Meet Diana Lee Inosanto: Hollywood Producer, Actress, Stuntwoman

Meet Diana Lee Inosanto: Hollywood Producer, Actress, Stuntwoman

by Mary Munez for Six Brown Chicks

The historic Logan Theater will host a screening of "The Sensei" featuring DIANA LEE INOSANTO, niece of the legendary martial arts master Bruce Lee.

This film will kick off the theatre’s martial arts film series on Saturday, August 8 and will include a reception and Q&A with Diana Lee Inosanto herself. Q&A Session will be hosted by Kiss FM’s very own radio personality, Candi, immediately after the show. Tickets can be purchased online at flixoffury.com or at the Logan Theatre 2646 N Milwaukee, Chicago, IL 60645 day of the event. To RSVP by phone: 708.506.0585.

We were able to snag an interview with Diana beforehand!

What attracted you to the Lucifer project?

Well first, it’s based on DC Comic’s Lucifer.  How cool is that!  (I’m a Comic Geek)  But this is a fascinating TV Show.  If you go to IMDB.com you can see how “Lucifer” is starting to take shape.  Great Producers—Jerry Bruckheimer and Len Wiseman from the Underworld series!  Great Stunt Team!  Awesome Writers!

Audiences I think will be very happy!  Fans looked in great anticipation at Comic Con 2015.

It’s going to be on Fox TV.   It stars Tom Ellis who has been cast to play Lucifer.  My husband, Ron Balicki and I trained Tom, in addition to teaching Lesley-Ann Brandt and D.B. Woodside.

What do you admire most about your Uncle Bruce Lee?

I loved Uncle Bruce’s perseverance, his vision, and his unapologetic belief in himself despite the odds being against him.  He broke racial boundaries and changed the course of martial arts and filmmaking when it comes to action. But beyond that, he was an amazing philosopher and I loved that he has brought people together from different parts of the world.

What is the best LIFE lesson that you learned from your legendary father?

He would tell me:

TALENT is God Given, be Thankful!

FAME is Man given, be humble.

CONCEIT and VANITY are self-given, be careful!


What is it like working as a stunt woman in Hollywood? How did you prepare for this role?

I loved it!  I started off as an actress but there was not enough work for my “type” as they would say in the casting world.  But because of my martial arts background I could stunt double or safely do fight scenes with stars and more important, learn from the best in Hollywood.  I worked with John Woo, Joss Weadon, Chris Columbus, Ang Lee, etc.  I have worked with amazing stunt coordinators like J.J Perry and Jeff Imada, and the list goes on.  I am very blessed because the stunt industry was my training ground to become a director and producer as well.

What has been the nicest surprise about working in the film industry? What has been your biggest challenge?

When I  get to work with stars like Melissa McCarthy for SPY, or Aaron Eckhart for I, Frankenstein, and of course the cast of Lucifer, I feel humbled and blessed because I see their hard work and commitment to learning the martial arts (systems training in several styles from me).  They are trusting me to guide them so I can help them look even more spectacular on the screen!

My biggest challenge, and it’s a challenge that a lot of women face in Hollywood, and that is the opportunity to direct or stunt coordinate the big shows in our industry.  It is still a male-dominated industry and it’s going to take a lot of time for people to recognize that as women, we have something to contribute…and yes, we can contribute to the world’s number one film genre, which is action films.  And I am working hard to get there one day.

You wear three hats, as a stuntwoman, producer and as an actor. Which hat brings you the most joy? 

That’s a hard one.  I’m like Tris from Divergent.  I can multi-task.  I like it all.  These days in Hollywood, you have to be a hybrid actor.  You have to be someone that plays several key roles writer-director-producer-actor-stuntwoman.  You are starting to see that more and more.

What is your best advice for girls/women who face bullying in school or in the workplace?

One of key lines I have in my movie The SENSEI is “You have a right to defend yourself against hatred and self-hatred.”

The bully will try to make you feel small, but don’t believe the insults and especially don’t waste time in place on the Internet where bullies will target you.  We all have a light that lives in each of us…and just like that song…Let that light shine, and be yourself.  Whether you believe it or not, the bully most likely has things going on in his or her own private life that makes them behave the way they do.

All behavior comes from two primary emotions: Fear and love…so love yourself, and be your own best friend.

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