It was the toke heard around the world, and for some, it immediately ingrained Matt Mullins as one of the best new finds for the Mortal Kombat movie universe.

His take was different, but that was true of the entire presentation in the short film called Mortal Kombat: Rebirth. It captured the imaginations of a vast many and led Mullins and his director to Mortal Kombat: Legacy -- a ten-part live-action series comissioned by WB for digital release.

When a second series of Legacy began filming at the end of 2012, we were surprised to learn Mullins would not be a part of it [original story]. Amidst the chaos of a new year and a filming schedule, we talked briefly with Mullins about his shock departure, Cage recasting, and his plans for the future. [Don't forget to watch Matt Mullins as Cage in Legacy Episode 3]

[MKO] In your own words, who are you and what do you do?
[Matt Mullins] My name is Matt Mullins and I am an actor who played Johnny Cage in Mortal Kombat Legacy and Rebirth.

You kicked the doors in with your appearance in Kevin Tancharoen's job-getting showreel. How did you become involved with Rebirth?
I met Kevin years before MK through the world of live shows, and performances. I got a call from him out of the blue about being involved in the project.

A dance agent actually hooked me up with Kevin. He liked Kevin's visions and the work Kevin was putting together and he liked what I was doing with the Sideswipe Performance team. He thought we might have some good synergy. As it turned out, we did.

What was the experience of filming Rebirth like?
Rebirth was a bunch of passionate artists getting work done and showcasing it in front of the camera. We worked the fight for three weeks prior to shooting to come up with a bad ass fight. The funniest moment for me was after the third time going through the glass picture frame, I cut my hand pretty bad. The assistant director called through the walkie talkie, "Can we get a bandaid for Johnny Cage"? Of course, I thought Johnny Cage does not use bandaids, so I wrapped my bleeding hand in clear masking tape.

Were you very familiar with Mortal Kombat before getting the part?
I grew up on MK1 and 2 in the arcade and pumped endless quarters trying to figure out combos and fatalities. I lost track over the last few years, but I really had fun playing the latest releases of the game.

I loved playing Johnny Cage because of the split nut punch, but I played Raiden a lot as well. Frying people with lightning was pretty sick.

You brought with you a history in martial arts. Can you tell us a bit about your discipline and how you got started?
I have trained in Martial Arts for over 20 years. I am a 5th degree black belt in Shorei- Ryu, and I have also branched out to study Tae Kwon Do, Wushu, Acrobatics, and tricking. I have recently begun training Jujitsu.

I was an entertainment inspired martial artist. I loved Ninja Turtles, MK, Blood Sport, Power Rangers, etc and when I finally got a chance to start, I was hooked. I trained all the time and have always tried to push my skill. Even today it is a discipline that does not stop.

You also brought to Johnny Cage experiences with shows like Kamen Rider, which sort of got a wink and a nod in the show. How did the Legacy version of the character come together?
Legacy wanted to blur the line between reality and fiction.
The true Hollywood story took a little of both. Kevin really shaped that whole segment.

Legacy's Cage was a bit more down on his luck, missing some of the Bruce Lee/Van Damme elements fans know. Do you think this would've helped or hindered the character, moving forward?
I was okay with Cage being a little down on his luck.
It gave the character a lot of range to come back with even more bravado, but still be likable.

A lot of fans were disappointed to learn you aren't coming back for Legacy 2. Can you talk a bit about what went down?
I was just as disappointed as the rest of the fans. I did everything I could to continue with MK, but for reasons we will never know, it did not work out.

The auditioning process is always different. You are selling yourself to the client and trying to show them they would be out of their mind not to put you in the role you are auditioning for.

For this process they first wanted to see my recent work. Even though I had finished four projects last year, I could not secure footage because it was all locked up in post. I edited small scenes that I thought best fit the role (which ironically had a bunch of footage form MK season 1) and sent that in. Then they asked me to do all the scene in MK Season 2. I did that and sent it in. Finally I tried to campaign to the people who could help influence a decision, but ultimately it did not work out. It is a business and in the end the decision makers did what they thought was best.

We now know Casper Van Dien has been added to the role. What are your impressions?
I think Casper will do great with the part. I feel I was able to bring more on the action side, but I really think he will give the fans a great Cage.

Cage is just about the most recast character in the history of the series. Is it time to start referring to the 'Cage Curse'?
Nah, it's just Hollywood.

Given the chance, is this a character you'd like to return to?
I would love to fight for the part and with fan support I will.

What are you working on now and what types of things do you think we'll find you doing in the future?
It has already been a busy start to the year. I have five different projects coming out this year. One of them being a film from China called "King of Vajara" - I play a US POW in a pre World War II Japanese occupied China .

Sideswipe continues to perform all over the world. Last year we did about 35 different performances ranging from our full production in Japan and Cuba, as well as performances for Skechers and Saban Brands. We start this year at the University of Kansas!

Mortal Kombat Online must thank Matt Mullins for his time and open conversation. You can find more information about Matt's work at, or by following @Sideswipematt. Relive the first season of Mortal Kombat: Legacy [Episode 3: Johnny Cage] on MKO and discuss the series and this interview on the Media & Matchmaking forum.