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Emmy-nominated Filipino stunt coordinator Brett Chan talks about being bullied as a kid

Yong Chavez | TFC News Hollywood

Posted at Aug 30 2021 11:08 AM | Updated as of Aug 30 2021 03:17 PM

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Brett Chan received his first Primetime Emmy nomination this year for his work in the TV series 'Warrior,' which is based on the writings of martial arts legend Bruce Lee.

The Filipino stunt coordinator-performer and action director has been in the industry for more than 25 years now, with an extensive and diverse list of credits including 'Marco Polo,' the 'Twilight' saga, 'Skyscraper,' 'Nacho Libre,' and the upcoming TV series 'Halo.'

In getting much-deserved recognition for Warrior, Chan shares credits with the show's stunt team. "It was kind of surreal. I have a really great team around me, and they make me look good. They allow me to be here for the Emmys. It's really cool to say the least," Chan said.

Filipino stunt coordinator Brett Chan with Andrew Koji who plays Ah Sahm in 'Warrior'
Filipino stunt coordinator Brett Chan (right) with Andrew Koji (left) who plays Ah Sahm in the TV series Warrior.

He added it matters a lot that Warrior has a hardworking and dedicated cast led by Andrew Koji, who plays the central character Ah Sahm. "Watching him transform from day one of season one -- because he was a little out of shape, he hadn't been doing martial arts for a while... and he's so dedicated like, strict diet -- watching that transformation happen is remarkable. And it happened with all the actors like Dean Jagger. He's not a martial artist but we kind of gave him a flavor to how he moves. But even Dianne (Doan), who played Mai Ling, just wanted to train every day and learn."

Chan was born in Canada to a Chinese father and a Filipino mother.

"I moved to the Philippines for three years, and I got into fights all the time there because I wasn't dark enough for all the kids. And then I moved back to Canada, and I was always getting picked on because I was small, I was always really small as a kid and I talked like this (in a Filipino accent). So I got into fights," Chan shared. "Hindi naman ako matapang (I wasn't brave) but if someone's gonna bully me then... by that point, I've been doing a lot of martial arts already. My dad always made sure I did martial arts so that I can always defend myself."

Apart from his extensive martial arts background, Chan also studied sports rehab therapy, which helps him respond to the demands of his extremely physical job. He also founded Hitz International, a group of stunt professionals with whom he frequently works with.

Currently filming on location in Romania for a Tim Burton project, Chan is also working on his directorial debut. "It's a collaboration. Electric Panda, Yas Taalat, he's one of my producing partners. He had a script called Foxhunt. And that basically rolled into my lap. He said he'd like me to direct it because of all the action in it. I shoot second unit which is all-action and fight choreography. But now, drama is involved with the action as well."

Voting for the Primetime and Creative Arts Emmys, where the winner in his category will be chosen, is ongoing. Several other Filipinos are vying for the top awards as well. The 73rd Emmys, handed out by the Television Academy, Hollywood's most prestigious TV organization, will be held this September.