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September 2005
THE LAST DRAGON - 20th ANNIVERSARY : An Interview with Taimak

THE LAST DRAGON - 20th ANNIVERSARY : An Interview with Taimak

By Wilson Morales

What other projects have you done?

Taimak: I did a number of different projects. The ones that I am proud of are the theater projects I've done. Last year I did a play that was a hit called "Roadhouse", a comedy rendition of the Patrick Swayze film. Last spring, I played a bad guy on the TV series "Third Watch". I had a goat tee and long hair and shooting up cops. I've done different things throughout the years; nothing that I felt was where I could do right now and make a good showing from where I know my talent is right now.

As you get back into the film business, what do you have coming up?

Taimak: I just finished shooting 2 independent films. One is called "They're Just Friends", and that is a story of a boxer who is a New York City boxing champion and he's a lot of fun to work with. He's a very outspoken talented person. I play a correctional officer in that film. I also did a film called "The System Within", which Tariq Alexander is the producer and writer of and he's also the star of the film and I play a pastor in that film. I'm not sure about the release of those independent films; however I was very proud of my work. I also just finished shooting a short film, which is primary action and I'm editing that now and we should be showing that in festivals in the next few months.

How does it feel to get back in the film business? Have you been taking acting lessons to hone your craft or is this old hat to you?

Taimak: Well, that's what I've been doing since "The Last Dragon". I've been studying and doing theater and doing classes with different acting groups. I think more important than acting is to know yourself and know what you are bringing to the table when it comes to your performances and knowing how to connect with other actors.

I had read in a magazine a few months back that you were looking to do a sequel to "The Last Dragon". Is that true?

Taimak: I had teamed up with the director of the film, Michael Schultz, and his son Brandon and a couple of writers to get together a story. I wrote a story for "The Last Dragon" years ago and I knew I needed some professional writers to come along. That's why I got the writers to help me embellish on the story a bit more. We just got together some good ideas. Right now, Michael is working on some things and we couldn't make it happen. Sony owns the rights to "The Last Dragon" and for a sequel to be released; it's going to take a lot of support.

Since this is the 20th anniversary of the film's release, was there any talks about a special edition of the DVD?

Taimak: Yeah. I did appearances in Santa Monica Museum in Oregon, California this past January because the screened the film there for the fans and that was great. Sony actually shot that event with the desire to make a 20th anniversary special edition DVD. I'm not sure if they will keep their promise with that. They have had some breakdowns, but I'm assuming they will be doing it. In New York, Warrington Hudlin had a screening of the film in February and a lot of fans showed up. That was at the Moving Image Museum in Astoria, Queens. I then got a random call for a screening of the film in Roanoke, Virginia and all these white people showed up and that was great. Twenty years ago, TriStar didn't think the film would have a big white appeal, but here I am in Roanoke in August and it was a completely white fan base over there and they paid $8 to see the film and for me to show up.

If a sequel was to be greenlit, how would you have the story go?

Taimak: That's a broad question. What people liked about the film was obviously the humor, so we want to keep some of that, but it would be more of a grown up story. A little bit of the humor and a lot of the depth of what that was all about; the glow and where that came from. Also the action and the relationship between the different characters, so in regards to a sequel you want to bring someone back like Sho-nuff. That character was really a powerful character in the film so I'm looking to see if we could have him involved as well.

How much attention have you received from the press? I can only imagine that you have been contacted so many times for a story on your career.

Taimak: I've been pretty much in a cave since "The Last Dragon" and not really out there. I wasn't the type of person that liked the Hollywood scene so you wouldn't see me at most events that took place. I'm learning how to be more like that and go out and meet people and show my face more. I will start to do much more of that. Since I've been opening up myself and I put up my website - www.taimaik.tv - and there's a lot more people asking for interviews and appearances; some from magazines and other media outlets.

For those who may be interested, but are you married?

Taimak: Not married yet. I have been dating and I guess when a man really gets settled with what he wants to do in his life and which direction he wants to go in, it makes it much more easier and I was never that settled with that and relationships would come and go.

In regards to the website, what's the focus of it?

Taimak: The focus of my website is to access to my fans and they can have access to me. They can go on the message board and register there and ask me questions and I will answer them. At least once a week I answer questions there. A lot of folks, celebrities and all walks of like come to the site and ask me questions. I developed a page called transformation and it's about growth, self-growth, self-awareness, and people learn about themselves. There are other things on the site as well besides pictures and my calendar which is coming this year.

You have a calendar coming out?

Taimak: It's a calendar with an ensemble of artists and writers. I have a writer and her name is Patricia Gordon and I wrote my biography and so it's a life story. There are nostalgic in every calendar along with the picture that my brother did photography for. So you will see 12 months of really fantastic pictures and other pictures every month and also I'll have monthly antidotes where I talk about freedom, love, peace, joy, and so forth. There's an artist, John Sebastian, who created an art for the background, the grid of the calendar. There are singers that are doing songs. We wrote a song called "What If" and it's about the possibility of romance and love and miracles. With every calendar bought, they will be able to go to the website and download the song. The release date of the calendar is in October.

What have you noticed in the film business that made your decision to come back?

Taimak: What I noticed myself is I'm much more confident with my talent and myself and what I noticed is that people are noticing that from the work that I have been doing. They are really outspoken about the projects I've done. So I'm really happy. I haven't been impressed with what have been in the movie theaters from any aspects. There are good films out there but the quality films, in my mind, have diminished. Of course, you see some great performances every once in a while but it's few and far between. From the African American standpoint, we sit back and wait for these studios to something for us but I think it's time for us to make our own films and as many as we can; whether they are shown in 1 theater or 1000 theaters or 3000 theaters, it shouldn't be a handful of actors that are in films that are of color. We have to keep pushing our vision of what we can do as performers and artists.

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