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Friday March 7, 2003

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He’s Not Interested In Being Kicked Around! / Could Vallejo’s Currie be the next Jackie Chan?

By Richard Freedman, Times- Herald staff writer

“The Green Hornet was a flash on television, running only 1966-1967. Yet, for then 6-year old Chucky Currie, it helped shape a lifetime in martial arts.

“Bruce Lee as Kato”, recalled Currie of high-flying side kick to the hero. “I will never forget it.”

It did’nt hurt that Currie’s downtown-stairs neighbors in a Chicago apartment complex practiced Tai Chi daily.

“Becoming a martial artist seemed only natural,” said Currie.

So he took classes. And became good. Very good, in fact. Currie earned a black belt when he was 10 and, at 43, he is a seventh degree black belt.

“When I was 14, I competed in my first tournament came in first,” Currie said. “ I knew that’s what I wanted to do.”

And it’s time he said, Hollywood--if not the world- know’s he can do more than just inflict pain on any unsuspecting attacker.

“Every martial artist is not interested in films. Some are into teaching, photography or whatever.” Currie said, “ I want to act.” Yes the valleoan wants to follow in the likes of Lee, Chuck Norris, Jean Claude Van Damme and even Jacky Chan. ”But please, don’t turn him into some black guy with really fast hands and feet who gets whupped at the end of every movie.

“I don’t want to be  Jet Li’s punching bag. I want to be a principle,” Currie said. And I don’t want to be a stuntman.”

Currie has learned the ancient American art of schmoozing, cozying up with directors on variuos sets when possible. He has landed cameo parts in “ Oceans 11” with Brad Pitt, Andy Garcia, Julia Roberts and George Clooney, and “ Rush Hour 2” with Chan and Chris Tucker.

Currie has also gotton inside the show business game as a bodyguard, protecting Richard Pryor, Prince and Halle Berry.

“ Pryor gave me some great advice for making it in films,” Currie said. “ He told me that making a million dollars come with a million friends, enemies and a million dollars worth of trouble. He also said I didn’t have to move to Hollywood. That they will find my talent here.”

Currie noting that he had excellent grades in high school and college drama classes, believes he has the heart and dedication to make it on the screen.

“ I want to be a successful actor,” he said.” I don’t want to be just another actor in a action film getting beat up. I like acting and I like playing a role.”

Currie laughed at he became such a Bruce Lee fan, he still has dreams of the late martial arts master and actor.

“ I have Bruce Lee flash backs,” Currie said, adding that when he was 11 when he met Lee and a few years ago stood at the graves of Lee and his son, Brandon Lee, in Seattle.

The Traveling Chucky Currie show is taken outside of Muggs at the Ferry Terminal Building where the 5-foot-10, 190-pounder does a few spin kicks for the camera

It helps being a black martial artist with acting skills, Currie said between kicks.

There is a stereotype with some people that you have to be Asian,” he said. “One of my masters even said, “You must be half Korean.’’’

Currie, If nothing else isn’t bashful. On the set of “Rush Hour 2,” he struck up a conversation with Chan and even suggested the two make a movie together.

“If you don’t take a chance,” Currie said, “you won’t have a chance.”

He’s rolling the dice on an acting career and banking on a self-defense video available online at www.chuckido.com

Because Currie believes he has acting ability, then he said he should be acting.

“ If you’re a chief, get into the kitchen,” Currie said.


E-mail J.M. Brown at jmbrown@thnewsnet.com or call 553-6834.

March 7th, 2003

 

 
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