Excerpt from Chuck Norris Interview Las Vegas, 1999.
I think setting a goal, getting a visual image of what it is you want. You’ve got to see what it is you want to achieve before you can pursue it. I’ve always found that anything worth achieving will always have obstacles in the way and you’ve got to have that drive and determination to overcome those obstacles on route to whatever it is that you want to accomplish. A lot of people give up just before they’re about to make it. You know you never know when that next obstacle is going to be the last one. A lot of times people give up and say ‘well I can’t do it’ but that next obstacle might have been the final one for them. And so I always kept that in my mind and I’d say to my self well maybe the next one, the next person I meet might be the one. You need the tenacity to stick to it when things get tough. And have faith that you can do it. A lot of times people look at the negative side of what they feel they can’t do. I always look on the positive side of what I can do. And when I got into the film business I didn’t say ‘look Chuck you’re 34 years old, you’ve had no acting experience, there’s 16000 unemployed actors in Hollywood, the average income of an actor is $5000 a year’. Now if I had looked at that side of it, the negatives, it would have probably made me give up. But I didn’t I said ‘you know since Bruce has sadly died there’s a gap there for a good strong positive heroic image on the screen. And that’s what I wanted to portray a positive image. Because movies in the seventies were kind of negative movies, anti-hero type movies. And I said you know I think there’s an opening here, a spot here for a positive influence on the screen. And that’s how I went for it and that’s what saved me because my acting left a lot to be desired. But I think that the image I tried to portray on the screen, a strong positive person, is what saved me and why people tolerated the poor acting.
Interviewed by Geoff Thompson
Visit Geoff at his website www.geoffthompson.com
I respect chuck for the size of his goal setting, his business savvy and his understanding of marketing. He perceived a niche with the death of Bruce Lee and filled it. Just being a good fighter in movies is not enough. Plenty of stunt people can do that. Chuck sold an image and did so repeatedly and very well. The story-lines are typically not awesome and his acting poor, by his own admission but he played his function well and developed a sizable career, not only in competitive martial arts, but in movies. Chuck Norris is an icon. The niche he fills? Chuck plays the warrior archetype and does so with positivity, overcoming terrific, “outside of human experience” obstacles, and does so without complaining…and while kicking butt.
Jim Hart is the founder of The International Theatre Academy Norway and Austin Conservatory of Professional Arts.