Many popular actors have a hard time walking out of their front door in order to perform a simple task like getting the mail or walking a dog due to the fact that paparazzi and/or fans clog their path in the hopes to get a candid or revealing snapshot or just want to meet them. A few performers, however, have managed to put in some excellent performances on the big and small screens and yet still manage to evade being recognized.
One such actor is Ray Park. Think quickly now, what do Darth Maul (Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace), Toad(X-Men), Snake-Eyes (G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra), and the Headless Horseman (Sleepy Hollow) all have in common? They were all portrayed by Ray Park (Christopher Walken portrayed the Horseman in the scenes that required a head. Park did all of the fight sequences). Park also portrayed Edgar on the television series, Heroes. He's also been in a number of smaller budget films and filled in as a stunt double for many actors over the years.
I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Park at the Wizard World New Orleans Comic Con in January of 2011. I had been warned beforehand by a friend who had already met Park at another convention that he was a very quiet individual who didn't talk very much with fans. Well, after standing in a line for roughly thirty minutes, I found out that my friend was wrong.
Park took a lot of time with every person in the line. He paid special attention to children, especially those who were enrolled in karate or other martial arts lessons. Park is himself a very accomplished martial artist, and delighted the children with stories from his own training.
When I finally made my way up to him, I turned into a big fanboy and asked him what it was like to portray characters that have had such a big impact on pop culture. He told me that it was like playing make believe all over again.
When I left Mr. Park's table with my autographed Darth Maul photo in tow, I gained not only a greater appreciation for the characters that Park portrayed, but for the man himself as well.