For this edition of Thing You Might Not Know About we are featuring American director and writer Albert Pyun. Born in Hawaii in 1953, Pyun has been making films since the 80’s and has over 50 directing credits and over 20 writing credits. Some that you might know are The Sword and the Sorceror, Alien From LA, Cyborg and Kickboxer 2: The Road Back. So without further ado……
He was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2013, he would announce his retirement on his Facebook page, but by March 2014 he had improved his health enough to film The Interrogation of Cheryl Cooper. A movie that was rather intense to shoot since it was shot in one take with no edits, completely real time.
Pyun’s father was in the military and the family would move around a lot, eventually they would move to Hawaii, where he would spend most of his formative years, his first 8mm and 16mm films where shot in Hawaii and he often cites the short times spent in foreign countries and living in Hawaii as influential to his style, which often blends science fiction, kickboxing, hybrid martial arts and usually post apocalyptic themes. all things we at aotbm love.
Speaking of post apocalyptic themes, he often features cyborgs in his movies, such as in the movie…well….uh…Cyborg. Although, oddly enough he was quoted in an interview saying “I have really no interest in cyborgs. And I’ve never really had any interest in post-apocalyptic stories or settings. It just seemed that those situations presented a way for me to make movies with very little money, and to explore ideas that I really wanted to explore even if they were controversial.”
Was one of the few to make a Captain America film, 1989’s Captain America, which had a directors cut released in 2011. The movie featured The Red Skull as the big bad guy.
He has been nominated and awarded a good amount of awards for someone referred to as a “modern Ed Wood”, granted not the pretentious Oscars or Golden Globes, but here’s a couple.
1983 – Saturn Award for Best Writing for The Sword and the Sorcerer, shared with Tom Karnowski and John V Stuckmeyer – Nominated
1987 – Golden Raven at the Brussels International Festival of Fantasy Film for Radioactive Dreams – Won
2005 – Golden Unicorn Award for lifetime achievement at the Estepona International Film Festival of Fantasy and Horror.
2011 – Induction into the B-movie Hall of Fame at the B-Movie Celebration.
2012 – Lifetime Achievement-Filmmaker of a Different Breed Award at the PollyGrind Film Festival.
2013 – Groundbreaker Award – BUT FILM FESTIVAL (Breda, Netherlands)
2013 – Indie Genre Spirit Award – Buffalo Dreams Fantastic Film Festival
Has worked with some pretty familiar names in the industry such as Steven Seagal, Tom sizemore, Thomas Jane, Teri Hatcher, Dennis Hopper, Andrew Dice Clay, Jaime Pressly, Nas, Ice-T, Kathy Ireland, Jean Claude Van Damme, Christopher Lambert, Charlie Sheen, William Atherton, Natasha Henstridge, Rob Lowe, Rutger Hauer, Seth Green and more.
Got his start working at production houses in Hawaii, eventually he was recruited to work in Japan. He received a personal invitation from a famous Japanese Actor with more than 150 film credits, Toshiro Mifune, to intern on the Akira Kurosawa film Dersu Uzala. The deal fell through however when Mifune decided not to do the film, luckily Mifune would allow him to intern under Takao Saito, the director of photography on Mifunes show Red Beard. He gained invaluable experience and influence during his time working for Saito and once he returned to Hawaii he would learn to edit films. All these experiences would then lead him to film career in LA.
Toshiro Mifune in Red Beard
His fifth film, Kickboxer 2, was written by David Goyer who would later go on to write the Blade Trilogy, the Dark Knight Trilogy and Man of Steel.
Was sometimes credited as Kitty Chalmers for the writers credit, such as on Journey to the Center to the Earth, a movie he also directed.
So theres some facts about Albert Pyun, who in my opinion made some great low budget martial arts action flicks throughout the years. After coming out of retirement he’s been rather busy and even has a few projects slated to come out soon. I hope you enjoyed the little fun facts and thanks for listening!