In the latest Marvel film “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings”, the title hero has to deal with the villain Razor Fist. The henchman with the sword arm is played by the former Munich boxer Florian “Big Nasty” Munteanu, who already starred as Victor Drago in “Creed 2”. In the upcoming film adaptation of “Borderlands” he will appear alongside Cate Blanchett, Jack Black and Kevin Hart as the Psycho War known from Borderlands 2 and thus also play a leading role.
Several characters in the comics bear the name Razor Fist, the first version of the villain has existed since 1975 and made its debut in the Shang Chi comic series “Master of Kung-Fu”. In contrast to his comic counterpart, Florian Munteanu’s live-action interpretation of the character only has one sword arm instead of two and also seems to have a different background story. Like Munteanu himself, Razor Fist has Romanian roots in “Shang-Chi and the Ten Rings”.
We talked to the 30-year-old about his vertical start in Hollywood, his love for the MCU, professional ambitions and the similarities between his daily routine as an athlete and his craft as an actor.
The Road to the MCU, Marvel Secrecy, and the Future of Razor Fist
PC Games: Even though you haven’t acted in so many films yet, it has to be said: impressive Résumé. Discovered by Sylvester Stallone, starred in “Creed 2” and now in a Marvel movie. How did it come about?
Florian Munteanu: It was always a long-term goal, also before “Creed”, but especially after “Creed”, when you have put your feet in this business, to take place in the MCU at some point. That was always the goal, of course. But I never thought that it would go so quickly. Back when I got the chance from Sly and we shot “Creed 2”, the big question was, of course, “what’s next?” And of course it’s not easy. It’s also a shark tank, I’ll tell you honestly, about the roles themselves. And especially when you are at the beginning, there is an elbow society and you have to fight hard for each role. That means, there are certainly setbacks, you get some no’s on the way there. But I kept going because there was no way I wanted to miss this opportunity that was presented to me. Of course, when my agency suggested that I do an audition for it, especially when Marvel also said we want him to audition for this role, of course I took this opportunity directly and everything went very, very quickly.
Source: Warner Bros. Pictures
How did you stand out from the competition?
I think that the role was generally more physical, [aber] I believe that at the end of the day, with my own way of interpreting acting and how I think I manage to give heart to the roles, I delivered the bottom line. In my opinion, you can see that Razor Fist is more than just a mercenary or a soldier. In very small scenes you can see again and again that I gave him a human role. I think that was very, very important to the producers.
How does the process work when you have been accepted and have been cast in such a big film? How much of the script is there by then? What, of what is in store for you, can you actually expect?
You don’t even get a script at Marvel (laughs). They really give you something for the first time when you are actually there. They don’t send anything over. It’s like the FBI. They want to keep everything super secret. And then you sit down with the director and try to come up with ideas about what can be done there. As is so often the case with such films, there were many more scenes about the character Razor Fist that were cut in the end and didn’t make it from the director’s cut to the final cut. But I think that’s what the MCU is for. That you will hopefully see more of the character in future films.
Comics, Shang-Chi and Bavarian Product Placement
Razor Fist has a personalized car. Can you tell me more about it
I don’t know if you can [im Film] sees, but the center console definitely always said “Welcome Razor”. You probably know scented trees, which are usually fir trees. There was a sword hanging there. We paid attention to the details and were able to live out the crazy ideas. Of course, the director first has to come up to you and say “hey, I’m in the mood to create something cool” and then you exchange ideas and that’s how the vision for the car came about. Of course, BMW was also a great fit because I’m from Munich, the home of BMW. When I saw the car for the first time, finally with the paint job, the foiling – that was awesome.
You said the MCU was your dream next step in your career. Is that something that interests you personally too? Are you comic?
Fully. Since day one. I’ve always had and collected comic books. Always went to the comic store as a child. Watched cartoons. “X-Men” especially watched back then with Wolverine. The first Spider-Man films with Tobey Maguire, I would say, were brutally stuck in childhood. That didn’t exist back then. Ever since the MCU really existed with the Hulk movie and “Iron Man”, I’ve taken everything with me. I am a fan of such stories in general. I also watch DC films (laughs). I can say that quite frankly. Of everything sci-fi related, I’m definitely a fan.
Source: Marvel Studios
The character Razor Fist is a bit obscure. Did you know him
I actually have to say that I wasn’t aware of it. What I knew was Shang-Chi. I knew the character because there was always a parallel drawn with Bruce Lee and I’m a huge Bruce Lee fan. I didn’t know Razor Fist though. When I got the role, I started to deal with him more closely.
Out of the comfort zone
“Creed 2 “was more in your comfort zone as a boxing film. In” Shang-Chi “the fight scenes are wilder. How did your way of fighting evolve from” Creed 2 “to” Shang-Chi “?
Of course, I knew that I had to adapt. Of course, I’ve got used to a boxing style a lot, I’ve been doing it all my life. Accordingly, I knew that I would have to adapt to a film that is more MMA-heavy – and MMA contains many different martial arts. And that starts with the footwork. At the basic position. I knew I had to learn new things. That’s why we worked with a great stunt team over several weeks and months that prepared us. It was hard to break these routines, especially at the beginning, but I think it was worth it at the end of the day.
You also fight against things that aren’t really there. How did you experience that?
If you remember the demons at the end, that was actually completely fantasy. We actually hit the air the whole time. But that was also the cool thing, what was so much fun because you were a child again. If we somehow played superheroes on the playground, it was exactly the same. We imagined things, created a completely new, different world before our eyes. And that’s exactly what you did in that case too. Only now you get paid for it and it’s your job. What could be better?
Daily training and big ambitions
How do you improve your craft as someone who doesn’t come from acting?
I’ve actually been a movie fanatic from childhood. Now that I’m in the scene and dealing with the industry, I naturally watch a film or series in a completely different way. I really work it up and when scenes take hold of me, when I really celebrate an acting performance by a colleague and think it’s good, then I pick the scene and just replay it. I work a lot in front of the mirror. It’s like training. I actually practice creating emotions every day, playing with my face in front of the mirror. So you stay in the routine. That’s how you improve all the time. Acting out these scenes is actually the daily training I do as an actor.
Would you also take on roles in genres that are not so physically based? So maybe a comedy, a classic drama or even a musical?
One hundred percent. That’s where I want to develop. I don’t need to prove anything to anyone anymore. Visually speaking, I have all the prerequisites for it, I can fight, now that’s nothing that challenges me anymore. That means, if I want to get to the next level, if I want to develop myself further, of course I have to do things that I am not yet familiar with. Step out of the comfort zone. And that’s where development will take place.
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