Name: Adam James
Interview with Actor, Writer,
Filmmaker and Martial Artist
By Jose M. Fraguas
Adam James has recently been cast as Dok Sauvage in the upcoming streaming series “Dok Sauvage: Man of Copper”, inspired by the world’s first superhero. We catch up with Adam as he tells us about the new series, playing a superhero, and working on the international action blockbuster “Under Siege”.
64 FALL 2023
Actor, Writer, Filmmaker and Martial Artist
How did you get started with the Dok Sauvage series?
Last summer, I attended DragonFest here in the Los Angeles area, which is an annual fundraising
event for the Martial Arts History Museum in Burbank, and I was very honored to
have my booth next to Don “the Dragon” Wilson and Fumio Demura, two legends in the
martial arts and film industry. The creator of the new Dok Sauvage series and executive
producer Chris Mackey of Valleywood Productions was at the event looking for an actor/
martial artist to play Dok Sauvage who’s a giant 6’4” tall martial arts expert and he saw
Chris approached me after the event and offered me the role. I’m very honored and
humbled to be playing this character, who’s inspired by the original 1940s pulp fiction
superhero; and at the same time, I love the challenge of creating a new hero in a modern
What is the Dok Sauvage series about?
Dok Sauvage is a scientist, adventurer, detective and martial artist, and in season 1, Dok
Sauvage and his team will battle an international evil mastermind played by Americus
Abesamis. We’re very excited to have Americus as the Co-Star of the series and he’s an
amazing actor and martial artist. Americus is a former USA Sumo Champion and as
an actor, he’s been in “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “Boba Fett: A Star Wars Story,” “The
Mandalorian.” and “Let’s Be Cops.” As season 1 of our series unfolds, the story leads to
the inevitable confrontation between Dok Sauvage and the evil mastermind played by
Americus in the season finale.
We’re filming in Fresno, California in partnership with CMAC, the Community Media
Access Collaborative, which is located in the beautiful, historic Fresno Bee Building from
1922 in Downtown Fresno. The cast and crew is amazing and the Central Valley has an
incredible community of film professionals. Americus and I are extremely honored to be
working with this group of outstanding actors and artists, and we’re all dedicated to creating
a fantastic story for everyone to see and experience.
What is the Dok Sauvage connection to martial arts and superheroes?
The original Doc Savage was an extremely popular pulp fiction book character in the
1930’s and is considered the world’s first superhero. Before Superman, Batman and the
comic book superheroes like Captain America and Spiderman, there was Doc Savage and
another character named the Shadow. Doc Savage was a detective and martial artist, which
was very unusual in the 1930s, and his scientist adventurer aspect inspired Indiana Jones,
However, despite this rich history, the character has been almost forgotten in time.
In the 1970s, there was a Doc Savage feature film with Ron Ely, who had played Tarzan in
the Tarzan television show. The movie wasn’t well received at the time, but it had extensive
martial arts action scenes and many people consider it a cult classic.
I’m very honored to be following in the footsteps of Ron Ely and to play the role of Dok
Sauvage. I grew up reading Conan the Barbarian books by Robert E. Howard and comic
books like Daredevil, X-Men and the Avengers, and I’ve always dreamed of an opportunity
to bring to life the story of a hero’s journey.
In our new streaming series, we are introducing a brand new action hero who is inspired
by the 1930s pulp fiction character and stories. The series is being filmed in the modern
world but we’re striving to have a very classic comic book and retro vibe to the storytellMarrttiiall
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ing and characters. And the martial arts are a central theme and
direction of the entire story – in particular with the Five Principles
of the Sauvage Family and the Copper Dojo.
When and where can we see it?
The series will be coming out in the fall on Roku, Tubi and other
streaming platforms. We had the sneak preview for the pilot/
episode at the Martial Arts History Museum in March, and it was
a lot of fun. We had cast and crew members come from Fresno
for the event along with friends from the Los Angeles martial arts
and film industries in attendance. We’re planning to be attending
DragonFest again this summer to promote the show and then
we’ll do another premiere at the Museum before the official release
on the streaming channels.
I would like to add that we’re extremely grateful and honored that
the Martial Arts History Museum hosted the screening and in
many ways helped bring us together in the first place. I encourage
everyone who loves the martial arts to support the museum by
becoming a member and coming to DragonFest. The event celebrates
martial arts as well as movies and action stars so there are a
lot of celebrity martial artists in attendance to sign autographs and
take photos. And it’s a great place to purchase martial arts equipment,
books and clothing and get the latest training information
at seminars with some of the best instructors in the industry.
Actor, Writer, Filmmaker and Martial Artist
What was it like working on “Under Siege”?
That was an amazing experience for me as a young actor, and I made
a lot of awesome new friends like George Cheung, Gary Morgan and
Eddie Bo Smith. I played the role of one of the Commandos, who
disguised themselves as caterers and a rock band and then took over
the battleship. My cousin Michael James was also an actor in the
movie and he had a really cool role and did a great job. There were so
many fantastic actors on the set every day and it was a pleasure to work
with them. Like Raymond Cruz, Colm Meaney and of course Erika
Eleniak, who was incredibly beautiful and charming.
Under Siege was filmed at the USS Alabama Memorial Park in Mobile,
Alabama because at the time, the USS Missouri was still active.
The project had some of the best stunt professionals and military
consultants in the industry. Another guy that I met on Under Siege
is Tom Muzilla, a highly ranked Shotokan Karate Sensei and former
Green Beret, and he was very nice to me and I greatly appreciated his
kindness and encouragement.
I’ve also got to mention the director of Under Siege Andy Davis, who
has been behind some of the best martial arts movies of all time. Andy
specializes in action suspense films and he’s most famous for The Fugitive
with Harrison Ford. With martial arts action stars, Andy directed
Under Siege as well as Seagal’s first movie Above the Law and he also
made Code of Silence with Chuck Norris, which people consider one
of his best. Andy is originally from Chicago and many of his films are
based in Chicago or have lots of Chicago actors and crew members no
matter where he films. I’m grateful that he saw something in me and
gave me my first opportunity.
Tommy Lee Jones –
Tommy might not be a martial artist but he’s one of the toughest guys
you’ll ever meet. He’s a very focused actor and I learned a lot from
working with him. I’ve always appreciated the quality of his acting
performances and it was an honor to work with him.
Gary Busey –
Gary is an excellent actor and he did a terrific job in Under Siege. I
loved his performance in Lethal Weapon and the final fight scene is
one of the best ever and a sensational display of Jiu Jitsu.
Steven Seagal –
During the filming of Under Siege, Black Belt Magazine released a
cover story with Bob Wall and a group of martial arts champions like
Benny the Jet and Howard Jackson and they called themselves the
Dirty Dozen challenging Steven Seagal to fight anywhere and anytime.
This was at the height of Seagal’s popularity, so the cover of
the number one martial arts magazine doing this fight challenge was
very controversial and Steven was not happy about it on the set of
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Under Siege. Steven heard that my good friend in Hawaii worked
for Mito Uehara, the founder of Black Belt Magazine and Steven
asked me to talk with him on his behalf. Ironically I later worked
side by side with Bob Wall as the Director of World Black Belt,
a martial arts media and internet company co-founded by Chuck
Norris, Bob Wall and Gene LeBell. And Bob definitely relished
that cover and had it framed and hanging on the wall at the World
Black Belt office.
What self defense techniques do you practice?
First, I always encourage people to use the power of their words
to find positive resolutions to confrontations and situations that
could lead to a self-defense encounter. And when you must defend
yourself or protect innocent people or loved ones, the mind
is the most powerful weapon you have. I advocate that you stay
calm, evaluate/think clearly and then take the right action.
My martial arts method is based on free fighting and street self
defense/special forces fighting techniques. I grew up in Hawaii
doing Karate and a variety of martial arts. My father had been a
United States Naval Officer and my parents have had a big impact
on my approach to life. After playing football in high school and
college at Northwestern, I trained in Hawaii Shin Kan Okinawan
Kempo Karate under Sensei Michael Dela Vega, who was a relative
of Chojun Miyagi and an original student of Joe Emperado of
Kajukenbo. Sensei Mike became a long-range reconnaissance officer
during the Vietnam War and he was renowned in Hawaii
martial arts. I learned the foundation of my fighting method from
Sensei Mike and rose to the rank of 5th Dan and Chief Instructor.
After moving to the mainland, I met Leo Fong and trained
with him for 25 years in Wei Kuen Do, Chi Fung and Modern Escrima and received the
rank of 10th Level Instructor. All of these amazing people deeply impacted my approach
to martial arts and life.
What is “Rainbow Warrior Martial Arts”?
Rainbow Warrior Martial Arts is my martial arts and fitness organization. Along with my
Kempo background, I’m also very influenced by my mentor and friend Leo Fong, who was
Bruce Lee’s close friend and training partner. Leo was the founder of Wei Kuen Do, which
is similar in some respects to Bruce Lee’s style Jeet Kune Do. Leo also created Chi Fung
(a power chi gung system) and Modern Escrima (FMA weapons system). The Rainbow
Warrior approach is also about fitness and mental training. We are partnered with the
National College of Exercise Professionals, a leading fitness industry education company
that has certified thousands of personal trainers and nutritionists across the country. Together,
we’ve created the NCEP-Rainbow Warrior Martial Arts MMA Trainer certification
program, which certifies graduates as a personal trainer, a strength & conditioning coach
for MMA and as a Trainer or Coach in the sport of MMA.
What do you want to say to fans?
All of us from the Dok Sauvage: Man of Copper show are very grateful for your love and
support. We’re super excited to bring to you this cool new action hero, and we hope that
you will be inspired and entertained by his adventures. Please visit our website https://
doksauvage.com/ for updates on our upcoming events, promotions and the official launch
of the new show this fall.
Adam James YouTube Channel: Link: Adam James
DOK SAUVAGE Link: YouTube Channel