Calasanz Appears in Hollywood Movie : Only the Strong
Calasanz history and story is so unique, incredibly unique. He has pursued the true American Dream as fervently as any immigrant since his arrival. Arriving here under pretense to go to college and instead became [and remains] a world renowned martial artist, coach, instructor and inspiration through unrelenting dedication and an unshakable vision. His tale involves myriad and countless individuals; some unsavory and others the most magnanimous (and many more somewhere in between).

We take a look now at an unfortunate circumstance surrounding Calasanz in the early 90's and his experience with the Hollywood movie “Only the Strong”.

The story as recounted by Calasanz

“I remember getting the part for the movie “Only the Strong” … I was hired on the spot. When I was doing my audition Sheldon Lettich [writer and director] and Luis Esteban, [writer] who had worked with Jean Claude Van Damme, stopped me and said, “Wait! Wait! Wait!” And they stopped to look around for a camera. They said, “I want this guy on camera!” and I will never forget them telling the people around, “This guy is hired. This guy, I want him to be the 2nd or 3rd part in the movie.” And that was my audition for Sheldon Lettich and Luis Esteban.

”…Then later on it was another disaster. [read about the first incident here] It cost me a fortune. But those stories are coming up… those stories are coming up. I know that Frank Dux today says that he did not do anything wrong and that's okay, after all we are all infallible in our own minds.

“You don't know what happened after that…

“I went back to Connecticut after the audition and was told to wait for them to call me. That call never came, however, in that time I received a call from Frank Dux and he said, “You don't have to come, we will call you.” I was waiting for that call for 1 week. After 2 weeks passed by I finally called to ask,

“What's going on?”

“Sheldon Lettich didn't even want to talk to me. [and understandably so] He said, “You didn't show up.” I replied, “But no, Frank Dux called me and told me I didn't have to go there.” Immediately I hung up the phone and got on the next flight from Bridgeport. I got on a plane. I hate planes, but I did something I am terrified of because I had to do it. I got on the airplane and went. I got there and once I arrived almost nobody wanted to talk to me because I had done so well at the auditions. I did the incredible, nobody else could do what I did there; I was just doing the incredible.

[Check out at 50 seconds]

“So as I stayed down there I finally made it to the set and Mark Dacascos saw me and called to me, “Calasanz!” Then he came to hug me. It was very late, maybe 2 in the morning when they were filming. You see, many people from Hollywood knew me. At that point I had over 40 or 50 videos traveling and circulating around to people in Hollywood. I sent videos to a lot of people there so many of them had seen me before. Mark Dacascos, the star of the movie saw me that day and he knew me very well.

“That day he was filming his last fight with Paco Prieto. I remember Sheldon Lettich looking at me as they were getting things in order and said “Calasanz, we will put you in the movie”.

[Final Fight Scene]

“Back then the producer would have his story board on a clothes line to organize the movie and the scenes. Right then and there they made space and opened a new scene. They made a new space on the clothes line to put me in a fight with Mark Dacascos.

“That fight, I know it didn't go too well, and I know they are supposed to put us in a unique fight but I couldn't perform to my full ability. I was so tired and put-off already from what had happened that I couldn't act the way I needed to. I was going in with a strange taste in my mouth. So, if you see the movie “Only the Strong” you will see me going into the laundromat for the fight scene and then the escalation up to the fight as it is getting ready to start and maybe a few stunts. This is all you will see of me. I had gotten a fight on camera but the footage was deemed unusable. The producer of 20th century FOX decided not to use it because there was no Capoeira in it. He was right, it wasn't Capoeira, it was real. Maybe too real.

“They gave me a special fight, and that fight I am sure it didn't look so good because I had to wear a big T-Shirt. I looked good you know. I had a body better than Bruce Lee at that time. Paco Prieto, Sheldon Lettich and Luis Esteban talked with Mark Dacascos for over an hour trying to persuade him to let me fight without the shirt. But no, he wouldn't agree. He refused and I ended up on camera with a big shirt covering, and that was it. If you watch the movie you see me with 3 people. One in the middle, the guy from Miami Vice, and then the other two guys are on the right and left as we enter the landromat and that was pretty much it.

“But again, this is a long story with much more that can be discovered. Frank Dux today denies his involvement and action when confronted. But for Paco Prieto to make sure that I made it into the movie, that I had a chance to save some face despite that mishap, that misunderstanding.. I cannot thank him enough. He must have felt that he had to make sure that I was in the movie. I mean, we were advertising all over Connecticut, all over the newspaper, radio ect. Calasanz in Norwalk was jumping and kicking all over the place and then somehow there he was having lost his part in the movie!”

Paco did a lot to help Calasanz to get back on the producers, directors and writers good side, to try to help him get his break; unfortunately the premise and styles featured in “Only the Strong” just weren't quite right to allow for his fight to be featured in the movie.

What might have been had Calasanz not been so deceived or had he been faster to act himself.. the world may never know; but his story continues on and only the future can show his story will develop.

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