When Fantastic Fest founder Tim League told me he was going to get into a debate/boxing match with Man of Tai Chi director Keanu Reeves, I put it bluntly. "You're going to die, Tim."
Every year, Fantastic Fest holds the Fantastic Debates, in which two opposing parties go head to head on a point of major cultural digression (previous heated topics include "Horror Remakes – Reinvented Classics, or Modern Abominations" and "Robots Are Totally Inferior To People.") They then put on the gloves and throw down for a couple of rounds, Marquis of Queensberry-style.
A floating coterie of stars – the Zellners, the Soskas, and Elijah Wood and Dominic Monaghan – have gone toe-to-toe in the FF ring, but there's been one constant. Over the years, League has had his ass handed to him by Uwe Bohl, bare knuckle boxer and Knuckle star James Quinn McDonagh, and even Michelle Rodriguez. This time, the affable CEO and family man will be going up against the lean and muscled Reeves. "What can possibly go wrong?" said League.
If that wasn't bad enough, it's not just Reeves. League said, "He's just going to debate, and then he's going to tap out and tag in Tiger Chen." That's the stunt man-turned star of the movie, and Reeves' long-time stunt double from his Matrix days. So the actual boxing match will be against the – actual – man of tai chi,
"You're going to die, Tim."
League laughed. "I'm looking forward to being physically punished. I've been wanting it for a long time, but everyone just decides to take it easy on me. My goal is to hit the canvas and not be able to come back up."
The match-up may be the second most dangerous event at Fantastic Fest 2013. That top plaudit will either go the freshly-announced return of the infamous Chaos Reigns!!! Karaoke Party, or the special night of Danger Gods!, a one-off tribute to stunt gods Chuck Bail, Bob Ivy, John “Bud” Cardos, Gary Kent, and Bobby Sargent.
As always, we'll be squeegeeing our kidneys out and reporting back all the way through the madness, so keep checking back.
Fantastic Fest 2013 runs September 19-26 at the Alamo Lakeline. More details at www.fantasticfest.com. Plus, keep following all our updated and ongoing coverage at www.austinchronicle.com/fantastic-fest.
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