Germans clearly have the neatest kept facial hair…whereas I am long overdue for a weedwacker. Geezus (From L to R: Can, Yavuz, myself and Engin)
If you were to tell me I would have not one, but two awesome days in a row this week in my meet and greets with stunt and film. professionals, I might have looked at you funny (while secretly wondering where you get your powers of clairvoyance from). Apparently that ended up being the case this past week when the second of two events occurred with my Friday night reunion with German action director, actor and Reel Deal Action co-founder Can Aydin during his second of two trips this year to New York City.
This evening came just short of two years after I first met him in 2015 with Hollywood fight coordinator Jojo Eusebio; Both were in town as Eusebio was working on Dave Green’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sequel and Can was en route at the time as actor Lorenzo Richelmy’s stunt double for season two of Netflix series, Marco Polo. At the same time, he was on the verge of completing his latest action comedy bid, Plan B, aimed at celebrating the biggest legacies in blockbuster entertainment from Sylvester Stallone and Michael J. Fox to Bruce Lee and Michael Jackson with the city of Berlin serving as the backdrop.
I eventually arrived in Time Sqauare at about a quarter to ten in the evening and found Can waiting in a Starbucks directly across the street from where we were originally going to covene. He introduced me to his friends Eugin and Yavuz, the latter who I am told first introduced Aydin to a whole raft of Hong Kong action movies when he was just ten years old, furthering his fandom and subsequent ambition to go into film later on in life. I rarely go to Starbucks for anything and mainly because I have no idea what to drink other than their bland caramel lattes, but we didn’t really stick around long, although we stayed long enough to get acquainted, and for Can to show me something really special and long awaited. Indeed, it was the official trailer for Plan B, and I have to tell you…the version of it which played for Sitges last October is NOTHING compared to what the film’s to-be-announced distributor has in store ahead of its forthcoming release Germany later this year. The duration is slightly longer – I think, but the editing is tighter, the grading is better, the pacing is more fluid, even and balanced, and as promised, the action is fresh and fantastic as you’d hope, and you can rest assure that I’ll be sharing it as soon as it goes live.
After screening the trailer, we set out to find a place to actually settle down for a bite to eat. Our initial effort was for a nice and cozy falafel spot that eventually closed before we could get there, so after walking about four freezing blocks between several corner turns, we finally got to a sushi spot. I forget the name of the place but I’ll know it again when and if I see it. Their green swivel seats took some getting used to but the food was tasty – Can had a bento box with some salmon, Engin had some teriyaki and Yavuz and I had some spicy chicken with some kind of seaweed salad on rice. It was delish!
Can and I juggled the talk between the four of us he was the one most fluent in both English and German; Engin and Yavuz knew a modest amount enough to understand a lot of what I was saying while a good portion of the dialogue was pretty universal and colloquial in nature, and I even spoke a teeny bit of German just for giggles as I’m not at all as fluent as I should be since my mother is German. All and all, we pretty much vibed nicely and connected. Just the walk alone in the 20° F weather (with windchill in the ‘teens) was just pure fun, although it’s safe to say Can may come a bit more prepared next time around as much as the weather bounced around. It was damn cold and we even cheated traffic just to cross a few streets in the process after we all finished eating.
We all got to the Port Authority Bus Terminal in time for Can to catch his bus back out of town through New Jersey where he was tentatively staying. We talked for a bit more, chatted more on film prospects and current events and even took some pics together. On the film front he also has another on the way for team Reel Deal titled On The Ropes which is currently in post production from Team 2X’s own director James Mark whose forthcoming debut at the helm, Meza, was picked up by Raven Banner late last year. Apart from plot specifics which are currently secret, I’m told that On The Ropes is toned much more differently than Plan B, once again with Can and fellow Reel Deal members Cha Lee Yoon and Phong Giang all starring in lead roles, and for what it’s worth, I think that’s something we can all look forward to.
Much like the independent stunt and film groups of the early 2000s, Can is cut from the same cloth and comes from many of the same motivations, notably including a love for film, Hong Kong action cinema and being an artist. Such have earned him the opportunity to now work with the likes of Jackie Chan, Samuel L. Jackson and Ryoo Seung-Wan which, next to the credits of his peers, Cha, Phong and Tanay, do a number wonders for Reel Deal Action as they look to set the standard for talented performers aiming for more prolific roles on both sides of the camera. With that said, Plan B wasn’t an easy feat to achieve with its trajectory, and with that, it’s not every week that you hear that an ambitious, independently-produced martial arts action movie in any capacity is possibly on par for a hopeful big screen release. Whatever the case may be, my observation here is that someone upstairs must have seen something truly great in a group like Reel Deal Action, and it is my sincere hope that this, and other studios like it will follow suit for other talented individuals in the field of stunts and film.
This is the kind of thing that I aspire for everyday when I write about movies like this. I push hard and heavy for films like this and even to the point of fatigue. I’m at work right now and I just spent until about five-ish in the afternoon fighting the urge to sleep after only getting home around two in the morning, so I can finish writing this article and post it. And you know what? No matter how tired I feel, I have absolutely NO regrets. Can comes from a great handful of people I have had the chance to meet in person and the fact that I got to share a meal with him, to talk naturally about life and some of our own hopes and aspirations means a lot to me, as well as his candor and sincerity.
Saturday night was a fun adventure for me, and I can’t thank Can, Yavuz and Engin enough for being such great company. For that matter, I only hope one day I can show up in their neck of the woods and take in the sights and some jetlag to boot, and maybe then I’ll finally get the chance to meet all of Reel Deal. At any rate though, and no matter who shows up where, I will say this: I treat every opportunity to meet someone I write about like it’s my last.
These people are super busy almost all the time and I can certainly understand why discretion is key for folks like Can and others in his field. Therein lies the effort to continuously prove to myself that I can engage this practice in a way that helps induce intellect and appreciation for the kind of things that these people do on camera for moviegoers like me, especially in an age where jerks will rip a whole fight sequence from a movie and then brag about it on social media like they’ve accomplished something despite the damaging affect that practice has on an economic level. I used to be that jerk…which is why can talk the shit that I talk, especially as someone who has been an artist for most of his young life and understands the physical exertion it takes to accomplish something, and the importance of reciprocity.
Stunt people and those among the crowd working to excel in their field on a creative basis deserve our monetary support, and an Oscar category would be nice too… I’m just saying. And in definitely, I’ll keep saying it. And writing it as a matter of coverage, as well as meet as many of these people as I humanly and possibly can to help purport that message. Reacquainting with Can this weekend came just as we tried and failed last month due to our own hectic schedules and apart from Friday night, I didn’t know if or when I would get to see him and talk more about his career. With that in mind, should the time come where all of Reel Deal Action are in town and I can finally meet these folks, best believe, there is absolutely no way I’m missing out. And Can has my work address now, so it’s going down one way or another!
Enjoy a little something from the Reel Deal Action channel below and stay tuned for the official trailer for Plan B and upcoming announcements therein!