Interview: Todd Senofonte talks about work on Robert Tai's Iron Bodyguards, stuntwork on Van Damme films, and current roles
Knight: There are many scenes that get fans talking, but I guess the first one would be the extreme push ups Letov does, elevated, on his finger tips, then one each. I have seen the film in widescreen and it looks pretty convincing to me, but for those that wonder, how much was for real? You had previously won a championship or award for a push up competition?
Senofonte: What do you mean? It's all real... Hahaha. Now, I'm not going to be cool if I said I had help with the one handed finger tip push ups. I did receive the physical fitness patch in the military for doing 124 push ups in two minutes, 85 sit ups and running the two mile in 12:34.
Knight: When Letov and Chan Jen finally have their friendly fight at the end it really commands attention. How involved was the planning of that fight scene?
Senofonte: There was really no planning. We did the scene in two days and when we got to set we would rehearse and shoot it.
Knight: At one point in the fight there is a 'foot stomp' which I don't often see in martial arts fights in films of that time. Usually it is something seen in some boxing matches though. Was there maybe a Western influence on the fight choreography -- the fight between Muhammad Ali and Chuck Wepner, perhaps being the most famous 'foot stomp' controversy in boxing up to that time?
Senofonte: Whatever Robert and Alexander wanted. We did our best to make them happy.
Knight: With Fist Of Legends II: Iron Bodyguards Tai shot footage of you, Lu Feng, and Joh Haau Foo aka "Jet Le" and inserted it among footage from a much earlier film called The Bodguard which had Larry Lee, James Nam, and Bolo Yeung in it.
Senofonte: I have not met Bolo, yet. Trigger Reaction is in the works. I am a fan of all Bolo's films.
Knight: What was it that brought you to the attention of Jean Claude Van Damme's people?
Senofonte: I overnighted a letter and pictures to Van Damme's agent back in '94 and received a call from them the next day. No one knew of me. I had to find them myself and keep in touch with them until I got what I wanted. The rest is history.
Knight: You worked on many films of Jean Claude Van Damme's, eventually with more involvement as the years and the films went on, as stunt double. You must have stories about every film. Sudden Death (1995) was the first film you worked on though?
Senofonte: Yes. I have many stories and they are in the vault, unfortunately I lost the key... Do you know any locksmiths I can call? Sudden Death was my first film ever, and I was used like it was my first film. The First A.D. would use me to stand-in for other actors and I thought that was odd, but I went along with it. At that time Jean-Claude was using a great stunt double named Mark Stefanich (an ex-frogman). It was cool to watch him and learn from all the other stunt guys.
Todd Senofonte in martial pose. Image used with the kind permission of Todd Senofonte.