How 'Into the Badlands' pulls off its incredible martial arts fighting scenes
"That was a big challenge. These actors had no martial arts experience and we had to make them look badass," star and executive producer Daniel Wu, who's a veteran of martial arts movies, told Business Insider.
On "Into the Badlands," the highest-rated series debut of the fall, Wu plays Sunny, a warrior who meets a young boy named M.K. (Aramis Knight). They must travel across the Badlands controlled by seven barons in a post-apocalyptic America."We knew we had to have strong actors," Wu said. "We couldn't have great martial artists and crappy actors, because that would just ruin the plotline. And so the priority was getting the good actors first and then making them look good onscreen."
First the producers brought on martial arts choreographer Master Dee Dee Ku. His packed resume includes working with Keanu Reeves for "The Matrix," Uma Thurman for "Kill Bill," and Zhang Ziyi for "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon."
Master Dee Dee had the actors attend a six-week intensive training camp. For about six hours a day, they worked on basic kung fu, weapons, choreography, and working with wires.
"He would send them through these phases on a daily basis and then pick and choose what was great or what they were naturally good at, and then use that for their ability," Wu explained.
Here's how the master and Wu worked with the cast to nail those moves: