Yesterday I caught up with Silvio Simac and we chatted about what he is currently working on including a new book on fitness and healthy living, movies and more.
You’ve got all kinds of interesting projects showing up on your IMDB, so can you tell us about some of the projects you’re currently working on?
It’s really funny you asking me that question, because obviously during the pandemic, the whole planet has been turned upside down but, I’ve kept myself extremely busy in the last year. The reason being is when the whole thing kicked off the whole pandemic, my school had shut down, my martial arts academy. All the film projects have been cancelled, postponed, put on hold. So naturally, I think the first few weeks being in a state of shock and panic and faced with uncertainty, I was rubbing my head thinking what am I going to do? what was going to happen now? I think naturally most people tend to surrender to fear. But I was adamant that I wanted to use this crisis to grow and expand. In every crisis, you can find an opportunity and being a martial arts teacher, I had to get quite philosophical, especially with my students.
So I said to myself, I refuse to surrender to a pandemic and just wait around twiddling my thumbs so I really engaged in so many different things with fitness, with films, but obviously with films because you’re not allowed to travel. It’s very, very restricted so I only shot two productions last year; one was for Netflix, which was Jack Stall Dead. It was a TV series and the other one was Anatomy of An Antihero, which was shot in Belgium but I was due to fly back for the third part in December last year. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen, but I’ve been involved in doing action choreography for three different productions; I’ve shot over 300 videos in the last year. I’ve written a book. I’ve done two online programs for fitness. It’s been an extremely active time and we resume back from the lock down in ten days. So I said to myself I’d give myself a deadline to finish all the things I said I was going to finish, because lots of the things which I engaged in doing for the last year, I’ve just put them on the shelf. I’ll do that later. So I’m really pleased that I’ve managed to finish it off.
I also wanted to say congratulations on getting the black belt for 8th Dan in Taekwondo.
Thank you very much. Taekwondo has been my nucleus martial art for the longest time. I’ve practiced taekwondo for longer than any other discipline. It’s really nice to be going back to my roots because I have been giving my attention and focus in growing and developing myself as a complete martial artist as opposed to one discipline. But it’s nice to be coming back to taekwondo and maybe revisit some of the traditional values which I laid down as my foundation many years ago.
There was one film showing up on IMDB. I don’t know if that’s still going to be happening or not, but I just had to ask you about it because I hope it is. You’re playing Satan in Realm of Darkness?
(laughs) Right, yes. Funnily enough, I had an amazing photo shoot last week, so I’ve managed to accumulate some good characters and maybe some of them are leaning towards Satan himself. I’ve got some exciting projects in the pipeline, some very big ones, some very exciting and different ones. I’m really looking forward to just having a freedom of movement. But most of the projects have been postponed until September this year onwards. UK stuff I’m doing here, I’m doing some music videos in May, international stuff because of strict rules in terms of travelling are being put back until January 2022. So there’s lots of waiting around; some projects may be happening earlier. Because any production you work on, you have to get crew and cast from different countries and different countries have got different policies when it comes to Covid-19 in terms of freedom of movement. So we have to wait patiently.
Do you have your family there in the UK?
I’ve got I’ve got my immediate family here, my son and wife, the rest of my family are in Italy and Croatia.
Yeah, my folks are in the UK but I keep in touch with my family through WhatsApp and Zoom. Thank God for that technology because it’s made this pandemic more tolerable because otherwise people’s mental health will be even worse than it already is.
I totally agree. Even the way we deliver materials, the way I’ve been teaching my classes it’s been amazing having this technology available. I think this is what the future is really about. As we know, change is an inevitable part of nature and the universe; challenges lead to change and change is inevitable for us to grow, develop and evolve.
So when people say, well, when are we going to resume back to normality, I don’t think there’s going to be such a thing as normality because everything is changing around us. It reminds me of Bruce Lee’s philosophy. Bruce Lee said, “be like water. You need to adapt and mold to your environment, otherwise you’ll perish”. That’s true for all animal species. As the environment changed, the animals or animal species were challenged. And if they didn’t change to meet these challenges, they would perish. Same thing goes for us. Times are changing and we have to change and adapt. If we don’t, we’ll be left behind in every sense from the business point of view, work, personal in every sense. Luckily I’ve been quite good and very swift adapting to these changes. I was teaching in a big martial arts academy till March last year. When the pandemic happened, I thought, “wow, what am I to do now?” I quickly purchased all the things I needed to do videos at home like lights and everything else and bit by bit completely adapted. I’m quite happy to teach from home now.
Yeah, I think this is the way of things for the foreseeable future, at least for a few years maybe.
For sure; in the UK, we’ve had good vaccination. We’ve vaccinated over 50 percent of our adults. So we’re kind of ready to resume to some kind of normality and freedom of movement, but not to travel yet because the rest of the world have not been vaccinated. So until we get near global immunity, herd immunity, we’re not going to able to travel much. But at least within the UK, there’s a bit more freedom of movement.
So I saw a picture on your Facebook the other day, and you’re in a SWAT uniform. Is that for a movie or Photoshoot?
That was a photo shoot. So Omari Studios does absolutely phenomenal photography and does great stuff in post-production. He fancied creating some different characters and his place is amazing. He’s got a whole wardrobe of different costumes from S.A.S., military, police to The Punisher, you name it. Actually that poster behind you for Avengement was the same artist.
Oh really? Awesome.
So it was really good fun last week during the photoshoot just to showcase different images that I can portray, which is very handy as I’ve got quite a few magazine covers coming up and productions. So hopefully it’s going to open up a few more doors for me, kind of show different versatility of characters.
What do you look for whenever a script comes your way? Is there any sort of particular type of characters you look for?
Well, I don’t have anything set in stone. I think when I start reading the script I really have to attach myself emotionally like “oh I like this. I think this could work really well for me”. If it’s different, if it’s a bit more challenging for me as an actor, then I prefer to take it on.
I believe you’ve been working on a book; can you tell us about that?
Yes, I wrote a book; it’s on fitness and a healthy lifestyle which has an accompanying online program. Well, I’ve got two online programs which I’ve developed over the last year. The book is being released between July and September. The online program is coming out in the next month or so. It’s certainly something I should have done a long time ago. When you’re in the film industry, you tend to spend lots of time away. So it’s very difficult to commit to one particular thing. In that sense, I’m very pleased. I just put my head down over the last year and I put all my ideas and everything, wrote it and developed into a book and online programs.
How long did it take for you to write?
When I say I’m still writing it, I’ve read it over and over about 50 times and every time I read through it, I either add something or take something away. I’ll make corrections as I’m never completely utterly happy and pleased with it. I would say roughly two to three months.
What’s generally your process for writing? Do you do notes first, or did you just start writing just like a flow of consciousness?
I had absolutely no idea how to do it because I had no previous experience in writing a book. So I thought to myself, this is going to be a very individual experience. I really had to put lots of my philosophical ideologies that I picked up from martial arts. I make lots of reference to maybe some of the sayings and quotes from Bruce Lee and from various other people that have inspired me along the way. But it very much encompasses the very notion of life itself because I’m always talking about energy. Energy cannot be destroyed or created. You can pass it from one form to another. Therefore, the more you give, the more you get back. But even when it comes to fitness, I’m often referring to a formula. Power is mass multiplied by velocity squared divided by time, because you can apply this equation when it comes to fitness. Mass is the weights; velocity is the speed and time. How much time you spent doing the workout itself? I would say it is different to anything I’ve come across before. It may sound, by what I’ve said in terms of scientific principles, really complex, but it just goes back to the very basic principles of life. So, it tries to simplify everything the way you approach it.
I was talking with one of my friends the other day about Street Fighter: Resurrection, and we were saying how you totally embodied the character of Bison. It’s too bad we never got to see more of it.
I know. I am surprised. I mean, I was really pleased with what Joey Ansah who directed and produced it did. I was very impressed with his work, what he came up with. I was very shocked and surprised that we didn’t get a follow up; it’s still in the pipeline. They may still be doing the whole series or even a feature film. It’s a lengthy process from getting the money, getting the budget. It was sponsored by Sony the last one; they were so impressed with what Joey Ansah did, that they just gave him complete liberty and freedom to produce it the way he wants to.
Yeah and whenever they do that, it explains why it’s so good.
He was a genuine fan who wasn’t just taking it to make it popular and make money. He really wanted to reflect all the characters to epitomize and show what the true characters of Street Fighter were, and he’s been playing for decades so he’s obsessed with the game. He understands about these characters and he understands the feel of it. I think when he put his five-minute teaser on YouTube, he had something like 23 million hits in two weeks. Sony were very confident that it was going to do well. If you can get so many views and hits within two weeks, then I’m sure you can manage big numbers.
Absolutely. Do you have any sort of major franchises you’ve got your eye on that you would really love to be a part of?
Initially, I was quite a big fan of Fast and Furious, but now that they’ve made like 11 of them I’ve kind of gone off it a little bit. I know a few people have worked on it. In fact, when they shot Fast & Furious in London, I met with the action coordinator, J.J. Perry. So that was probably one of the franchises but now not really. I think with most of the franchises they kind of tend to get a bit too commercial in the long term.
I could see you in John Wick…
Yeah. Phenomenal choreography. The action is really good. I love Keanu Reeves; I think he is one of my favourite actors. I had the opportunity to meet him and work with him in China on his first debut directing film, which was Man of Tai Chi. I think he’s a very nice person, very humble and down to earth. I can honestly say to this day, one of the nicest people I’ve ever worked with..
What’s Keanu like as a director?
Because this was his first debut film one thing I did notice over and above anything else is his attention to detail. He would literally for every second you can see of edited footage on screen, he would have spent an hour and a half, two hours, at least for one second. Phenomenal. He would cover every angle, a different lens, just in case so he would cover different angles to make sure that he’s got enough footage for the edit. The most thorough person I’ve seen in that sense in terms of his work ethics.
Is there anything else you want to mention to fans?
Oh, yes. Well, just keep an eye out on my social media. I’ve got some exciting things coming up with magazine features and editing music videos as well as films and the book itself, obviously, which hopefully you people are going to like out there, especially the martial arts enthusiasts. Because what’s different about the book itself is it’s about functional training. It’s about how to improve the function of your body as opposed to just aesthetically, I think over the last few decades, people are more obsessed about how they look as opposed to how they feel. They’re more obsessed about what they look like as opposed to the function of the body. So this has got more to do with functionality with their body so you can enhance your sports performance as well as your well-being.
Thank you so much for taking the time to chat today anyway all the best with the future projects and your book.