Flippin’ ANIS CHEURFA – and the high-flying art that landed him on the ‘grid’

By Wednesday, December 22, 2010 Permalink 0

By: Henrick Vartanian

Right before its big box office opening, at the very futuristic premiere of “TRON LEGACY” in Hollywood, a dark-haired goodlooking, European stuck out like a sore thumb. On this black-lit, midnight blue themed backdrop, on a massive blue carpet covering the entire block of Hollywood boulevard, stood the young “tricking” athlete, and now film star, Anis Cheurfa, in a very formal black tuxedo, and we mean the works.

Anis Cheurfa

It was right at that moment when we (the reporters) were pretending to know everyone on the carpet, but quickly asking “who is that?” when his rep approached and asked “would you like to talk to Anis, the martial arts jumper who is  the ‘best fighter’ in the [Tron Legacy] movie?”

“CHEURFA, ANIS CHEURFA!” Yes, that’s exactly what we heard as the dapper young man approached us and introducing himself; just like that other tuxedo wearing mystery man, James Bond. However, Anis Cheurfa, the French native (of Algerian ancestry), is younger (23 years old), perhaps taller, with a body and speed that will give Bond and other action heroes a run for their money.

Pretty well known for his unique type of fancy kicking and high-flying flips called “tricking,” Anis Cheurfa is the first of a new breed, dare devils in this martial arts inspired technique.

Anis left Paris for L.A. to expand his horizons in tae kwon do, but quickly ended up in the movies and now at the premiere. Here is the Brave New Hollywood Q & A:

BNH: What do you make of all this “Tron” madness?

AC: “This is my first movie premiere ever. It’s the first time for me wearing a tuxedo too.”

BNH: So what’s ‘tricking’ and how does it belong in ‘Tron Legacy?’

AC: ‘Tricking’ is a mix of few martial arts, mostly based on taekwondo because there’s lots of kicking. There is also gymnastics and some break dancing in there too. It draws from all that and becomes what it is now.

BNH: How does one get into that?

AC: I do tae kwon do that’s how I started and been doing this for eight years.

Eight years! A pro at what he does at his relatively young age. Ladies, in case you are wondering, Anis is attached. In fact, his girlfriend lives also in Southern Califormnia, which is another reason he came to the States. Who knew that “Tron Legacy” director, Joe Kosinski, and his team had come across ‘tricking’ on the net and seen the unique high-flying spins that these tricksters could do, and now team Kosinski was looking to incorporate this new wave of movement into the new and advanced universe they created for ‘Legacy.’

BNH: You are dubbed the ‘best fighter’ on the grid, in Tron. How and why?

AC (chuckles): Yes, that’s who I play in the film. One day, the film’s director came into our gym and watched us do these moves – the flips. We also did the moves with the Tron discs. Joe Kosinski, the director, thought I have the athletic shape and the body type and was the right height for what he needed, and that’s how I was cast in the film.

BNH: So, are you that fast?

AC: Yes, I am. I think I am pretty fast (nods, smiling). I mean; you will see it in the movie. The action is very fast. It’s a very interesting flashy world. The whole thing looks very cool. You’ll see.

BNH: So being the martial artists and the specialist in tricking, meant you did all your own stunts?

AC: Yes,  all the fighting you see on screen is us, the tricking, martial arts guys, but not for the bike chases.

Anis cheurfa as Rinzler in 'Tron Legacy' (Disney)

BNH: most of the cast, including your character (Rinzler) wore such tight, armor-looking costumes. How did you move in them, let alone do such high-kicking jumps and landings?

AC: Actually, those costumes (the suites) were really flexible. They made sure that my costume was flexible so I can stretch it and be able to do all my moves. Each person had their own specially made costume to wear for their scenes.

BNH: And now that you’ve had a taste of Hollywood, what’s next?

AC: It was a great experience. I would love to do more. I came here to work on my martial arts stuff and get better at what I do. And the movies – that’s just amazing. Let’s see what’s next.

Indeed. At BNH we think an action star’s tricking onto the big screen. That’s what’s next.

Anis Cheurfa on: http://twitter.com/anischeurfa

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