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Interview: Florian Munteanu Talks ‘Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’

September 3, 2021Ben MK

As a former heavyweight boxer who went by the nickname "Big Nasty," Florian Munteanu has an intimidating presence. So it's no wonder that when he made the transition to acting, he was cast as the antagonist. Now, after appearing as Viktor Drago opposite Michael B. Jordan in Creed II, Munteanu is taking on what some might call the role of a lifetime — playing the villain Razor Fist in Marvel Studios' Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. For Munteanu, however, this is more than just a one-dimensional, one-and-done type of character. And as moviegoers will discover, he has big aspirations for the future.

I caught up with Florian Munteanu to chat about Shang-Chi, what it was like going toe-to-toe with Simu Liu, and sharing the screen with acting legends like Tony Leung and Michelle Yeoh.

This is only your second major feature film role and you've already made it into a Marvel movie. What's it like to be a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe?

Munteanu: It's a dream become reality. It's a dream come true. I always wanted to be a superhero since I was a little kid, and I think that's the dream of every little boy. And now I am a part of the MCU and it feels amazing and incredible at the same time.

Were you familiar with your character in the comics before? And how did you prepare for the role?

Munteanu: To be very honest with you, I wasn't. I was familiar with Shang-Chi, but I wasn't familiar with Razor Fist. Then, obviously, I started to read into the comic books. But then, pretty soon, me and Destin [Daniel Cretton] decided to go into a different direction with this character. I feel like this character is much more layered than you would see on first look, and we'll see what happens with the character.

What was it like fighting Simu on-screen? You had a pretty epic fight sequence set on a bus — how would you rate his prowess as a fighter?

Munteanu: Simu is a ninja. He was moving crazy through all those poles and the space that we had in the bus was super tight. Everything was so small and tight, and it was just difficult to fight in that bus — not only because the space was so tight, but there were a lot of people in there as well. We spent almost four weeks in there just shooting, and then prior to that at least another three weeks to train and choreograph the whole sequence. But I think at the end of the day, we created something really, really incredible, and it was worth it.

Was there a scene in the film what was the most memorable for you to shoot?

Munteanu: I feel like in every Marvel movie, when it comes to the end, that's the moment everyone is looking forward to. And I think that moment when the Ten Rings and the soldiers of that secret village of Ta-Lo collide, and everything that was going down, was probably the scene that I liked the most after the bus.

In keeping with the title of the film, you're also working with on-screen legends Michelle Yeoh and Tony Leung. What was it like working with them, and what did you learn from them?

Munteanu: The first thing that I said to Michelle Yeoh was that she's part of my favorite Bond movie. I'll always remember that scene where she was on the motorcycle with Pierce Brosnan [in Tomorrow Never Dies]. That was a great scene. And, obviously, like you said, [she's] a true legend.

And then Tony Leung, the name stands for itself. But [even though] I knew how great he is, it's always something different when you meet a legend like that in person and you can experience his performance and his aura in real life. There's a dinner scene in the movie, and I was sitting at that table watching him tell a story as [his] character, and I was totally forgetting that I was in front of the camera because I was so mesmerized by his performance. So I'm very, very honored and privileged to have had the opportunity to work with legends like that.

This probably isn't the last we'll be seeing of Razor Fist, and you also have the upcoming Borderlands feature film targeted for next year. What can we expect from you in the future?

Munteanu: The most. I have the biggest goals, and I'm also my biggest critic. My goal is to reach the top and I'm working very, very hard for this. I'm very determined to reach my goals and my dreams. I know that it might seem that this is already a lot, but I'm not thinking like that. I take it step by step, but this is only the beginning for me. My goals are huge and I always dream big, and I can't wait to prove to everyone what I have in store.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is in theatres now.

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