'fat kid' fights way to top as actor
you want something, you've got to go for it," says Vince' Murdocco
of Burnaby. The 23-year-old kickboxing champion who has fought his
way into the world of acting with his first major film. Kickboxer
appears a Golden boy. a young man who always gets what he wants.
Blessed with superior athletic' ability, arresting good kooks and
a smile that radiates positivity and charm, he seems the child of
he didn't always feel so lucky. The good looks, talent and confidence
were buried under a weight problem through his childhood and early
up as the "fat kid,' he once almost literally got sand kicked
in his face. To channel the frustration and mask a poor self-image,
Murdocco became the class clown. Unfortunately, his high-spirited
antics proved too much for teachers at Notre Dame High School. He
ended up graduating from Burnaby North Secondary School
By then, much of the weight had come off but, like most l7-year.oIds,
Murdocco was still in the process of deciding who he was and what
he wanted to do with his life
"I was always good at languages," he said. 'My father
is Italian and my mother is French. I speak both languages. I thought
I could be an interpreter or work for the airlines"
had something else in store. While working at his father's Calabria
Cappuccino bar, Murdocco met a martial arts expert. In exchange
for free meals at the restaurant, the stranger offered Murdocco
five years, Murdocco earned black belts its tae kwon do and karate.
But it was in kickboxing that he found his sport. In 1989 he won
the Canadian cruiserweight championship.
think people were wary because of the violence of the sport."
He says of his sport. "People want to see the art but not the
violence. But it's like all the martial arts. You need self-discipline.
The first thing you learn is to respect other people. You have to
awkward kid who had bees teased at the beach turned into a powerhouse
of strength, speed and agility. He also had confidence, poise and
a profile to rival a Calvin Klein model. He didn't immediately recognize
his potential for a movie career but others certainly did.
at a kickboxing competition in Miami, Murdocco met an aspiring actress
who later insisted he join her at auditions for Flesh Gordon Meets
the Cosmic Cheerleaders. The directors took one look at the young
champion and signed' him for the lead role.
went on to parts in the TV's Wiseguy and a Waterfront Theatre play,
World of Beauty, before Kickboxer II.
I heard Kickboxer was being filmed. I called my agent and asked
her to get mean audition. I knew I was right for it. A friend and
I made a tape. We had no idea what they wanted - it was Very amateur.
audition process lasted eight months. Flying to L.A. ever few weeks
meant taking time off from work at the Port of Vancouver - and a
roller coaster ride of emotions, high hopes plummeting to disappointment
were torn between Murdocco and another actor, Brian Wagner. They
decided on Wagner.
been waiting for these guys, for eight months," Murdocco recalled
~ But my dad had always said that if it was, meant to be, it would
was obviously meant to be, Easter Monday, Murdocco learned the directors
were unhappy with their first choice and wanted him. He was asked
to fly down to L.A. immediately.
went crazy. It was a holiday. I had to call my boss at home and
tell him I wouldn't be able to work, that I had got the part."
frenzy didn't let up through two months of shooting, but he handled
it with characteristic aplomb and his friendly, outgoing nature
made him popular with everyone on the shoot.
made friends with the chauffeur who picked me up at the airport,"
he said. "I had a great time with the extras, with everybody.
I never expected special treatment or privileges."
filming of Kickboxer II Murdocco worked with some fairly high profile
directors, acting coaches and stunt co-ordinators, but said he wasn't
scared or intimidated.
"I'm too much of a ham to get intimidated. Anyway, at the beginning
of shooting. I didn't know who was who. If you don't know, you don't
doesn't plan to let fame and fortune change him, thanks to his parents.
"They mean everything to me. They know I'm. Levelheaded, but
I'm sure they'll stick me in my place now and then. I like that."
Short -"THE BURNABY & NEW WESTMINISTER NEWS", October