Andy Long (Andreas Ngyuen) was born in Vietnam and raised in Germany where he found a passion for martial arts at a young age.
Inspired by the legendary Jackie Chan, Andy had a dream to not only be like him but to meet his idol and learn all he could about action filmmaking. Not content with simply dreaming of becoming an action director and star, Andy taught himself the art of stunt work and was soon making his own independent films.
His focus and determination took him all the way to Paris, France where he finally met his idol. They say you shouldn’t meet your heroes for fear of being disappointed. Nothing could be further from that truth for Andy, as meeting Jackie Chan inspired him and put him on the path to his own action movie success.
Andy’s action style is heavily influenced by the Hong Kong action of the 80’s; the fast and acrobatic style that propelled Jackie Chan, along with Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao, Jet Li, and Donnie Yen to superstardom.
His career to date has seen Andy work with Jackie Chan and his stunt team, choreograph action with brothers Brian and Andy Le, and trade blows with the world’s most complete fighter aka ‘Yuri Boyka’ in “Undisputed IV“.
Andy also returned to his Vietnamese roots starring in the epic “Luc Van Tien: Kung Fu Warrior” under the direction of Hoang Phuc Nguyen. An epic tale based on a 19th Century poem “Luc Van Tien” put Andy and his stunt team on the action movie map, last year enjoying a big screen premier outing at the Fighting Spirit Film Festival.
He will soon be seen opposite Scott Adkins (once again) in the highly anticipated “Accident Man 2” directed by George and Harry Kirby.
KFK caught up with Andy in between his very busy schedule to talk about his dreams of becoming an action director, meeting his idol, and what the future holds for this rising star ushering in the renaissance of that Hong Kong-style martial arts entertainment that we all so dearly love…and miss, so without further ado, please welcome Andy Long!
It’s great to connect with you and we hope you’re keeping well? How did you manage during the coronavirus challenges?
Well the first year was quite a setback financially, I hadn’t earned a single dime in that year but I had all the time in the world to finally finish post production for the international release of “Kung Fu Warrior”.
It was also a perfect time to return to my roots of independent filmmaking, so I helped filming and coordinating my friend and teammate’s projects such as “Duty – Out Of Line” by Felix Fukuyoshi and the “Cyberpunk 2077” fan film by Vi-Dan Tran, in which I, by the way, got to play a character named ‘Miyamoto Arasaka’, who became the inspiration for my character ‘Oyumi’ in “Accident Man 2”.
I’d also been approached by a new independent team from Turkey to join and help them with their debut feature film, in which the Andy Long Stunt Team will be featured in some guest roles. All non-paid and non-profit projects to keep ourselves busy and creative during a year without jobs. So overall, in a way, 2020 was still a very productive year.
Great to hear and we’ll get into more of that! May we first get your views briefly on what you think of the name Kung Fu Kingdom (or KFK for short)?
I really appreciate your contribution to the martial arts world, keeping people updated about all kinds of topics around martial arts, whether it’s movie updates or competitions or introductions and interviews with little people like me!
It’s our pleasure. Our mission is to encourage 100 million people around the world to get into martial arts for all the positive benefits that it brings to individuals, physically, mentally and socially – what do you think about this goal?
I think it’s a great goal, if the positive benefits can be achieved!
Thanks Andy. OK so let’s start out with how old were you when you first started learning martial arts?
My parents put me into judo class when I was 7, but I didn’t even last two years until I started coming up with excuses to quit. Somehow, I didn’t enjoy it, but what I developed in those early years was quite good body awareness when it came to falling and rolling which paid off later in my career as a stuntman.
View this post on Instagram
Totally. What other styles did you train in and what ranks do you currently hold? I know you’ve also competed in tournaments. What titles have you held?
Well, I I continued with Judo when I was 14, and transitioned into Taekwondo by the time I was 15. I made it to black belt before I stopped my membership at the club.
Around the age of 18, I got more familiar with martial arts tricking and started to compete in musical, extreme, and freestyle forms. During that time I held the National Champion title in form competitions and the 2nd World Champion title at the ISKA World Championship, 2008.
That’s amazing. I think we know the answer to this one, but do tell us who are your biggest influences?
Without a doubt it has always been Jackie Chan! The films he made have shaped my entire childhood. I always wanted to be able to do what he did in his films and the way he did it.
Breaking into the Movies
No surprise there then! So let’s dive a little deeper…please share with us what got you interested in stunt work?
Imitating Jackie Chan and his stunt team’s stunts was the start! I was 11 years-old, I think, when I watched his documentary “My Stunts” which finally encouraged me to grab my parent’s camera and record the moves I was imitating as a kid.
I was always daydreaming of shooting and editing fight scenes but doing so required a couple of crazy friends with the same interests. So I asked my family members to join my little film crew and give ideas; they were not into martial arts at all, so obviously it never turned out the way I expected. It was still a very far off dream in my early teens.
Again, no surprise! Did you undergo any formal training as a stuntman?
No, everything I learned by the time I got into the industry was self-taught through short films I made. Later on I learned a lot of things on the sets of bigger productions which I could not have picked up from making short films, but these things were more about coordination. I attended some rigging courses but I have never visited a stunt school.
That’s amazing. In 2006 you founded your first action team ‘Mag Fighters’, and began making movies. Can you tell us how this all came about, who was on your team, and what were the types of movies you made or featured in?
Independent teams like ‘The Stunt People’ and ‘The Young Masters’ have shown me there are people with the same ambitions out there, proving to me that it’s possible to create your own little martial arts action movies inspired by Hong Kong films.
It took me a while to find the kind of friends who would be interested in joining me, and thanks to the internet becoming more widespread, and in every household, it became easier to connect.
Konstantin Müller and Gunnar Heiss founded the “Mag Fighters” with me and we had a couple more friends joining us over the years. Unfortunately, none of them except me ever had the intention of joining the professional action film industry. We were just a group of friends killing free time by shooting fight scenes and short films. But making these videos turned out to be the best school for me.
Red Dragon 3 – A Mag Fighters Film
That has since opened up many opportunities and you went on to work with a number of independent teams. Can you tell us a little more about the work you got involved in and teams and creatives you collaborated with?
Since it was such a rarity to find people with the same passion, it gave me much joy to meet and collaborate with all the independent film teams I knew through the internet.
In 2010 I travelled, for the first time, to the States only to meet all the teams I admired and who were approachable through The Stunt People forum, our community. We all might have different styles but collaborating with them showed me that we had more or less the same ways of shooting and editing to achieve our end product, which was very satisfying to see.
Working with Jackie Chan
I can imagine… So, Andy, how did the opportunity to work with your idol, Jackie Chan come about?
Well the short version of it involves me trying my entire life since I recorded my first stunt footage as a little boy, to pass on my demo reel to Jackie. I set myself a goal to join the JC Stunt Team when Jackie would be shooting “Armour Of God 3“. The year he announced this film to be shot, which was also going to be his last action film, I literally dropped everything to try and get involved with the film.
Seeking Jackie while Broke and Sleeping on the Streets of Paris…
Time was running out and Jackie had already started shooting in Paris. It was my last chance to get on board. I was broke, travelling to France, sleeping a week on the streets, trying to find the set.
I’ll never forget the moment when I finally met him all alone, on the yard of Château de Chantilly to express my admiration and to pass him my demo reel. I have spent as many days as possible on this set offering my help to the stunt team.
View this post on Instagram
A month after they wrapped the shooting in Paris and returned to China, I got an email from He Jun the stunt coordinator, telling me that Jackie had seen my reel and wanted me to join the team. The rest is history.
Jackie Chan as a Mentor
What an inspiring story! What was Jackie like as a mentor, and what advice and guidance did he give you?
Jackie proved to be the person I always imagined him to be. He met my expectations of him entirely, as a filmmaker as well as a human being. The most inspiring thing about him was his passion and dedication on set – he loves and lives the filmmaking process in every possible way.
Not a moment gets wasted waiting for something to be done, he’s involved in the process and does everything necessary to bring the shoot forward and to enjoy the process. He works hard and uses every moment to learn and improve. I learned a lot from him and the team.
Real thorough then. How has Jackie’s distinct fighting style shaped your own?
I love his style not just because I’m a huge fan boy, I love other people’s work too. The rhythm and the pace in his choreography, the composition of each shot and the editing is genius, and unique.
His fight sequences flow like a musical piece, which is not achievable if you don’t put all your focus into it. The art of action without violence is also something which separates him from all the other action films. I really wish that I could at least carry on and portray a piece of his action-making brilliance in my work.
A Typical Day on a Jackie Chan Set…
The process of filming was very different on “Chinese Zodiac” compared to the other films. In a way it was true that it was Jackie’s last “Jackie Chan” film like the way he used to make them. I had the privilege to witness first hand how he would choreograph and shoot the way he’d always done it.
Nowadays, action sequences are very prefabricated involving months of preparation, rehearsals, and the production of previsuals (pre-viz) all go into planning an action scene, all to save time and money on set.
Jackie used to choreograph and figure out everything directly on the day of shooting, on set, sometimes even shot by shot. It stretches the shooting period which can be quite expensive, but it’s a magical process. The inspiration you get directly on set is totally different than in a rehearsing space.
View this post on Instagram
It’s hard to describe a typical day on his set as a stuntman, because we would always shoot something else and have different tasks. It’s very different to the western stunt industry, where everything is separated. There’s the fight department, car stunt department, stunt rigging department etc.
Chinese stunt guys are trained to be all-round stunt guys. What most people don’t know is that 80% of JC Stunt Team members’ work is stunt rigging, setting up and operating the wires. This was my daily job.
Although Jackie is not flying around in his films like a superhero or other Chinese martial arts actors, there is all sorts of wire support and wire assistance required in almost every shot of his films.
Performing in front of the camera is maybe 5% of the job if you get lucky to be chosen by the coordinator. For this you have to keep yourself fit and be ready at all times. In the old days team members would’ve taken on some roles in the film, but over the last 30 years these are now given to actors who would be doubled by the team.
All sorts of work make up our daily responsibilities to support the film shoot as a stunt team member. What we learn on Jackie’s sets is the craft to become filmmakers and understand every department.
Jackie Chan’s Most Important Advice
Incredible! What was the most important advice Jackie ever gave you that helped shape your career?
That no matter how good you are, you are nothing without your team. Your team is the most precious on a movie set. Having a strong, and loyal team which supports you in the most difficult situations is the biggest blessing.
Knowing how to choose and how to treat them, is a lesson which must be learned. Skill is important but a good personality and the right attitude is key.
From Kung-Fu Warrior to Accident Man
That’s top advice. You went on to form the Andy Long Action team then produced and starred in “Luc Van Tien: Kung Fu Warrior”. What drew you to this project?
In order to really step into my idol’s footsteps and apply his advice and guidance into becoming a good filmmaker I had to branch out from the JC Stunt Team to form my own team, producing my own projects, which I always wanted to do.
“Kung Fu Warrior” was an opportunity to return to my home country, Vietnam, to star and action-direct in a Vietnamese feature film. I was offered the role by the director of the film Hoang Phuc Nguyen, a well-known known actor in Vietnam, who I met and trained for another Vietnamese project two years previously.
I assembled a team made up of my independent, filmmaking friends whom I’d recently worked with at that time and kindly accepted Nguyen’s offer and invitation.
Luc Van Tien: Kung Fu Warrior
On set you were also the stunt coordinator and worked alongside Brian and Andy Le who were the fight choreographers. What approach did you three take in developing the action for this film?
Andy and Brian are extremely dedicated martial artists and very talented boys. In terms of choreography these two brothers helped me brainstorm ideas and movements for each fight, which I would later put together, form and direct into a complete action sequence.
We all focused on portraying the style of a good, Hong Kong 80’s action film. Lorenz Hideyoshi and Felix Fukuyoshi Ruwwe who featured heavily in the film, had the freedom of choreographing their own moves with assistance from Andy and Brian. Besides choreographing and performing, all of these guys applied the same JC Stunt Team spirit on this film and supported the shoot in all kinds of ways. I’ll be forever grateful for their support and hard work. Thank you Andy, Brian, Lorenz, Felix, Du, Khoi and Markus!
Great story. You then took your stunt team to Bollywood where you got to work with the kalari martial arts legend, Vidyut Jammwal on “Commando 3”. How did that opportunity come about?
I was recommended to Vidyut and the production team by my friend Nathan Barris who worked on the previous ‘Commando’ films and who I later met and worked with on Season 3 of Into The Badlands. Taking the original Andy Long Stunt Team members on a job and featuring them on screen is the least I can do to repay them for their hard work.
I always try to take them with me on every job, because we work best together and blindly trust and understand each other. Depending on the scale of action, I would hire additional stunt guys who would help us to get the job done.
Unfortunately, there hasn’t been the opportunity to put the Le brothers in front of the camera with Vidyut yet. They are just very busy, which in itself I’m very happy about.
I see! How much creative freedom were you given in co-ordinating the action?
Well considering the script, director’s vision, producers’ and actors’ wishes, the time and budget and a few other conditions, I had pretty much all the creative freedom I could ask for. Besides directing the action, I was also allowed to decide all the shots, operate the camera, and edit the finished product, which is not common at all.
The schedule was crazy, but thanks to my no budget/independent filmmaking days, I was confident in delivering the action sequences on schedule. It was a great experience, which led me to many more projects with Vidyut Jammwal.
Amazing. Recently you were hired to work on “Accident Man 2” with Scott Adkins. What preparations did you make in approaching the fight action?
Well, it had been more than a year since I last performed in front of the camera, so my first priority was getting back in shape. Scott always told me that he wanted to get his “ass kicked” by my character, Oyumi.
He gave me the freedom of showcasing some fancy kicks. It was only the two of us who put together the choreography for this fight. I figured out the shots and George Kirby [the director] added his magic with the camera movements. We kept everything as per the pre-viz with a few adjustments.
Accident Man 2: BTS Reel
What can fans expect in terms of the martial arts action?
I think it will be a fun, and very refreshing film for Scott. The Kirby brothers have added a new flavour into Scott’s normal style. The finale of the film is packed with one fight after another!
Andy Long’s Top 5’s
Sounds exciting, we’re so looking forwards to it. So, what are Andy Long’s all-time Top 5 favourite martial-arts movies, let’s do this!
All Jackie’s films! Some great titles there. What are your Top 3 favourite movie fights?
“Police Story 2” (The Playground Fight); “Armour of God” (finale), and “Drunken Master 2” (finale).
Fun & Leisure
What’s one geeky or interesting thing that people don’t know about you?
I love coconut water!
Ha, very refreshing! If you could be a superhero, who would you be and what superpower would you most like to have?
Son Goku from Dragon Ball. He might not be the typical superhero character, but he’s the strongest of all. More than being extremely strong, I would love to be able to fly or be able to teleport and jump locations.
Reflections & Future Dreams/Goals
That would be cool. What is your proudest accomplishment so far?
I think “how” I accomplished something is what I’m proud of the most. I’m proud that I never cut corners, pleased or stepped on anyone to be where I am.
I never let anyone take away my dreams, I ignored the naysayers and believed in myself, that was the only reason I met my deadlines – becoming a Jackie Chan Stunt Team member, action director, and starring in a feature film.
What other projects do you have coming up, what other dreams, goals and ambitions are you keen to accomplish?
“Projekt Adler” is an independent film which features the Andy Long Stunt Team in some guest roles so keep an eye out for that.
There will be quite a lot of action sequences which we’ve done. And again I can’t be more grateful for the company and support of my team during the making of this film.
Thanks to Sefa, Felix, Daniele, Dimi, Tanguy and Du, things would not have been possible without them.
In terms of ambitions, I’m planning on directing my own feature film script soon. The goal is to produce one film each year together with the Andy Long Stunt Team.
Andy’s Filmmaking Wisdom
Can’t wait to see more from your awesome team! What warrior-wisdom quote or philosophy has helped you become who you are today?
Pain is temporary, film is forever!
Andy Long’s Message to KFK Fans & Followers
Very nice. What special message would Andy Long like to share with Kung Fu Kingdom followers and your fans around the world right now?
Be kind to others, be happy and do what you love and love what you do.
A brilliant, and idealistic high note to end our interview on. Thank you Andy for taking the time to speak with Kung Fu Kingdom. We look forward to seeing you trade blows in “Accident Man 2”, and your other upcoming projects.
Thank you Ramon, and KFK for having me!