comprised of space demons. I would have a team of around 6 teachers, each teacher reflecting on a different class to ensure the team’s victory. First up, I would cast Mr Varro as the commander/captain, his mathematical mind would be great to formulate plans and lead the team in the right direction to victory. Secondly, Ms Thorman as the Bard, her musical abilities will help keep the team morale up through the perilous journey and her keen hearing will help the team in the field. Thirdly, Mr Ip as the knight/brawler. His physical prowess is the muscle of the team and the main damage dealer to the enemies. Fourth, I would cast Mr Etheridge as the science support, his scientific knowledge will help the team decipher the biology of the various space demons. This will help the team formulate attack tactics and he can come up with different biological weapons to use against the demons. Fifth, Ms Stearns as the thief/rogue. Her experience in the theatre gives her the skill to blend into any environment. Whether the team needs to extract information from high-ranking officials in a new city, or whether they need to take a vital item from someone important, her acting and charisma has it covered. Lastly, Mr Svinhufvud as the tech hacker. His IT skills will help the team hack into any facility needed, and provide real-time information to the team as needed.