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An Interview with John Ozuna, Star and Stunt Coordinator of Cabal

by Mike Haberfelner

September 2019

Films starring John Ozuna on (re)Search my Trash

 

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Your new movie Cabal - in a few words, what is it about, and what can you tell us about your character in it?

 

Cabal is about a military assassin, code named Dragonfly, that is hired to hunt and eliminate a serial killer, Sallos, preying on innocent young girls. While on assignment he learns that thereís a much more sinister danger than he had anticipated. My character Dragonfly is a former special forces, expert in martial arts and a trained killer. He is conflicted with the life he leads and the life he wishes he had.

 

What did you draw upon to bring your character to life, and how much of John Ozuna can we find in Dragonfly?

 

I trained intensely for 3 months prior to filming. My training included martial arts, kickboxing, weightlifting and intermittent fasting. It felt no different than preparing for a world class level full contact fight. My martial arts training has helped me survive several life threatening situations involving multiple attackers armed with knives and guns. Itís this that Dragonfly and John Ozuna have in common and see through the same eyes.

 

For what I've seen, Dragonfly wears a mask during quite a bit of Cabal - so in what way did that influence your acting and also stunting?

 

Wearing the Dragonfly mask was particularly challenging. We filmed on the tarmac at Redding International Airport, which reached temperatures up to 127 Degrees. I wore a fir lined face stocking under the mask. It limited my vision and breathing. I had relied on my physical movements to convey dialogue and emotions. Despite these challenges I felt that every time I put the mask on I transformed into the Dragonfly and nothing could stop me!

 

How did you get involved with the project in the first place?

 

Rene Perez contacted me earlier this year and expressed wanting to work together on a project where he would have more of a say so on storyline, casting and content. A year earlier I had worked on his film The Dragon Unleashed. He knew what I was capable of doing to develop the character of Dragonfly.

 

Do talk about Cabal's director Rene Perez [Rene Perez interview - click here], and what was your collaboration like?

 

Rene is an artist in every way. His commitment and dedication to his vision is obvious in his body of work. He outdid himself on Cabal! We share so many common interests. His love and appreciation for classical music, 80s music, superheroes, G. I. Joes, M*A*S*H, Star Trek and Star Wars. The more we talked the more we discovered how much we had in common. Once we started throwing ideas around for this project it became obvious what we wanted to produce.

 

Besides playing the lead, you also worked as a stunt coordinator on Cabal - so what can you tell us about that aspect of the movie?

 

As a fight choreographer I wanted for each fight sequence to tell a story about the character and how he adapts to whatever situation he encounters. Whether it be on the tarmac of an airport facing five adversaries or the dense forest against an unstoppable force. Either way we tried to make this as real as possible. We took full hits to the body and an unbelievable ďrealĒ kick to the groin by Tony Jackson.

 

Do talk about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?

 

The locations were breathtaking. The actors and crew were the best. Each person went above and beyond to help out in any way they could. Egos were checked at the door. We laughed out loud towards the end of each long shooting day. On the rides back we listened to music, reflected on the days filming and laughed some more.

 

Any future projects you'd like to share?

 

I have recently been casted for a lead in an upcoming Hollywood feature film. I canít say much about it now but the director is known to have ďDanced With WolvesĒ Haha!

 

You actually come from a martial background and to my understanding are a Guiness Book record holder - so to talk about that aspect of your career?

 

I have been studying martial arts for nearly 40 years under my teacher Senior Grandmaster Richard Lee. I hold a Masterís rank in Bokfudo, a self defense based system of Chinese martial arts. Iíve been a world class competitive full contact fighter and have held two Guinness World records. One for the fastest punch (43.3mph) and the other for most punches in a minute (713). This year marks my 30th anniversary for my school KO Kung Fu in San Jose California.

 

What inspired you to get into movies eventually, and did you receive any specific training on acting and/or stunt coordination?

 

Through my martial arts competition I gained a certain amount of recognition and was given opportunities to showcase it in several forms of media. My acting experience was more from stage acting. I enjoy the challenge transitioning from stage to TV/film. Each is unique in its approach and the tools that are used.

 

What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Cabal?

 

I just finished a film The Infinity Project I play the lead role John Ramsay. Itís about a C.I.A. agent that participates in a secretive brain-transference program when the ambassador to Italy is kidnapped by a rogue agent. Itís a cool sci-fi action film. You can find it on Amazon Prime. Iíve also been featured in Marvelís Venom and Antman and the Wasp among many other projects.

 

How would you describe yourself as an actor, and some of your techniques to bring your characters to life?

 

As an actor I take the time to find out as much as possible about my character's background. His particular life experiences that brought him to where he is in the story. Then I draw from my own personal experiences to bring out the authenticity of the moment.

 

Actors (and indeed actresses) who inspire you?

 

Robert DeNiro, Joe Pesci, Will Smith have always been some of my favorites. Favorite female actor, Iím a little bias, but Iíd have to say Eva Hamilton, my co-star in Cabal. She did an amazing job!

 

Your favourite movies?

 

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Wow thatís a great question. I like a huge variety for different reasons. Enter The Dragon, The Godfather, The Exorcist, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Superman, Star Wars, Disney-Pixar, just to name a few.

 

... and of course, films you really deplore?

 

Hmm...Iíll have to get back to you.

 

Your website, Facebook, whatever else?

 

Please check out my IMDb for some of my other projects Iíve worked on: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm8745779/

 

Thanks for the interview!

 

© by Mike Haberfelner


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written by
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starring
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