|ORIGINAL CANNON FILMS' CYBORG PRESS RELEASE|
ABOUT THE ACTORS
JEAN-CLAUDE VAN DAMME ( Gibson Rickenbacker ) is a young man who, in a remarkably short time, has managed to turn his childhood fantasy of starring in Hollywood action films into a reality.
Schwarzenegger. Norris. Stallone. As a body builder and martial arts athlete, Van Damme is already on a par with the best of them. And, with the phenomenal success of his most recent film, Cannon Films’ Bloodsport, the handsome young Belgian is well on his way to achieving these action superstars incredible international popularity as well.
Born and raised in Brussels, Van Damme began studying the martial arts when he was eleven years old.
“ My father encouraged me to take karate because I was very small for my age and got picked on a lot, “ says Van Damme, who today competes as a middleweight. “ I took to karate like a fish to water, but I also wanted to get bigger and stronger, so I started training with weights. “
After earning his black belt in Shotokan ( a Japanese karate style ), Van Damme began studying with Dominique Valera, a world champion karate expert, and turned professional. Less than a year later he won the European Professional Karate Association’s middleweight championship.
By the time Van Damme was in his late teens, he had turned his martial arts skills into a successful gymnasium business, earning him $15,000 a month, and was bringing in even more money as a model and an endorser of a wide range of products. Despite the money though, Jean-Claude dreamed of being an American film star. He studied acting, as well as ballet, and appeared in a French film, Rue Barbar. But his first love was the action-adventure films only Hollywood can produce.
Six years ago, the self described Muscles from Brussels decided to pursue his dream. He sold the gym, hopped a plane to Los Angeles, and promptly discovered that, despite his physique, dexterity, enthusiasm and good looks, it wasn’t going to be easy breaking into show business.
Van Damme spent sever weeks sleeping in his rental car before finding employment and a place to live. For the next three years, he supported himself at a variety of odd jobs - limo driver, bouncer, carpet layer, martial arts instructor - while studying English and auditioning for every film role he could find.
Finally he landed a minor role as a villain in a small independent film, No Retreat, No Surrender. The critics were less than impressed with the movie, but they were impressed with Van Damme’s incredible strength, flexibility and physical presence.
Concerned he would find himself forever labelled a villain, rather than the hero of his boyhood dreams, Van Damme contacted Menahem Golan, the creative head of Cannon Films, whom he had met several years before at the Milan Film Festival.
The rest, as they say, is history. Golan had the perfect vehicle to display Van Damme’s kickboxing expertise: a martial arts extravaganza titled Bloodsport which, when released last year, did tremendous business at the box office and catapulted Jean-Claude Van Damme - face, body and spirit - onto the big screen and into the martial arts limelight.
With two motion pictures under his black belt, and several other film projects in the works, Van Damme is well on his way to his long dreamed-of stardom. Married to the beautiful body building megastar Gladys Portugues, by whom he has a 14-month old son, Kristopher, Van Damme now resides in North Hollywood, California, where he rents two apartments - one for his family and one for his all-important gym.
DEBORAH RICHTER (Nady Simmons ) was born and raised in the small Northern California community of Shaver Lake. It was there that Deborah launched her acting career when, at the age of eight, she and her friends began travelling the neighbourhood circuit putting on original plays.
After high school graduation, Deborah put acting on hold while she studied to become a veterinarian. She moved to Los Angeles, enrolled in Pierce College in the San Fernando Valley and, to make extra money, began modelling. The modelling led her back to acting, which she realised was her first love. She began studying with coach Charles Conrad, got herself an agent, and landed a bit role in a TV pilot.
“ I played a dead body, “ she recalls of her first acting job, “but I got to scream before I died, and that scream got me my SAG card. I could always tell how my career was progressing after that, “ she adds with a laugh, “because I was still playing murder victims, but I began dying later and later in the script ! “
Since pursuing acting full-time, Deborah has appeared in numerous TV series and movies, including the Errol Flynn TV bio-pic My Wicked, Wicked Ways, and Hill Street Blues, in which she was a semi-regular for three years. She also co-starred with Carol Kane and Bess Armstrong in the NBC half hour comedy All is Forgiven.
Moving to the big screen, Deborah recently co-starred in Winners Takes All, Square Dance, and Promised Land, which was developed at the Sundance Institute and produced by Robert Redford.
Deborah recently purchased her first house, which she is redecorating in between film roles. She lives in the Toluca Lake area of the San Fernando Valley with her dog, Shiva, and her cat Nooks.
Although he describes himself as “ more a romantic warrior than a hard core martial artist, “ BLAISE LOONG (Furman Vox ) is a recognised expert in a wide spectrum of martial arts disciplines and fighting techniques.
A long-time martial arts consultant for television, Loong is a certified instructor of Jeet Kune Do, an eclectic fighting discipline which combines techniques from such diverse fighting styles as western boxing, Thai kickboxing, French savate, kung fu and fencing. Sometimes called Scientific Streetfighting, Jeet Kune Do was first developed by Bruce Lee. Loong himself received his own early training in it from Lee’s protégé, Dan Inosanto.
Loong explains that Jeet Kune Do is utilises modern equipment such as focus gloves to focus impact and air shields to develop suddenness, as well as modern conditioning techniques ( diet, running, weight training etc ) to teach students to “blow out their opponent, “ adding that “efficiency is anything that scores. “ He also teaches the weapons-oriented Phillipino martial arts, variously known as Kali, Escrima, and Arnis.
Loong’s extraordinarily broad background in the martial arts is also the reason the U.S.Army chose him to be the chief instructor and program developer for the Special Forces (Green Berets) combatants courses. In that capacity, he developed a program throught 1st Special Forces Group, US Airborne based in Ft Lewis, Washington and Okinawa which he describes as a “synthesis of the most effective techniques for soldiers in the field.” The curriculum for this “graduate course in close-quarter combat” includes sentry neutralisation with empty hand, knife and garrotte, close quarter termination (empty hand and knife quick kills ) and improvised weapons. He also trains his students in the uses of handguns, assault weapons and shotguns.
Of mixed Eurasian and Chiricahua descent himself, Loong is married to a full-blooded Apache woman, and has lived with the Apache people at Fort Apache for extended periods of time. Today, he teaches basic, age-old Apache survival and warfare techniques to elite U.S. Army combat troops at the Special Forces/Apache Unconventional Warfare Training Centre at Fort Apache.
His many television credits as a martial arts consultant and performer include such series as The Greatest American Hero, TJ Hooker, Maggie Briggs, as well as the recent Bud Light commercial take-off on the film Quest of Fire.
Cyborg is his first feature film.
VINCENT KLYN (Fender Tremelo ) is an internationally recognised skateboard and surfing champion who also has become a top male model for men’s high fashion. Vincent’s portrayal of the vicious leader of the Flesh Pirates marks his motion picture debut, and adds yet another dimension to his blossoming career.
Klyn ( pronounced Kline ) was born in Auckland, New Zealand, one of three children of a Dutch father and a mother of Irish, Maori, and Hawaiian extraction. When Vincent was four years old, his family moved to Honolulu, where his father still owns and operates a candy store.
Klyn began skateboarding when he was eight years old, and within several years became a professional world-class skateboarder. He then added surfing to his list of hobbies, soon turning pro and becoming known as Hawaii’s most famous surfer. He has spent the last ten years travelling the world as a surfing professional, representing both Hawaii and the United States in international competition.
Currently ranked as one of the top 20 surfers in the world, Klyn has been featured in a number of surfing films, including the enormously successful Wave Warriors trilogy. Klyn sees his move into acting as natural progression from his modelling/surfing background.
“ Modelling is easy, “ he says, “ and it’s good money. But acting is more rewarding, and it’s forever. A print ad is only good for a couple of weeks, maybe a month at best, whereas acting offers the possibility of a kind of immortality. “
DAYLE HADDON (Pearl Prophet) is a young woman who has already had three successful careers, beginning with her debut as a ballerina with Les Grands Ballets Canadians at the age of thirteen.
While still in her teens, Dayle decided to pursue an acting career, and moved from her native Montreal to New York city, where she began studying at the Neighbourhood Playhouse under the tutelage of Sandy Meisner. She subsequently studied with Les Strasberg, Stella Adler and Herbert Bergoff.
To underwrite her studies and her apprenticeship in a series of off-off Broadway productions, Dayle decided to try her luck at modelling, which had supported her dance lessons as a teenager. She soon became one of the most in-demand high fashion models in New York, working with three of the finest photographers in the business - Richard Avedon, the late Cecil Beaton, and Lord Snowden, for whom she did The French Collections while under contract to Revlon.
It was during her association with Revlon that she was chosen to introduce the cosmetic company’s new perfume, Scoundrel. In the last ten years, Dayle has divided her time between acting and modelling, both in New York and in Paris, where she lived for the past three years. She has appeared on the covers of Elle, Vogue, and Harpers Bazaar; Harpers recently included her on the first list of their Top Ten Most Beautiful Models.
Dayle’s acting credits include starring roles in two hit French films - La Crime and Last Romantic Lover - and in such American films as North Dallas Forty, Bedroom Eyes, and Love Songs, with Catherine Deneuve and Christopher Lambert.
Dayle recently moved from New York to Los Angeles, where she now makes her home.
ROLF MULLER (Brick Bardo ) is a world champion body builder making his motion picture debut in Cyborg as a cold-blooded bad guy: Tremelo’s second in command of the Flesh Pirates. It’s a role Muller finds ironic because, as a child, his dream was always to be a policeman, a protector of those less physically imposing than him (Muller today stands 6’9” ).
Born in Recklinghausen, West Germany, a small town near Dusseldorf, Muller became interested in body building when he was eighteen years old. He began working out in a local gym three times a week and then, following a friends suggestion, decided to enter bodybuilding competition. He prepared for the German championship every day for six months and won first place in the Junior competition. A year later, he again was judged Junior German champion.
Rolf’s bodybuilding career was temporarily put on hold when he was drafted into the German Army for 15months, but after his tour of duty, he returned to his first love, determined to become a world champion. He placed third in the 1982 and 1983 World Championship competitions, and was named German champion in all classes of the 1983 competition. In 1985 he became World Champion in the Tokyo Competition.
Rolf has since become a full-fledged star in his native Germany through endorsements of such products as Puma shoes to Daimler (Mercedes) Benz automobiles. He also is the author of a popular book on bodybuilding, and a popular guest on German talk shows.
Determined to become a film star, the towering blond blue-eyed bachelor recently moved to Hollywood where he is spending his time studying acting, learning English, and preparing for the Mr Olympia competition.
JANICE GRASER (Vorg) is another newcomer making her motion picture debut in Cyborg.
A housewife and mother of two small children who lives in Newport Mews, Virginia, Janice was, quite frankly, tapped for the role of the villainous Vorg because of her body. She is a national and international body building champion who, in 1987, won both the heavyweight class at the National Physique Committee compeitition and the World Women’s Amateur Championships.
Janice and her sister Charla, the 1987 Lightweight USA National Champion and World Amateur Champion, were born and raised in Chicora, Pennsylvania, a small town about 50miles north of Pittsburgh. It wasn’t until Janice was long out of High School, however, that she became interested in body building. At that point, she was already married with two children, so instead of going to a gym, she trained at home for the first three years of her regime.
“I’d put the kids in bed for their afternoon nap, and then I’d train for two or three hours,” she recalls.
The training obviously paid off. After only one year, Janice entered and won the 1982 Natural Pennsylvania State body building competition. Since then, she’s won every heavyweight title available to women bodybuilders. As a national and international champion, she’s also beginning to get offers to give speeches and conduct seminars throughout the U.S., Europe and Australia.
Despite the many offers of guest appearances, however, Janice is focussing all of her attention - and muscle - on turning professional this year by entering the prestigious Ms Olympia competition.
In the meantime, she is enjoying her newfound fame.
“Charla and I get a great reception when we go back home to Chicora, “ she laughs. “ Nobody else from our hometown has ever become famous. “
Born in Blythewood, SC, ALEX DANIELS (Strat) holds a degree in music and theatre from the University of South Carolina. It was while in college that Daniels met actress Helen Hayes, who was instrumental in launching his career.
“ One of her close friends was the director of a Catholic orphanage in Cuernavaca, Mexico, “ Daniels explains. “They wanted me to create a fine arts program, and Miss Hayes recommended me for the job. “
Daniels spent the next two years in Cuernavaca, and while there landed a small role in the film Rumour of War starring Brad Davis. Despite the brevity of the rold, it earned Daniels his SAG card. He then moved to Los Angeles, where he has lived and worked the past 7 years, dividing his time between small theatre, film and stunt work.
Daniels has recently gained national attention for his portrayal of the title role on the Fox Broadcasting series Werewolf. He also recently earned a Drama-Logue award for his performance as the Pirate King in a Harlequinn Dinner Theater production of Pirates of Penzance.
In addition to guest roles on TV (TJ Hooker, Knight Rider ) and in film (Starman, View to a Kill), Daniels has appeared in numerous TV commercials, notably as the brawny Man of Steel in the Hefty trash bag, and as the man on the high wire in the Federal Express TV spots.
A bachelor and self-described “Health Nut”, Daniels lives in Santa Monica, close to the beach, where he spends his spare time playing volleyball, working out, and practising his acrobatics.
TERRIE BATSON (Mary) is a native of Wilmington, NC, where she has been active in local theatre (Westside Story, Chicago) and commercials. Cyborg marks her film debut and the beginning of what she hopes will be a long and productive screen acting career.
KRISTINA SEBASTIAN ( young Haley ) is a native of Wilmington, NC, who makes her theatrical film debut in Cyborg. The twelve year old actress is a member of the Wilmington Children’s Theater and has appeared in their productions of Pippin and The Wiz. She also appeared in a local production of The Sound of Music and in a public service film on child abuse.
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