Taimak Visits Impact210 (Impact 210) - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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Taimak Visits Impact210 (Impact 210)

Taimak Visits Impact210 (Impact 210)

It’s been twenty years since “The Last Dragon� was on the top of the marquee at the local Cineplex, but from the reaction Taimak Guarriello still elicits from fans, you’d think it hit theaters yesterday. Taimak, who gained notoriety portraying marital arts virtuoso Leroy Green in the ‘80s cult classic two decades ago, still looks 19. The 41 year old hunk maintains his sleek physique at his NYC gym Fitness Concepts, and is currently working the independent film circuit and promoting his brand-new calendar. It’s hard not to notice his obvious “Glow.�
Impact210: You’ve been out of the spotlight for a while.
Taimak: I never really had a grounded concept of what it takes in Hollywood to consistently work as an actor. I had a misconception that you do some theater acting classes, you improve your talent, and you don’t have to network. I was resistant to the concept of networking and being out there. So when people see me and say, “where have you been?� I think to myself, “I haven’t been anywhere.� I guess I’ve been naïve in a way, because I never understood the importance of that until now. I was always shy around people, unless it was stage work or something like that.
Impact210: Talk about the projects you have bubbling right now.
Taimak: I made a commitment this year to start putting myself out there. My brother is a photographer and we shot a 2006 calendar with Patricia Gordon and she wrote a biography that comes with it. It is out now on my website. I did two independent films this year, “The System Within,� where I play a pastor. It should be out in February, and “There Just My Friends,� a semi-autobiographical film about a boxer, where I play a correctional officer who befriends him. These are two dramatic roles. I also produced a song with Marlene Vilascane and Gerald Lathan.
Impact210: Are you singing?
Taimak: No, I do some spoken word. It’s just a pretty song where Warren Kimmel plays the guitar. We wrote the project. It’s called “What if.� It’s about taking love to the next level, and moving beyond circumstances.
Impact210: You’ll forever be associated with “The Last Dragon.� Do you consider that a gift or a curse?
Taimak: A gift, for sure. I can see how people see it as a curse since it sort of pigeonholed me in a way. People were so impacted by that film that they have a hard time seeing me any other way. But there are generations that have gone by, that know the movie, but I think it’s up to me control my image, which is why I’ve done these two new films.
Impact210: How did you land the lead role in “The Last Dragon?�
Taimak: When I was a kid I was a little showy. I was always the kid dancing. I always had dreams of acting, but I was the New York City kickboxing champion. Acting always seemed like a dream and not a reality. I just happened to be asked to audition by one of the choreographers and little by little, I ended up getting the role.
Impact210: Was the movie production pleasant?
Taimak: Yeah, there were good memories and bad memories. I was under a lot of pressure since I was the lead actor and there were a lot of people who didn’t think I deserved the part because I wasn’t in the industry. At the same time, it was a lot of fun working with Vanity, Sho-nuff. And meeting all of the Motown stars from Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson and Diana Ross. I got to mingle with them because of the soundtrack.
Impact210: You have a cult following. What’s the strangest thing a fan has done to get your attention?
Taimak: People looking for where I live and that type of thing. Nothing too dangerous, it’s pretty harmless but it’s pretty intrusive. People try to meet me through friends, a lot of awkward things.
Impact210: Who did you idolize growing up?
Taimak: I idolized everyone from Sidney Poitier to Paul Newman and Steve McQueen; charismatic stars that had chops. Bruce Lee obviously, who was probably the one I idolized the most because of martial arts.
Impact210: Your name is very unique. How did u get it?
Taimak: It means “striking eagle.� It was a name that came up because when growing up my father, he saw this kid who was really dirty. He became attached and he used to take him to his mother’s house, and clean him up and feed him. He never saw the kid after he married my mother, but he named me after the kid. Later on my father found out that the kid became a Judo champion, and was coaching an American Judo team. I met him a few years back, and we had an interesting connection.
Impact210: Would you ever do a sequel to “The Last Dragon?�
Taimak: I talked to the director of “The Last Dragon� about it. We actually have a story. Right now, Sony is in ownership and they are waiting for someone to buy the rights.
Impact210: What would Bruce Leroy be up to in 2005?
Taimak: The story is about the foundation of the Glow, and where it came from and the history. There are things that go wrong. Sho-Nuff is locked up and he has a little brother. There is a movement going on in China and my character would have to go. So there are a lot of interesting concepts.
Impact210: You’re 41 now, but you don’t look much different from the ‘80s.
Taimak: I train everyday; some days are more intense than others. I also pay attention to my body, and I stay away from sugar and products with flour. I don’t eat meat very much, basically just fish, and I drink a lot of protein drinks, since I am basically a vegetarian.
Impact210: You’re a pop culture icon. What will be your legacy?
Taimak: I am still young and have a lot to accomplish. I think I’ve yet to create my legacy. I’m biracial (Black and Italian) and I think I represent both cultures. My legacy right now is a reflection of what I am, which is universal.
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