The transcript below is from the video β€œMichael Jai White: Steven Seagal Knew Not to Hit Me in Fight Scenes” by djvlad.

Djvlad (VladTV):

Well, with the Bruce Lee thing, this is what he said. So that scene is based on something. Right? He said Bruce had no respect for American stuntmen. He was always hitting them with his feet. It’s called tagging when you hit a stuntman for real. He was always tagging them with his feet and his fist and he got to the point where they would refuse to work with Bruce. He had nothing but disrespect for American stuntmen. It was probably just like, Oh, they’re just not good enough. They’re p*ssies. I want to make it look real. But stuntmen don’t like that. That’s unprofessional. Now,…

Michael Jai White (Actor, Director & Martial Artist):

When did that happen? I have to ask that question.

Djvlad (VladTV):

Well, it was based on a book.

Michael Jai White (Actor, Director & Martial Artist):

No, but think about this for a second. When the hell did all of that happen?

Djvlad (VladTV):

There was a book by a guy named Matthew Polly…Bruce Lee: A life, where he talked about the whole stuntman thing, about how stuntman hated Bruce on Green Hornet.

Michael Jai White (Actor, Director & Martial Artist):

Oh, Green Hornet?

Djvlad (VladTV):

Yeah, and that’s why they brought in a guy named Gene LeBell to teach Bruce respect for American stuntmen.

Number one – you have a lot of action films, right? So, every one of those films has stuntmen, I assume, right? You don’t do your own stunts, right? Or do you?

Michael Jai White (Actor, Director & Martial Artist):

Yeah, pretty much!

Djvlad (VladTV):

You do all your own stunts?

Michael Jai White (Actor, Director & Martial Artist):

Not all. If I’m on fire, it’s not me, you know. But actually, in Spawn, it was me.

Djvlad (VladTV):

It was!

Michael Jai White (Actor, Director & Martial Artist):

I’m stupid like that.

Djvlad (VladTV):

Right but okay… but in general, like fight scenes, it’s always you.

Michael Jai White (Actor, Director & Martial Artist):

Yeah.

Djvlad (VladTV):

Okay, but is it always the actor that you’re fighting or do they bring in stuntman body doubles and so forth.

Michael Jai White (Actor, Director & Martial Artist):

No, usually, I’m fighting another fighter.

Djvlad (VladTV):

Exactly! Okay but are there stuntmen? Have stuntmen been used in the various films that you filmed or not at all?

Michael Jai White (Actor, Director & Martial Artist):

Yeah, absolutely!

Djvlad (VladTV):

Absolutely! Okay, so tell me about this whole tagging thing. Are you familiar with it?

Michael Jai White (Actor, Director & Martial Artist):

Well, you’re saying somebody that hits people, like for real, in a movie?

Djvlad (VladTV):

Yeah. Does that happen very often? Have you seen, like, real fights break out during movies?

Michael Jai White (Actor, Director & Martial Artist):

No. It does not happen very often at all.

Djvlad (VladTV):

Okay.

Michael Jai White (Actor, Director & Martial Artist):

No, it does not happen very often. I mean, Steven Seagal hits the sh*t out of people – that’s a unique situation.

Djvlad (VladTV):

Okay. So, you did how many Steven Seagal movies?

Michael Jai White (Actor, Director & Martial Artist):

Like three…

Djvlad (VladTV):

Three?

Michael Jai White (Actor, Director & Martial Artist):

Three projects with Steven Seagal. One soup commercial for Nissin and two movies.

Djvlad (VladTV):

Cup of noodles Nissan?

Michael Jai White (Actor, Director & Martial Artist):

Yeah… for Japan.

Djvlad (VladTV):

Okay.

Michael Jai White (Actor, Director & Martial Artist):

Yeah.

Djvlad (VladTV):

Alright. So, in those films you did with Steven Seagal, he was actually hitting the stuntmen like hell?

Michael Jai White (Actor, Director & Martial Artist):

Yeah, he’s known for that.

Djvlad (VladTV):

He’s known for that?

Michael Jai White (Actor, Director & Martial Artist):

Oh, yeah.

Djvlad (VladTV):

So how would the stuntmen react after getting punched by Steven Seagal?

Michael Jai White (Actor, Director & Martial Artist):

Ouch! They try to deal with it because they’re stuntmen and so there’s a certain ethic where you try to grin and bear it. You know, in one of the movies I did with him, Steven Seagal was the director of On Deadly Ground and he was laying into people. So, what are you going to do? Are you going to complain to the director, that the director is hitting you? And so there’s a certain line where people go, “Okay, that’s my badge of honor. I’m tough, I can take it.” But he, you know, he cracks people. You know, and Tony Jaa cracks people but they line up for it. But Tony Jaa is amazing! He does that because that’s an agreement between him and the other person. But Tony Jaa can do a flip and slap you with his foot like this and control it. You know what I mean? So there are some people who don’t mind getting hit because it’s realistic and then there’s the stunt guys that go, “Yeah, it really hit me. I wanted to look good.” So, these are the parameters, right? So, Steven Seagal hits the sh*t out of people, some people go along with it, some people don’t. But he cracks people.

Djvlad (VladTV):

Okay and they all took it pretty much. No one ever got angry?

Michael Jai White (Actor, Director & Martial Artist):

Yeah, people got angry.

Djvlad (VladTV):

Okay, so you saw someone get angry at Steven Seagal?

Michael Jai White (Actor, Director & Martial Artist):

Yeah, yeah, a lot of times.

Djvlad (VladTV):

Anyone ever punched him back?

Michael Jai White (Actor, Director & Martial Artist):

Not yet…

Djvlad (VladTV):

Not yet?

Michael Jai White (Actor, Director & Martial Artist):

Not yet!

Djvlad (VladTV):

Okay.

Michael Jai White (Actor, Director & Martial Artist):

I mean, I did the fight scene with him, we had no problem whatsoever.

Djvlad (VladTV):

Okay, so you did a fight scene with him? Did he punch you for real?

Michael Jai White (Actor, Director & Martial Artist):

No…

Djvlad (VladTV):

So, he knew who to punch.

Michael Jai White (Actor, Director & Martial Artist):

Well, you know…

Djvlad (VladTV):

It is what it is!

Michael Jai White (Actor, Director & Martial Artist):

Well, I’m not a stunt guy.

Djvlad (VladTV):

Yeah, right!

Michael Jai White (Actor, Director & Martial Artist):

You know what I mean, I’m not a stunt guy. So some, you know like I said, some say it’s a badge of honor. Who knows, he might be like, oh, you know, he’s not, you know, understanding. I’ll say it that way.




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