Actress and martial arts star Amy Johnston is currently celebrating the release of her latest big milestone, the Jesse Johnson-directed Accident Man. The film marks another in a tasty handful of prominent movie roles for the actress who began training since the age of six with a love of her own for cinema before officially taking off several years ago in stunts and action acting, and gladly landing in our sites for a first interview in 2013.
Accident Man entails her portrayal of Jane The Ripper in the new adaptation of the British comic from Pat Mills. Having filmed only a handful of scenes, the film unquestionably makes sure to take the actress’s talents to the business end of the lens along with her acting caliber, and Johnston herself couldn’t have been happier upon joining the film in 2016 when Johnson approached her.
“After reading the script of Accident Man, I knew the film was going to be so fun and most importantly my character, Jane the Ripper was going to be a blast to play!” she says. “I was very excited specifically to work with Scott Adkins and have a fight scene with him. I have looked up to Scott Adkins and Michael Jai White for a while because of what they have accomplished in the action genre so it really was an honor to work with them.”
There isn’t much else that I can add apart from my own review of the film amid my coverage of Johnson’s work, but Accident Man itself was a fantastic feat of cinema and in my view, Johnston’s addition made the line-up even better. It wasn’t all business though as Johnston did manage to reconvene with friend and fellow Street Fighter: Resurrection co-star Katrina Durden, and when it was time to throw down on set, down she threw.
A brisk two-week slate enveloped Johnston’s schedule kicked off by first filming her principal fight finale with Adkins recapping a spiffy tale of bloody revenge for a hitman who arranges “accidents” and finds himself well more than the death of his beloved ex-girlfriend. Such was the role portrayed by Adkins in his latest reunion with Savage Dog director Johnson, and for a glimmering marquee of talent that adds Ray Park and Michael Jai White to the mix along with Ray Stevenson to name a few.
As it stands, Johnston’s own fruition as an actress inclusively skilled in martial arts atheticism stems from the evolution of the overall mapping of where one would go to find talent. You’ll find a number of stunt professionals who, despite what the status quo may dictate, pride themselves as actors in their craft, and rightly so as you can literally find a number of examples in film today that verify this.
Many of these instances can be found online with Johnston having paired up with numerous creatives and independent film talents honing in their gravitas as actors. Her methods have clearly done her justice with her role in Accident Man now among several key roles in film projects since making her lead debut in 2016 with Chris Nahon’s Lady Bloodfight and even dabbling as Harley Quinn for Bat In The Sun’s Superpower Beat Down series.
“As an actress I draw from so many types of films, video games and comic books but I mostly learn by observing people around me.” Johnston says. “I focus on their mannerism; where they are looking, why they are looking at something in a certain way, how they respond to things they don’t like or do.”
She adds: “The ‘why’s’ are so interesting to me. For Jane the Ripper I did a ton of research on Jack the Ripper as well as studying villains in films such as the Joker and Catwoman because I had room to play and have fun with my character in Accident Man.”
Johnston, as she so tells us, was “a tad bit nervous” for her scene with the star while the excitement helped balance things out from their rehearsal with fight choreographer and co-star Tim Man to filming the sequence on set.
“Scott Adkins is easily one of the best screen fighters I’ve ever worked with, which I expected.” she says. “I was so inspired by watching everyone work, especially during the Oasis scenes!”
She continued: “Scott and I rehearsed with Tim Man for a day or two, I don’t quite remember. Scott and I worked really well together with Tim’s wonderful choreography. Tim is extremely humble and talented! He allowed me to adjust anything I didn’t feel comfortable with. Tim is so easy to work with, such a delight!”
With Accident Man in the can, the humble Van Nuys-born California girl now moves forward to other endeavors, one of which has assuredly left a dent in the fandom as folks wait patiently to enter a feature film submission of Kellie Madison’s The Gate following had a stellar shortfilm rollout a few years ago. The project itself is still in development while fans remain ever vigilant for new over at the official website in the year-and-a-half since the proof-of-concept went viral.
“I love the world and characters that Kellie Madison designed.” she says. “Kellie is so inspiring as a female creator and director, she is a true hustler with passion and talent!”
Apart from The Gate proof short, the past decade has seen Johnston partake in a number of memorable film jewels online leading up to her current career growth. Of course, when reflecting on this period, there’s no skipping the infamously freebooted 2011 practice fight that turned Johnston into a viral video star for martial arts fans alike.
She’s not complaining either, while the gym in which the short was filmed – formerly White Lotus and known for sometime now as Joining All Movement, has become a Mecca for aspiring and current stunt athletes alike, apart from playing a significant role in her success years later. Great memories notwithstanding, it’s a staple for talent she enjoys sharing and training in from time to time, and you needn’t look further than her for the consensus: “The best training facility for martial arts and action in LA!” as she so describes it.
As time rolls on, fans can also expect Johnston to share the lens with a number of those talented performers again in a future iteration of fan favorite and crowdfunded Epic Rival production, Clandestine. 2014 finally saw the release of two episodes with multiple practice and character videos introducing the fantasy martial arts action world of the ambitious series from creators Chris Cowan and Haile Lee.
In my own inquiry, Johnston pointed at a Facebook post from last December at the Epic Rival fan page in which Lee lends readers a detailed outline of what is in store for the company and the prospects that now lie ahead for Clandestine, citing full ownership and a goal to revamp the series in accordance with their creative endeavors.
“Clandestine created a very enticing world with something for everyone.” Johnston says. “The characters have purpose that drives you through the story. Along with that, the audience knows they will get awesome action!”
Johnston reflected a little more on working with everyone involved on top of coveting her first major role on anything. Considering the progress she’s seen with films like Accident Man and others following her debut in Lady Bloodfight and going forward, the sentiment here is very understandable and it’s the same consensus that resonates with almost every stunt performer and independent film creative I’ve interviewed, and no less true for that matter.
“Everyone on the team worked so hard!” she tells us. “Being able to create with friends is always a plus.”
UPDATE (8:43pm EST): In the minutes that followed the publication of this story, we learned that Johnston is no longer affiliated with Epic Rival’s forthcoming plans for the Clandestine project. We’ll keep you posted on future updates.
Native New Yorker. Lover of all things pizza, chocolate, pets, and good friends. Karaoke hero. Left of center. Survivor. Fond supporter of cult, obscure and independent cinema - especially fond of Asian movies and global action cinema. Author of the bi-weekly Hit List. Founder and editor of Film Combat Syndicate. Still, very much, only human.