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Darren Shahlavi sometimes credited as Shahlavi (born August 5 1975) is a British actor from Stockport, Greater Manchester, England known primarily for playing bad guys in martial arts films such as Bloodmoon (1997) and Yuen Woo Ping’s Tai Chi Boxer aka Tai Chi 2 opposite Wu Jing. Shahlavi has starred in the Asian film series The Techno Warriors, and American films Hostile Environment, Sometimes a hero, Legion of the dead and the cult classic Beyond the Limits (2003), for German Horror master Olaf Ittenbach. Recently Shahlavi appeared opposite Eddie Murphy in Columbia pictures big screen remake of I-Spy directed by Betty Thomas, and independent features The Final Cut with Robin Williams and the notorious Uwe Boll’s film BloodRayne with Kristanna Loken and Sir Ben Kingsley. The name Shahlavi comes from his Persian heritage Shah meaning King and Lavi in Hebrew is ???? “Young Lion”
At the age of 7 Shahlavi started studying Judo in a rented acting theatre, and would arrive early to peek at the actors performing, after discovering Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan films he dreamed of being in action films and continued to train in Karate under Sensai Dave Morris and Horace Harvey, and Kick boxing and Muay Thai under 5 times World champion Ronnie Green and at Master Toddy ‘s gym in Manchester. When he was 16 Shahlavi started to pursue a career in film and got the attention Hong Kong action cinema expert Bey Logan in the early nineties, and according to Bey Logan’s commentary on the Tai Chi Boxer DVD, Shahlavi would spend time at Logan’s home watching and studying and copying martial art films from Logan’s personal collection. In an interview with the Persian mirror Shahlavi mentions Logan wrote a script for him to star in and off he went to Malaysia but upon arrival it became apparent there was no money in place, and Logan’s partner British Hung Gar Kung Fu expert and film star Mark Houghton put Shahlavi to work as a stuntman, he later moved to Hong Kong to pursue his career.
After moving to Hong Kong in the mid Nineties to pursue a career in action cinema Shahlavi was discovered by Famed martial arts choreographer and Director Yuen Woo Ping, who signed him to play the bad guy opposite Wu Jing in Tai Chi 2, at the time he was working as a nightclub bouncer and a bodyguard for visiting celebrities. After Tai Chi 2 was released in Hong Kong cinemas, Seasonal Films Corporation boss Ng See Yuen and director Tony Leung Siu-Hung saw potential in Shahlavi and signed him for their Hong Kong/US film Bloodmoon (1997), what the movie lacks it more than makes up for in the action scenes with Shahlavi as the villain and stars Gary Daniels and Chuck Jeffreys, and remains a favorite with hardcore martial arts movie fans.
Recently Shahlavi has moved into the Horror genre working with cult German gore master and splatter filmmaker Olaf Ittenbach who’s movies are often banned for their extreme and graphic violence, Shahlavi stars in and choreographed fights in the films Legion of the dead and Beyond the Limits (2003). Unfortunately these films are hard to get in their uncut form. Occasionally Shahlavi has done stunts in studio films such as Universal Studios Riddick, 20th Century Fox’s Night at the Museum and Warner Bro’s 300 film often making an onscreen cameo as an inside joke such as the sleeping guard who can’t fight in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale in which he was the Stunt double for Ray Liotta for the fighting scenes with Jason Statham which were choreographed by Ching Siu-Tung. In a recent interview with Shero Rauf Shahlavi has expressed his desire to get back to making Martial arts films and just completed work on a film with action star Mark Dacascos, and also appears in the Canadian TV show Intelligence (TV series) and as a Guest Star on the ABC Studios US Prime-time series Reaper (TV series).