Actress and filmmaker Jennifer Linch’s feature debut, Kung Fu Ghost, is still in the trenches with additional footage to be shot this summer. She’s back in our corner to offer a few more updates as well as to share her story and grueling experiences working on the set for eighteen days, and onward through the post-production process.
Below is the fourth and final interview in our Capturing Ghosts series covering the film, in which we are proudly debuting the first official teaser poster which features Linch front and center, along with Noah Sargent, Rene Fernandez, and a heavily made-up David S. Dawson who plays the role of Linch’s ghoulish kung fu master Grandpa.
You’re currently in post-production with Kung Fu Ghost, correct?
Yes, I’m in charge of the rough cut right now, so I can construct the upcoming reshoot better. The rough cut is different than other films I have done in the past, because we have 8k red footage, which demands a different kind of workflow. I’m also working with my composer for the romantic scenes, and finding new music for my action and comedy scenes, as well as planning the blocking and composition for my reshoot at the end of July.
According to the role you play, Daisy, finds herself as an accidental heroine of sorts. Talk about the process of preparing and playing this character.
I don’t want to give away too much. For now, I’ll just say this: Daisy is very fun, happy, bubbly and childlike, but she loves deeply, and as the story goes, she becomes more mature and responsible. In getting ready for this character, part of it was all about letting all my guard down, and just letting myself be the fun side of Jennifer.
You’re heavily into a lot of Chinese wuxia fantasy and martial arts dramas since your upbringing.
Fantasy martial arts films are in my blood. That’s my favorite kind of entertainment. I often commanded my older brother to rent those fantasy kung fu drama shows when I was a kid, and so I could stay in the whole week just to watch them day and night. I didn’t care much to hang out with friends or do anything else, just watching the shows. My mother got fed up with me about that one day turned off the television because she wanted me to go have a social life.The upside nowadays is that it’s nourished my creativity and desire to carry over the genre for my own films. It’s been a dream from childhood and my teenage years up to now and I can’t wait. My childhood dreams, my childhood fight sequences that now as an adult and a filmmaker, I can make them a reality for my own viewing, and I won’t get yelled at! [laughs]
You had a handy stunt team on set fresh from Canada. Talk about working with Shane, Daniel and Jason, and the fight scene rehearsal process.
I rehearsed with Shane two months prior. When Jason and Daniel came on set, I was grateful that they were there. These three are professional, knowledgeable and fun to work with. I can’t wait to bring them back together for my second feature, because the plan is to use fire stunts next time around. It’s exciting for me!
I’m told that your cinematographer, Jerome Dolbert was one of the hardest people working on set.
Not only that. Jerome is very humble and fun to be around. He has a grateful attitude and big smiles on set. He was very calm, very patient and strong. His equipment was real heavy, but he managed and handled them day-in, day-out, moving them around all day, everyday. Never complained, always smiling. How great is that?! Plus he’s rich with a big heart, cares about the environment and human rights. He is awesome.
Tell us about the casting process for the roles of William and Grandpa, because I understand this was a little bit challenging for you.
Casting Noah [Sargent] for the role of William was easy, actually, although I will say I was absolutely lucky to find David [David S. Dawson], an award wining director in San Diego to step up to play the role for me. He stepped up for the role of Grandpa and made the commitment 110% to transform into the role, from shaving his head, learning the accent and diving deep into the character for months before the production.He especially stepped up to help out when I was really sick on set, so I can honestly say: “Grandpa is freaking awesome”
So you’re now in charge of the rough cut and you’re basically nose-deep into the editing process with additional footage to be shot this summer. How has it been for you since then?
This process has to be the suckiest part of filmmaking for me [laughs]. Day-in, day-out, from sunlight to moonlight. Sometimes I’ll up until 2, maybe 3 in the morning, sitting in front of the computer doing editing work and gazing at each millisecond of footage. A very detailed process. The good thing here is I’m most awake and creative after midnight when I edit, so there are a lot of sleepless nights as a result.It’s difficult, it’s exhausting, it’s lonely. So to all the editors out there in the world that without those professionals in this part of the field, there are no movies. I drink a toast to all of you, because as hard as fight scenes are to put together and shoot and edit, your line of work can certainly be just as grueling.
Can you offer any clues as to what the new scenes will include?
We will have what is called a “oner”, a long take fight scene so you can actually see all the movements of my character as well as Shane’s. The goal is to make it as fun, cool and as visually interesting as possible to the best of my ability at the moment, to cater to everyone, as well as myself as a member of the viewing audience.
What’s your biggest takeaway from this long, arduous period of production for your career?
Success is a teacher, but failure is the master, and you are lucky to learn from both.Shooting a martial arts film in eighteen days was really exhausting, and created a pretty harsh working environment for both cast and crew at times. So, I’m aiming toward raising more funds for more shooting days on the next project. With enough funds, it could also help afford more time off for the cast and crew, and it goes to our collective health, generally. I got a really high fever from non-stop action and exhaustion for three weeks prior to production, so when we shot the last fight scene, I could barely move out of bed that day. I had to drag my sickly body to set to shoot the knife fight. David said he thought I would pass out at the end of that day, and even my production manager kept checking my temperature and asking me to stop the day early.
Provided you’re able to mitigate the current Covid-19 pandemic, how does the rest of the year look for you in terms of launching future projects?
Ivan White, my long time writer is working on his fifth script. He pitched his idea to me, and I agreed to produce it right after KFG acquires distribution deals in the markets later this year hopefully. This one will be shot in San Diego with the stunt team from Canada, as well as a new martial arts team whom I just discovered who will fly in from around the world. My goal is to launch the Jennifer Linch Stunt Team, a label I can use in part to scout for martial arts and stunt talents for future projects. My motto will be: “No matter where you are, I will find you and I will HIRE you!“.
*As I’ve previously stated in other posts, I’m involved on Kung Fu Ghost as an associate producer, as I’m also handling PR assets for the project.