For his 26 years, Phi Huynh already has a vast amount of experience in both acting and stunt work. Phi started at the age of 14 in Asia Entertainment, a Vietnamese variety show. He has also done shows like Heroes Reborn, Total Recall and Warehouse 13. Phi is also the founder of X Limit Entertainment. A group of stuntmen who put on entertaining stunt shows around the world. Recently I had the opportunity to talk with Phi about his life as an actor and stuntman. Read part 2 of our interview below.
Do you ever get nervous doing stunts?
Right before I go on set there’s an adrenaline that pumps through me. My heart feels like it’s pumping right out of my chest. I feel like I’m nervous but really it’s actually a form of excitement. If I wasn’t nervous I think I would do a bad job. (laughs). My body fills up with anxiety and my anxiety in particular correlates to me not wanting to look bad or make mistakes. So when I don’t want to look bad, I really put twice the effort in and really look good.
When I’m nervous it turns into excitement and that excitement makes me do a good job. When I do stunts and act I want to do a good job. Obviously. I’m always nervous for the playback rather than actually doing a stunt because I know there will be certain things on video that I will want to change. If that makes sense. Certain stunts that I don’t have experience in, that’s where I get nervous. That’s really the only time.
What is the scariest stunt you’ve ever done?
Primarily when I’m on film sets, like high rank TV shows, the stunts are generally very well controlled and it’s very safe. You have a lot of good stunt coordinators and safety coordinators all there to make sure you’re safe. When I first started with independent films and I put myself out there to be hired, that was the most scariest thing, because you have no insurance. You have no one to watch your back. You have no one to look after you. So flipping off a couple story building onto a dumpster, or something like that, it’s pretty nerve-wracking. Those are the ones that push you to the limit to see if you want it or not.
When I started out in the non-union states nothing was sanctioned properly because you’re not a union member. Television shows were not picking me up. That’s when I was doing dangerous things because I was trying to gain some experience. I didn’t know anything about acting or the film industry or how it’s done. So when I was asked, “You want to do this?” My answer was always “Yes”. “You want me to flip off of this?” “Yes”. At that point I had no knowledge of the industry and my primary goal was to make people hire me again and again. That’s when I was in the danger zone because I was trying to make people happy. I wasn’t looking at my body or worried about what could happen. I wasn’t being cautious because I wanted to book jobs. Luckily at that time, I wasn’t injured at all.
Now, there are dangerous stunts but I work in safe environments where people watch your back. Now people are very professional instead of just saying, “GO, GO, GO, GO, GO”. Plus, there’s insurance on sets now. I’m insured. So it’s a lot better. Your mind is at ease because if something goes wrong, which hopefully it won’t, you’re good. You’re covered.
Are there any stunts you won’t do?
Underwater, I can’t do that. (laughs). I’m not a good swimmer. Until someone trains me I will not go underwater and do stuff. (laughs) If it’s in the shallow water? Yes. If it’s me diving under water and going under a rock and going through this, and that, probably not. I will not do that. Me and water don’t go well together. I can swim…(laughs) I float for a certain amount of time. Let’s just say that.
We at TNWU all have something nerdy/geeky about us. What is something nerdy or geeky about you?
Video games. Video games and Dragonball. I don’t watch any other anime except for Dragonball. There’s a new series called Dragonball Super which is starting to pick up. I really hope it continues! I don’t know if you’re a Dragonball fan, but anything after Dragonball Z was pretty crappy. So the director and producer of the new Dragonball series are trying to bring back the nostalgia. They’re trying to attract the older fans, like me, and bring back the old days and make people watch again. It’s starting to pick up and I hope it really picks up more.
For video games, I’m a really big fan of Final Fantasy, the original ones. I shift between different franchises and series. Right now, I’m just finishing up Resident Evil. I know a lot of my guy/actor friends play video games. They say, “we all play video games. It helps with the time we have between auditions. It’s a good distraction. And it helps temporarily relieve the amount of stress we undergo when we have to prepare ourselves for our characters.”
Where can you find Phi: