Former kickboxing champion Cheryl Wheeler-Duncan has known almost nothing but success – be it in the ring, as co-owner of the nutrition company Genesis Pure or as a stunt woman for almost 30 years in Hollywood.
Cheryl Wheeler-Duncan has been part of huge A-list hits from “Back to the Future” in 1985 to “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and “Transformers: Age Of Extinction”.
But she had never been in charge of producing a film until she, along with James Wilson, decided to co-produce the upcoming “The Martial Arts Kid” film.
Cheryl Wheeler-Duncan is determined that she and James Wilson – who is the brother of the film’s co-headliner Don “The Dragon” Wilson – have enough of a budget to pull off the film she first envisioned when she was enticed by the project – and that means generating some cash flow.
“Right now, he and I are the co-producers and we’re raising money”, says wheeler-Duncan. “I am working on.tasks and..decisions..and helping to raise some money.”
“Because without the money….”, and her voice trails off. “we’re doing a Kickstarter program to make sure that we have the money that we want to see it through to (take care of) every little detail, you know, distribution-wise.”
“I told James that what I love (about this project) is we have so much experience, between all of us”, says Wheeler-Duncan. “Don and Cynthia (Rothrock, the film’s other co-headliner) have done so many films and….I know that Don Wilson’s movies have never lost money and I’m sure that Cynthia’s have…done…well. I know that for a fact about Don because James was telling me that and Don was telling me that…his films have never lost money. So they have quite a fan base”
“I’m excited to do this for a lot of reasons”, Wheeler-Duncan continues. “I mean, you look at ‘The Expendables’ (and) some of these older actors that have…had a great career.”
“Don and Cynthia are ageless in many ways”, she continues. “They are both class acts and (both) still in great shape and (with them) we wanted to put together something that…had good morals (and) a good story – a good family movie that had a good moral and a good story to it.”
“So, all of these factors kind of came together”, she added. “Don and Cynthia wanted to do it. It’s (similar to) “The Karate Kid in some ways, but in some ways it’s very, very different. I would loosely say that it’s kind of got the same structure, in that it’s a good type of family film and it has a good ending and a good story. But Don and Cynthia are gonna bring a flavor to it that is very, very different.”
One of the things Cheryl Wheeler-Duncan is most excited about is the cast that James Wilson and she have put together.
“The cast that we’re using – there’s going to be some great martial artists in it”, she says. “We’re going to have more real martial artists in it than I think any movie has ever done and we’ve got a whole film crew that is amazing.”
“It’s coming together”, she continues. “We’ve got Emmy-award-winning musicians. We’ve got people contributing who want to be a big part of this (project) because they know that it’s a good project (and that’s why) we have award-winning people on board.”
Cheryl Wheeler-Duncan says she is most excited by the script.
“Michael Baumgarten is an amazing director and he can do this stuff in his sleep, but he’s also an amazing writer”, Wheeler-Duncan says. “He’s put together a script that has charged us and (it has) a realness that’s going to tug on people’s heartstrings – but it’s going to satisfy the action-oriented people who want to see action and drama and martial arts.”
“There’s a lot of martial arts films out there that I wouldn’t attach my name to, but not because I don’t enjoy the martial arts in it”, she concludes. “I just..am tired of the films that are just blood and guts (with) bad people.”
“The Martial Arts Kid” is set to start filming in June and will be released in Summer of 2015.