Date of delivery: 11 August, 1967 (Philadelphia, USA).
Occupation: Actor, director, stunt coordinator, stunt performer, motion director, second unit director.
Model: Hung Gar kung fu.
Biography: Robert “Bobby” Samuels grew up in West Philadelphia. His dad and mom have been married for 2 years and divorced when Robert was two years previous. His father, a banker, moved to New York and labored on Wall Avenue, and his mom stayed in Philadelphia. It was after watching a screening of King Boxer (1972) in Philadelphia that he first found a love for martial arts and flicks. He would go to the cinemas on forty second Avenue when visiting his father in New York, and in addition to being obsessive about kung fu motion pictures, he began to coach in Hung Gar kung fu from the age of 10 with Maurice Tunstall in Philadelphia.
Within the Eighties, Samuels began to interrupt into the film enterprise. He auditioned for roles within the USA, and – whereas working for 5 years for the airline, US Airways – he made frequent journeys to Hong Kong. Robert’s first connection in Hong Kong was the Hung Gar knowledgeable and actor, Chiu Chi-ling, who additionally grew to become Samuels’ supervisor in 1990. Samuels additionally skilled with Chiu for over 20 years. It was via Chiu Chi-ling that Robert met the Hong Kong stars Paul Chun, Chen Kuan-tai, and Sammo Hung, who was filming The Playing Ghost on the time. After their assembly, Sammo referred to as Robert and solid him within the movie, beginning a lifelong friendship.
When Robert ultimately give up his job at US Airways, he moved into Sammo’s dwelling in Hong Kong, sharing a room together with his son, and he grew to become Sammo’s second pupil alongside the actor, Collin Chou. Whereas in Hong Kong, he developed his kung fu expertise by coaching with completely different masters, together with Mark Houghton, a pupil of Lau Kar-leung. He additionally grew to become a fluent Cantonese speaker.
Robert Samuels grew to become the primary African American stunt performer to be inducted into the Hong Kong Stuntman Affiliation. He nonetheless sits on the board. He was additionally inducted into the Asia Sports activities Stars Affiliation, and the Hong Kong Performing Artists Guild. Whereas in Hong Kong, rumours unfold that Robert was Sammo’s bodyguard, which truly helped his popularity within the movie business and led to extra appearing alternatives. Samuels would additionally shadow Sammo as an assistant struggle choreographer, which noticed him develop his expertise behind the digicam.
Samuels helped to kind the primary western stunt group in Hong Kong, often known as the ‘G7’ (‘Gweilo Seven’). Members of the group have been employed in numerous movies, together with Don’t Give a Rattling (1995), The Quest (1996), and The Pink Wolf (1995) for Yuen Woo-ping. He was additionally approached by Jackie Chan to be solid in Rumble within the Bronx, however following a falling out between Sammo Hung and Jackie Chan, Sammo informed Samuels he couldn’t seem within the movie.
When Robert returned to the USA, he determined to work extra predominantly behind the digicam. In 1999, he labored as an motion director and interpreter for Chow Yun-fat on the Hollywood motion movie, The Corruptor, co-starring Mark Wahlberg. Samuels discovered work as a second unit director and began to direct brief movies and music movies for the likes of Eve, DMX, Metallica, Mos Def, and extra. He directed his first brief movie in 2016 – the martial arts brief, Beast: Chronicles of Parker. He continues to work with fellow filmmaker, Robert Jefferson, as a part of R4Films. Their work contains the Shadow Fist brief movies, a homage to ‘old skool’ kung fu motion pictures.
In 2021, Robert Samuels made his directorial debut alongside co-director, James Lew, in Made in Chinatown – a low-budget motion comedy which starred newcomer Jay Kwon, Shaw Brothers legend Lo Meng, and Robert’s former Hung Gar instructor, Chiu Chi-ling.
Speech! “I had been watching movies like The Black Dragon with Ron Van Clief and Carl Scott’s motion pictures… seeing an African American [in] Hong Kong cinema, I knew I had an opportunity. I mentioned, ‘if they will do it, I’ve simply bought to place myself able and I can do it, as a result of I can see now that it may be carried out’.” Interview with Kung Fu Film Information Podcast, 2022.
Filmography (as actor): 1987 The Good, the Unhealthy and the Magnificence; 1989 Deadly Wager; 1991 The Playing Ghost; 1995 Don’t Give a Rattling; 1995 Hong Kong Graffiti; 1995 The Pink Wolf; 2001 Blazin’ (+ motion dir.); 2003 Secret Conflict; 2006 Seven Mummies (+ stunt coordinator); A Melody Trying; 2013 Final Days the Saga: Torment; 2018 Deadly Contact (TV) (+ dir.); 2019 John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum; Sure, Auntie! (TV); Iron Fists and Kung Fu Kicks (documentary); 2020 Shadow Fist (brief) (+ dir.); 2021 Made in Chinatown (+ dir.); 2022 Jugando Con Fuego (brief); Shadow Fist II (brief) (+ dir.).
Filmography (as stunt coordinator; motion director; assistant stunt coordinator): 1990 She Shoots Straight; 1998 Don’t Clarify; 1999 The Corruptor; Terror Firmer; The Minimize Runs Deep; 2003 Mail Order Bride; 2016 New York, New York.
Filmography (as director): 2016 Beast: Chronicles of Parker (brief) (+ professional.); Golden Arms Returns (TV); 2017 Jun (brief); 2022 Cafe Negra (TV) (+ scr.).