Mortal Kombat Online is shocked and saddened to report the passing of actor Darren Shahlavi.
An accomplished star of film and television; Shahlavi will be best known to readers as Kano in episodes of Mortal Kombat: Legacy.
Variety reports confirmation of the actor's death, age 42, via his agent. Shahlavi passed in his sleep of an undisclosed cause, last Wednesday (January 14). TMZ note authorities suspect an overdose of prescription medication.
Update: Following findings by the Los Angeles County Department Coroner in April; Vancouver based journalist Sabrina Furminger reported for The Westender: "Darren died of “a sudden and fatal heart attack,” his family wrote in a statement. “He was found to have Atherosclerosis (also known as arteriosclerotic vascular disease or ASVD). His left anterior descending artery was 95% blocked, which must have been worsening for several years.” There's also this important clarification: “Darren had no drugs or medications in his body, and only 0.02% BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration); to put this into context 0.08% is the BAC Driving Limit for both the US & UK. There are no other medical factors linked to his death.” Shahlavi lived in Vancouver - where Mortal Kombat was filmed - for thirteen years.
The Action Elite shared the following Facebook tribute, posted by Bobby Shahlavi:
Mortal Kombat Online is shocked and saddened to report the passing of actor Darren Shahlavi.
With a career-defining role as British boxer "Twister" in the 2010 Hong Kong hit, Ip Man 2, Darren Shahlavi confirmed his status as the ultimate martial arts baddie you'll love to hate! A familiar face of film and television, the breakout fighting role made him a natural choice when Kevin Tancharoen was given license to bring MK back to live-action with the anthology webseries, Mortal Kombat: Legacy.
Appearing in three of the nine episodes; Darren Shahlavi will be remembered by Mortal Kombat fans as Kano -- the Black Dragon crook famous for killing Sonya Blade's partner and igniting one of the series' longest running blood feuds. Starring opposite Jeri Ryan (Sonya) and Michael Jai White (Jax); Shahlavi plays key to bringing the classic plot to life, injecting MK's original rogue with a fresh brand of delicious contemptibility.
The role proved to be Shahlavi's second brush with MK, one of the interesting facts he shared in this special interview with Mortal Kombat Online. With a Blu-Ray release coming November, MKO probed the actor for further insight into the role, the work, his history, the future, and which character he'd love to beat the snot out of.
[MKO]: How did you get involved with MK Legacy?
[Darren Shahlavi]: I got a message from Larnell Stoval, the fight choreographer, a few months earlier, saying he may want to get me in on something. Later, I heard they were doing Mortal Kombat as a web series, I asked my agent to look out for it, I also contacted Larnell, who knew about me. Kevin [Tancharoen; series Director] had seen Ip Man 2, where I play a rather brash British boxer, and they both thought I'd fit as Kano.
What is your background in martial arts and acting?
I started Judo when I was seven years old, and once I saw Bruce Lee, I was hooked on martial arts and films. I trained in everything and studied all the movies, too. I was most impressed with the Hong Kong films and when I was a teenager I took part in film fighting seminars, including one that [Ip Man star] Donnie Yen was doing in London, England. That gave me the confidence I could work in Asia as a bad guy, and by the time I was twenty, I was out there, working in film.
What was your impression of Mortal Kombat before Legacy?
I was very familiar with MK, mainly the movie and the soundtrack. I loved it. I trained to the music all the time. I didn't play the game much at all.
The first movie I ever did was a Hong Kong movie that starred Robin Shou a few years before he was Liu Kang. We met each other again in Hong Kong in a bar and he told me all about the filming of Mortal Kombat and showed me pics from the shoot in Thailand. I also visited him on the set of Annihilation in London. He said he could get me a small part in it, but at the time I'd just got a lead role in a martial arts movie called Bloodmoon, where I fought Hakim Alston, the guy who Robin fights with bo staff in MK1.
Darren Shahlavi features in the lastest photographic first-look from the upcoming live-action Mortal Kombat series. The English actor; notable for his villainous role as a British boxer "Twister" Milos in Ip Man 2; stars opposite Jeri Ryan and Michael Jai White as the subject of their pursuit, Kano.
While Jeri Ryan has thoroughly confirmed her involvement (as Sonya Blade) through frequent activity on her Twitter account [full story], a full press release from Warner Premiere has reconfirmed the return of of Michael Jai White (Spawn, The Dark Knight) as Major Jackson "Jax" Briggs, along with English actor, Darren Shahlavi, in the upcoming digitally distributed series, Mortal Kombat.
WB's press release for the Mortal Kombat digital series project is featured in full below:
Warner Premiere today announced initial casting for their upcoming live-action digital new media series "Mortal Kombat" which is based on the iconic gaming franchise. Jeri Ryan, ("Star Trek: Voyager") will reprise her role as the headstrong "Lieutenant Sonya Blade” from the unofficial fan short. She is joined by Michael Jai White ("The Dark Knight") as "Major Jackson 'Jax' Briggs" and Darren Shahlavi ("300") as the sly and cunning "Kano."
Kevin Tancharoen who directed and produced the popular, unofficial "Mortal Kombat: Rebirth" fan short (watch below) that garnered over 10 million views worldwide, is bringing the same immersive directing style to this live-action digital new media series. Fans will be able to delve deep into the history of the warriors they know and love including "Sub-Zero" and "Scorpion." Shooting for "Mortal Kombat" is currently underway in Vancouver.
"It's extremely gratifying to have such talented actors playing these iconic roles," said Kevin Tancharoen, Director, Producer and Co-Writer of "Mortal Kombat." "They will bring the essence of 'Mortal Kombat' to life and gamers will be deeply immersed into the game's universe."
"Mortal Kombat" is one of the most celebrated videogame franchises of all time. Since its debut in 1992, it has spawned four arcade games, multiple console-based videogame titles, two movies ("Mortal Kombat" and "Mortal Kombat: Annihilation"), two television series and an animated prequel. Additionally, a new "Mortal Kombat" video game developed by NetherRealm Studios and published by Warner Bros. Interactive Ent. will be available April 19, 2011 on the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft.
Written by Kevin Tancharoen, Aaron Helbing and Todd Helbing, and available online this spring from Warner Bros. Digital Distribution, the "Mortal Kombat" digital new media series is an anthology of multiple live action shorts. Each episode will provide never-before-revealed insights into characters featured in the upcoming videogame as well as the game's universe.
"Mortal Kombat," the newest chapter of the award-winning videogame franchise, will be on store shelves starting April 19th, 2011. Marking a triumphant return to the series' mature presentation and a reinvention of its classic 2D fighting mechanic, "Mortal Kombat" will introduce a number of new game-play features including tag team, a deeper story mode and nostalgic online and offline arcade battles. Players will be able to choose from an extensive lineup of iconic warriors and challenge their friends in head-to-head competition as well as several new game modes.
Darren Shahlavi, confirmed to star as longtime rival of Jax and Sonya, Kano, is an English actor featured in films such as 300 and Ip Man 2. In addition, he's no stranger to films video games, having appeared in both Alone in the Dark and BloodRayne, as well as providing motion capture for titles such as GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra, Dragon Age: Origins, and EA Sports MMA. Shahlavi's martial arts credentials follow up on the emphasis on action from many crew members, which include hints that the longtime rivalry between Kano and Sonya will continue in this project.
Darren Shahlavi in the 2010 Hong Kong feature, Ip Man 2
Update Feb. 14: Ian Anthony Dale, on break from filming TV series The Event, has joined the Twitter stampede. The actor will step into the covetted role of Hanzo Hasashi -- the ninja who, in the games, becomes Scorpion. On his transition, Dale notes:
After a week of awesome shooting on #theevent I am back to obsessing over my Japanese for #MortalKombat. Got to be perfect.
Update Feb. 14: A battle damaged Jeri Ryan appears with Vancouver TV personality, Victor Lucas, in the latest MK set photos from the Twittverse! Ryan herself also provides a great shot from the smokey set, kitted out for action as Sonya Blade!
Jeri Ryan has been one busy actress...
With a career in film and television spanning twenty years; Ryan has acted in starring roles in many successful primetime dramas, including Dark Skies, Boston Public, Shark, The OC, and Law & Order: SVU. For some, she will be best remembered as the cult sci-fi heroine of more than one hundred episodes -- Seven of Nine, from TV's Star Trek: Voyager. An impressive body of work by any measure, but for fans of a certain conccurently running twenty-year video game franchise, about to pale in comparison to a ten episode, digitally distributed series!
Ryan's association with Mortal Kombat began in June, with the online leak of a high-quality production demo called Mortal Kombat: Rebirth [full story]. The eight minute clip, directed by Kevin Tancharoen (Fame, DanceLife), presented a stark reinterpretation of the MK mythos, with a bent toward over-the-top, gritty urban adaptation. Acting opposite action favourite, Michael Jai White (Spawn, Black Dynamite), during interrogation scenes led by his Jax ; Ryan completed the Special Forces duo as a file wielding, business suited Sonya Blade.
For fans concerned the former Miss Illinois will be a paper pushing wallflower version of the fighting Lieutenant, Jeri Ryan has provided pictorial documentation of her action packed role! Via Twitter, the actress promises "ass is being kicked," showing off battle scars from her kombat experience, which includes kicking the occasional door on the Vancouver location shoot, as well!
Photographs from the Vancouver Abandoned Asylum Set!
With Warner Premiere's official press release describing Rebirth as an "unofficial fan short" [full story], it remains to be seen if the digitally distributed series will relate to Tancharoen's job winning reel, or veer closer to the canon of the video game characters fans "know and love".
When Mortal Kombat Online asked Jeri Ryan if she could give us clues about the nature of her role and it's relation to the games, she said, "Can't tell [you] specifics, but it is BAD ASS."
It's one of several messages from the star, who seems very enthusiastic about the quality of the project and it's action -- which won't just boast kick ass martial arts, but also small munitions!
@JeriLRyan tweets from Mortal Kombat:
"BTW, just finished reading the whole script for Mortal Kombat. Holy crap... I think u might just love it. Get ready..." "I get to channel my inner action hero. ;-)" posted February 7.
"Don't have any info yet. Will let u guys know when I do" posted February 9.
"Def top secret right now. Not supposed to talk about it! :-|" posted February 10.
"... as I limp around & soak in Epsom salts baths. Being an action hero ain't easy...! ;-)..." "Ok - the temporary gag is (partially) off! I can start tweeting about Mortal Kombat. I will tell u this: Ass is being kicked." "Jeri Ryan returns to sci-fi to kick some ass in Mortal Kombat http://t.co/jhwm3k8 via @blastr" "My action face ;-) http://yfrog.com/h6v1rxj" "Just watched a crazy-awesome special fx shot! Just wait, gang...just wait. #mortalkombat #awesome" "Ok, off to bed now. Up early for more fun with Sonya Blade. ;-) ..." posted February 11.
"Ooooookay then...So, we're shooting in a mental institution which is apparently haunted. Had 5 separate crew members warn me already. Cool." "In other words, another day at the office." "So how's your day...? http://yfrog.com/h4unxmjj" "Wow. Another first. Never had fake pit-sweat added before. It's a glamorous life, folks." "Wrapped early tonight! Sadly, no ghost sightings, but I did get to kick a door in, so that made up for it. ;-) http://yfrog.com/h4rhrbvj" posted February 12.
Jeri Ryan isn't the only member of the Mortal Kombat crew posting their experiences on Twitter! Vancouver based Director of Photography, C. Kim Miles (@VancouverDP) adds a tantalizing tease about the series' action...
"Fight choreography is looking FANTASTIC! Mortal Kombat begins tomorrow!!!" "Rushing headlong into MK day 3. Gunfire, grenades, martial arts, Michael Jai White and Jeri Ryan. Oh yeah..."
We can report that Leslie Cairns (@BuggyBag), costume maker for the project, has also confirmed the inclusion of Sindel in the series! She made reference to constructing costumes for the "Queen" in one of her posts [based on designs by Alissa Swanson], clarifying the position in a later response. Does this confirm an Edenia similar to the one of the games? That information is yet to present itself.
Warner Premiere today announced development of a live-action digital series based on the best-selling Mortal Kombat videogame franchise. Directed by Kevin Tancharoen, known for his popular unofficial fan short Mortal Kombat: Rebirth which garnered over 10 million views online, and in conjunction with the upcoming Mortal Kombat videogame, this action-packed, digital series will take gamers deep into the history of warriors they know and love such as Scorpion, Johnny Cage and Liu Kang. Shooting for the digital series will take place in Vancouver starting in early February.
Available this spring through online digital retailers from Warner Bros. Digital Distribution, the Mortal Kombat digital series is an anthology of multiple live action shorts, each providing never-before-revealed insights into characters featured in the upcoming videogame as well as the game’s universe. Additional details, including casting, will be announced in the coming weeks.