The Rising of Falling Skies’ (& Mortal Kombat: Legacy’s) Peter Shinkoda: Part II

It’s been three days since the first season finale of TNT’s Falling Skies but the show continues to haunt us with questions that will have to wait until summer 2012 to be answered.  Peter Shinkoda’s Dai was injured once again (first, in the leg & now, in the abdomen) in the line of duty but was able to return to the 2nd Massachusetts on his trusty bike.  Relaying critical information about Porter (played by Dale Dye) and the rest of the resistance, the soldier saves the survivors from Captain Weaver’s bullheadedness with the help of Tom Mason.  Dai also recovers remarkably well enough to join in on the fight against the Mechs attacking the high school.

Though Falling Skies viewers will have to experience withdrawal for close to a year, it is the perfect time for fans to get to know a little more about Peter, his physical prowess and a project that runs back to his video game playing days as Sub Zero.  This project is from choreographer-turned-writer/director/editor Kevin Tancharoen (2009’s Fame, Arcana).  The strictly web only series Mortal Kombat: Legacy originated as short film Mortal Kombat: Rebirth, used as a selling point for a new Mortal Kombat film.  Although the concept of a re-imagined movie for the series was turned down by Warner Bros., the studio agreed to a web series.  Legacy consists of nine 8 to 12 minute episodes featuring characters like Cyrax (Shane Warren Jones), Jax (Michael Jai White), Scorpion (Ian Anthony Dale), Sonya (Jeri Ryan), and of course, Sektor.  The last episode of the season,  Cyrax & Sektor, stars Peter, who is a “big fan” of Mortal Kombat.

Here’s Part II of Horror Haven Reviews’ Peter Shinkoda interview with Sharon Wong, editor/writer, and Shaun Daniels, writer, who favors Liu Kang, and “can still probably do all the joystick moves and all the button combinations.”  (If you have yet to read Part I, shame on you)

Shaun DanielsMortal Kombat: Legacy is an interesting series that none of us at Horror Haven were sure of how it was going to be released when we first saw the trailer come out.  This is truly the first web series with a good budget that has great names attached to it.  And it is the dawning of something new; the way things are going to go.  How did you get involved in this project?

Peter Shinkoda:  Like you and the fans, I first heard about it early last summer.  It came out on the internet, I watched it, was a big fan and thought it was superbly handled.  I followed the progress and the interest of the development of it, or the non-development of it, over 7 to 8 months.  When I saw an article saying it was going to be made into a web series, I was all over it.  In 24 hours, I got a hold of my reps who didn’t know about it as the character breakdown hadn’t officially been released.  Within the next 24 hours, they got back to me and there was a bunch of roles that I would be considered for.  Within a week, I ended up getting a meeting with Kevin Tancharoen through a friend of mine, Tiffany Mak, who is a young casting director in Vancouver.  Tiffany, who got the gig to cast, reached me through facebook and told me if I was interested, I could be a part of it.  She set up a meeting with Kevin and we hit it off.  We had a lot of the same interests and a lot of the same ideas about what it should be.  I was also very flattering to him.

SD:  Part of the reason I’m into the series is because it hit me where, at a point in my time, I was really into video games.  It’s such a great series.  I loved the first movie but the second one was a bit of a letdown.  To see Kevin’s involvement and passion for the series is what sold me on it. He and Michael Jai White were like “Hey, we got to do this!” and it got done.  And now the first season has wrapped up.

PS:   Most of the time, you find success when somebody is so devoted, so familiar with the mythology that then is the only chance to make something worthwhile or pays respect to the original material.  Kevin is one of them…he’s brilliant in his direction.  I watched them like the fans in real time as they were released every week.  It’s one thing to see them on paper because you feel sort of a way about how it’s going to turn out, but then you’re just blindsided when you see the end product.  I was way off on this episode and that episode, this segment or that character, this look.  I can’t fathom how he characterizes all the elements to filmmaking.  He makes something so… You saw how different each webisode was?

SD:  Yes, definitely.  Is there going to be a second season for Mortal Kombat: Legacy?

PS:  Don’t know.  I’ve been pushing that question the last few weeks to the producers.  Actually, I’m on my way to see [producer] Lance Sloane at Warner Bros. Studios right after we end this interview.  I’m going to throw that question at him again and I’ll be given the same answer…it’s in discussion.  Something’s happening but I’m not at liberty to say yet but yeah, it’s going awesome.

Sharon Wong:  You have a huge sports background; hockey, skiing and judo to name a few.  And a lot of your roles are sci-fi heavy as you’ve been in shows like Sanctuary and Stargate SG-1.  Are you attracted by the action/sci-fi element because you have that athletic background?

PS:  Growing up in Montreal, I played all the sports and excelled at the highest levels but I’ll admit to you…basketball, I absolutely suck.  I can’t really jump, I can’t throw to the hoop.  I boycott the game now and I regret that.  I also studied martial arts as a child; judo, karate.  Does that feed into my choice of roles?  Up until the last year, I never had a choice [of roles].  If you wanted me to appear on Sesame Street, I would have done it.  I would have taken anything.  There was parameters put around me.  I was working within Vancouver and kind of a slave to that one hub of filmmaking.  Vancouver is a sci-fi center and a lot of the opportunities are in those shows.  I’ve been in all of them…in Supernatural (Season 1, Episode 6: “Skin”), they wanted me to play a nebbish lawyer.  It’s a lot easier for people to cast me in roles that I have had though they haven’t been that physical unlike in Dark Angel.  It’s not like you go in there and take a physical at the casting.  You’re just hoping that you don’t hyperventilate because that’s happened a few times.

SD:  And now racing.  On July 23rd, you competed in Toyota Speedway’s second annual “Kids Against Cancer” race in Irwindale.  Were you driving a real stock car?  How fast did you get to go?

PS:  Absolutely.  I got it up to about 150 miles per hour, but it was a half mile oval track so it didn’t really lend itself to flooring it for more than three seconds.  It was fast enough.  Ten of us ended up racing though there were more of us at the start of it.  We had time to practice but I got the least as I was quite busy doing other things.  I was racing up against a bunch of race car drivers, and different actors and television personalities (Jessica Clark, Kim Coates, William Fichtner, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Christopher Knight, Mark Kriski, Frankie Muniz, Riki Rachtman and Skeet Ulrich).  It was fun, it was great and I enjoyed it.  I’ve never been afforded the opportunity to learn to drive NASCAR; it’s like being selected to be an astronaut so I took that opportunity right away and put in a bid.  They considered me, selected me and it was an honor.  I’ll always have that, knowing how to drive a car.  I like to challenge myself with physical things.

SD:  And you’re raising money for a good cause.

PS:  Most importantly, I get to do all that so the least I can do is lend my name.  A lot of people contributed including Justice Brothers and SoCal Toyota.  It was a great success.

SD:  Was there an actor or personality on the track that you just wanted to push off the road a little bit, maybe a little rubbing?

PS:  Well, Ricki Rachtman, the MTV VJ personality, talked a lot of smack early on.  We had a little personal wager going on but other than that, no.  I knew I could go and handle myself, keep up, but there’s no place for overarrogance in thinking I’m going to dominate against a bunch of guys that have owned cars.  Skeet Ulrich owned a car a few years back, and spends every week here with his son, racing on the track.  William Fichtner won at the [2011 Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race in] Long Beach Grand Prix.  Mark-Paul Gosselar has raced many times before.  And there’s Frankie Muniz.  I held my own and ended up in a respectful 7th place.  According to my trainers, I was gifted.  I was almost in a massive collision that would have destroyed two cars and could have possibly crippled Ricki…he owes me for that.  I just wanted to make it through and make sure the cars came back intact.  If they didn’t, we would forfeit $2,500 towards damages  (the money for each car is donated to “Kids Against Cancer”).  Nobody totaled a car but there were a couple of scrapes.  Nothing was lost in any accident.  Happy about that.

Stay tuned to any and all Falling Skies news via facebook and twitter as well as with the cast and crew like Mark Verheiden (co-executive producer/head writer), Melinda Hsu Taylor (writer), Sarah Carter (Margaret), Connor Jessup (Ben), Mpho Koaho (Anthony), Drew Roy (Hal) and of course, Peter Shinkoda.

We’ll be waiting alongside the fans but until then, follow us on WordPress, facebook and @FrightChannel.

Feed us at sharon@horrorhaven.com and shaun@horrorhaven.com

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