Interview with Jiu Jitsu star Alain Moussi
Before taking on the title roles in both Kickboxer: Vengeance in 2016 and Kickboxer: Retaliation in 2018 star Alain Moussi had already been making a name for himself as a stunt performer in tons of movies. Now he has established himself as a full on action star and is back with an all-new martial arts sci-fi film called Jiu Jitsu. I had the chance to sit down with him to discuss the latest film and the action behind it.
Bobby: I know Dimitri mentioned that he wrote this film directly for you, but did you have any input on bringing it all together?
Alain: We were getting ready to do Kickboxer 3 and he called me saying that the markets were asking for action sci-fi and that he wanted to put something together. A few weeks later he came over with this comic book which was so cool with this different concept. I was interested right away and then he handed me a script and I got even more excited. Obviously it’s a different world than Kickboxer and being sci-fi there are no rules and can do whatever you want.
Bobby: As a martial artist as well when I saw the trailer there weren’t a lot of elements that most people think of Jiu Jitsu there. I know you are trained in Jiu Jitsu, but is that something you worry about initially with a film titled Jiu Jitsu but not visually looking like it right away?
Alain: What people see of Jiu Jitsu today is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I started Japanese Jiu Jitsu as a kid so for me I was doing striking, griping, throwing and grappling right off the bat. With MMA and everything Brazilian Jiu Jitsu became the new image of Jiu Jitsu despite its Japanese lineage. We wanted to showcase that but also put everything under one umbrella which is like thinking about the samurai that used various weapons but also throw someone in combat. That’s what we were trying to take it back to. A lot of people aren’t educated on that and I took this as an opportunity to highlight that.
Bobby: Being in the industry for so long you have worked with so many people. Working with someone like Nicolas Cage does that make you nervous or change your approach to the performance or just something you are used to at this point?
Alain: I was still nervous. I had Academy Award winning Nicolas Cage in front of me and I can’t suck. (laughs) I use those nerves to give my best because it makes me work harder. I am always working hard on my craft, but knowing I was going to be with Nic I went into overdrive. I believe when you are on screen with someone better than you it’s like sparring with someone better than you. Physically you become better from it. Being on screen with Nic Cage, Frank Grillo, Ron Yun and everyone else they are all seasoned actors I thought of it as an opportunity to up my game. I worked crazy hard to bring the best of myself to the set and there is a moment in the film where Nic and I are in a scene together and they are doing a close up on me. I looked up and he just smiled and gave me a thumbs up. That was awesome.
Bobby: Being involved in so many aspects of these action films now do you get to be involved in designing your fights or any of the others for that matter?
Alain: Oh yea, I am in everything. We have a great stunt team and try to get the best people possible. I got to put my hands in with a lot of the action of the other characters as well as mine because I knew I wanted them all under the Jiu Jitsu umbrella and they all had a different style. My thought was let’s use what they are great at already and then inject Jiu Jitsu elements into that. I wanted them all comfortable but we were limited in rehearsal time. It’s a huge team collaboration with myself, the actors, and the stunt team. I don’t always have all the greatest ideas, but I have some and I think with us putting our heads together we could deliver.
Bobby: I have to ask being a fan of your Kickboxer films, wasn’t Tony Jaa supposed to originally be in the Van Damme role and what was it like to finally get to work with him here?
Alain: Yeah he was and I was super excited when I found out about that, but of course when we got Van Damme I was super happy as well. When Dimitiri told me Tony Jaa was coming on board with Jiu Jitsu I was so happy. I have been looking forward to it for a very long time and he does not disappoint. He is nothing but a gentlemen, he’s funny, great to be around and such a physical phenom. It was awesome fun and I was very happy. I hope to get to work with him again.
Bobby: The film is a lot of fun and I appreciate you taking the time to speak with me.
Alain: Thank you very much.
Check out Jiu Jitsu when it hits theaters, on Demand and Digital on November 20, 2020 from The Avenue.
You can check out my review here