Jenny Wu and Making Lady Bloodfight – Part 1

Jenny Wu in Lady Bloodfight
Voltage Pictures Shane Kavanagh
Acrobatic stunts, bloody action, and great fight choreography are all featured in the martial arts-action epic Lady Bloodfight (2016). Jenny Wu plays the antagonist, Ling, and delivers scene-stealing mayhem, whether fighting on the neon-soaked streets, or in the secret Kumite. Wu took time from her busy schedule to provide a behind-the-scenes tour into the making of the film. What was training like? How did they put those fights scenes together? Read on.

Did you have any martial arts experience before Lady Bloodfight? 

I guess I must have done a pretty decent job for people to think that I come from a martial arts background, so many people ask me this question. The answer is, no. I got trained up for the film, but the character Ling certainly knows how to fight, so my job as an actor at the very basic level of playing this character would be able to fight well.

You know, it’s really funny because I would show people my fight reel, and they’d be impressed. (Side note: if I’m showing you my fight reel, I’m trying to impress.) Everyone who watches it would be like “Wow, you did that? That’s like a full 360 flip” etc, etc. and I’m like, ya… go me!!! The reality is, I had a really good stunt double. Three stunt doubles, if I’m being precise, and on top of that, a really dedicated stunt team that worked with me to make sure that each movement I pulled looked like the real deal.

Don’t get me wrong, I did a lot of my own fights. And I was fighting the production team, saying that I wanted to do all my own fight scenes without a double, just like Amy… ha, ha, ha, ha… I don’t know who I thought I was… because Amy is a fantastic martial artist… and I’m really glad they didn’t let me, because making a movie is about teamwork. The fights are a lot more entertaining because it’s the result of teamwork, and the better the team, the better the work.

What kind of preparation did you have to do for the role? Did you have to study Kung Fu for a few months, or learn some weapons?

Shooting the movie was probably the easy part compared to the training. Aside from dealing with stressed-out producers, who worried all the time that I couldn’t do it, so they’d schedule in 6 hrs a day of intense martial arts training. I was in so much pain, I couldn’t walk. I shuffled... I couldn’t laugh, because my abs were just not gonna take it anymore. Even breathing was painful. Sounds like torture, right? But what the heck? I was young. You don’t grow unless you’re shaken out of your comfort zone. It certainly toughened me up and made me resilient. I mean it is like the wild wild west working in China and Hong Kong.

It was about 2 months of intense training. Mainly the basics of Wushu: stances, the 8 step routine, Ma Bu, Gong Bu, etc., etc., and moving through them with fluidity and grace. I think I worked on that for weeks. I worked with the assistant stunt coordinator and three stunt men very closely, and they were just fabulous. They certainly pushed me beyond my limits, I won’t deny that. Tough love, they call it, right?

I remember one scene, in particular - the street fight where Ling picks a fight watched by Wai, Mr. Sang, and the high rollers? And Ling eventually witnesses Wai using the Dim Mak? The day before shooting this scene, I went around asking the stunt team: “So, what is the fight scene for tomorrow? Ling fights a bunch of people, but I haven’t been taught the routine yet. Everyone just looked at me dumbfounded, they were like “There’s a fight scene tomorrow? We haven’t been told.” I was going out of my mind. I was thinking, “Oh no, I’m really not that talented to be able to pull off a fight scene on the spot, in front of the camera during the shoot. I’m not Jackie Chan… even Jackie doesn’t do that…” And to complicate matters even more, Yan Yan (the head action coordinator), was out of town for a few days, and he’s the one who comes up with the fights. So, I freaked a little bit. When I say a “little bit,” I’m keeping it PG. I freaked! Full stop! And it was really funny, because the entire stunt team then pulled out the script in the dojo, crowded around it, and took a deep read, combed through that scene, and were like, oh yeah, Jenny’s right, she wasn’t lying about a fight scene tomorrow, and it’s a hefty one up against a bunch of street thugs.

The assistant stunt coordinator and the stunt team really stepped up by choreographing something amazing in a few hours. I’m proud to say that I picked up that fight routine quickly because I’d had weeks of intense foundational Wushu training. It was hard to teach it to the other actors, so the thugs who I fought against in that scene were the same stunt guys who taught me the routine.

The beauty of that was that when someone really knows how to take a punch, it made my punches look better. Those stunt men were excellent at it. I remember afterward, Bey (Bey Logan, writer, producer) said to me, “You saved the day because everybody forgot about that fight scene.” I should’ve said to him, “I saved your movie,” but I was thinking I really didn’t save anything other than myself because I didn’t want to look like a fool in front of the camera.

I was trained in weapons for the film. I had a sword against batons Kumite fight scene. We shot it, it just never made it in the movie.

Did you have to train in any specific martial art for the movie? 

In the script, Ling is meant to specialize in Shaolin after training with Wai. So, the first time you encounter Ling, her style is an undisciplined street fighter, and throwing vehement punches is her thing. When she gets trained up by Wai, she gains focus, discipline, and she masters Shaolin. So, all the fights in the Kumite for Ling were for Shaolin. I guess you could use the term Shaolin and Wushu interchangeably, but I might be upsetting some martial arts fans by saying that. I know there’s a lot of overlap. In reality, a lot of the foundations are the same, but yes, most of my fight choreography was Shaolin style. I’ll add, the reason Ling lost the big finale fight to Jane was because she threw out her training, and regressed in a moment’s panic back to her undisciplined street fighting style. I mean that was the logistics behind the choreography.

Jenny Wu's Information and Social Media Handles 




Introducing Martial Arts School Listings on Black Belt Mag!
Sign Up Now To Be One Of The First School Listed In Our Database.
Don't miss a single issue of the worlds largest magazine of martial arts.