Hollywood stuntman Maurice Chan’s next move, he assures, is not a stunt. The Khmer-Frenchman, who has performed daring feats alongside such A-List stars as Jet Li, hopes to erect the first martial arts and stuntman academy in Cambodia.
“Since I have a background as a stuntman, I want to bring my skills to Cambodia,” explained the buff daredevil. “I want to teach Cambodian people to do stunts for Cambodian action movies.”
Chan has been in the Kingdom scouting out a location for the academy, which he hopes will train a new generation of professional fighters and swashbucklers from local stock. He has also met with local bokator fighters, a possible pool of recruits for Chan.
“This is my second time to Cambodia. I’m here on holiday with my family, but at the same time, I’ve come to survey young Cambodians [on their interest],” said Chan.
When Chan was six months old, in 1976, his parents fled for France, where Chan learned how to fight. His role models included the obvious cast of silver screen ninjas: Jet Li, Jackie Chan, Bruce Lee and Jean-Claude Van Damme.
But to bring his academy to life, Chan faces an obstacle that no karate chop can solve: money.
“The more people we have, the more sponsors we have. [That way], it will be possible to bring stunt classes to Cambodia and develop the Cambodian action film industry,” he said. Certainly, Chan’s dream holds appeal for some.
“I think it is a good idea to create a stunt school here,” said Our Dara, a Phnom Penh bokator fighter and the star of action films such as Hanuman and the upcoming Jailbreak.
“A stuntman like Maurice has lots of experience. If he opens a school here, that is good news for Cambodia,” he said, adding, “I would be happy to join a stunt school in Cambodia.”