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Ray Park Can Tell the Difference Between Acting in Star Wars and The X-Men
By Andy Argyrakis 

Actor Ray Park has seen back to back summer’s on the big screen in major summer blockbusters.  Actually, movie goers haven’t seen what Park looks like but they certainly know the prominent character’s that he has played, like Darth Maul in 1999’s Star Wars;  The Phantom Menace and as the character “Toad” in this summer’s The X-Men.

The two movies have attracted similar fans throughout the last two summers, and both films immense success have earned Park a huge fan club.  Park loves interacting with fans and often takes time out to meet them at various comic book and movie conventions throughout the nation, like Chicago’s annual “Wizard World” gathering.

At Wizard World 2000, Park expressed the similarities and differences between playing Darth Maul and Toad.  Darth Maul was a challenging part for Park, especially because of all the make up involved with his costume.  “I would come to work and get dressed up every day while we were shooting,” he recalled.   “I was there at 5 o’clock in the morning and if I wouldn’t have time to get that much sleep, I would just sleep with the make up on.  Once I was in it, that was it!  During breaks I had to lay on the couch or bed a
certain way.  Your really have to position yourself around those horns when you lay down.”

Costumes for the shooting of X Men were also very detailed.  “I also went through 3 or 4 costumes during that filming,” he said.  “I lost a lot of weight and then gained a lot of weight throughout the shoot.” 

Park often gets asked what it was like to move from starting in the Star Wars series to the X Men comic book adaptation.  “It was a weird transition,” he recalled.  “It was another bad guy role, which was a bit of a concern for me.  There’s only so many bad guy faces you can do.  Plus, X Men’s a big summer blockbuster just like Star Wars was, so that was also in the back of my mind.”

In both films Park got to show off his amazing martial arts skills.  “Everything was challenging [in Star Wars,] Park said.  “When it came to using the light saber, I really didn’t have a problem.  The main thing was that I didn’t want to repeat myself with my [fighting] moves.  I wanted to do something different every time I was on the screen.  I was trained for many years in the martial arts and I didn't really make up anything as I went.  I just enhanced what I already knew to play the part.”  The fight scenes were also very challenging and intricate in The X-Men.  The hardest part was when we did the wire part during the fight scene,” Park added.  “I performed lots of moves that I know I could have done without wires.  We were 50 feet in the air and I didn’t want any safety, but people on the set were concerned about me falling off backwards.  I’m glad though because it would have been quite a fall.  The character really developed at the end of the fight.” 

Fans of Park won’t get to see Park do any more fighting in the Star Wars series because Darth Maul was killed off at the end of the film.  Perhaps they’ll get to see him in a sequel to The X-Men.  “I’d do it again because I love playing Toad,” he said.  “He’s different.”

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