Even gongfu stars need stunt doubles

By Elrica Tanu

Hong Kong martial arts star Dennis To has revealed that even martial arts experts like himself need stunt doubles in any movie or drama production.

To, who played a younger Ip Man in the prequel The Legend Is Born - Ip Man (2010), was in town as a celebrity judge for the finals of the Singapore leg of the International New Era Chinese Kungfu Competition.

In 1999, To became the youngest person in Hong Kong to win the World Wushu Championships at age 18.

The 30-year-old practises Wing Chun in real life, and counts the legendary Ip Man as his great-grandmaster. But even for a martial arts expert like him, stamina is an issue when it comes to the many grueling hours needed to shoot a movie. And that is where stunt doubles come in.

"Sometimes all you need is the shoulder or the back of an actor, so it is ok to use stunt doubles," To explained. "And even for fight scenes, you wouldn't want to slow down a production just so that an actor can do his own stunts, so it really depends on the actor's stamina."

But he added that martial arts choreographers usually prefer actors to do their own stunts so they can have variety when it comes to camera angles.

Find out more about Dennis To's life after Ip Man, and meet Hong Kong's latest gongfu babe on RazorTV.