For years, brothers Chris and James Mark have helped mastermind intense fight scenes in cinema with their renowned stunt work on numerous TV shows and movies. For their latest collaboration, though, Chris steps into the lead role and James goes behind the camera, and we had a chance to catch up with the brothers to discuss their new sci-fi action movie Kill Order in our latest Q&A feature.

Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions for us, and congratulations on Kill Order! What attracted you to playing the lead role of David Lee?

Chris Mark: It’s always been a dream of mine to play the lead in a film and do all my own action. When I read the script, I knew playing the role of David would be a lot of work, but I was most excited to portray both personalities of David.

You’ve worked extensively as a stuntman in movies and TV series, but what was it like to get the opportunity to play a fleshed-out lead character and really dive into his story?

Chris Mark: It was an amazing experience. As a stunt performer, most of the characters I’ve played never had specific objectives or reasons for why they’re fighting. David has such a complex backstory and a strong reason to fight for what he wants. It was a lot of fun to put that layer of purpose on top of my fight choreography.

The director of Kill Order is your brother, James, who you’ve collaborated with on stunt work for many projects over the years. What was it like working with James to tell this story?

Chris Mark: James and myself share similar visions and goals in the film industry. Working together was a smooth process, as we both understood our roles and what we can bring to the table. Having that trust in each other’s work was a big advantage in making Kill Order.

Looking back at your time on set, what was the most memorable or funny experience you had while making the movie?

Chris Mark: In the classroom fight scene I was dodging bullets while effects would shoot a paintball gun into the wall that would simulate bullet hits. He assured me he wouldn’t actually shoot me and just shoot behind me. On the first take, I took a direct hit to my side, which started to bleed, and left a permanent scar. It’s funny to think about it now, but at the time I was not too pleased.

The physicality your character requires is amazing, and you really go all-out with the fight scenes. What was training like for this film and what types of martial arts did you and James really want to showcase in Kill Order?

Chris Mark: In order to showcase a super human ability, I knew I had to have an intensive training regiment. I trained four days a week for four months in various styles of martial arts. I trained in Taekwondo to increase the speed and accuracy of my kicks, boxing to increase the power of my punches to sell high-powered energy attacks, and Wushu Kung Fu, to expand my knowledge of different weapons such as bo staff and sword.

What was the most challenging scene to shoot?

Chris Mark: The hardest scene to shoot was definitely the forest fight scene. It was three days of non-stop fighting, wire pulls, falls, and getting smashed into a picnic table. I remember we were running out of daylight on the last day and still had to film a good portion of the fight. Everyone was physically and mentally exhausted, but James took the camera and we hammered out all the shots in time. I had to channel my inner Gohan and go Super Saiyan to finish the fight!

Were there any other martial arts performances from other films or TV series that inspired you while you were playing David in Kill Order?

Chris Mark: Donnie Yen from most movies he’s done, haha. Donnie has always been an inspiration for me. He has a very stylistic fighting style and it always changes based on the characters he plays. The swordplay in the apartment fight was inspired by Donnie Yen’s character in Blade 2.

James, how and when did you come up with the idea for Kill Order?

James Mark: I got an interest in writing/directing during my career as a stunt performer/fight coordinator. I have a local martial arts team and we would often create digital shorts and videos in our spare time. I directed one titled Jedi Ninjas and after that decided I wanted to begin building my career as a director. As a result, we were picked up by IGN to do a six-episode series of action videos and in my free time I started writing scripts. Eventually I landed on the idea for Kill Order and when we finished Ultimate Fan Fights, I thought it was time to try and do our first feature.

Where did filming take place, and how long was your shooting schedule?

James Mark: Filming took place in Toronto, Canada. We had a difficult shoot due to many unforeseen circumstances, so we were unable to shoot in one block and instead spread about 40 days over the course of 1.5 years.

The lead actor in Kill Order is your brother, Chris Mark, who has worked with you on stunts for many projects over the years. What made Chris the right fit to play David Lee?

James Mark: I’ve always wanted to create a film that showcased the abilities of my stunt team and my brother, Chris Mark, who plays David, so I built the narrative around a concept that would serve them best. Chris was a natural choice for the lead as his martial arts ability is incredible and I believe he has great potential as an actor. He’s also one of the hardest workers I know. I’m probably Chris’ biggest fanboy, not because he’s blood, but just because of who he is and what he can do.

Looking back at your time on set, what was the most memorable experience you had while making the movie?

James Mark: The most memorable experience was the first shooting day. We were filming the park fight and I remember standing with Team 2X and my brother and thinking to myself, "Wow… we are really doing this." I can’t remember much after that because it was a struggle to complete the film, haha.

You’ve been a stunt coordinator and performer on many films and TV series in your career. How did that prior experience help you behind the camera on this film?

James Mark: When it came to the action it helped tremendously, of course. We would have all of our fights choreographed and pre-visualized shot for shot before we stepped on set. What I’ve learned in stunts when it comes to framing action, lens choices, and movement helped while directing the narrative, but there was still a very large learning curve.

What was the most challenging scene to shoot?

James Mark: The most challenging would probably be the apartment fight. We spent three or four days on that fight, and when shooting action, I operate the camera and that specific scene was very taxing to operate. There is a lot of in and out movement combined with dutch tilts, so we created a large fig rig that could support the RED EPIC, and I shot the majority of the fight handheld with that.

Were there any filmmakers or movies that inspired you while making Kill Order?

James Mark: Probably many. None that I can think of off the top of my head. Growing up, I was a big fan of Jackie Chan films and one of my favorite North American films of all time is James Cameron’s Aliens.

With Kill Order coming to VOD, Digital HD, and DVD on February 6th from RLJE Films, what other projects do you have on deck that you can tease, and where can our readers follow your work online?

Chris Mark: I’m currently the fight coordinator for a live-action TV series Titans, based on the comic book series Teen Titans. Aside from that, the development of Kill Order 2 is ongoing and in the meantime we are planning to film a different movie project later this year. You can follow my Instagram account chrismark2x to keep up to date with my work!

James Mark: I directed a film for Reel Deal Action, who are based out of Germany, titled On The Ropes. It’s looking to have a 2018 release. Currently we are working on our next movie with Chris, which we hope to shoot this year, while still developing Kill Order 2.

  • Derek Anderson
    About the Author - Derek Anderson

    Raised on a steady diet of R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps books and Are You Afraid of the Dark?, Derek has been fascinated with fear since he first saw ForeverWare being used on an episode of Eerie, Indiana.

    When he’s not writing about horror as the Senior News Reporter for Daily Dead, Derek can be found daydreaming about the Santa Carla Boardwalk from The Lost Boys or reading Stephen King and Brian Keene novels.