StuntPOC Spotlight: Jason Elwood Hanna
Tell about your background and how you entered into the world of stunts. I was born in The Commonweath of the Bahamas, which is a string of islands south of Florida extending into the caribbean seas. The Bahamas is a former British colony and therefore there was alot of influence and trade from U.K. film studios. The Bahamas was often used as a filming location and this exposed me to the various positions on set at an early age. I started Martial Arts and Gymnastics training at the age of 11 with no particular goal in mind. I received my first black belt at 16 in Japanese Jujutsu and began martial arts tricking as well. My first taste of onstage live performance was street shows and in theaters in The Bahamas and Canada. While in Canada I began training in parkour and freerunning with the Canadian groups as we formed the Zanshin crew.
Skipping ahead several years later, Zanshin was chosen to work along side Sebastian Foucan (co-founder of Freerunning) on CASINO ROYALE to develop the opening sequence while they filmed in The Bahamas. This was my first introduction to the stunt world and gave me a clear definition of what I was training to become and where I could apply my passions. I competed in Freerunning competitions including the Barclay Cards World Freerunning Championships as well as stunt training out of Canada, partly in the U.K. and The Bahamas. Several commercials and small time TV shows later I moved to the United States permanently in 2015 to continue my training and was fortunate to be apart of great projects with great teams throughout the years. I pursue higher level training in hopes to push the art form of Stunt work, on screen film combat, chase scenes, and film making. What is your greatest skill? Is there a story behind it?
Over the years I have developed a love for acrobatics and on foot chase fight scenes and fight choreography. Putting together and performing big hectic visual pieces excite me. This probably extends from the fact my earlier years was always using small spaces to create big chases. Is there someone in stunts who has inspired your career as a stunt performer?
For sure Jackie Chan, he is a huge influence on me and how I see myself as a stunt performer. The Hong kong style of film making to this day is top notch mastery of making action feel organic. Other huge influences for me to become a stunt performer are Brad Allen, Cyril Raffaelli, Gene Lebell and Wesley Snipes. Wesley Snipes inspired the black community to pursue the action star role and a generation of stunt performers to train. What is the greatest part about the stunt community? What could be changed for the better?
The best part about the stunt community to me is that it is very much so it's own thing. A separate living and ever evolving group of people that train together, eat together and build life long partnerships together. We understand that we can give a helping hand because that helping hand should give back. If there was anything that can be changed for the better is that the community should be lead by safety, professionalism and the art form and not allowed to be lead by special interests. What advice would you give up and coming stunt performers?
Train hard and train in everything, don't become complacent with your skills because there is someone better. My mantra is be kind, be humble and aim to be ready.
Is there anything else you would like to tell the stunt community?
For today's movie going audience, stunts sell the show. The top earning movies are stunts heavy lead by some of the best stunt performers and coordinators in the world. Let's push for unity and push for acknowledgement of that. StuntPOC: https://stuntpoc.com/stunt-performer/jason-elwood-hanna/ IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3544946/?ref_=nv_sr_1 Instagram: @kasperstunts