HenryCavill.org: What kinds of stunts do you do? Is it mainly martial arts/fighting, or do you also work with cars, horses, burning, falling, etc.?
Alain Moussi: I came in to the stunt industry with a martial arts background. That being said I was hired mainly to perform fights and falls.
HC.Org: Is Kickboxer your first leading role? If so, what are your impressions after completing filming?
AM: Kickboxer is my first lead role. We've completed half the shoot and about to start the second half in the next few weeks. I've had a blast! It's definitely a challenge to be acting as well as performing all the action but it's been a wonderful experience. I think we have an awesome movie on our hands and I can't wait to see how it all comes together in the editing room.
HC.Org: Tell us a bit about Kickboxer... what it's about, who you worked with and what your experience was like?
AM: Kickboxer is about Kurt Sloane who is out to avenge his brother’s death in an underground fight against a ruthless Muay Thai Champ called Tong Po. I've been working with an amazing cast! Dave Bautista, Georges St-Pierre, Gina Carano, Darren Shahlavi, Sara Malakul Lane, Sam Medina and looking forward to work with Jean-Claude Van Damme soon. The experience has been surreal, it’s a dream come true! Not only am I the lead in a reboot of one of my favorite movies but I’m working with one of my childhood heroes, it doesn’t get better. We’ve only shot half the movie and there are already so many great moments on and off set. I can’t reveal too much but I have to say that getting my butt kicked by Dave Bautista was quite EPIC! Don’t worry, I get to inflict my fair share of pain as well haha!
HC.Org: You have worked in many well-known projects such as X-Men: Days of Future Past, Pacific Rim, and Pompeii, but, judging by your social networks, the most vivid impressions you have are from your work on the Immortals. Is that true?
AM: I’ve had a blast on every film I’ve worked on, however Immortals is very special because it was my first stunt job. It’s one of two films where I was involved from beginning to end. I worked on Immortals for a total of 5 months and made tons of friends. It really holds a special place in my heart.
HC.Org: You tagged your photos with Immortals actors with things like #tonsOfFun and #greatFriends. After seeing such tags, we want to know all the details! What was it like filming Immortals?
AM: Filming on Immortals was fun! I mean it’s a huge blockbuster and we got to do so much; fights, falls, wire gags, war in a tunnel, amazing effects shots… it goes on. All the boys in the stunt team became brothers. I was green so it was so great to work with experienced stunt performers who were so generous with their help. The cast was also great people and some became very good friends. Some of my favorite moments are all the training in prep work, shooting the tunnel sequence and shooting the end fight with Henry and Mickey.
HC.Org: We know that before you start shooting you train all together in one training camp — the actors and stuntmen. What's the story behind the camp for Immortals?
AM: We spent two months training as a team before we started shooting. Training was 8 hours a day, five days a week. Each day we had strength training, sword work, acrobatics, stunt reactions, choreography, fight scene rehearsals and training sessions with various actors. Henry would spend tons of time training with us. He’s a perfectionist which pushed him to work extremely hard. He would train his sword work, and rehearse his fights extensively to make sure he was ready. For those two months I put in more hours in training than I ever have.
HC.Org: You, as a martial artist and stuntman, practiced for many years. The actor often has only a few weeks to prepare for a role. How does the training of the actor in, for example, a scene involving fencing usually go? What was this like with Henry?
AM: Most of the time actors don’t have the luxury of months of training to become skilled in a martial art or weaponry so it’s important to stick with the essentials when training them. We start with the basic movements that will apply to the type of fighting they will do. With the basics we build a framework of movements that will allow them to perform the actions choreographed for them. In Henry’s case it was sword work and striking. Henry drilled all the basic sword strokes and striking movements with us for hours. This way once he started working with choreography, it was an assembly of movements he had practiced hundreds of times. Not every actor has the same ability to remember choreography so we shoot sections according the actor’s ability. I have to say that Henry’s ability to remember and perform fights is impressive.
HC.Org: What stunt scene was the most difficult in the performance in general, and what scene was the most difficult of those that Henry did himself?
AM: One of the most challenging action scenes for us had to be what we called the Theseus lines in the tunnel sequence. Theseus kills about 12 bad guys in a sequence as he runs through the tunnel. The challenge is not only the sequence but the fact that the tunnel is full of hundreds of bad guys who all look the same. We had to pick out the right guys to kill based on sequence and position; not an easy task. To add more of a challenge, Henry had never learned to second sequence. During lunch I spent about 30 mins showing him the sequence. Next thing you know, he is rehearsing on set and then shooting. 5 takes later we had it in the can!
Immortals Featurette: Stunts
HC.Org: How is the decision made as to whether the actor or stuntman should perform a particular stunt in front of the camera?
AM: A stuntman would perform any action that is dangerous for the actor or that requires a special skill the actor does not have, i.e. fights, falls, fire, wire gag, car maneuver… and more.
HC.Org: We have seen a photo of you and Henry standing in the same pose, both shirtless, and your shapes are very similar. Was it a coincidence or the result of training on the same program as Henry to most closely resemble his muscular makeup?
AM: I was hired because we were already relatively the same size but I had to train and diet in order to reshape my body and mimic his. When I first met Henry, I observed his proportions and adjusted my training to gain muscle mass in specific areas. I also consulted a dietitian to plan my nutrition to get lean and still have enough energy to train and perform.
HC.Org: What was it like working with Henry? Did your opinion of him change after you met him, through the training and filming process, and at the premiere?
AM: I enjoyed working with Henry. He’s a great guy! I thought he was a nice guy when I met him and my opinion never changed. We worked well together and became friends in the process. He deserves all the success he’s getting.
HC.Org: Can you tell us about any funny incidents on set or humorous off-camera moments with Henry?
AM: After work one evening a bunch of us went for a drink. It was the day Henry shot the love scene. I decided to prank my girlfriend by telling her that Henry needed me to double him for part of the love scene. I had quite a convincing story which became even more convincing once Henry took my phone and confirmed my story by telling her nudity was not in his contract and that he was so grateful I was willing to step in for him. Hook, line and sinker! Her answer to this: “Did they at least give you a bonus !?” We all had a good laugh :)
HC.Org: What's next for you?
AM: First on the list is to complete Kickboxer. I have a few other projects in the pipeline to be revealed later in 2015… Right now I’m enjoying this amazing ride :)
Thank you so much, Alain, for so many interesting details you told us! We wish a good luck with your future projects!
A SHORT BIO FROM ALAIN:
My name is Alain Moussi and I had the opportunity to be Henry Cavill’s stunt double on Immortals.
I was born in Gabon, Africa March 29th, 1981. My mom is French Canadian and my dad is Lebanese. I have a younger sister and brother. I’ve lived most of my life in Ottawa, Canada. I have an amazing wife Janie and a beautiful little girl Annabelle.
I started training in martial arts when I was 10 after I started watching martial arts action movies. I loved watching Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and especially Jean-Claude Van Damme. I became obsessed with kicking and doing the splits! My first art was a traditional form of Jiu-jitsu and then trained in Kickboxing and Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. Because of my love for knowledge I’ve been taking seminars in many other arts for the last 20 years. Over the years, I competed a lot and performed in many live shows in Canada, the U.S. and Europe. I started teaching when I was 17. I loved teaching so much I decided to open my own martial arts academy; NX Martial Arts and Fitness.
I first started training martial arts with the goal of working in the film industry. In 2010 I was introduced to Jean Frenette who was the fight coordinator on Immortals and was hired to double Henry Cavill. It was an incredible experience. I’ve been doing stunt work for the last 5 years and had the pleasure to work with great people on many cool films including Deadfall, Pacific Rim, White House Down, Pompeii, X-Men: Days of Future Past and Warcraft.
In 2014 I started a new Chapter in my career. I was cast as the lead actor in the remake of Kickboxer. The original starred Jean-Claude Van Damme and was one of the films that inspired me to start training in martial arts. It’s an honor to remake Kickboxer and to work opposite awesome actors including JCVD who is playing my mentor in the movie.