Matt Mullins is a five-time martial arts world champion, stunt performer and actor. He portrayed Johnny Cage in the popular web series Mortal Kombat: Legacy.
21 May 2011
Kamidogu: How did you originally get into acting?
Matt Mullins: Acting and performing was something that I always loved to do. I was involved in a lot of theatre when I was young, but I had a hard time figuring out how to get into the business. There was no Internet then and so at 13 years old I just started calling around to look for an agent. I booked my first commercial for AOL soon after that and then I was hooked.
Kamidogu: If you didn’t become an actor, what else could you see yourself doing?
MM: If I was not an actor, I believe I would still be very much involved in the world of entertainment. I really love the visual art of performing and I enjoy creating different things that inspire and entertain people.
Kamidogu: How many styles of martial arts do you know? Are there any you specialise in?
MM: I am a 4th degree black belt in Shorei-Ryu, but I have branched out quite a bit to learn other styles. I have studied Wushu, Tae Kwon Do and Capoeira. I consider myself a student of the martial arts and I love to train. My studies will never be done.
Kamidogu: Aside from Mortal Kombat: Rebirth and Legacy, what other projects have you been a part of?
MM: Before Mortal Kombat I finished working on Kamen Rider Dragon Knight which was on the CW Network for over 2 years. Over the past 5 years, I have worked on 3 different feature films, Blood and Bone, Adventures of Johnny Tao, and Blood Fist 2050. I have also done a ton of work in video games including the original Uncharted, Tron and Captain America.
Kamidogu: How did your role in Mortal Kombat: Rebirth come about?
MM: Rebirth was originally a fan film, a vision of what an MK movie could potentially be. I had known Kevin Tancharoen for years, and he asked if I would be interested in helping. I was, of course, very excited and could not wait to work on the project.
Kamidogu: Had you played a Mortal Kombat game prior to your role in Mortal Kombat: Rebirth?
MM: I was one of the guys that would be in line at the arcade with quarters lined up on the screen waiting to play. After MK3 I did not play for a long time, but with MK9 I have really enjoyed playing and can’t wait until the PlayStation Network problems are fixed so I can get online and play different people.
Kamidogu: What do you think of Johnny Cage as a character?
MM: I always dug Johnny Cage. He is a human who fights demons, gods and robots but he is still kicking ass. Johnny Cage is the true American action hero!
Kamidogu: How do you feel your portrayal of Johnny Cage differentiates from other actors in past renditions?
MM: I really liked Johnny Cage in the MK1 movie. Linden Ashby was great, and let’s face it, we did not get much Johnny in MK2 before he was killed. As we shot MK Legacy, Kevin and myself talked about letting Johnny keep his typical swag and cockiness in the True Hollywood story section of the episode, but then really show a guy who has been beaten down by the system. Johnny is now a character who is fighting to turn his life around, only to be kicked again while he is down. I think we gave Johnny a lot of heart and people now can relate to him. Don’t worry though, he is still a bad ass that is always ready to CAGE someone!
Kamidogu: If you didn’t get the part of Johnny Cage, which other character would you have liked to depict?
MM: I think playing Kabal would actually be a fun to character to play. He has been influenced by both good and evil and we have not seen a lot of him in different story lines.
Kamidogu: How do you get yourself into the mindset of portraying a character infamous for being in love with themselves?
MM: I had to play a similar character in “Blood and Bone” called Price. Price and Johnny are both very in love with themselves and for both roles I took traits from people that I personally knew had an air of cockiness. I also looked at characters that were larger than life (such as the qualities of WWE character The Rock) and I worked on taking different parts of those qualities and then making it as real as possible.
Kamidogu: Do you think Mortal Kombat fans are more open-minded and accepting of Legacy compared with Rebirth?
MM: I think the fans have been very open minded. They (myself included) have been wanting to see a film or video project that truly reflects the essence of Mortal Kombat. Legacy is the best attempt to date and has the most promise. I think fans see that and support it.
Kamidogu: With the hype surrounding Mortal Kombat: Legacy no doubt there are hopes for it to evolve into a full length feature film. If it did, would you be keen to reprise your role as Johnny Cage?
MM: I really hope it is made into a full length film and I would love to reprise Johnny Cage, I think I just cracked the surface of John Carlton. Let’s see what Hollywood does.
Kamidogu: The third instalment of Mortal Kombat: Legacy in which you star saw a number of cameos from some famous faces. Was this planned all along to add a comical taste to the episode?
MM: Kevin is such a huge fan of the creators of the game, and why not give props to some of his heroes and to also poke fun at characters they created.
Kamidogu: Will we see Johnny Cage again during this season of Mortal Kombat: Legacy?
MM: Each episode of MK legacy is based upon individual characters, and episode three was all about Johnny.
Kamidogu: Earlier this month you attended the Mortal Kombat launch party with a host of other celebrities. How does it feel to be a fully-fledged member of the Mortal Kombat family?
MM: Being a full part of the MK family is such an honor. In many ways MK has come full circle for me. Living in Chicago I was inspired by watching Ho Sung Pak, Anthony Marques and Daniel Pesina and now I get to do the same for another generation of martial artists and fans.
Kamidogu: What are some hobbies you enjoy outside of work?
MM: I love to train. I’m always at the gym working on new things and trying to push my skills. I really enjoy skiing, and playing a few video games.
Kamidogu: What are some of your favourite TV shows and movies?
MM: Burn Notice and Leverage are great. The Crow is my favourite movie of all time and I love Equilibrium.
Kamidogu: What is the craziest thing you have ever done?
MM: Move to Hollywood haha.
Kamidogu: What is something most people don’t know about you?
MM: I’m an eagle scout with the Boy Scouts of America and every video game I play I beat to 100% completion. My friends tell say that I don’t beat games, I destroy them.
Kamidogu: Do you have any famous last words?
MM: I really appreciate the opportunity to play such an iconic character and I hope everyone really enjoys the Mortal Kombat series!