Movie Glaswegians: Ray Park

Ray Park has portrayed a number of formidable villains on the big screen, but is often heavily made up in said roles and could therefore walk down a busy street without most people looking twice.

Park was born in Glasgow on 23rd August 1974, growing up initially in Govan but moving to London with his family at the age of seven. His journey into cinema evolved from a passion for and skill in martial arts – Wikipedia states that he had taken up Northern Shaolin Kung Fu, kickboxing and wushu by the age of 14, winning the British Martial Arts National Championship for his class at 16. He then went on to participate in tournaments around the world. Incidentally it is said that Park was introduced to martial arts by his father, a fan of Bruce Lee – therefore it is fitting that the Scot’s career has brought him to cinema, following in Lee’s footsteps.

Ray Park’s earliest recorded movie work is in 1997’s Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, appearing as a stunt double for two of the lead actors as well as portraying some non-speaking creatures based on characters from the video game franchise. 1999 saw him thrust in to the limelight as one of the most iconic characters from the trilogy of Star Wars prequels – that of the scarlet faced, spike headed Darth Maul in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. The character’s voice however was provided by Peter Serafinowicz. The Star Wars franchise has a large global following and Park is now a popular figure on this scene, even appearing in a cameo as a security guard in 2009’s Fanboys – in which a group of fanatics travel to George Lucas’ ranch in an attempt to let their dying friend see The Phantom Menace before its release.

Other notable roles on Ray Park’s CV are that of mutant Toad in 2000’s X-Men and Snake Eyes in the two recent G.I. Joe movies – the latter a good guy for once, but still one whose face is concealed.

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