In this exclusive interview, we had the pleasure of speaking with Michael M. Foley, renowned for his roles in action films such as The Divine Enforcer and Desert Kickboxer. With a background in martial arts and an impressive fighting record, Foley’s journey from the U.S. Army Pacific Rim Heavyweight Kickboxing Champion to the movie business is a fascinating one. Let’s dive into the captivating story of his transition and his experiences in the world of Hollywood.
From the Army Ring to the Silver Screen
Foley’s martial arts prowess is undeniable, with black belts in Jiu-Jitsu, Karate, and Kempo Chuan Fa. Prior to his acting career, he dominated the ring as the U.S. Army Pacific Rim Heavyweight Kickboxing Champion for an astounding nine years. Unfortunately, an injury forced him to step away from fighting, but he still holds an impressive 49-0 win record.
A New Chapter: Hollywood Bound
After leaving the military, Foley set his sights on Hollywood. With a college degree in theatre and a passion for stage plays, he saw an opportunity to pursue his dreams. Inspired by the popularity of martial arts films featuring stars like Jean-Claude Van Damme and Steven Seagal, Foley auditioned for a role in the movie Lionheart, which Jean-Claude was working on at the time. This marked the beginning of his foray into the world of cinema.
Behind the Scenes of Lionheart
Foley shared his first-hand experience working on the film Lionheart. While he praised the crew and most of the cast, he didn’t hold back when it came to Jean-Claude Van Damme himself. Foley described him as egotistical and recounted an interesting encounter during his audition. He impressed Van Damme and his best friend Michel Qissi with his martial arts skills, leading to an unexpected offer to train Van Damme on set. Despite initial challenges, Foley eventually gained Van Damme’s respect and landed a role as Video Fighter #1 in the film, which opened doors for him in the industry.
Embracing the World of Low Budget Films
Following Lionheart, Foley ventured into low budget films, including titles like Karate Cop and Cybernator. He humorously acknowledged the cult classic status of Cybernator, highlighting the diverse range of projects he took on during his early career.
The Divine Enforcer: A Cult Classic
One film that stood out for Foley was The Divine Enforcer. He discovered the opportunity to be part of the film through friends who heard they were looking for a capable actor. Foley’s previous experience and connections, combined with the chance to work alongside renowned actors, made it an enticing project for him.
Memorable Moments on Set
During the interview, Foley shared intriguing anecdotes from his time on set. He recalled the first day of shooting The Divine Enforcer, where he witnessed Jan-Michael Vincent’s unprofessional behavior due to substance abuse. Despite the challenges, Foley remained focused on delivering his performance amidst the chaos.
Exploring the Film’s Subject Matter
As a religious man himself, Foley was asked about his thoughts on The Divine Enforcer’s unique storyline involving a vigilante priest hunting a vampire serial killer. He shed light on the historical context of the Catholic Church and its lesser-known organizations, revealing that such themes were not entirely far-fetched. Foley drew from his personal experiences, having served in special forces and encountered individuals associated with the Catholic Church.
The Psychic Priest: Unveiling a Unique Character Trait
One intriguing aspect of Foley’s character in The Divine Enforcer was his psychic abilities. Although he acknowledged the “out there” nature of.
the character trait, Foley explained that it added an intriguing layer to his role as the vigilante priest. He saw it as a means to further explore the supernatural elements of the story and create a sense of mystery around his character.
Impact and Legacy
When discussing the impact and legacy of The Divine Enforcer, Foley expressed his surprise at the film’s enduring cult following. Despite its low budget and unconventional storyline, the movie has garnered a dedicated fan base over the years. Foley credited the film’s unique blend of action, horror, and religious themes for its appeal to audiences seeking something different.
Lessons Learned and Advice for Aspiring Actors
Reflecting on his journey, Foley shared valuable lessons he learned along the way. He emphasized the importance of perseverance and maintaining a strong work ethic, even in the face of challenges. He encouraged aspiring actors to embrace every opportunity, no matter how small, and to always give their best performance.
Future Projects and Endeavors
Looking ahead, Foley revealed that he is currently involved in the production of a new action film titled “Redemption’s Fury.” He expressed excitement about the project and his role as both an actor and a fight choreographer. Foley also mentioned his interest in exploring other genres and expanding his acting repertoire.
Our interview with Michael M. Foley provided a captivating glimpse into his journey from being a decorated kickboxing champion to a respected actor in the world of action films. With his martial arts background and unique blend of physicality and charisma, Foley has left an indelible mark on the industry. As he continues to pursue new projects and challenges, we can expect to see more of his dynamic performances and his passion for storytelling on the big screen.