As an action designer on “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” Yung Lee took director Destin Daniel Cretton’s stunt vision and made it a reality. Go behind the scenes of some of our favorite fights from the film!
Q: What was the most difficult “Shang-Chi” scene to choreograph?
A: “The one I worked the most on was the bus sequence. It was difficult because the journey was not to be an imitation of someone else, but rather to find who Shang-Chi is. The one-inch punch off the top of the scene, that pays tribute to Bruce Lee, whom the character is inspired by. Then we have a cool jacket move, which is a tribute to Jackie Chan. At the same time, we didn’t want to [ just] do Jackie Chan, we wanted to do Shang-Chi. When everyone was building the sequence for him it was [about] finding, ‘How does he fight and how does he move?’ and ‘How can we make that feel original and fresh?’”
Did designing action for “Shang-Chi” differ from your work on other films?
“Yes and no. Destin was very adamant about letting the story lead the action. For example, working on the ‘Kingsman‘ movies is stylized—we have cool suits and technology to play with, whereas Shang-Chi doesn’t really have those sorts of things. He’s got to use what’s around him. The biggest difference is also the team, and working on an all-Asian cast was also very different. One of the things that I have to give credit to [late supervising stunt coordinator] Brad Allan on, he always pushed for a diversified group of people on the stunt team. We have people from the Philippines, Cambodia, Canada, America, the U.K., Germany. We have a universal perspective in building action sequences, which is really important for storytelling because our films are universal. They go out to the world!”
What was your favorite part of being on set with the cast and crew?
“I met my wife [Meng’er Zhang] on this film—nothing tops that! It was crazy. The first time I saw her was in the stunt kitchen. I was like, ‘Ah, man, I’ve got to get to know this girl. She’s beyond cool.’ We would have hangouts, and it wasn’t until everyone would start making plans to watch movies in the cinema and then bail, and Meng’er and I would be the only ones to show up. That’s how we ended up getting close and hanging out one-on-one. So, hey, guys—it’s not so bad when your friends bail on you sometimes.”
This article appeared in Character Media’s Annual 2021 Issue. Read our full e-magazine here.