copyright 2007 by Kandie Delley
Part one: Pulling Off Big Stunts
(Graphics by Kandie Delley for KanDel Media)
Having one or two specialized skills is more than enough to create a productive and successful film career —if you are persistent and dedicated. However, when you are a jack of many talents like Ilram Choi, the world is your oyster.
As a toddler, he commenced martial arts training at a Korean community church in Washington D.C., eventually training at an accredited Tae Kwon Do institute. By twelve, after watching his father do a front hand spring in the front yard, he taught himself gymnastics and has been fascinated with challenging the gravitational pull that seems to keep most of us grounded.
Over time, he broadened his concentration to include Judo, Aikido, Kung Fu, Wushu, Tai Chi, Ninjutsu, Wing Chun, Thai-Boxing, Chinese Boxing, and Capoeira. If you enjoyed the movements of the robots in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, then you have already witnessed Ilram’s mesmerizingwork. (see Ilram in action here!)
He has an alarming gift to manipulate and combine acrobatic and martial arts moves to create remarkably fearless stunt performances. Still, great stunts come with a few injuries and require endurance through long hours of rigorous training for weeks, even months, before shooting principal photography. Rehearsing for roles like Star Trek or Spiderman, as a stuntman, required endurance and great physical coordination.
“My body was sore,” says Ilram about his Spidey stunt double work. “I had blisters on my hands working with wires while slinging webs and climbing around monkey bars.” At times, he would finish night shoots for one movie and then prepare for work on another.
Even though pursuing a movie stunt career brought Ilram to the land of moving pictures, he knows he has to incorporate other skills to have longevity, a desire of many in entertainment industry. This lofty goal means having to transition on and off screen—having flexibility, and business acumen while engaging a plethora of talents.